observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated each Monday ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    the venture continued in Greece

    Port: Katakalon, Greece

    While most were off walking in the heat visiting the ruins of Olympia, we hopped on a bus and had such a memorable experience visiting an olive farm. The Magna Grecia Farm (Agriturismo Magna Grecia) is a family owned olive farm where we met some of the locals and enjoyed authentic Greek cuisine, with most ingredients grown right on the farm.

    We feasted on a wide variety of delicious mezes along with their own wine while watching a Syrtaki dance, which we were invited to join in. This was one of the highly memorable days on the entire trip. I highly recommend a visit (look it up on TripAdvisor as, Agriturismo Magna Grecia).

    olive trees at Magna Grecia farm

    olives and copper pots at Magna Grecia

    kegs of grappa ©Diane M Schuller

    mezes at Magna Grecia farm ©Diane M Schuller

    grappa kegs ©Diane M Schuller
    A group of Greek men enjoying the afternoon in Katakolon, Greece:

    Greek men in Katakolon, Greece
    Beautiful hand woven rugs (most likely Turkish) hung on many of the balconies in Katakolon.

    beautiful rugs on balcony in Katakolon, Greece

    That clear mediterranean water — ahh. That’s the Koningsdam, our cruise ship in the background. In this part of Greece, fishing is done by hand and not by huge trawlers. The men come in and sort, clean, and carry their day’s catch to the local restaurants and some to a small fish market. Then they return to their boats and spend hours cleaning and untwisting, then rewinding their nets, doing repairs as necessary.

    fishing boat with Koningsdam in background

    Once back on the Koningsdam, we were regaled by a talented belly dancer.

    belly dancer on the MS Koningsdam

    Until next Monday may you dream of adventures near or far but most especially may you go to Nature to be soothed.

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    DIANE J PATMORE - June 20, 2016 - 12:35 pm

    Looks lovely! This morning? I wouldn’t mind a little Mediterranean sunshine.

    Lisa Gordon - June 20, 2016 - 4:13 pm

    This looks wonderful Diane.
    Forever memories, for sure.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

    Andi - June 26, 2016 - 7:12 am

    Such beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing these with us.
    Those rugs…oh my. What a treasure to have in one’s home.

    Sherry G. - June 26, 2016 - 7:44 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed your fabulous images and story telling! No snapshots these! Such a great eye you have, Diane. I’m guessing this was a Holland America cruise? I’ve been on their ships and they’re wonderful. Love the image contrasting the fishing boat and the cruise ship. So perfect.

    Candace - June 29, 2016 - 4:40 pm

    Looks like a great time! Huge, huge cruise ship!

    Currently

    “Have you ever seen a flower down
    Sometimes angels skip around
    And in their blissful state of glee
    Bump into a daisy or sweet pea.” –Terri Guillemets

    Rhododendron www.dianeschuller.com

    foxglove www.dianeschuller.com

    our home, Qualicum Beach, BC

    storm a brewing

    excited:  planning to get a puppy; life is far too empty without an Aussie with which to share our lives.

    joyful:  making music and enjoying my Wednesday piano lessons.

    delighted:  summer’s are the best for our local farmer’s market; always how I spend my Saturday mornings.

    contented:  enjoying eating every meal al fresco.

    soul-stirring: entirely smitten with the early mornings whispering awake at dawn and drawing to a close when the light is low, dramatic, and nearly takes my breath away.

    dogwood on Pintail Drive, Parksville - Qualicum Beach, BC

    home, Qualicum Beach, BC

    Well my lovelies, until next Monday may you skip around and bump into a daisy or sweet pea. Before you skip away, I’d love if you share one of your recent blissful or joy-filled moments.

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    Lisa Gordon - June 13, 2016 - 3:54 pm

    Oh, Diane, a puppy!!!!
    I sure hope you will share photos of him or her here.
    Truly what an exciting time.

    Each of these photographs is so beautiful. So much wonderful color. It looks like you are having a fantastic spring.

    Have a beautiful week ahead, my friend!

    Toffeeapple - June 14, 2016 - 3:09 am

    A beautiful post, thank you.

    Sherry - June 14, 2016 - 1:20 pm

    Blissful days! My most exciting moment in the garden was probably today, because one of my new–and long coveted–Marshall Peace Garden rose finally offered up a bloom! I’ve been wanting this rose for three years and she is finally here and as gorgeous as I’ve always dreamed. 🙂

    Sherry G. - June 15, 2016 - 6:52 pm

    I have been waiting to see more of your gorgeous flower and garden images. And you did not disappoint. These are delectable. What is the second one with the spots? How fascinating. I’m thrilled to hear you are getting a puppy. I know exactly how you feel. Our house is just not the same without Angus and Charles. And we will no doubt get a puppy too, just not right away…we hope to travel a bit more first…I can’t wait to see your puppy shots. They will really make me feel blissful!

    Candace - June 29, 2016 - 4:42 pm

    I’m so excited you’re getting a puppy! Aussies are so beautiful and smart.

    Bear with me please

    My dear friends, family, and readers I am dealing with some sort of major glitch regarding the comments being left at this blog. They are no longer coming in to my email but only remain at the website. Before this, I knew comments were made and, more importantly, it was so easy for me to send a reply directly back to you. The way it is now, is quite inconvenient to send individual responses directly to each individual and, unless I somehow write down who I responded to, it’s also confusing and unreliable in getting responses out to those of you who leave your lovely comments for me. I AM reading them; so each time I go the blog and check for comments, I just don’t remember who I’ve responded to and who not.

    So please bear with me. I’ve been entirely unable to determine why the sudden change and there is absolutely no way of getting help unless I hire a tech person. So, most unfortunately, things may end up remaining this way. I dislike having to even write a post like this and waste energies on such an annoying subject. I hope you will understand and please don’t stop leaving comments — I promise that I DO read them. And reading your comments is THE best part for me.

    Regretably,

    Diane

     

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    DIANE J PATMORE - June 12, 2016 - 7:46 pm

    Oh! The irritations of these beasts that usually ease our navigation through the cybersphere…grrr!
    I started a new post earlier today and “something went wrong…”
    And now i don’t have time to finish it!
    On the up side, we’re having some wonderful rain.Oh! And I found the wristwatch I thought lost.

    Don’t worry about answering comments;we’ll all understand.

    Good glorious Morning

    Good glorious morning to you.

    Coliseum Storyboard

    So, picking up from last week’s post, now we’ve left Rome and we’re getting acquainted with the cruise ship.

    CruiseShip Storyboard

    It’s beginning to feel like a daunting task selecting and sharing “just the right” photos from our trip. I took so many and there are few duplicates so each has some sort of meaning or story connected to them.  So, to ease my anxiety about that, here then is something I’m thrilled to share about the past week ‘around my campfire’.

    “So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!” – – Peter Pan

    First of all, the bees have been so busy in our yard. With the worldwide situation of bees dying off, I’m thrilled they can gather and survive without pesticides in my yard. While having dinner with friends I learned about a great new book dedicated to attracting and preserving the future of bees. So I promptly ordered it, Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees, and highly recommend it no matter where you live. The book is chock full of great information, a smattering of trivia, and oodles of important — yet easy — things you never would have thought about for safely attracting bees. I like the book so much I think I’m going to order a couple more copies to use as hostess gifts this summer.

    “We once grew food without chemicals. We never grew food without bees.” — Elise B.C.

    bee on rhododendron, Qualicum Beach

    It’s simply a comfort to be back home and enjoying the yard.

    DSC_4414DSC_4489

    My first canning session of the season is complete, resulting in eight jars of fresh and delicious homemade strawberry jam. Made with local strawberries from my favourite local farmer bursting with genuine strawberry taste. To avoid using pectin and all the extra sugar for my strawberry jam this year I turned to my favourite modern canning recipe book, The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round and used the recipe that calls for leaving the strawberries in sugar overnight. I can’t believe what a difference it made and how much flavour is retained without adding mega amounts of sugar. I’ll be using this recipe for strawberry jam from now on.

    strawberry jam www.dianeschuller.com

    Most mornings this week: coffee on the deck, watching the hummingbirds, with the perfume of California lilacs and the sea in the air.

    coffee on the deck, www.dianeschuller.com

    Last evening we went to some friends for dinner and the six of us played Mexican Trainout on the patio until it got too dark to see the tiles anymore. We giggled so much, I sure hope we didn’t disturb our friends’ neighbours. Life sure is grand.

    Well my lovelies, until next Monday enjoy time with friends, savour the outdoors, and make room for the bees.

    PS: I have realized that, since my return, for some strange reason I am not receiving the individual comments to my email (as before). I find it very weird responding within the comments to you folks because really, who in the world comes back to read if I’ve replied, right?!! It’s important to me to respond to you so I’ll try to remember to come to the blog and see who has left messages so I can properly respond by email — sorry for this technical glitch. I have no idea how to get it back to the way it was.

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    Toffeeapple - June 7, 2016 - 6:09 am

    The images of your garden are so restful, quite unlike those of Rome!

    Do you know what type of Bee that is on the Rhododendron/Azelia? I have never seen one in those colours. The whole subject of Bees is worrying right now and I do hope that a solution is found very soon.

    Gabriele - June 7, 2016 - 11:05 am

    Your pictures are wonderful and I’m thinking I need to make some toast and find my own freezer jam.

    Lisa Gordon - June 7, 2016 - 5:31 pm

    I love these photographs, Diane, and that strawberry preserves looks so yummy!
    I am off to look at the book. I really like the small batch idea.
    Thank you for sharing my friend!

    Candace - June 8, 2016 - 10:58 am

    Home is the best place to be, isn’t it? I have quite a few bees right now, too, and like them although I wasn’t thrilled to be stung the other day. I forgot how that hurts.

    Sherry - June 11, 2016 - 6:04 pm

    It’s fun to see more of your vacation images. Just fabulous. Thanks for the tips about the bees and the strawberry jam. You are a wealth of useful information along with your amazing photographic talent!

    A blink of Rome

    After a painful thirteen hours pressed together like sardines, arriving in the city was like diving into a freshly-filled pool on a hot summer’s day. That was our release off the plane and into Rome. The narrow, winding, cobbled streets lined with scooters and a few tiny cars; windows framed with operating shutters; crowds overflowing narrow sidewalks; the Coliseum like an ancient sentinel seen from streets, alleyways and hotel rooms; and an abundance of ostaria and ristorante drawing in either locals or tourists, depending upon a traveler’s foodie-sense.

    view from our hotel in Rome

    Rome was a three-day layover to recover from jet lag and see a few sights before commencing our cruise. We marvelled at the narrow streets, gutsy drivers, yet life was much more laid back when it came to dining, browsing, or taking a stroll.

    streets of RomeDSCN0065

    Of course we saw a few of the sights.

    Coliseum in Rome

    Ancient ruins in Rome

    Trevi Fountain - Rome

    in Rome

    Good food was usually down a narrow and out-of-the way alley.

    dining in Rome

    Scooters outnumber cars. This would be a scooter version of a Porsche, I suspect, for this businessman.

    Businessman on scooter -- Rome

    Of course, there were crowds of tourists everywhere. Joining them was necessary if we too wished to see some of the exotic and priceless art that is abundant, particularly in the Vatican.

    grounds of the Vatican

    Vatican: mosaics & Ceiling art

    DSCN0133DSCN0139

    Finally, we embark. Our first cruise. Man that ship is big — MS Koningsdam.

    MS Koningsdam

    What I’m sharing in photographs is merely a blink at those I’ve taken. As I begin to share images from our many ports-of-call we experienced on the cruise, those too will merely be blinks.

    My favourite memory of Rome: the utterly flavour-bursting bruschetta like I have never tasted in my life! They were that good! Fresh (grown there), ripe (not trucked), dripping with flavour tomatoes cut in huge chunks over top the most delicious crispy-crusted handmade Italian bread (absolutely no additives), generously drizzled with (grown right there) extra virgin olive oil, with fresh (grown right there) basil torn on top. Simple yes. But I’ve never in my life eaten something with that intensity of natural flavour. Utterly memorable.

    So tell me, what is one of your favourite, or perhaps unique, memories of a trip you have taken?

    Until next Monday my lovelies may you notice the details, enjoy the ride, and savour a favourite memory.

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    Lisa Gordon - May 30, 2016 - 7:07 am

    Oh my goodness, Diane, what a wonderful adventure for you!
    It sure looks beautiful there, and oh yes, that is one huge ship!
    I cannot wait to see more photographs as you post them.
    I am so glad that you had a wonderful time.
    Happy Monday to you! xo.

    Susan Clark - May 30, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    This looks like the trip of a lifetime. I get goosebumps when I follow a route through ancient buildings thinking of those who have walked centuries before me.

    Diane - May 30, 2016 - 8:50 pm

    Susan, it truly was a trip of a lifetime. Not something that will ever happen again. Lots and lots of great memories to cherish. I love how your thoughts go to those ancient ruins.

    Diane - May 30, 2016 - 8:51 pm

    Thanks Lisa, I think I may have been chintzy with the photos but I didn’t wish to have them go on and on and on … Have a great week and thank you so much for taking time to leave this lovely note for me.

    Celia - May 30, 2016 - 11:40 pm

    What was wonderful start to your adventure! Rome is so crammed with history, my favourite building is the Pantheon and I’m in awe of the construction (it’s made of concrete!) of that glorious dome with the hole in the centre through which you glimpse the sky.

    It rained when we were in Rome, I remember queuing to get into the Vatican. Then afterwards running to a nearby osteria where we were served spaghetti puttanesca by a lady who could have stepped straight out of a film by Fellini.

    I wonder where you’re going next?

    shawna - May 31, 2016 - 6:58 am

    How wonderful, Diane!! Really can’t wait to go back to Italy some day….but for now it’s great to live vicariously through you and your photos. Would love to see more.

    Jessie Stevens - May 31, 2016 - 7:15 pm

    You capture people and the essence of the street life so well in these shots!

    Sherry G. - June 2, 2016 - 7:31 pm

    It’s so great to check in with you again after a while away and see these fabulous images of ROme. They bring back such wonderful memories of my time there. I identify with your comments about the intense natural flavours of simple food because of the quality of the ingredients. In fact that is one of the things I most remember about my travels throughout Italy. Fresh, flavourful, simple, natural food. It really makes you realize how plastic so much of our food can be.

    Lionel Daneault - June 7, 2016 - 5:55 am

    My favorite Rome anecdote is very personal. While having a lovely dinner with my late wife a little boy with the biggest, darkest eyes came to our table. He asked if we would buy a rose. He looked Romany (gypsy) and had probably been put to the task by his family. I nodded him away but those big eyes had drilled right into my soul. A young waiter watched all this and called him over, The boy’s name was Giorgio and the waiter lifted him up and sat him on his rather spiffy looking scooter. Giorgio was elated, dreaming his boyish dreams of one day becoming just like the kindly waiter. For a week I was haunted by those dark eyes as we rested in the sunshine of a Greek island. On our return to Rome before flying home we overnighted at the same hotel on the Via Margarita and dined at the same little restaurant. When Giorgio came by, this time I bought two of his roses. The smile in those dark eyes was worth more to me than whatever I paid him.

    Like Pearls Slipping off a String

    “After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” — L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Avonlea.

    fallen rhodo blooms in Qualicum Beach BC

    “I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me here.” — Lauren Myracle

    Yes indeed, I have returned. Though I chose not to ‘announce’ my absence from home for an entire month, it’s now safe to reveal that we’ve been on a month long sojourn cruising the Mediterranean. Yes, I do realize just how fortunate we are though it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I will attempt to share snippets of my experiences, photographs, and highlights in future posts. It won’t be a true travelogue but rather a glimpse dropped in from time-to-time.

    As you can tell, I am heartily delighted to be home though I must admit how sore every one of my muscles and joints have been due to all the bending, dead-heading, weeding, and cultivating this huge yard has needed since our return. While my muscles moan, I sing with the delight of being back home to this place that I love.

    golden full moon maple in Qualicum Beach

    “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic.” — Nora Roberts

    Being without Internet an entire month was no big deal, at all. In fact, when I got back online to check emails and have a brief gander at what I may have missed, the only thing that caught my attention was a nature challenge by David Suzuki. He wrote that many folks spend too much time in front of their screens and too little time outdoors (unfortunately so true). I’m truly in love with nature so David Suzuki’s 30 x 30 challenge to spend 30 minutes in nature over 30 days is a cinch, but one I’m tickled pink (or green) to slide into. Are you up for the challenge? Let’s do it together okay? Breathe barefoot. Find a quiet green place. Kick off your shoes and stand, feeling the earth beneath your feet. Take 100 slow breaths, eyes closed.

    wild foxglove in bud

    home - shoes - comfort

    Until next Monday, may you breathe barefoot, cherish the gentleness of home, and the delights of your own little world.

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    Ms S - May 23, 2016 - 11:33 am

    Welcome back Diane! I’m sure your garden missed you too. Enjoy settling back into these loveliest of days. 🙂

    Jesie - May 23, 2016 - 8:20 pm

    Welcome home! You had an adventure- good for you! And good for us- because I bet we will get to see some great pictures too! 🙂

    I like the nature challenge, the days here have been perfect, warm but not hot, slightly breezy, no bugs we’ve been eating outside every night and I’ve been ignoring all the inside things in favor of outside chores- It’s been great- I hope it lasts!

    DIANE J PATMORE - May 25, 2016 - 12:30 am

    Oh! Wonderful! I, too, have been absent.I “ran away” again, to Florida, then Ohio and finally returned last night.So it’s going to take a while to catch up with everyone.But I will write.promise!

    Gabriele - May 25, 2016 - 8:01 pm

    Welcome home! Can’t wait to share some snippets of your adventure. I will take your 30×30 challenge.

    Toffeeapple - May 26, 2016 - 11:11 am

    Good to see you back with us, I hope you enjoyed your cruise and that the weather was kind.

    Candace - May 28, 2016 - 9:32 am

    Home is the best place to be but it sounds like a great and memorable trip. I look forward to some glimpses.

    Lisa Gordon - May 30, 2016 - 7:09 am

    Welcome home, my friend!