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.

    mink river

    “Rained gently last night, just enough to wash the town clean, and then today a clean crisp fat spring day, the air redolent, the kind of green minty succulent air you’d bottle if you could and snort greedily on bleak, wet January evenings when the streetlights hzzzt on at four in the afternoon and all existence seems hopeless and sad.” — Brian Doyle, from his book Mink River. And you can read what I had to say about this book on my Goodreads reviews.

    simple flowers

    Until next Monday may your days be as poetic as those in Mink River, or even better. And a Happy 4th of July to my friends south of the 49th.

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    Gabriele - July 4, 2016 - 9:12 am

    Beautiful prose. I will have to check him out. Thanks for the holiday greetings.

    Jessie Stevens - July 29, 2016 - 4:13 pm

    Beautiful!

    Why Don’t Dogs Live Forever?

    Why Don’t Dogs Live Forever?

    If you have a dog or cat in the family, I consider this an important TED talk to watch. It’s short, it’s fact-based (scientific findings), and incredibly wise advice to follow.

    And because I feel so strongly about how important his message is, I don’t plan on saying much else today. The only other thing I feel is also timely and dog-related (plus important if you have young children) is this great message.

    Lawn herbicides and your family pet

    And here are the research findings that back all this up.

    You all know I tend not to preach or get on a soap box so, hopefully you will realize how important these two messages are to me and for all of you who have pets (don’t forget young children play on lawns too).

    I will step down off my soap box for now and return to my ‘normal’ posts next Monday. Until then may you feel the wind in your hair, the grass between your toes, and drink in the refreshing spring air.

    As always, thank you so much for stopping by and especially for leaving a note before you leave — I always appreciate your presence here.

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    DIANE J PATMORE - June 27, 2016 - 12:25 pm

    I have always thought the idea of spraying plants with poison a pointless, expensive and immoral exercise.
    Probably criminal, too.(And the same applies to those slug and rodent baits.)

    Lisa Gordon - June 27, 2016 - 4:12 pm

    Thank you, Diane. I hope all who read this realize just how important this is.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend.

    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!