Friday, November 24, 2017

Little Squalicum Park in Bellingham, WA

Bellingham Bay can easily be reached at Little Squalicum Park. It is an official Dog Off Leash Area but there's plenty of trails for people to walk, especially at low tide.

 I went to watch the sunset and found a family playing fetch with their dogs at the water's edge.

 As you can see, Squalicum Beach is a popular place for dogs to run and play. This one sure was enjoying himself along with his humans.

Today is Sky Watch Friday. Go to the Sky Watch Friday website and you'll see sky photos from all over the world!

Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures. -- Margy

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving
from Powell River Books

For all of my American readers and friends ...

Up the Lake

the home of

Wayne and I will be celebrating our second Thanksgiving of the year with our good friend Jeanne in Bellingham.  It's become a Thanksgiving tradition for us. 

Thanksgiving is a great time to step back and reflect on all of our blessings. Wayne and I live in the best place on earth and have many good friends. If you're in the States, we hope your Thanksgiving is peaceful and filled with joy. -- Wayne and Margy Lutz

Monday, November 20, 2017

University of Southern California

For us, a trip to Los Angeles always means a visit to the University of Southern California. Wayne received his Master's Degree from USC. My dad almost got his doctorate there. We are what you might call a USC family, unless you talked to my Mom who graduated from UCLA. That must have been a marriage almost as difficult as my great grandmother who was Norwegian and married a Swede.

This week Wayne and I are on a "winter" getaway. The purpose is two-fold. We want sun and warmth while it's cold and rainy at our float cabin home. We also want to go to USC sporting events, especially the annual USC vs UCLA football game at the historic Memorial Coliseum.

What sport is more Southern California than beach volleyball? We sat in on a Sunday morning practice to soak up some rays while enjoying a game.

We also saw women's basketball at the Galen Center. This time the Women of Troy played California State University at Long Beach, my alma matre. That makes it another rivalry.

Each day we walked to our favourite bench in the main quad on campus. Here we can soak up those much needed rays and relax while reading and people watching.

We also took time to walk the campus. Buildings old and new are made with beautiful brickwork. Staying across the street in the Radisson Hotel makes walking everywhere easy.

USC has a long tradition. It welcomed its first 53 students in 1880. My dad worked on his doctorate in the 1950s and Wayne received his degree in 1976. Once a Trojan, always a Trojan. Fight on!

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad. -- Margy

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cable Airport in Upland, California

Do you like to watch airplanes land? Do you want to make Southern California a destination, but want to avoid busy airspace? Want a great hamburger with a view?

Come to Cable Airport. Cable, in Upland, California, is the largest privately owned public-access airport in the United States.

Airplane aficionados Dewey and Maude Cable began its construction in 1945. At the time, the area was rocky, rural, scrub land. It is still rocky, but no longer rural.

Runway 6/24 is lighted and 3864 feet in length. It parallels the nearby the San Gabriel Mountains, with headwind landings about 90% of the time. Arrival from the north through Cajon Pass and along the San Gabriels keeps you out of Ontario International Airport’s Class C airspace. It’s still a good idea to talk to ATC because it gets really busy along this route.

Cable Airport is uncontrolled and averages 252 takeoffs and landings daily, 80% from the over 450 aircraft home based here. There are two IFR approaches: VOR RWY 06 and GPS RWY 06. Coastal fog can reach this far inland and smoggy afternoons often make navigation challenging.

The Cables were well known for their hospitality. The Foothill Flying Club continues the tradition. Rent a plane, take lessons (ground or flight), get information about the area or relax while watching amazing private airplanes come and go. 

If you plan to stay, try the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont on Historic Route 66 (Foothill Blvd). A Yellow Cab costs about $20 plus tip. The Old Schoolhouse is next door with restaurants and shops. Got a hankerin’ for lots (and I mean lots) of good Italian food? Buca di Beppo Restaurant is out front.

Maniac-Mikes restaurant is on-field. It’s open 6-3 daily with indoor and outdoor seating. Forget the $200 hamburger. Get Mike’s Big Burger and fries for only $7.25.

Come to Cable Airport for some fun in the California sun.

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad. -- Margy

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Paddle to the Sea" by Holling C. Holling

Last Friday we were honoured to be visited by the Canada C3 expedition ship here in Powell River. Canada C3 has been part of Canada's 150th Anniversary celebration and supports the reconciliation process with indigenous peoples.

Canada C3 (meaning coast to coast to coast) started in Toronto, followed the St. Lawrence to the Atlantic, traversed the Northwest Passage, and will complete their 150 day journey on October 28 in Victoria, BC.

MV Polar Prince icebreaker anchored in Powell River.

The ship was well suited for the Northwest Passage. The MV Polar Prince is a 67 metre (220 ft) former Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker now in service as a research vessel. 

Members of the Tla'amin Nation welcoming the expedition.

The expedition visited Powell River on October 20 and members of the Tla'amin Nation welcomed the participants at Willingdon Beach. Here they shared the canoe carving project currently in progress.

Carving has brought people together to learn about each other.

After Tla'amin Nation Hegus (Chief) Clint Williams, elders and carvers spoke, Canada C3 Expedition Leader Geoff Green brought out a canoe of his own. It was Paddle to the Sea, the carving used in the film adaptation of the book written by Holling C. Holling. (Click here to see the complete film.)

Expedition leader Geoff Green shares Paddle to the Sea with Hegus Clint Williams

The story is about an indigenous boy who carves a small wooden canoe during the winter and releases it the following spring. Etched into the bottom are these words, "Please put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea." The story follows Paddle through the Great Lakes and down the mighty St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.

Not only did we get to see Paddle to the Sea, but we could hold it and have our picture taken with it. This was a highlight for me.

When I taught school, I read Paddle to the Sea to my elementary students. Later, when the film version was released, that was added to my lessons.

Little did I know back then that I would move to Canada. And little did I know that my life would come to a full circle in a unique way.

Have you had such an experience? How did it happen for you? -- Margy

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Toad in the Hole

Coastal BC Amphibians: Western Toad

Toad in the Hole
On a quad ride in nearby Chippewa Bay, I did a bit of exploring on my own while Wayne rode some of the new logging roads.

Wayne doesn’t like wait when I stop to take pictures, so splitting up for a while gives us both a chance to enjoy what we love best.

On the side of a new logging road covered with crushed rock, I found a Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) hiding in a hole he had excavated under a jumble of medium sized rocks. He looked snug and well protected from other critters, but maybe not the weight of large logging trucks hauling massive loads. This is one reason they are on the B.C. Provincial Yellow List and are a species of "conservation concern."

Hiding under rocks on the side of a new logging road.

My first thought was to call him “Toad in the Hole.” I remember that was the name of a fast food booth at the Los Angeles Country Fair when I was a kid. I looked it up online and Toad in the Hole is a British dish made with sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter.

But enough of my culinary sidetrack. Western Toads are found in rocky areas, but usually near streams or ponds. This is because they reproduce in a water environment. Tiny young toads emerge in late summer to fall, often in large groups covering paths and roadways.

Sitting still through his photo session.

The Western Toad chooses to live in abandoned animal burrows or holes under piles of rocks. They can also dig themselves into sandy soil if it is available.

Western toads have warty skin with a large oval parotoid gland behind each eye that secretes a substance to deter predators. Toad colours vary from gray to greenish with black-spotted reddish brown warts.

A long dorsal stripe and parotoid gland behind his eye.

I took lots of pictures, but didn’t disturb my Toad in the Hole. If I was a predator, his glands would have exuded a neurotoxin with a bad taste. But I wouldn’t have to worry about catching warts. That’s just an old myth.

Toads are good to have around. They eat lots of insects; so, if you see one in your garden, leave it alone. It will be a good neighbor and fun to watch.

Do you have toads where you live? Do you have any toad stories to share? -- Margy

References: Nature: An Illustrated Guide to Common Plants and Animals BC by James Kavanagh (Lone Pine, 1993), British Columbia: A Natural History by Richard Cannings and Sydney Cannings (Greystone Books, 2004), Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest by Eugene N. Kozloff (Greystone Books, 1995) and B.C. Frogwatch Program (online).