And So It Began…

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It’s glorious today!  The sun is shining and the chill in the mornings is getting warmer.  I must be upfront here, Vancouver has had one of the driest and snow free winters this year.  So dry that the local mountains including Whistler had to cut short the ski season due to lack of snow.  You can see from the picture I snapped from my office building this morning of downtown Vancouver that the mountains that are usually snow capped at this time of the year are really quite bare. Vancouver is a rainforest climate.  It rains A LOT here and like I said, it’s been pretty dry here this winter.  Hardly any rain at all.  My moto for my adopted city is “Vancouver is a beautiful city when the sun shines!”

Adopted city you ask?  Yes.  I am originally from Toronto, Ontario another great city with the hustle and bustle akin to New York which is one of the reasons why I left.  I don’t like the speed in which life moves there.  When I left home for university, I lived happily in London, Ontario (2 hour drive away) for 4 years.  Each time I ventured home, I’d hit the outskirts of Toronto and my heart rate would pick up and I noticed that I had to be more alert to everything around me because due to the pace that the cars drove on the 401 and the masses of people flowing in and out on the sidewalks. I felt you needed to be aware of where the next hole was to slip into just to make it across the street, highway or in/out of transit.  The constant hustle and bustle was not for me.  I realized I needed a more slower pace. London was sleepy.  Perfect for university but too slow for life.  I was not destined to stay there, obviously.  In my last year, I met a young man in university and followed him west all the way to Vancouver where I have stayed.  The pace of Toronto still lingers in my body as I still move/process quicker than most Vancouverites but the pace is just were I need to be and where better to enjoy the mountains, rivers and wildlife just minutes from your door?

I live in a wonderful community in a suburb of Vancouver.  Nestled in a little valley at the foot of the mountains.  We are surrounded by lush green towering cypress and cedar trees.  We are lucky to have a large river just outside our front door with a community trail that connects to the Trans Canada Trail ( http://www.tctrail.ca ).  On a daily basis you can walk along the river for a good 5km enjoying the lush greenery and wild berry bushes, the river that depending on the season, can be a quiet relaxing flow of water or a raging current as the water travels off our mountains.  We are treated to the sight of salmon spawning in the fall and late winter, the stately blue herons, mallard ducks and the majestic bald eagles who nest along the river, the sweet sight of a doe with her fawns, the howl of the coyotes at night to the black bears who travel back and forth from the mountain to the river in search of food.  Sometimes that involves your garbage and your back yard if you aren’t careful to lock away your bins or freeze food waste prior to putting it out on garbage day.  Sometimes putting garbage in an away doesn’t quite work either:

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This is where the bear fell into our shed one night after dragging our garbage can from our wood shed across our patio where he tripped and fell.  I personally think he was so embarrassed that he left our garbage bin and wondered off home!

I could and probably will in the future tell you all the stories I have about the bears in my ‘hood including one of my fav’s of the bear who ate fermented apples off the ground at the bottom of an apple tree, got drunk, weaved in and out of lawns, back yards and streets that had police and conservation officers shut down several city blocks and put a middle school in lock down. Yup and a great one about a cougar too.  The 4 legged kind not the 2 legged that run freely in our neighbourhood too!

Apparently, I digress here!  I felt the need to give you a feel for where I live so you understand my love for the nature that surrounds me and my how it has lead to my love of gardens.  I can’t help but feel the natural progression of bringing more of that nature inside my fences.  The colours, the smells and the fruits it produces all thanks to a future helping hand from me.  I’ll leave you now with another pic of the cherry blossoms that have been in full bloom for the last few weeks and for those back east who are continuing to shovel themselves out from under the snow…it will come and look what you get to look forward to!

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