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Through My Lens: Salt Spring Island Cat

This is a travel blog, yes, but who doesn’t run into a cat or three while on her travels?

This is Amy. She was keeping me company while I enjoyed myself in my friend’s garden on Salt Spring Island the other weekend.

The best travel days always include gardens. And cats. Truly.

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Through My Lens: Highland Cows at Ruckle Farm

Another island I hopped to this summer was Salt Spring Island. I go here often, thanks to the hospitality of one of my dearest friends.

These Highland cows are at Ruckle Farm on Salt Spring’s South End. Salt Spring has a long agricultural history and Ruckle Farm — founded in 1872 — is one of the oldest farms in the province. It is still being farmed by the Ruckle family.

Fun fact: Highland cows are a Scottish breed of cattle and my friend who lives on Salt Spring Island is a proud Scottish-Canadian.

Just though I’d mention that.

One more note: The haze in this photo is due to the smoke from BC’s wildfires, which blanketed the southern coast of the province the weekend I was on Salt Spring Island.

Through My Lens: Galiano Island Sailboat

I did a bunch of island hopping this summer — one of the perks of living on BC’s West Coast. My first stop was Galiano Island. I took this obligatory sailboat photo at that island’s Montague Harbour.

Hairy Woodpecker

I was on Salt Spring Island again this past weekend, and I met a new friend.

This is a Hairy Woodpecker. He’s not that big, but he sure makes a lot of noise for his size. He was busy making himself heard on the wildlife tree in my friend’s front yard, so I walked over to introduce myself.

And to take this photo.

Through My Lens: Pender Island Sailboat

Sailboat

Yeah, I know. Summer’s over. I can no longer deny it.

But here’s a summer photo anyways. Just to say “until next year.” I took this from Pender Island a few years ago.

Through My Lens: Trincomali Channel

Trincomali Channel

Another mini-break on Salt Spring Island means another photo of a spectacular view. I took this from Channel Ridge where my friend and I went to walk her dog. We’re looking east over Trincomali Channel towards Galiano Island.

And here’s a cool bit of trivia: Trincomali Channel is named after HMS Trincomali, a British warship built in 1816 that is now docked in Hartlepool, England. What’s the connection between HMS Trincomali and BC? The ship was stationed at the Esquimalt Royal Naval Dockyard near Victoria in the 1850s. The dockyard was an important station of the British Royal Navy from 1842 to 1905 and is now home to the Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

Through My Lens: Herbs, Herbs, and More Herbs

Herbs

And … it’s that time of year again. Tomorrow I head off to Salt Spring Island for my “island fix” ― and it just so happens that it’s also the weekend of the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair. It was during my visit to the fair two years ago that I snapped this photo.

I don’t know if my friend and I will make it to the fair this year, but I do know I am looking forward to some island time.

Through My Lens: Sansum Narrows

Sansum Narrows

Naturally, a mini-break on Salt Spring Island means photos were taken.

This view from Salt Spring’s Channel Ridge is of Sansum Narrows. The land mass to the far left is still part of Salt Spring Island, but straight ahead and to the right are Vancouver Island.

Salt Spring Island Fall Fair

SSI Cow

Yup. It’s another cow.

And no, this hasn’t turned into a Bovine Blog.

SSI Pig and Piglets

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago at the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair. My friend had been urging me to come over for the island’s annual fair, which, she claims, is the social event of the year for Salt Spring Island.

 SSI Rooster

“Will there be cows?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“I’m there,” I said.

SSI Quail

Salt Spring Island has a long history of farming ― the island was first known for its fruit harvests, then the dairy and poultry farmers arrived. These days, Salt Spring is famous for its lamb …

SSI Sheep

… and for its cheese made from goats’ milk.

SSI Goats

In keeping with that history, the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair has been an island institution since 1896. This year’s theme was Celebrating Family Farming to coincide with the United Nations declaring 2014 the International Year of Family Farming. (I so wish I had made it to last year’s fair: its theme was Pirates of the Carrots and Beans.)

It seems like everyone on the island has something to exhibit at the Fall Fair ― from livestock to produce to baked goods to flowers to handcrafts.

SSI Produce

Although the sheepdog demonstration was fascinating and the zucchini races were, um, unlike any race involving green vegetables I’ve ever seen, my favourite event was the sheep shearing.

Sheep Shearing 1

The shearer showed us how shearing used to be done ― with a big, shiny pair of blade shears …

Sheep Shearing 2

… and then he showed us how it’s done today ― with powered machine shears.

Sheep Shearing 3

Sheep Shearing 4

The Salt Spring Island Fall Fair takes place every September. If I’m feeling in a year that my blog needs more cow photos, I now know where to go.

Tractor

Through My Lens: Mayne Island Lighthouse

Although this is technically not a long weekend, many Canadians are taking Monday off work to bridge the gap between the weekend and Canada Day to make it a four-day weekend.

Like me.

I’m off to do some island hopping. And so, here is a photo I took a while back of the lighthouse on Mayne Island from the deck of a BC ferry. That’s Mount Baker in the hazy distance.

Mayne Island Lighthouse