Pelicans!

pelicans, lake isle, albertaWe were out at the cabin again this weekend. We glanced out to the lake just at the right moment to see two pelicans gliding by. We always think it is such a treat when we come across them as they are so different.

A cropped in image of the pelican.

A cropped in image of the pelican.

The next day we were out and I noticed my husband was driving a rather odd route to our destination. I asked him where we were going, and he said he wanted to take a quick look to see if the pelicans were still around. We stopped at the part of the lake where we expected to see the birds, but not a single pelican was on the water. Then, by chance, we looked up to see pelican after pelican flying overhead. What a sight!

pelicans in flight

 

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Lake Isle – After the Rain

Lake Isle, Alberta

Our mid-week get away let us experience a windy and soaking rain storm. Once the storm moved to the east we were left with stunning colors and wildlife popping out all over. In addition to many types of birds, we also managed to see a muskrat, two deer and a fox….all in a matter of a few minutes. We were thrilled to see the fox, unfortunately he was quicker than the camera!

muskratmuskratLake Isle, Albertadeer

11:40pm and still light in the sky at Lake Isle, Alberta

11:40pm and still light in the sky at Lake Isle, Alberta

Busy as a Beaver

beaver, lake isle, albertaOn the weekend we stopped by the lake access at Silver Sands, located on Lake Isle. As I walked to the water’s edge I noticed a lot of activity with a couple of muskrats; they were swimming around, climbing on logs and nibbling on things. I decided to go grab my camera from the vehicle hoping to capture a few muskrat shots. When I returned there was not a single muskrat in sight, however in their place was a beaver.

beaver, lake isle, albertaThe beaver cruised back and forth, and even tried to scare us away by flicking and splashing his tail. After quite a long time the beaver eventually grew bored with our presence and swam off into the distance.

beaver, lake isle, albertaWildlife encounters are always interesting and memorable.

Springtime at the Cabin

Amazingly spring has finally arrived after many, many, many months of winter and snow. It’s fabulous to be out and about shooting in the sunshine. ( Of course I don’t have a lot of choice thanks to a “little” water damage and the following insurance claim, but rumour has it I’ll hopefully be back to some studio shooting in about 2 weeks, but be prepared for a lot of location posts in the meantime….anyways, moan over and back to the post!) Our cabin, and its surrounding area, gives us the opportunity to experience rural life and all its joys and quirks.

view from the club house

Springtime at the cabin is wet….very wet. The image above is taken from our children’s club house at the back of the property. Our lot sits two to three feet higher than the adjacent land, and in the spring we joke about having a lakefront property (without “lakefront” taxes!) as the lot behind us fills with water, right to the fenceline. With the springtime “water feature” we also are treated to a lot of wildlife including birds, deer and frogs….lots of very, very loud frogs. The frogs are so loud this time of year that you can hear them croaking away while inside the cabin with all the doors and windows shut, and this goes on all day and night. We often go out at night just to listen to the show of frogs croaking, birds tweeting and coyotes howling in the distance; it is quite the experience.

spring sunset

While the wildlife is an upside to the wet conditions, the downside is also that there is a lot of ground water and groundwater fills up our septic holding tank overly fast. We are on a septic holding tank, rather than a field, as we are about 100 meters from the lake, so it is a pump-out system (fascinating dinner time conversation! LOL!) This time of year it can mean pump out after pump out. We suspect a crack in the tank, we also suspect if we dig down to repair it we will be opening an ugly “can of worms”, so we’ve decided to take the sensible approach and ignore the situation and pump it out more often.

As if water to the fenceline and groundwater weren’t enough, we also have water hookups to deal with in the spring. We are on a water haul system so springtime means getting our huge tank filled up and then hooking up the pump system. Some years everything goes together well and others…..well it doesn’t. This year there were no fewer than 4 leaks for my husband to solve, but he did it. He may have been soaking wet from head to toe by the end of the experience, and there may have been one significant water explosion, but he did it. Running water a fabulous thing.

first flower of springWith such a long winter it is taking a little while for things to start growing at the cabin. We’ve been raking leaves, planting bulbs and plotting where to build grow boxes and plant more trees. We are always planting trees or building decks it seems. The one little flower in the picture above was the only thing in bloom on our whole property. One tiny little flower. Hopefully this coming weekend we will see a few more signs of growth.

bird on lake isleThe lake has finally thawed a bit in spots. The birds are happily splashing around and making a lot of noise. Our lake is a pretty quiet lake so we tend to get a lot of birds; they nest among the tall grass along the edge plus there are many tiny islands that are perfect for our feathered friends. On years when the lake is high, little channels are created through the tall grass areas where the birds live. The water is usually just deep enough to gently float a canoe or kayak through the channels; here we like to sit quietly and watch the birds from just a few feet away.

birds on lake isle

Springtime at the cabin is filled with days spent outside exploring and doing projects, food cooked on the barbecue, and evenings in front of the fire……..plus a whole lot of water and mud!

Cabin Fever

The cabin

Living in reasonably northern climate, we have already had about 19 weeks socked in with snow. By this time of year a lot of people are getting a bit antsy….okay a more accurate word might be grumpy…from being stuck inside. A term often used to describe this is “cabin fever”. “Cabin fever” took on a new meaning for our family this weekend, the weather was shaping up to be good, so we had the idea to go check on the cabin and see how it was faring through the winter. Our cabin is not winterized, we are on old-school wood heat, so we tend to use it mostly May to October with the odd year starting in late March if we are feeling particularly rugged. Knowing that we had a month, or two, or three, before the first cabin weekend of the year we thought it would be fun to look in on the cabin and go for a little snowshoe outing as well.

Country Road

The drive was a beautiful 215 km back-road drive. Environment Canada was promising a temperature of +1 Celsius with no windchill at our destination, which is pretty much tropical for Alberta in February. A little over half way we noticed the wind was starting to blow, but we still had hope. By the time we hit the cabin it was definitely not +1 Celsius and it was blowing a gale. Snowshoeing was not going to happen.

The Cabin

The cabin was all nicely tucked to bed for the winter just as we had left it months before. We had evidence of visitors (mice……yes children, this is why we don’t eat in our bedrooms!), luckily that is my husband’s department. Everything around the cabin was firmly frozen.

View from the yard.

My favorite trees at the cabin. They have been painted and sketched many times.

My favorite trees at the cabin. They have been painted and sketched many times.

Despite the cold and the wind, this rural area was quite picturesque. Blue skies. Sunshine. I did a little tour of our yard taking a few pictures to remember the cabin in winter, and made a few mental notes for where I want to plant more trees. One can never have too many trees.

The frozen lake.

From the cabin we did a very quick walk to the lake.

Snowman at the lake.Frozen lake.

 

The lake was frozen and quiet except for a lone snowmobiler. Over the lake was a fabulous sky.

Winter sky.

We put our cabin back to bed for winter, locked it up and waved goodbye. We have a tradition of everyone saying “Goodbye cabin!” every time we leave it.

Winter view.

Snowshoeing may not have happened this time, but the drive did provide the added bonus that I had time to finish mitts for my youngest and a hat for my oldest child while my husband navigated the roads.

Thimbless mitts.

Thumbless mitts.

knit hat

It was nice to check on our little cabin. It might be a few more months before it is warm enough to stay there, but I can spend the next little while planning all the projects that will keep us busy throughout the coming summer.

 

Canoes – Magic lake, Pender Island, BC, Canada

We are recently back from a trip to Pender Island. It was a wonderful break to escape the frigid  -30C temperatures of Alberta and walk around in spring-like weather on grass, not snow. The warm weather was definitely inspiring and it showed in how many images I shot. At last count I shot over 2200 images in the seven days we were on the island. For the next little while I will be sharing quite a few island images.

canoes magic lake

Today’s images are of the canoes at Magic Lake. The colors of the canoes and natural composition caught my eye. It is interesting how a normal object can be so visually interesting.

canoe detail

canoes