Monday, 18 May 2009

There are Wild Things in the Garden

For a city girl like me, living in a little cottage in the wood is a very novel thing. I'm not used to not having rows of street lamps leading me home, or not having a gate, a fence or a buzz code that separates my little world from the the rest of the world outside. Or indeed, to have to burn wood for heat instead of just turning the thermostat knob for an instant gas fire to pop to into life. But the thing that really bowls me over, every minute, is the nearness of nature. Just next to the house, not 10m away is the woods.
There's a walking trail that is so overgrown I wouldn't have recognised it if my neighbour & landlady, Penny, hadn't pointed it out. Everywhere I look are trees. The straight & upfight Fir, the over green & over abundant Pine and the picturesquely scarggly Arbutus.
And then there's the quiet. Quiet enough to hear the wind caressing trees, the bees buzzing and the somewhat oddly regular crunching of leaves?

A curious sound that I just had to investigate.

Looking into the trees
I saw the most wonderful sight.

A couple of deer had wandered into
the garden below our deck
and without so much as a by your leave,
were grazing on the grass & shrubs.

I snuck across the deck to its edge to have a closer look, taking the greatest care to make as little noise as possible so as not to scare them. It was the closest I've come to a creature of the wild (unless you count Minke the demon cat, who is, by the way, getting more feral, if that were possible). It was magic! Then, I heard the loud Putt Putt puttering of a car coming down the road and was afraid the deer would run away and hide and my magic moment would come to an end. But no. Those deer continued with their veggie & daffodil buffet unperturbed (so much for the Ford Escape Hybrid commercials).
What's more they, made themsleves at quite home and plonked their ample tushes down under the dappled shade of a large Fir tree then proceeded with their after lunch nap.

I guess this city girl still has a lot to learn about the country kampung life.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Moving to Salt Spring Island

When I was a little girl, moving houses was always looked forward to. It was something rare & exciting. It was a welcomed change in routine, exploring new rooms and a new neighourhood. It was looking out new windows and seeing the world in a whole new light.
I guess moving houses then you're an adult isn't that much different. Except for the mountains of stuff you have to pack, ship & then unpack. You tend to amass stuff as you go down the road of life. I do at least. These days, I am learning to buy less and reuse more these. Not so much because I'm trying to be green (which I do try, and now living on Salt Spring has forced me to) but more so that I'll have less to lug around when the next move comes along.

So, in early April, we did the BIG move to from Burnaby, in the Metro Vancouver area, to Salt Spring Island. For those scratching their heads trying to figure out just where this Pulau Air Asin is, let me enlighten. It's part of the Southern Gulf Island group which is sandwiched between Vancouver Island & mainland North America. And because the move involved catching two ferries and travelling over 150km (slightly further than Mersing is from Singapore), we had to do it over two days.
Day one was to pack the huge 5 tonne Budget truck, which our friend Milan heroically drove. After we crammed our possessions into the truck, I could see that we were in serious trouble. We had more stuff than we had space. Which simply meant that all that couldn't be stuffed in the cars had to be left behind or thrown away.That's when I resolved to learn to live with less because of the nail-pullingly painful decisions on what we had to leave behind.

The next day started bleary-eyed at 4am to travel from the skypad we has sold to catch the first ferry on the first leg of our move. Horseshoe Bay in West vancouver to Nanaimo on Vancouver island. Then the hour drive to Crofton to catch the local ferry to Vesuvius Bay on Salt Spring. Everything went without a hitch. Even Minke, the demon cat behaved. Not a single peep, or sound or crumpling of the steel door of her transport box.
We were lucky, as we have been since coming to the island. The sun was out and nothing got wet. Only a few bumps & scrapes on the furniture.
Evening saw many familiar boxes & furniture jumbled about in an unfamiliar wooden house. Our new home is a cottage in the woods in a place called Trincomali heights. And we are settled. At least for this year.