Friday, January 29, 2010

The Wharf

A photo of the inner harbor from the wharf.  This is one of the busiest airports in Canada.  We also have boats and ferries here.  It can get quite busy.  I have never heard of an accident happening here, though.
One of the house boats at the wharf.  There are a few of them in this 'marina'.  This is one of the places to get food that was closed for the season.  

I was rather amused by this reflection with the seal causing havoc with the colors. 

I was out in the garden for a couple of hours today.  The leaves are raked off the paths and most of the perennials are cut back.  While cleaning up, I found that Elvis, my gold fish, died.  He had a good long life for a fish, I think.  In consideration of my resolve to make the garden easier care, I removed the water feature where Elvis lived.  I put the lily into this spot.  It needs a bit of work yet.  I was totally tired by the time I dug the bottomless lily pot down a bit and removed the water feature.  I think it looks good, although the terracotta, bottomless old pot that holds the oriental lily looks quite bright at the moment, among all the browns and greens.  The wood around the half barrel that held Elvis's tub was beginning to rot so it is gone into the compost bin.  I think this compost service accepts old boards of the half barrel size. 

Just a few more days until they get the new site moved to dot net.  I can hardly wait!!  I will post the address as soon as possible. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Empress

The first photo in the folder for our trip to the US SW in 2007, is this photo of the Empress Hotel.  I was shooting from the deck of the Coho (Blackball) Ferry as we began the trip.    I have been looking at a few photos to add to albums of my old web page.  Its a slow old fashioned page, but I like it.  It has my stuff on it and I can go there to look up things... dates of our trips, camera equipment, etc.  The gardening page will need something like an annual update, if I ever get finished the monthly albums.

Today I finished the Creations page, where I am adding my you tube videos, and pps, or buttons, or any new things I make.  This will be a place to go back to; to see what I have done, instead of searching numerous folders for .. oh where did I put that thing?  what did I call it?  There is some method to my chaotic existence.  I find that my Travel page is excellent for questions between us regarding where we went or what year we went to places. It is just a matter of updating the page.  Everytime I add another album, I need to change all the main page drop down menus to show the new album and then reload them by FTP.   All the pages and sub pages have music, so it is slow to load.  There is no tagging and I really don't want multiple hits on this page.  It is primarily for my own purposes.  It is highly unlikely that I will ever want a commercial page.  I use photoshop to make the albums and its is very time consuming, as I have not figured out how to remake the adobe album I use, over to suit my needs.  I suppose I could use Jalbum or any number of other softwares... but I think I prefer this hands on approach, for now, anyway.

If you go to my web page, please let me know what you think of it.. here, or in the guestbook  Thanks.. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Wharf

 I spent some time looking around Capital Iron.  We then went to the wharf and walked.  There are house boats and yachts.  There were kids feeding the harbour seals fish.  It was a lovely day.  We had lunch across the street at the Mocha Coffee house.  Was nice, ok food.  The food places that are on the dock seem to be closed for the season. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Early Spring in the garden

This little crocus is open in the front garden and the Winter Jasmine is in bloom in the woodland garden at the back.  This is a very early Spring.  I should get out and prune the roses and clematis. 

I have finally noticed the new editor on my blog and decided to try it.  It has many new features.  I can drag these photos around to where ever I want them in the post.  I can change html and it will only effect the current post.  This is fun for a "blogging features" junkie. I can easily change fonts and font colors  and size.    I think I will stick to 'normal".   It seems to take a bit longer to upload, but that is not a big deal considering the options available.
Yesterday I made a big dinner for Lloyd, Pat and I .  It went pretty well.  We finished just in time for them to get down town for their Whiskey Tasting.  

I am reading Googled - the story of Google.  Wonderful story.  Go google!  I use a lot of their "products" and find them very user friendly.    I am sure they will find a way for us to blast the freeloaders off of our comments.  The moderation is working for me.  I am not sure if there is a little message on the comment page to tell people that this comment will be moderated and allowed or rejected by the owner of the blog.  There probably is and I just never see it cause its my blog, of course. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The very close petal photo is taken in super macro mode and cropped. I made this one for the Flickr group - Flower Petal Art.
This little plant is blooming profusely again. It is a marvelous winter flowering cyclamen coum. It grows from a bulb or tuber. The tuber stays in the ground all year around. It is just below the surface and sometimes is showing above ground. I have had it for years. In the spring I will give it a covering of compost and pea gravel. It goes dormant for the summer. I have quite a few of them around the garden. They need good drainage and are otherwise easy care lovely little plants.

I skimmed leaves off the pond and must get out and rake them off the paths. We have had a couple of good windy nights recently and my leaf mulch has escaped onto the paths in places.

It was a good day with a bit of time for a bit of everything, for me, today. The weather is balmy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The snowdrops are up and have been up for a few days. We are actually having some lovely balmy weather, but this is the earliest I can remember seeing snowdrops.

We went for lunch at the Swiss Chalet today. Love that chicken soup. One of the groups on Flickr were asking for more photos for her group's weekly challenge; so, here it is... my shot of Douglas Street.

The new site is looking super. Very exciting and we are getting closer to being on line! I have added a flag counter to my profile and have added the same one to my blog. Maybe that's not a good idea, as the flag counter shows the hits for both places. A bit of a cheat. I think I will take the flag counter off my blog as I have the hit counter and I like it.

We walked again today. It was cloudy, misty, but did not rain. Very warm. We walked to the candy store and got a lottery ticket. My pedometer showed only half a mile to the store. And we climbed that great hill on the chip trail that comes out on Gerda street at both ends.

A couple of days ago I made another button for my You Tube and have it posted in the sidebar. I really should get some more work done on my old web page. I have the creations page started but need to add more things, and the menus of all the main pages have to be changed to show the addition of the page. Would be good if I had some kind of automatic menu updating gizmo.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Panama Flats

I took these two photos on our walk In the Panama Hill Park and along the Panama Flats. I have no idea why they are called the Panama Flats. The land was owned by Vantreights up until a few years ago. The pond you see is part of the park, but further along the area that once grew vegetables in summer is now covered with a shallow flood of water. There is a sluice gate that they can open in the Spring and it drains the Flats. In winter when it freezes people can skate on this big flat area of shallow frozen water.
My pedometer shows I walked 1.86 miles today. On our walk we did 1.36 miles. This is pretty good for me. Both Pat and I need to get in shape for our next trip, which is going to be pretty active.
Earlier today I made a carrot pudding and we had some of it for dinner along with Clam sauce and spaghetti. The clam sauce was superb. We had a spinach salad. All very good and healthy. We enjoyed it with half a bottle of dry Reisling.

On our walk, I saw a pair of merganser ducks, a pair of pintail ducks, and of course the usual mallards. Its good to see the new kinds of ducks on the pond and on the flats. There were quite a few people out walking as the weather is quite warm. We got home just before it started to rain. Now, a few hours later, the wind has come up.

I love our new site. It is looking soooooo good. I really hope we can get on line in beta this month, but there is a lot to do yet. And Cyrus has it all to do himself. I have no idea how he manages.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Focaccia Bread

The bread turned out not too badly. We had it for dinner, with meatloaf, turnips, cheese, olives.. much like a ploughman's lunch.

Onion Rosemary Focaccia Bread

This quick-to-bake flat bread is tastily topped with sautéed red onions.
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus rising time.
Cooking: 18 – 20 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
¾ cup lukewarm (not hot) water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus some for the table and kneading
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
¼ tsp of salt
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus some for the bowl
1 medium red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
1 large egg yolk beaten
coarse sea salt to taste (optional)

Place the water yeast and sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

Combine the flour, ¼ tsp salt and rosemary in a second medium bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the dough loosely clumps together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and then cover and place in a warm, draft-free place.
Let the dough rise and double in size, about 60 minutes. While the dough rises, place the 1 tbsp oil in a skillet set over medium heat.Add onion and sauté until very tender.. about 5 or 6 minutes. Cool the onions to room temperature.
When the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the dough on the baking sheet. Press and stretch the dough into a thin, oblong abut 10 inches long and 9 inches wide. Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg yolk. Top the focaccia with the onions and sprinkle with sea salt, if using.
Bake the bread for 18 to 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.

What does this have to do with gardening? Well, the 2 teaspoons of fresh, chopped rosemary came out of my garden. It was pouring rain, but I went out and clipped the ends off the tiny Rosemary. Now the plant should be bushy and nice. This is last spring's new transplant of a rosemary. The old one had gone all stringy and ugly due to neglect. The little herb bed is just at the edge of the vegetable garden. No need to step off the path to clip.

My new old Orchid

I bought this phalinopsis orchid for half price ($12) at the grocery store a few weeks ago. Since then, it has formed two last buds on the spray. The buds are now open and its a beauty. Yellow with burgundy center. I took it off the light garden for these photos. The tall one is a good picture of how the cherry wood of our new cabinets is aging. Its gorgeous. We are having rain and more rain, so it is very grey outside. I could not seem to get the camera set well enough to take sharp pictures. But here they are anyway. The white background one, is actually green of the verticals over the patio door. I hope I get better light in the next few days. I want to try get a photo of the yellow orchid against the green verticals, as the orchid looks good against the green, too.

I spent the afternoon making foccacio bread. We will have it tonite with meat loaf. If its any good, I might add its photo and recipe.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More on Megashot - Communities

The community banner for "Playtime" - This is a community I made on our new site Megashot. This is the banner. The communities are entirely customizable by the Mega Admin and any Admins that he or she adds. The communities are a place for people with the same interests to hold discussions on all matters of their central interest. On the menu you see the pool page, discussions page, which are the main pages for the members. The other pages are for the Admins. The "Megashot" has a drop down menu where you can choose which part of the mother site you want to visit. "your site" has a drop down menu to take you to any place on your own site that you want to visit.
Next in scrolling down the front page of the community, we see the latest submissions to the community pool, on the left. Center is the greeting for the communityand below that is any ads the Mega admin wants to allow. On the left you see the stats of the community, (here you can 'leave' the community) next is the list of recent members (all members can be viewed by clicking the members button on the menu, and next is a few words of the current discussion which can be seen in full on the discussions page; and participated in with comments.
Next screen shot scrolling down the community page we see more thumbnails for the recent photos on the right. In the center below the ads we see the photos of week/day/all time/ (you can choose which view you want to see). These are the photos most commented, rated, faved, from within the community pool. On the left is more of the discussion threads.
next down the page is more additions to the community pool on the left. In the center is the Community content set by the Mega Admin, Admins for a glimpse of what is happening in the Community. On the right are favourite links.
Last on the page is a place where we can make playlists of any video of interest to the Community found on you tube. This feature, alone, could keep you busy for hours watching videos of matters that are close to your heart. :-)
I originally build this community called PLAYTIME on Megashot as a place to have monthly themes for the entertainments of the seasons or otherwise. As the name suggests it is a place to play and upload photos for the monthly playtime theme. I took another step and asked any members if they wanted to submit a customization for the next months front page theme to the discussion threads. The members could then view the submissions and vote on them. The most appreciated customization for the theme would be the front page for the Community. So far, I have had no submissions for the next month's customization.

Hopefully, we will be on line this month and you can have a look at how easy it is to customize your own site or build a community. Its fun! We have a few thriving Communities on the site, so far. I can imagine this mushrooming when we are on line.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

More on Megashot

This is my profile page banner. You can see the menu bar in gold font for places to visit and things to do on the mother site. This is surely the mother of all photo uploading / networking sites!
This is how my new banner looks on my photostream page. We can move our photos around on this page and create galleries. My main focus is going to be in travel. I have prepared a few galleries for places we have travelled and I am slowly getting photos uploaded ... at least one for the cover of each gallery. Our thumbnails are quite big and they look very very good, with a choice of viewing in 3 sizes.
On the top right of our profile page we have a "journal". This part of our sites works like a blog. It would be good to use text mostly, or use the save for web to reduce the size of photos, so your page will load faster. On the top left we have thumbnails of our most recent uploads. This is just the beginning. There are many more features, just on each individual site. As you can see we can customize the themes to create our site.
The site will have full ecommerce. This is the banner I made for my 'store'. This banner is different from the profile banner. I made it look the same for continuity on my page(s). I am currently working on items that I might have for sale in my store.

A marvelous feature that the owner/designer - Cyrus Khamak - and his team of builders are currently putting the finishing touches on is a presentation video engine. We will be able to make a slideshow of our photos, with music and the ability to view in HD quality. We will be able to view in full screen and share our videos on other sites. We can also now have videos embedded in numerous places on our sites, or in comments on others people's photos, or in their guest books. Here is a presentation Cyrus has done using the new slideshow that is going to be available to all members: on you tube for now

There will be help text descriptions of how to manage all the features. There will also be video tutorials. This place really rocks. I can hardly wait until we go public with it.

There are many more features.. communities, contests, anonymous rating and voting, publications of news items, or tutorials, and many other things I have not mentioned. More later perhaps.

We hope to be on line before the month is out. Wish us luck.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Blue Heron visitor

This big bird was checking out the fish in my garden pond this afternoon. I could not move the vertical blinds as it would have been spooked. I did a short video of it walking along the deck railing. I cannot seem to get the video to load to You Tube so that I can post it here.

As soon as I started to move closer the bird saw me and was gone. No doubt it will be back. Maybe I should have left it alone and watched if it did try to go fishing. I don't think it can reach the bottom of the pond unless it was floating and dived. Hope I catch it next time!

Today I spent hours trying to figure out yet another movie maker, so I can edit my videos. Was a big waste of time for all I learned about it. So, today has been less than productive.

Yesterday, I was learning how to make buttons for my web site and my blog or anything else I might want to have a button for. You can see my first attempt in the side panel with the professionals buttons. ;-) So, this new notion and obsession, of course, needs a page on my old web page. I spent quite a few hours making the Creations page and putting a button on it, uploading it all to my domain. Now I have decided to expand the Creations page to include hotlinks to any .pps slide shows that I do. I know I can upload them to my domain, as I have one uploaded now. All of this takes forever for me to figure out and build. It is by no means professional, but it is mine, for as long as I want to keep the domain.

There is some progress made on our new web site, but its hard to tell, when the features are not yet in place to use. Soon, hopefully!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My light garden

I have spent most of the last 2 days cleaning up my light garden. I repotted violets, cleaned cactus, repotted the 2 begonias, cleaned the orchids and the trays. All the plants are watered and clean and tomorrow I will fertilize the ones that are going to survive the cleaning. I split one very tired violet into three. One looks to be fading fast. I really don't need 3 of the same. My light garden has 3 shelves and is 4 feet long by about 5.6 feet tall. This was my 'picker upper' gift to myself when I turned 50. Its a pleasure to own. In the morning, I turn on its lights and spray the few orchids, violets and the begonias with a light mist. This has become a ritual for the morning, like brushing my teeth.

The theme for the week at VFXY is 'something new". I hope the new little buds on the old orchid will be okay for the theme. I bought this orchid for the half price of $12 at the grocery store. This store puts their orchids from the flower shop on at half price when they loose their blooms. Its a good deal. I have two of them now that have re-bloomed and are in good healthy condition. They are not specialty orchids, just phalinopsis, but they look good, and bloom better than the fancy ass ones I have purchased at orchid shows. My violets are mostly minatures. I only have so much room and am now at full capacity. Air plants are really small and showy when in bloom. I have one that blooms and the other one just seems to be constantly green... no blooms. I have never had a cactus bloom for me yet. I guess I shall need to get a Christmas cactus, or treat the ones I have very badly so they think their life is at an end and they should go forth and propogate.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Garden at the end of December

At the end of December I saw the humming birds out at the feeder again. I thought they were missing for a few days. I did get a couple of photos of them, but nothing memorable or any better than ones I have uploaded in the past. While out trying to get a good photo of the little birds, I took this shot of my best mossy rock in the moss garden. I see this little area of the little Japanese garden just over the railing of the deck. The moss is coming along quite nicely. It is growing well on the waterfall also. The garden is looking pretty good. I do need to clean up more leaves. The lichens in the photo are a favourite subject of mine in the wintertime. I get such good bokeh shooting at them. There are several kinds on the plum tree. These are zoomed photos.

I spent some time researching the Canon 7d today and have seen nothing but good reports on it. At one point in time I thought I might want a full frame Canon and L lenses. But for my needs, I think the 7d and S lenses will be just great. In fact, I was reading one review that said the S lenses were sharper. Plus less costly. So I have a few notes and now need to do some pricing. There was a 15 mm f/2.8 fish eye lens mentioned that would be fun to play with. I should be able to get a Lensbaby that works with the 7 d also. It will be a while yet before I order. I think I will keep my S3 IS for travel photos, as it is so easy to use and I never have time when travelling to play with lens changes anyway. The S3 does tolerable super macro photos for those inspired moments.

I have been spending some time on the new Megashot site. We are almost ready to go public with it. There are soooo many cool features. We will have the ability to make our own home page, private or public galleries from our photos, a presentation slideshow with audio, a 'store' of our own for ecommerce, and many more features. We can build and participate in communities of any topic we are interested in. We can rate photos on the site to choose the best, anonymously. There are contests to participate in. We can also derive some ad revenue from a community or on our home page. Most of the features are optional and fully customizable. Any member is going to be very busy on their site, just to begin. Megashot's main focus is photography, but it is also a networking site and a way to get your art work or even club activities advertised and seen. Hope to have more news on this in a week or two. I really quite excited about it all. Cyrus has designed and has had the whole site built. He has been working on this for long hours (not to mention long expenses) over the past 2 years. It has come together beautifully. There is, of course, more things he wants to do but hopefully we can get this much of the site on line soon. Start making your own banner for your site on Megashot. :-}}