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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Shake it off...

Warm Pacific flow is meeting the polar cold and we are getting winter on the Island! A snow storm overnight dumped at least 10 cm of snow on us! And we expect to get another 3-5cm overnight! Its -2C here and it didn’t feel very cold outside at all today.

Snow on the blue fence in Fanny Bay.

Snow on what used to be a “Keep Out” sign.

We hung out in Newman this morning and prepared some food and had a very relaxing morning. Isn’t it nice to be able to stay in on a ‘Snow Day’ and do absolutely whatever you want to do?!!

Prosciutto wrapped chicken breasts with red, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomato, white wine and herbs de Provence! YUM YUM! What a nice slow cooker meal we’re making for dinner, that we will have over basmati rice prepared the middle eastern way.

Roasted maple butternut squash for soup tomorrow. Since we are managing our propane wisely until Viper fuels comes on Tuesday, I’m trying to use the slow cooker/instant pot more than cooking on the stove, using the propane. After we have dinner tonight, I can make the butternut squash soup in the slow cooker for tomorrow.

And of course I had to use the Soup Nazi gif. from Seinfeld when I am speaking about soup, since we have Newman the RV and Jerry the Jeep in our life!

We were still sitting around in our bathrobes when our neighbour Jim came by and shovelled off the snow on our carpet, outside Newman.

Jim from Fernie, B.C., our neighbour for the winter.

We waited for the snow to stop falling and then went out in Jerry to see how the roads were on the Coastal Hwy. We thought we would stay fairly close to home, as we knew if might start snowing again this afternoon.

We headed down the Coastal Hwy and in 6 minutes we were in Bowser!

Bowser has a great protocol for their small, but fantastic grocery store. The store has a butcher and a bakery in it too, which is amazing for such a small store. Only one member of each household is allowed in the store, to ensure social distancing is possible in the small store. A staff member stands outside full time, wiping down the grocery carts from top to bottom after each use, as well as dries the fully wiped cart off, before handing it over to enter the store. The staff member manages how many people are in the store, by how many carts are in use. If no is cart available, then you have to wait outside until someone leaves the store. I find Vancouver Island is doing a particularly good job in managing the Covid pandemic since there are no visits allowed here with anyone who is not in your immediate living quarters; no inside or outside visits with anyone who isn’t from your own household and living in your own home, to prevent community spread. While stores, restaurants and services like health professionals are open, the protocols being followed, from emails 24 - 1 hour prior to a visit, to answer Covid questions, to waiting in the car until texted to enter the premises, and then temperature checks upon arrival in the premises, as well as everyone wearing masks, are all keeping the virus under control on the Island.

After picking up a few things from the grocery store in Union Bay, we decided to walk over to a couple of stores in the strip mall in Bowser.

Salish Sea Market, Bowser.

This Salish Sea Market in Bowser had some of the most beautiful local artwork on display that we have seen since we arrived on the Island. Gorgeous pieces of original art from watercolour paintings , giclee canvas paintings, ironwork, wooden bird carvings, beautiful stained glass panels, and hand crafted clay masks, This store was truly stunning! We had to walk around the store 3 times to finally decide on what we wanted to purchase.

An original watercolour painting of Chrome Island. We really liked the very unique frame too! The artist is Carla Fiegel who actually lives in Bowser, B.C. and she loves to paint birds, landscapes and buildings. Originally from the Atlantic coast, she is happiest when she is painting on beautiful Vancouver Island.

My photo of Chrome Island from last weekend, taken from Deep Bay, B.C.

As we sit in Newman, in Fanny Bay, we look out on Chrome Island with Hornby Island in behind Chrome Island. We thought that the original water colour painting of Chrome Island, with its colourful lighthouses would make a nice souvenir of our winter here on the Island and whenever we look at it in our home in Fort Erie, we’ll think of our time here!

After buying the painting we knew there was a nice little coffee shop in Bowser, so we stopped in for a pail of Earl Grey tea with almond milk and a cappuccino before we headed out for a hike.

I love the name of this coffee shop!

That cup of tea is bigger than my bladder!

Cappuccino, oatmeal raisin cookie and Earl Grey tea with almond milk. Richard said the cappuccino was as good as any he has had in Italy.

After finishing our tea and coffee we drove down the road a few minutes to Lighthouse Country to the Lighthouse Country Regional Trail. We knew that this 4.3km trail would be a great walk without being slippery as we had done it a couple of weeks ago when there was no snow and we knew that there was graded gravel on the trail.

Richard contemplating our hike.

The fabulous Lightouse County Regional Trail.

Lots of snow on the branches!

The trail didn’t have too many people on it today, which was nice.

One of the 15 bridges on the trail.

Snowy walk today.

I was really happy to see the ‘go’ hut as we got to the end of the trail! It was really nice to be out in a sweater today in this snow! I really didn’t need the mittens as It was warm enough without them.

Our rosy checks after our 4.3km hike down and back on the trail.

We arrived home after our hike and the snow had started again! Good thing the snow shovel is right outside our door, in case we need it again in the morning.

As the snow was lightly falling I decided to walk down to the point in Fanny Bay to take some photos of the snow falling. I stumbled upon a starfish on the beach as I was walking. I had never seen a starfish before on the beach in Fanny Bay.

Starfish on the rocky beach. Lots and lots of oyster and mussel shells too!

I started playing around with the White Balance on my camera to see what would look best photographing the snow. Photographing snow is very tricky. In photography you can set your camera’s white balance to ‘automatic mode’, but the problem is the camera chooses the middle between black and white and in photography that is called “ 18% grey”. Since snow is white, the issue photographers have is that the ‘average’ or ‘automatic white balance’ turns the snow grey. To compensate for the ‘automatic white balance’, photographers typically ‘over expose’ their images in the snow or bright sunlight to compensate for the 18% grey. which the ‘automatic white balance’ in the camera attempts to use in the shot.

Since I was playing around with the white balance I used this cool exposure in my new Fuji XT-4 to see how I could change the light at 4:30pm coming into the camera. I like the snowman that our other RV neighbours daughters built on the point!

Playing around with the various White Balance modes in my Fuji.

Bird in flight. I didn’t adjust the white balance in this photo and it really is grey...but that was the actual scene I was shooting. It was pretty dull out, with the snow lightly coming down.

Another bird in flight In Fanny Bay. Deep Bay is barely visible in the background.

Our dinner smells amazing from our slow cooker! We can’t wait to dive into it. Tomorrow is strength training day in Courtenay which should be interesting if we are getting more snow overnight. Thank god Jerry has 4WD, since we don’t have snow tires, but it seems the road crews do a good job of keeping the roads clear and there is brine on the roads, before any snow falls here on the Island.

Today we shook off the snow and we made the best of the day we had, with the time we had outdoors.

Next week there is a warming trend coming. +6 or +7C most days...this snow certainly won’t last long...which is ok with us!

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