Shortly after I came out to British Columbia in early 2006 I had a case of severely high blood pressure. It wouldn't have been fair to an employer for me to work for them until I got my health situation sorted out. I was on medications to lower the blood pressure and it took until early 2007 to find the cause. I finally went to a naturopath who found that a microscopic parasite was the cause for all this.

While getting my health in order, I took up blogging to share my photography. This way I wasn't wasting time and others got to enjoy the photos, not just me and those close to me.

In May of this year I had a mini-stroke cause again by severely high blood pressure. I may end up gong to the naturopath again since the specialist and other MDs can't seem to find the cause. This has only been a problem out here. Before that in Ontario, the blood pressure was only marginally high, not severely high like in BC.

Knowledge is good because being forewarned is forearmed!

All that said, enjoy this blog and all the photos I share with you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Howe Sound: Horseshoe Bay to Langdale or where the sea meets the mountains

This post is dedicated to one of my favourite young salties who lives on Canada's east coast, the one with the gangster charm, a man than might greatly appreciate these photos and one who loves my photography in general. On a warm, bright September day last year I decided to take a bus trip up to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. I quickly decided to continue on by ferry to Langdale and then by bus to Gibson's Landing on the other side of Howe Sound. Thr journey was well worth it, especially the ferry trip back after dark. The millions of stars seen in the night sky was alone worth it. As I understand it, the BC ferry, the Queen of Surrey, does the run between Horseshoe Bay and Hopedale while another ferry does the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo run. The latter ferry goes to Vancouver Island on the other side of Georgia Strait. These photos are self explanitory but if you have any questions, feel free to ask! Coming up soon is a post on Gibson's Landing and its sights.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

English Bay Beach and that sub-tropical feel...

Northern latitudes and their associated climates can be deceiving. Take British Columbia's lower mainland as an example. Being north of the 49th parallel you would associate this area more with conifers and a boreal forest than tropical and sub-tropical plants. Well, with climatic zones between a 7 and a 9 this area can (and do) support such sub-tropical plants as palms and banana plants, though these are of the hardy and cold-tolerant variety. The photo above is a prime example of this deception. Pictured are fan palms, the Windmill Palm, or Trachycarpus fortunei in Latin. English Bay Beach (Main) is a prime location for these palms and other sub-tropical plants such as banana plants (Musa ssp.). Below is a planting along a street opposite the beach. Not what you would associate with a northern climate, is it? I hope you enjoy these photos.

The flowers are yellow (male) and greenish (female) followed by greenish fruit that turns yellow to blue-black in mid-autumn. The fruit are kidney-shaped at 10-12 mm long. The photo above and below show them as they look in August.

Above is a photo of a planting of fan palms, banana plants, annual flowers and various other interesting plants in a small park opposite the Starbucks at Denman and Davie Streets in Vancouver's West End. Below is a close-up of a banana plant (Musa ssp.) in flower with fruit. Interesting, eh? Perhaps you have learned something whether you live in the Vancouver area or elsewhere.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Annual Flowers from Stanley Park - August 2007

Just to have you dream of warmer, more pleasant weather, here are a few more photos of annuals at Stanley Park taken in August 2007. The image above is a globe artichoke in flower. The flower heads are edible if picked before the flowerheads open. I have pickled the smaller, more tender artichokes in vinegar and olive oil after cooking them. Then as a flower, they have their beauty too plus attract bees to the garden. I haven't been able to identify the other flowers below but that they attract bees (honeybees, bumblebees, etc) is evident. Enjoy the pics.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Flowering Annuals August 2007 - at Stanley Park's Rose Garden and the Pavillion

For those deep in the throws of winter you've probably had enough of the cold, snow and wind. I recently was able to download a batch of 1095 photos from my Sony camera. Here are some taken last August (2007) of the annual flowers at Stanley Park's Rosegarden and the nearby Pavillion. There are annuals in flower beds, in hanging baskets and other places. These pics should cheer you up and have you thinking of the spring and summer to come with warmer, more pleasant weather! You'll find cleome, dahlias, nicotianas and various other interesting plants.

It's not only flowers that seems to attract attention but our furry friends as well, such as the black squirrel above and the grey squirrel below.

And perhaps after all that viewing a nice cold beer and some munchies are in order. I hope you've enjoyed these photos (and perhaps forgotten about winter for a bit). There will be many more coming soon!