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Far away from the farmette

Don't know what the weather will be like on Sunday, but today (Friday), it's sunny and frigid. I'm ragging the road again this weekend...catching up with my family in London, so I'm writing this post a bit early.

We spent a glorious four days on Vancouver Island with friends Jane and Dana last weekend. First time on the island for Rob, and second time for me. The weather was spectacular, the hosts gracious and even nature seemed to be co-operating.

After travelling all day Thursday, including a four and a half hour plane ride and a two hour ferry ride, we just chilled and had dinner at their newly-aquired homestead in Parksville, which is about a half-hour north of Nanaimo.

Friday was 'water day', which meant we went to little regional park called Moorecroft and enjoyed the singular pleasure of seeing a pair of bald eagles alight atop one of the tallest trees. Just as we were about to leave because we'd had the 'moment' (which I forgot to photograph), two other human visitors squealed, pointed to the water, and lo and behold, there were ORCAs breaching in the bay. How cool was that?

Dana had the presence of mind to snap away, and with a little creative editing between two pics, got this pretty amazing shot.

We then drove to Qualicum Beach and had lunch at the Shady Rest restaurant, which is this quaint little spot right at the side of the highway with a SPECTACULAR view of the Strait of Georgia.

Saturday was 'forest' day, when we visited Cathedral Grove, a most incredible forest in MacMillan Provincial Park. No wonder it got its name, with the impossibly huge Douglas firs that tower above everyone. Apparently it was quite a tourist draw in the early part of the last century - way before conservation was even considered. Then, in the '40s, the lumber baron (MacMillan) who owned the land donated 136 hectares to be kept aside in perpetuity. Smart guy.

The humans seemed to be enjoying themselves, too, as you can see.

We also stopped in Coombs (where the goats graze on the roof) for a bit of shopping. It's an amazing complex of farmers markets, high-end artisanal crafts and hippy-dippy tied dyed fun stuff.

Sunday, we stopped into a little fish shop in Parksville where the sea lions were entertaining just off the wharf. Then, we drove north and visited the most unusual, beautiful studio near Union Bay across from Denman Island.

Everywhere you looked - inside and out - were these great, imaginative pieces. The raven head here wraps around a vase. Most of the crafts are carved out of 'found' wood from the beach. Cool, eh?

It was a tremendous mini-vacation and just what we needed after a long, ponderous winter.

Spending it with great friends was such a bonus. I think they enjoyed it, too. Here's Jane, with her two doggoes Jordy (left) and Gracie (right) relaxing after a big day of sightseeing.

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