Thursday, November 1, 2012

Miscellaneous "M" Themes

Letter M's miscellaneous themes include past events and more recent ones that have jumped into the milieu, foiling an attempt at moderation.  The young mallard male at the front of this shot is scurrying away from.. 

a very angry wood duck.  On Sunday, all the ducks at Beaver Lake, framed by lily pads and bathed in perfect light, seemed magnificent to me.

At around 3:00 p.m. on Monday, as Black Jack and I stood on a dock waiting for the False Creek Ferry, a magical light materialized from a small break between the clouds, finding points of "stardom" on the high rises across the water.  

When we stepped off the ferry, rippling reflections merged to form an icy lustre on the water.
Bosley's pet store is within view of the ferry landing, and Black Jack thought a visit there would be the perfect conclusion to a memorable outing.

This picture was taken over a month ago.  "M" shapes do not show up in nature very often, but I thought you might agree that this tree on Beach Avenue made a fairly convincing one.
This waterfall seen near Beaver Lake on Sunday maybe also had an "M" in the lower part.
The Murals for this post were in Chemainus where Bill and I saw the musical "Joseph" before meeting up with blogging friend, Jean, for a wonderful visit and beach walk.  This first photo is of  H. R. MacMillan looking proudly over the town. As quoted at the link, he was a Canadian foresterforestry industrialist, wartime administrator, and philanthropist.  
Bill kindly did a mandatory pose in Water Wheel Park where we enjoyed a stroll.

Logging with Oxen (below) was painted by Harold Lyon in 1983.  Oxen were the main power in logging, one team drawing the logs from the woods to the road, and a second, stronger team skidding the logs to the water.  It is my theory that service animals have earned the right to live out the natural span of their lives comfortably when they can no longer do their job.  I am sorry to digress here, but the present day story of a team of oxen is on my mind. Bill and Lou are being put to death (perhaps even as I write this), after giving ten years of loyal service to Green Mountain College in Vermont.  I might have been able to accept that it is not economically viable to keep animals that are no longer useful.   However, a reputable rescue called VINE offered to look after Bill and Lou for their remaining yearsat no cost to the college.  That offer was refused as was the request from the people who originally donated the oxen to the university, to have them returned.  Thousands are upset to learn that Bill and Lou are to be fed to the students, but this is not what bothers me most  For those of us who choose to eat meat, and I include myself since, although my diet is vegan, Black Jack's isn't, it's not a bad thing to recognize that living beings die to feed us. However, Green Mountain College owes Bill and Lou a kinder fate.  You can read their story here.  

The Steam Donkey was painted in 1982 by Frank Lewis and Nancy Legana.  The first steam donkey was invented by John Dolbeer in 1882. This particular one was built by Murray Bros. in San Francisco and started work for the Victoria Lumber and Manufacturing Company in Chemainus in 1885. The painting is based on a photograph from 1902. 

 I was really curious about this invention and went to Wikipedia where I found the picture below.  I learned that there were different types of steam donkeys and that they were often mounted with a donkey house for the crew, water tanks and a fuel oil tank.

The Thirty-three Metre Collage required the next four photographs to show in its entirety.  

Here, mettlesome stevedores, clearly meaning business, stand before a fully rigged ship.
Below, a muscular boom-man does the dangerous work of sorting logs.

Below, Engine No. 21 manoeuvres a load into the Chemainus log dump.

The mural below is called Chinese Bull Gang and is by Ernest Marza.  The story of Chinese workers in B.C. is of momentous significance.  They were paid less than white men and they did more dangerous work.  Their contribution reduced the cost of building the railway by between three and five million (in the late 1800's so you can imagine how much that would be now).  Many were killed in accidents, and when the job was done, many more died of starvation and disease.  The government apologized recently for the myriad of injustices against the Chinese workers and it is good to see them memorialized in this mural.    

I could not find information about this mural with three sculptures of First Nations people.  However, it was in front of a Dutch bakery called Utopia Bakery Cafe, where we enjoyed delicious lattes and treats.  I still remember the kind young lady who went out of her way to fashion a latte made with almond milk, even though that wasn't normally on the menu.  I see from this review that others also believe this is an establishment of considerable merit.

I didn't get all of the mural into the photo below but have learned that it is titled Chemainus 1891 and was painted by David Maclagan in 1983.  A large shadow obscures parts of it, but H.R. MacMillan's house was apparently one of the white ones near the left.

I haven't been able to find the name of this mural in spite of looking many times at the information at the Chemainus web site.  However, I include it here because it gives the flavour of "the little town that did" with its depictions moving around the sides of the building.

The Hermit was my favourite mural.  It was difficult to photograph as an overhanging roof created a massive shadow over the top half.  The painting had a magnetic attraction for me, but I also loved these words posted underneath about Chemainus resident, Charlie Abbott: "After a life of living rough, Charlie Abbott wandered into Chemainus in the early 1970's and settled in a forest area nearby. Living alone in the forest he loved, he slowly transformed it. Old and bent with age, Charlie created flower beds, walled pathways, trails and secluded corners. Charlie's solitary sanctuary, the "Hermit Trail", was a masterpiece of garden and wilderness which he shared with visitors until his death in 1989, at the age of 87."

Thus ends the mural tour, returning us to the more miscellaneous portion of my "M" post. I am trying to catch up with old photos from trips to Salt Spring Island and to Deboville Slough  and will do my best to include one "M" word in each caption.

Salt Spring Island's Magnetism
I had mega fun seeing the..

mischievous deer.

My photo of the shoreline had a marble effect that almost seemed like..

a black and white montage of ridges, waves and mussel (and other) shells.

A quail wandered across the back yard at Salt Spring.  I couldn't believe my eyes, having never come across one before.  I looked them up on Wikipedia and learned that "Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally considered in the order Galliformes."  So, their medium size saved my "M" designation :)

Meandering along the Deboville Slough road.
Bill spotted this web in the marshland at the side of the slough.

We had come to expect to see a Green Heron by a small stream at the left of the road and we weren't disappointed.  Wikipedia gave me some new information about the feeding method of these fascinating birds.  

Here is the quote about the mental quickness of green herons: "They typically stand still on shore or in shallow water or perch upon branches and await prey.  Sometimes they drop food, insects, or other small objects on the water's surface to attract fish, making them one of the few known tool-using species. This feeding method has led some to title the green and closely related Striated heron as among the world's most intelligent birds."  

I thought this dragonfly had a maniacal look in its eyes, but there's another "M" connection.  I learned from this site that dragonflies are very useful in controlling the mosquito population.

I loved these dandelions against a powder blue-grey sky, but they aren't just another pretty flower.  I learned from Wikipedia that dandelions evolved 30 million years ago and they also have medicinal properties.  That brought back a memory of my Newfoundlander mother and her declaration of the health benefits of dandelion greens.
And then, there were the bears.  I really hope I haven't posted these photos before.  My memory has, on rare occasions, been known to make mistakes.

This one was down by the slough, minding its own business and contentedly munching on grass, when we wandered by on the road above.  It took a look at us but didn't appear to be disturbed.  I had my big lens, snapped this photo quickly and kept right on walking.  

Music and Art
Last week, Bill and I saw the play Master Class at Granville Island Stage.  We both loved it.  Gina Chirarelli was stunning in the role of Maria Callas.  Of course, she is not a new musician to me (my goal for the music portion of these ABC posts being to discover previously unknown artists) , but seeing the play has left renewed empathy for her situation.  She was both blessed and cursed with unbelievable talent that took her on a path that modulated out of control.  Below, you can listen to a mesmerizing performance as she sings "Casta Diva" from Norma.

I chose two artists with "M" names, August Macke and Franz Marc.  Their friendship was important on many levels including an artistic one, and both are listed at this site as representatives of the German Expressionist movement. They both died in World War 1 and with Remembrance Day almost upon us, the weariness in August Macke's half-closed eyes in the photograph found at this site seems to reflect my thoughts about the futility of war.  He died on September 28th, 1914, at the age of 27, not quite two months after the war began.  His last painting, Farewell, depicts  "the mood of gloom that settled after the outbreak of war."  (Wikipedia)  
This site describes Macke's personality as "spirited and simultaneously pensive" and his self-portrait (1910) seems, to me, to support that assertion with its meditative but also somewhat cantankerous expression.
This famous work, completed in 1913, is called "Lady in a Green Jacket."  Many of his paintings show one person set apart from the others (often a young woman), her posture manifesting melancholy in spite of the fact that there are no facial features.

"Coloured Forms II" was also completed in 1913.  Macke was regarded as a master colorist.
He did this portrait of his friend, Franz Marc, in 1910.  Marc joined the war as a calvary man, but by 1916, had "gravitated to military camouflage" (Wikipedia).  This involved a most interesting process of painting canvases to hide artillery from aerial observation.  He was on a list of artists to be withdrawn from combat to protect them, but before these orders reached him, he was killed by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun in 1916.  He was 36.
You can see his complete works at this site.  I learned from Wikipedia that "most of his mature work portrays animals, usually in a natural setting."  "Horse in a Landscape" (1910)..

and "Foxes" (1913) show his evolving style but both have the strong colours and sense of movement that I find very appealing.  
As always, thank you for stopping by.  For other posts highlighting letters of the alphabet, I think you would really enjoy checking out the ABC Wednesday blog meme.  Until next time.


  1. as always, your posts are Mega-packed. :) love the first shimmery reflection shot! the fawn is so cute. and the murals are really cool.

  2. That wood duck really did look angry. From Findlay

  3. The spider web got my attention. It reminds me of a piece of crochet. Circular and strong despite its delicate nature. I also like the historic murals and was happy to hear of the man who was old and bent but continued to work in a garden. Perhaps his tasks and love of the natural world are what helped him survive to such an impressive age.

    Sadly, the Bill and Lou story is in some ways emblematic of all doomed farm animals that learn to trust their keepers who feed and occasionally pet them only to find themselves on route to the slaughter house.

  4. As always, I have learned so much! The explanation of the amazing murals in Chemainus murals reminds me that we must visit this jewel of a town! The story of Bill and Lou was on the CBC. I hope they are rescued. Phyllis