Friday, August 30, 2013


After a long long time I am participating in Inspiration Avenue's weekly challenge again - I remember a time when I used to do that almost every week! It kept my creative juices flowing even though sometimes it was quite a stretch for me.

This week's theme is "harvest" - so true for my garden at the moment. We pretty much "live off the land" right now. I harvest something almost every day and our meals are so much more richer and tastier with our own veggies and fruits.

For a good harvest you need the right basket to put your hands' labor in - like this one that I saw at a local nursery:

It's an old grape basket, and at its steep price I decided to leave it untouched. I'm still using my old metal colander that I found a few years ago in a thrift store for a couple bucks.

I have had peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant growing in my garden. It was the first year that the harvest of the zucchini was rather meager, whereas there were many peppers, especially the orange "Tequila Sunrise", my favorite. Great flavor!!! I'm happy with my tomatoes this year and already made tomato sauce that sits in the freezer now, waiting for cooler days when we will taste the flavors of summer again.

For the first time I grew melons - Charentais melons. The fruits weren't very big, but oh! the flavors of Provence were in each of them. I hope I can get them again next year - this was the first time that I found them in a local nursery.

As I said - our meals have been super fresh recently. Be it Caprese (the best food on a hot summer's day),

or oven roasted veggies with tzatziki made from scratch (very easy).

What are you doing with your home grown veggies and fruits?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Walking Through the Rain Forest

My posts about Cape Scott wouldn't be complete without telling you about the rain forest that we had to hike through in order to get to the wonderful deserted beach at San Josef Bay. The hike through the rain forest took about 45 to 60 minutes and was easy.

It was also beautiful. The rain forest is never silent. There are birds singing, water dripping, mosquitoes buzzing. Your own sweat collecting at your neck and slowly running down your back - yes, it's humid in there. The humidity, however, causes this incredible growth we found in this rain forest.

The rain forest starts right at the beach - one moment you're still out in the sand, the next you are in the cool and shady forest. Quite a sudden transition.

The trees are huge and really impressive looking. Many of them are covered with moss, especially the further away from the beach you get.

Everything is so fascinating here - the trees, the plants and the little animals - that I wasn't the only one who got carried way by taking pictures.

What fascinated me most were the beautiful mushrooms - difficult to photograph since I didn't want to lay flat on the ground here. So I just put my camera on the ground and did some "blind shots", hoping it would work out.

This last photo is my contribution to this week's Texture Tuesday, layered with Kim Klassen's texture "kk_littlethings".

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Texture of Sand

After a little excursion we are back to San Josef Bay in Cape Scott Provincial Park at the very northern end of Vancouver Island. While we were hanging out at this beautiful, deserted beach I noticed how different the texture of the sand was in different locations - quite fascinating!

You can already see it here in all the ripples in the sand. But there was more.
This looks like the wind is  blasting across the sand, but it actually was rather still here.

Look at this interesting pattern - when the tide went out, the small pebbles that were still floating in the water painted these zig-zag lines into the sand until they just stopped where the water would drop them.

I love this landscape - just a different perspective of the sand in the top photo.

Here you can clearly see where the water was flowing before it retreated and left these canyons.

A peaceful pattern, one you think can go on for miles and miles. Again, just a different perspective of the second photo.

And this is how the sand looks like in the water - gorgeous. I feel like picking up a brush (or using my fingers) and make beautiful textures with heavy bodied paint.

Friday, August 23, 2013

All Good Things are Wild and Free

For a very long time - and by this I mean several months - I hadn't painted at all. It seemed that all creativity that involves paints and brushes, canvas, paper or wood panels, ink and gesso had left my body and mind. There was a vast emptiness instead, and I didn't feel the least energy to pick up a brush or play around with paint.

Well, perhaps this is not entirely true. My creativity just went into a different direction: I did a lot - and by this I mean A LOT - of photography. After all, I think this is my foremost passion. I feel how I get fired up when I have found a great subject to photograph, how I work with my entire body (people who would watch me would probably think that I am a bit coockoo) and a deep happiness. It's something I don't experience in this way when I paint. I also get fired up, yes, but it's not this deep happiness. It's more of feeling content when I paint. But there is also something else present, and that is the ever awake inner critic who is not satisfied with anything I paint. Who might be okay for a short time, but then very quickly sees all the flaws and "mistakes", starts to compare my work with other artists' work - well, how can I be happy as long as he (must be a he!) is such a stinking presence who just walks into my life without being invited?

No wonder that painting has been on the back burner these days. When I finally started again, it was slow and very careful. I thought about doing something with birds since I like them so much. They represent freedom to me in its best form. In my painting they have left the birdcage which is only small and in the background to show its insignificance, whereas the birds are fat, colorful and happy. I found this quote by Henry David Thoreau, "all good things are wild and free".

I would love to be like that. I guess there is more of myself  in this painting than I had initially thought.

Paint Party Friday is a great place to find many talented artists and see their beautiful work. Every Friday they link up to this great party, thanks to Eva and Kristen. Today, I am partying along with them.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where Solitude Meets the Ocean

Remember my post about the road to Cape Scott? So, here we are in the parking lot at the end of the 63 km long gravel road. We put on our hiking boots, take some water, our cameras and whatever else we need with us and walk 2.5 km through the rain forest to get to this deserted, empty and wide beach at San Josef Bay in the very north of Vancouver Island.

It's as if you have stepped into another world. Except for a few other people there is no one there, it is absolutely quiet with the exception of the wind and the sound of the relatively small waves crashing onshore. A tame Pacific, enclosed by the beautiful bay with its hilly forests.

The beach is not all sand - there are quite some plants that peek through as well as some driftwood.

please notice the flip flops...

Each of us enjoyed this heavenly place in his or her own way. Kaefer sat in the sand, drawing the bay and some little animal that she had discovered in the sand.

All of us at some point or other took pictures - each of us with their very own point of view. Kaefer was fascinated by the little waves, the Geek by some pattern in the sand and I just took pictures of both of them (beside all the other photos, of course).

I loved the solitude at this beach. You can actually camp here if you bring everything you need and are willing to carry it through the rain forest. There is a pit toilet here, but no drinking water; however, there is a waterfall at the far end of the beach which you can use if you bring a water filter. The Geek and I are already talking of coming here again and staying for two nights in our tent. There were just a few people camping here, it's not for everyone hauling all your stuff out here. The price is quietness and peacefulness amongst natural beauty.

If you want to know what the hike through the rain forest was like - that will be a future post.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Faces of Egypt

I had planned to publish my second post about Cape Scott today, but the recent events in Egypt have changed my mind.

Coptic Christian

You all have heard about what is currently happening in Egypt. This country is close to my heart. I visited it twice in the nineties - the first time I went there from Israel, just to climb Mount Sinai to enjoy the sunset from there (that, by the way, would be a lovely blog post on its own); the second time I stayed again in the Sinai, Cairo, Alexandria and enjoyed a Nile cruise that was kind of out of this world.

Doing laundry - and waving at us rich tourists passing by on a luxurious boat

Egypt is a fascinating country - some of you might remember my post about Aswan. And while I enjoyed seeing all its old temples and getting more knowledgeable about its history, what really fascinated me was the unforgiving landscape of the Nile, and I fell in love with the people.

The people of Egypt - such a colorful crowd. I saw everything, from educated women in western clothes heading to their classes at University to women in beautiful gowns doing the laundry in the waters of the Nile to covered women both in the big cities and in rural areas. Men who work the fields and in tourism - "maids" in hotels, waiters in bars and restaurants, staff on the cruise ships. Educated men in suits who work in Cairo, students who work as tour guides. Men who just hang out in the old temples, sell souvenirs to the tourists, follow you everywhere in the hope of selling you some trinket or other. Children who guard the goats or work in small factories, weaving rugs and beautiful carpets (this made me sick to my stomach). I remember how often I felt guilty to have so much money (compared to what they have) that enabled me to travel the world; often I felt like a voyeur and I wasn't always happy with myself taking all these pictures. People were so incredibly kind and friendly. What they always asked for was a "stylo" - a pen. Good thing I had tons of them as I was also journaling furiously at that time.


This is a poor country. And it doesn't look that this is going to change anytime soon. I remember how safe I felt there - well, that certainly is a thing of the past. Egypt will lose big time in its tourism industry, and that means the country's economy will suffer since tourism has been so important for it. I feel blessed that I could visit this beautiful and somehow magical country and I am tremendously saddened by its development over the past months.

I took these pictures of the people in Egypt 17 years ago. Many of them will still be there, some of them will have passed away. I wonder what has happened to them, what is happening to them right now. How they make ends meet. How they survive.