Thursday, July 1, 2010
Victoria trip part 5: the way home
I had a number of stops to make on my way out of Victoria. I had to go to the Mount Royal Bagel Factory for a few dozen bagels. Three dozen for me & Dan, and a dozen for the friend who looked after Sam while we were away. A trip to London Drugs for my precious vitamin E cream - after my last sunburn my nightly toilette was shortened by the lack of my facial cream. Costco (don't judge me!) for meat and a few other things.
Then I headed up to Cowichan Bay to see backyardfeast. We have been friends for over a decade now. T and her husband "The Skippper" unofficially officiated our wedding. (We did have a legal ceremony later, but seldom refer to that). T and I were coworkers for a while, roommates for a while, neighbours for a while, and have always found a way to keep in touch no matter where our travels have taken us. We have Skype dates often and have great conversations about work, food, writing, gardening, health, well, everything really.
T and The Skipper bought this beautiful little piece of property in Cow Bay last year and have pitched themselves headlong into gardening (hence the title of her blog). Ever the beer aficionados (which meant that, naturally, they liked Dan right away when I brought him over to meet them more than three years ago now), they are experimenting with some hop plants to see what they do. Here are the babies surrounded by some nasturtiums, I think.
Now unless they are dwarf hops, and I don't think they are, but hop plants are super-vines that grow up to 30 feet long. Pop on over to YouTube, search for 'hop harvest' and you will be amazed. So we'll see what these little guys can do. I think they planted something like four or five different varietals (there are at least 50 kinds of hops, but most people around here have only ever heard of Cascades).
Also featured are some garlic scapes. These will be flowers, if they are left alone, but if you actually want usable garlic bulbs, then you have to chop off their heads, so to speak, toss them up in a stir fry and eat them. Garlic scapes are delicious.
T also planted rather a lot of tomato plants, more than she thought she could find room for in her garden and offered up some of the babies. I agreed to take some away, hoping I can make them grow here. While I was carting the pots from the greenhouse to the gate, I encountered the biggest garter snake I have ever seen. He must have been two feet long and an inch in diameter.
I'm not afraid of garter snakes. I love them, as a matter of fact. They eat slugs. I remember one time when living in East Sooke I looked out the window and saw a baby garter trying to choke down a mature slug. Now I don't know about where you live, but the biggest slugs in the world live in this part of the world. So while I applauded the snake for its efforts, I wasn't sure his slender frame could take in a mollusk that was bigger than he was!
From Cowichan Bay it is about a three hour drive back to Ucluelet. I really wasn't feeling well, however, and so I stopped a few times to eat my salad, to adjust the straps on the stuff I had tied down in the back of the truck, and to collect myself. The whole feeling-crappy side of being sick was settling in and the last thing I wanted to do, the last thing I should have been doing, was driving. I was dozy and anxious to get home to my bed.
The road between Port Alberni and the Ucluelet/Tofino turnoff is twisty, turny, and at this time of year, filled with slow-moving RVs. You can't imagine how excruciating it is for someone like me who knows how to drive to be behind three RVs going 40 in an 80 zone. And passing is often dangerous because you can't see very far ahead. That didn't stop me from trying, though. And that was dumb. Because I darn near caused an accident. It was a good thing then, that everyone was going so slow, or my life and the lives of about six other people would have ended there. So boy o boy did I learn a lesson - nothing is worth losing my life or causing the deaths of others for. I pulled off to the side of the road after that to collect myself, and really took it easy on the way home. As it was, I was only 30km away. I much prefer to travel with Dan so he can drive, and I can knit.
I got home, Dan helped me unload. Then I spent the next three days in bed.