Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Evacuation

Big White to the Rescue
The call for us to evacuate the house and pets we were sitting came early and was inevitable.

The Prime Minister of Canada had announced that all Canadians were to return home as soon as possible. Our homeowner was on her way back from Mexico.

We cleaned the house, fed the birds and left.

We boarded Big White, our twenty-three-foot recreational vehicle. Later that day, the homeowner returned to her townhouse.

Journal Bee

Our choice to keep a journal of our conduct and conditions during the Covid 19 pandemic is meant to help others get through being isolated in their homes. And, to save our marriage.

 We pulled away from the neighbourhood in Duncan and pulled into the parking lot of a local grocery store. 

Our RV fridge

Our habit, over the last 6 years of living in our bus between house sits, has been to create a 2-week menu and buy what we need to satisfy our appetites and cravings. We’ve chosen to limit our meat intake. Our bar-sized fridge has a small freezer and limited space.

While off the road, we called a friend living on Malcolm Island and asked how he and his family were doing. He reported that his wife and kids were in good health but he was taking many medications to support his recovery from recent heart surgery.

“But, don’t worry. Come here and stay on our property,” our friend said.

“That sounds great but we don’t want to be the ones to bring the virus to you and your family,” Frank said.

“I’m taking my condition seriously and would need you to isolate for two weeks.”

“We’ll think about your offer,” Frank said.

We got in touch with the Bere Point campsite on the island and they said it was closed. That sealed our decision.

Later that week, we reported our findings. We let him know that we would not be coming to Malcolm Island.

That evening we rested our heads on soft pillows, wrapped up in warm blankets and lulled ourselves to sleep to the low drone of our new diesel heater.

When we awoke the following morning, our Malcolm Island friend had left a text to say that his son had been diagnosed with the virus. He'd been doing work on Mount Caine and had contracted the virus there.

"At a time of another crisis, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá offered these words of counsel: “In a day such
as this, when the tempests of trials and tribulations have encompassed the world, and fear and trembling have agitated the planet, ye must rise above the horizon of firmness and steadfastness with illumined faces and radiant brows in such wise that, God willing, the gloom of fear and consternation may be entirely obliterated, and the light of assurance may dawn above the manifest horizon and shine resplendently.” 
(From letter of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of the World, Naw-Rúz 177, 2020)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Bonnie Gets a Refresh

Bonnie the Birch

We adopted the paper birch sitting solitaire on Dogwood Street in Campbell River in the fall of 2012.

She had been neglected over the years and it showed. With the help of my husband Frank, our grandson Grayson and some beautiful friends, we cleaned the trash from around and under her, pulled the weeds, and provided her with fresh soil and water. We all breathed a sigh of relief. I felt happy energy emanating from our new comrade.

Later that year, we moved on from our lifestyle as apartment managers and began travel teaching looking for isolated Baha'is throughout western Canada and the Yukon. We also did house and pet sitting.

I thought of Bonnie the Birch often, a name we had assigned her. 

Then, in June 2019, we found ourselves back on Vancouver Island. I prepared a sign to place at Bonnie's base. On this day, we drove to be with her. She’d grown significantly along with her offspring. We pulled over and began to tend to her.

First, we removed all the discarded trash around her. Frank trimmed her lower branches, turned over the dry soil and pulled the weeds at her base. She brightened up significantly. The paper birch is famous for its white bark and small leaves. She’s such a beauty. 

Frank tends to Bonnie

A few folks came past and stopped to read the sign and glanced at the music notes on Big White.

If you happen to be travelling along Dogwood Street, just past building 301, keep her in mind.

Susan places Bonnie's sign
"Behold a beautiful garden full of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Each flower has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume and beautiful colour. The trees too, how varied are they in size, in growth, in foliage—and what different fruits they bear! Yet all these flowers, shrubs and trees spring from the self-same earth, the same sun shines upon them and the same clouds give them rain."  (Paris Talks) Addresses Given by Abdu'l-Baha in 1911

Big White with Bonnie

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Confit de Canard

Duck Confit Salad
On February 16, 2019, we travelled from Kamloops, BC along Highway 97 east to Falkland. Frank stated that for all the decades he'd travelled that route, he'd never stopped in the small community. We took advantage of the opportunity and were fixed with a great adventure.

"What is duck confit?" I asked.

The lovely waitress explained it means duck meat cooked and seasoned with herbs in its own rendered fat.

"I'll have that," Frank said.

The charm of its presentation was worth it. The Ranch Cafe itself was filled with a cowboy and rancher appeal. Hanging lampshades in the shape of stagecoaches could be purchased if you're into that style. Also, scattered about where signs indicating life as a rancher is good for the heart and soul.

Ranch Cafe
The atmosphere was wholesome and upbeat. The waitress was efficient and very accommodating.

Outside the building were informative signs. One to advise you that your pet is not permitted on the balcony, another to supply it with water, one to warn the smokers to butt out and a fabulous take-your-breath-away painting of a horse-drawn chuckwagon.

Ranch Cafe

Ranch Cafe

After our meal, I chose to take a photo hanging on the wall inside the washroom. A drawing of a horse's head just above the toilet.

Frank found it rather entertaining.
Ranch Cafe


Monday, June 25, 2018

Braeburn Buns

Frank digging into the super-sized cinnamon bun

There are strange things done in the midnight sun.
Including the size of a cinnamon bun.
Let's stop at Braeburn, it'll be fun.
It's Mile 55 and we're pretty much done.

The path from Dawson City set a grueling pace.
The owner of the place was out of the race.
He'd seen one too many Yukon Quest.
When we queried his eclectic collection,
His eyes glazed over in rejection.

Have we offended you friend?
No. I'm at the end. I don't want to be here.

Our microwaved bun weighed nearly a ton.
We paid our mon-eeey!
I think it's worth it, Hon.
Another strange thing in this land of the midnight sun.

Braeburn Lodge - home of the world famous cinnamon bun

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Music On Our Bus Goes 'Round

Frank taping music on Big White
Frank’s artistic flair is being fitted on Big White. He has handcrafted treble clefs, sharps, and musical notes on stanza bars to show the magic of harmony on the front face of our bus, and on both sides.

Each whole note, half note and quarter note that appear on the five staff lines represent “Allah’u’Abha”, “Shine Your Light on Me Baha’u’llah”, and the Baha’i unity song. He sketched each element on large sheets of Bristol board and delicately cut them out with a precision knife.

Ready to be painted permanently
Each project will be taped to a flat surface on the bus and painted on. It may seem time-consuming to some, however, it's very rewarding in a weird and wonderful way. What better than to cheer up oncoming traffic, those behind us perhaps in a ferry line up or the curious who are sharing parking lot space with us. We look forward to our encounters.

Testing the position
We’ll be heading out from Sicamous, BC, at the beginning of May 2018 – destination the Yukon Territory. Gives us a honk if you see us.

Shine your light on us, Baha’u’llah

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sicamous, BC - What You Can't See

On November 2, 2017, we were greeted at the door by the homeowner and introduced to his two cats. Over the years, we had driven past the Municipal District of Sicamous, British Columbia, on our way west to Salmon Arm and beyond, or on our travels east to Revelstoke and away. Today, we stopped and were given the opportunity to explore the area for the next five months. We are professional house and pet sitters.

What you can't see when you travel past and fast along the Trans-Canada Highway, are the goings on and the ambassadors of the town.

Dairy Cow Manure - Pungent!
Our first walk-about began by turning left at the end of the driveway and strolling casually along Sherlock Road. The overwhelming smell wafting around us originated from the manure being spread onto the field in front of the house.

We came upon a trail-head marker. The Parksville Estates Trailhead directs you down a wide path along the back of houses, beside a large treed area where you come upon a park.

It becomes obvious that the practice of burning garbage in the backyard is common in Sicamous.

Parksville Estates Pathway
We carried on through the park, stopped in briefly at the community arena and headed toward the shopping plaza. There we met several Sicamous ambassadors, including the lovely clerks at the Bargain Shop, other patients at the Sicamous Health Centre giving themselves up for blood samples, and the charming owner of the Painted Book Shop. The folks we met on our first excursion were kind and helpful. "Welcome to Sicamous", they said.

Later that day, we drove down to the Riverboat Dock and admired the storage of the resources offered to those who are interested in motoring along Mara Lake.

Riverboat Dock
Returning to town, we stopped at the promenade and enjoyed the serenity of the boardwalk.

Frank standing on the boardwalk

Blessed Is The Spot

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Baha'i Blogging Challenge - Inspiration from the Universal House of Justice

Universal House of Justice, Haifa, Israel
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, we received a message from the Universal House of Justice forwarded by email from our Baha’i friends located in several clusters across Canada.

The Ridvan message was inspiring.

We've been travelling across British Columbia and the Prairies for nearly three years and have witnessed how the friends are enveloped in the fundamentals of the Plan and how a large number of them are ‘acting on its requirements, and demonstrating rigour in the quality of their response.’

Along the way, we’ve met with believers who are reservoirs of knowledge and resources and with open hearts provided us with their experience and insight.

We take our inspiration from the Universal House of Justice 2017 Ridvan message and apply its objectives to our clear purpose, to meet as many isolated Baha'is as possible and to meet as many new friends as God's guidance allows.

Viewed aright, this year presents the single greatest worldwide opportunity there has ever been for connecting hearts to Bahá’u’lláh. ~ Universal House of Justice 2017 Ridvan Message