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living the coastal life

West Coast Living in Ahousaht, BC

Whalecome!

Lennie and I are a water-loving couple in Ahousaht BC. Ahousaht is on Flores Island – a 35 min boat ride north of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We have a very unique living experience here. No grocery stores, no gas stations, wolves roaming our streets and a water taxi ride to get in and out of the village.

I’d like to share some of my experiences here – Both the every day and the extraordinary and showcase a little bit of what life is like for us on the coast. Please shoot me questions and comments! I would love to feature topics you are interested in!

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Facebook Detox

How many of you feel overwhelmed by the drama of social media, caught up in the whirlwind of picture perfect lives juxtaposed by personal rants and drama? I sure do. Facebook has ruled my life for over 9 years.

I began feeling the urge to delete my account close to a year ago but one of my jobs needed me to stay connected with the community and actively post on Facebook, so I found it impossible to disconnect. Monday was my last day in that job and today I made the decision to disconnect!

I’m not sure how long it will be for. Because I run several pages and wanted them to stay up, though inactive, I only logged out and removed the Facebook app from my phone, while keeping messenger. I still have Instagram because that platform brings me more joy than stress.

Already I feel more relaxed and less of an urge to pick up my phone to see what’s the latest update in my newsfeed. I moved the Instagram app into the same slot the Facebook one was in on my phone homepage so I tap on Instagram out of habit rather than searching for Facebook.

Because if I really want to give into the urge, I will find a way, but I’m hoping I can embrace the change and enjoy the peacefulness and apply my extra time to more productive things!

Marcie’s Monthly Reads – November

Earlier today I posted my October monthly reads and I finished up with a list of books I wanted to get through in November. Now as I start this draft that I will publish in roughly a month’s time (Or around 3 weeks from now as I started late), I can start by saying I have already completed one of my “goal” books for the month!

Nov. 10 2018

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

The last time I read any of Eden Robinson’s work was in my Indigenous Literature course at the University of Victoria. I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of her book Monkey Beach, but I could appreciate her literary genius. I am planning on revisiting Monkey Beach, especially with a movie in the works(!) but with the launch of Trickster Drift, I wanted to work on Son of Trickster first. This book drew me in with relatable characters, mysticism and tradition, all of which swirl around a familiar land and place, especially with my husband having been in the Terrace/Kitimat region so recently. Maybe another reason I connect more with her work now, after living in Ahousaht, is because things like the All Native Basketball Tournament are a part of my life now. I connect with the story on a personal level, which always draws me in. But that aside, the story line was enchanting and it was hard to put the book down, especially when a customer came up for a purchase as I turned to the last page! The challenges of reading at work…. sigh.

Nov. 11, 2018

Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson

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Just as good, but maybe even better, than Son of Trickster! It’s longer but I still powered through it in a day, frantic to find out what happened next to Jared as we follow him to Vancouver. Now I am stuck waiting for book 3 in the series, and if there isn’t a book 3 Robinson is going to have some explaining to do! I really can’t recommend this series enough. For a bit of reality, the unexpected, the mythical and the magical, all rolled up into one!

Nov. 14 2018

The Farmer’s Son: Calving Season on a Family Farm by John Connell

***I received a free digital advance reading copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.***

The Farmer’s Son is a dose of reality in our fast paced, industrial and urban world. It brings us back to the original methods of food production – small scale family farms where animals are valued as individuals and not just numbers in a feedlot. The family dynamics will be familiar for many who read this book, and the daily routines of the farm will be a welcome break for many. John Connell does a wonderful job introducing his readers to the life he is returning to after a long absence and his passion demonstrates why these small scale farms are so important if we are to continue including meat in our diets.

Nov. 15 2018

Bump by Matthew J Metzger

***I received a free digital advance reading copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.***

Matthew J Metzger is a fabulous writer who can always bring readers right into the homes of his characters, feeling like we are in the midst of the emotions they are experiencing. “Bump” starts with an established couple, and we don’t spend the first few chapters in pursuit of a relationship. Details of their lives are revealed later in the book, and readers piece together their story as more is shared. I really appreciated that both main characters come from minorities underrepresented in literature, and we come to understand the daily trials they must face. If anything, maybe “Bump” can inspire more empathy and compassion in our world.

Nov. 16 2018

Otherwise Engaged: A Novel by Lindsey Palmer

***I received a free digital advance reading copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.***

Otherwise Engaged is a quick and easy read, with a hopeful ending, rather than storybook perfect. Honestly I did feel my own anxiety rising in succession with the characters decisions and drama. I didn’t find it to be as relaxing as your typical romance. I enjoyed it though and read through to the end to see how things turned out!

Nov.17, 2018

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

***I received a free digital advance reading copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.***

This book is so cute – laugh out loud funny (Literally, me, snickering at work while I read it!), heartstoppingly painful and absolutely adorable. I recommend it a thousand times over. The perfect romance novel to escape into.

 

I have unfortunately slipped back into an old habit of having multiple books on the go at once and finishing none of them in a reasonable time! So there hasn’t been much progress lately unfortunately! looking forward to what I can accomplish from my reading list in December! I am working on a complimentary copy of ” The Wake of the Whale: Hunter Societies in the Caribbean and North Atlanticby Russell Fielding which was sent to me at the authors request from Harvard University Press. It appears quite promising and I am looking forward to getting further into it and providing a full review!

 

 

Treating my Chickens for Scaly Mites

Lately I’ve noticed my three oldest hens, the “Golden Girls” have the tell tale signs of scaly mites on their legs. Raised scales instead of nice smooth legs.

There are several treatments online including one quick fix treatment using gasoline. I opted for the cooking oil treatment and enlisted Lennie to help me out.

We attacked the flock in the evening when they were all on their roosts. It would be much easier than running around catching each one and then trying to sort out who had been treated and who hadn’t!

The system actually worked pretty well. We had a nail brush to clean any feet that were grimy so the oil could soak into the whole foot and under the raised scales. Most of them had pretty clean feet though.

We had bought cooking oil on sale so I didn’t feel bad about using so much. I filled a tall Becel container and had Lennie hold it while I slowly lowered the hen in, dipping her legs but avoiding the feathers.

Most stayed quite relaxed. One was determined not to get wet and would grip the sides of the container like a cat! I placed each one back on their roost afterwards and they seemed pretty chill overall.

Ever two weeks they will be treated for a total of about 6 treatments. At some point the affected scales will fall off and new ones will grow in their place.

We treated the younger birds too who aren’t showing any signs of mites, just for consistency considering how easily they spread. This morning I will also treat the coop with diotomaceous earth again too!

Have you had any battles with chicken mites?

Doggy Daze

Yesterday we got our new engine for our boat, the Sweet Marie! Because I wanted to be in town for the exciting occasion and it was going to take all day long, I brought my dog Leia with me for some training time in Tofino and a few adventures!

What a great time we had! First we stopped for a tea at Rhino coffeeshop. This was a new experience for her but she stayed calm while I went inside for my order and happily greeted passerbys.

Afterwards we went for a long walk at Chesterman’s Beach. She did well being on leash despite being used to running free at the beach. I think she really enjoyed all the new scents!

Next we went all the way to Ucluelet to check out the Lighthouse Loop trail. It’s such a stunning trail and we met lots of people! I tried to get a cute photo of Leia and I on a bench but she just wasn’t having it!

I did some shopping in Ucluelet. I don’t get out that way very often. Leia always surprises me with how well behaved she is when left in the car for short periods. Shes always sleeping when I return!

Our next stop was Wickaninnish Beach. We didn’t walk very far here but did a short loop of the beach and trail.

I was really excited to visit the Shorepine Bog Trail nearby. I had never been here before and it was so stunning! It was quite similar to the Cranberry bog in Ahousaht with many of the same plants! The scrubby pine trees are so cute with their stunted and twisted forms. Even though other people were on the trail (based on the cars in the the lot), we didn’t see anyone else on the 800m boardwalk!

There was a wolf scat on the path, which Leia had a good sniff at. Otherwise we didn’t see any wildlife but I imagine at the right time of day you could have some good sightings here and I’m sure it’s a good birding spot!

We briefly stopped at Combers Beach. Shortly after we arrived I got a call that one of the parts for the new engine wasnt shipped from the warehouse in Port. If we wanted the installation done today I had to drive to Port Alberni and back ASAP to get it!

We got the part, Leia hung out with Lennie for a few hours and we were back on the water with the new SeaPro 200 Mercury Engine!

Potlatch Hangover

Potlatches are an honour to attend.

As part of a policy of assimilation, the Canadian federal government banned the potlatch from 1884 to 1951 in an amendment to the Indian Act.

Yet the tradition survived, carried out in secret and now alive and flourishing again.

There are many reason’s a family may host a potlatch – As a celebration, traditional naming, in thanks, as a celebration of life, and so many more.

Last night I attended a Celebration of Life in Ahousaht. Dinner was served, the dance floor was cleansed and welcoming dances were done. Then tears were put away and the 4 year mourning period concluded and the celebrations for this wonderful lady – wife, mother, aunt, sister and cousin – began in earnest. We laughed, cheered and ate chumas (desserts). And of course, we danced. Visiting Nations brought their dances and songs to perform. Seeing new dances is always one of my favourite parts of a Potlatch. Sometimes I put down my camera and just watch, absolutely entranced.

Dinner started at 5pm. The dancing began by 7pm. Lennie and I finally headed home at midnight, but the party continued to after 5am! I always find that the longer you stay, the more fun and silly the dances are. The most treasured moments happen in the wee hours of the morning, but I can never stay awake, no matter how much coffee and sugar I put into my system!

Making it even worse, I have work today – So I had to minimize my “Potlatch Hangover” by getting some sleep last night!


 

Proud Momma

You know how Mommas get all chuffed about their children and brag about their accomplishments? I do that with my furbabies.

I joined a friend for a beach walk yesterday with our dogs. I brought Leia, but not Bruce or Yoda. I’m trying to work with Leia one on one more often and practice her recall and obedience skills. She still wouldn’t win any awards for her behavior but seeing her improvements makes me super proud!

Yesterday I recalled her back onto the leash twice. Once because there was another dog on the beach and I wanted her to stick closer to us and the second time because we were back in the village with cars and other dogs. I’ve never had an issue with her and other dogs but it’s just how I am working on training her when we walk in more populated areas.

The second recall took a bit longer, but it did work eventually.

I love how she always “checks in” with me as we come down the trail. She always pops back around the corner to wait for us to come into view and then takes off again.

Now what we really need to work on is her carsickness! I would love to take her on more adventures further afield but she can’t travel if there’s food or water in her tummy! The pills from the vet haven’t worked for us either.

Transient Orcas in Herbert Inlet

When Lennie and I find out about orcas in our area, it’s always a last minute adventure! When I stopped teaching, I pledged to take my photography more seriously. I am not sure how successful I have really been at that, But I know my whale photography has improved, purely by having more time available to go out with the whales when they are nearby.

Not only is there the benefit to myself to be on scene with whales, but for the scientific community as well. If clear ID shots of the visiting pods to our area are not obtained, we do not know which whales were here when and we can’t track their movements. Photo ID with a long telephoto lens is the least intrusive way to track a whale’s movements. I was the only photographer to get clear shot of these whales, the T49Bs and T68Cs, to confirm their identifications.

We stayed with this pod for about an hour and a half. In that time they made a kill and fed before heading up Millar Channel. They were spotted briefly by another boat just over an hour later.

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Marcie’s Monthly Reads – October

At the end of every month, I am going to post a compiled list of books I have read and my reviews of each book. I am so lucky to work at Mermaid Tales Bookshop in Tofino, which means I get to see awesome new reads all the time and have a hand in selecting what new books get brought into the shop! Got a book suggestion you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments!

Oct.5 2018

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel
Heather Morris

This was a quick read (I am a fast reader, but I finished this one in a couple hours). It is based on a true story, which makes it all the more engaging for me. Unlike Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar (Also based on a true story), the Tattooist has a happy ending and you feel satisfied as the story wraps up. Both books are equally heartwrenching though and offer similar views of camp life. The Tattooist is a powerful look at human nature, determination and the power of human spirit!

Oct.6 2018

Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada’s Last Great Trees by Harley Rustad

This is a fascinating account of the “discovery” of Big Lonely Doug, the second largest Douglas-Fir in Canada and the fight to preserve old growth forests in Canada, particularly on Vancouver Island. I still haven’t gotten around to reading “The Golden Spruce” but I reckon “Big Lonely Doug” will become an iconic staple in BC households, just as “The Golden Spruce” has.

Oct. 7 2018

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

I really enjoyed this romance with a twist. Time travel in an entirely believable manner, set in the 80’s and 90’s in America. I even found similarities between their “modern” America and OUR world’s modern America. An easy but thought provoking read, great for a rainy day or afternoon at the beach!

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I’ve been reading a lot of advanced reading copies of books off NetGalley lately. I haven’t decided if I am going to post them here as well. For now I think I will stick with hard copy, currently published, books I have read.

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Oct 21, 2018

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward: A Memoir by Mark Lukach
I ordered this book into the bookshop knowing I would connect with it on a very personal level. I’ve had to hospitalize someone for their mental health and am grateful every day for the compassion our Tofino Hospital showed us. It took me a few months to finally read it but I’m so glad I did. Even if you haven’t been in these shoes, this book will speak to you about the challenges of obtaining mental health support and the importance of love and family along the journey.

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I’m a bit late in posting this draft publicly, but 4 hard copy books and about 5 digital advance reading copies isn’t too bad. I am working on another ARC right now called The Farmer’s Son: Calving Season on a Family Farm.

It’s really fantastic and I am looking forward to ordering it into the shop in the Spring!

My must-read list for November includes Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson and the newly released sequel, Trickster Drift . Also Tanya Tagaq’s beautifully bound book, Split Tooth. And of course, Paula Wild’s Return of the Wolf: Conflict and Coexistence which will be having a book event in Tofino on Nov. 13th, 7pm at the Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre! I can’t wait to go!

I think for November I will try to add my NetGalley reads here too. How many books do you think I will get through?

Happy reading!

Headaches and Hangovers…

…But not the kind you’re thinking!

I’ve gotten headaches my whole life. I’m fairly certain theres a genetic component to them as both my parents have also suffered from headaches.

Throughout high school and university I had a lot of migraines and I was put on propranolol to help prevent them. Propranolol is an old school beta blocker. I found it reduced the frequency of my migraines and a few years ago, after moving to Ahousaht I talked to the Dr about stopping my usage as I wasnt getting regular migraines anymore.

In the last couple of years though I have begun getting regular muscle tension headaches from trigger points in my upper neck. If I ignore them, they either go away or get much worse, confining me to bed. One Locum Dr visiting Ahousaht was able to try dry needling my trigger points which I found relieved my neck tension immensely. The regular Drs in the area don’t seem willing to try the same though. Acupuncture didn’t bring the same relief that the dry needling did.

I saw the Dr again for my muscle tension headaches and it was suggested I try massage therapy. Umm… any millionaires out there who want to fund that for me??? I just can’t afford regular massage treatments unfortunately.

This week I suffered a debilitating headache that put me in bed during Halloween, caused me to puke, made me nauseous and lasted close to 20 hours. I was able to see the Dr in Ahousaht just as the pain was alleviating and as we went through the systems he determined I may actually be having crossover muscle tension/ migraine headaches.

I’m now back on propranolol with a prescription for fast acting migraine pills that I need to take at the first sign of a migraine. They aren’t painkillers though so they don’t treat the muscle tension headaches. I was told to just take ibuprofen for those.

But one of the lamest parts of my headaches are the awful “hangovers” I get in the hours or day after the pain has subsided. I feel groggy and slow and blah just like a real hangover would leave you feeling! Thankfully I’m not usually nauseous by this point though.

What’s your headache story?

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