Summer Bound on Cortes!

We’re still alive! A lot has happened since we’ve last posted, of course, because it was a really long time ago. It’s hard to keep updated online when your reception/Wi-Fi/data/electricity is increasingly scarce! The past month has been a full one.

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We miss you, Rebecca Spit! (Our Quadra digs)

Since our last BFN post, we headed to Victoria for some much needed family & friends time & reflection. I will be honest, the first month on Quadra/Read was very difficult for me (KJ) & that kinda makes it difficult for us both, if I may be so honest. With the help of most homies, I turned inside out and back around and came out feeling refreshed and able to make some decisions about what to do and where to go next, still as a solid team. Soon enough we were offered a place on Cortes and the story continues!

Our work-trade on Read Island was not all it was cracked up to be, and without getting into details, let’s just say we are glad it is over and we have moved on.

We were, however, fortunate enough to be sent to Maurelle Island during our work-trade to help with a project Lannie was working on, The Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping Project. We helped create some watershed jigsaw puzzle maps of the Discovery Islands with a gentleman named Rob Wood. Rob is a legendary rock climber & even more so (in my opinion) a lovely person. We stayed the night at his beautiful handmade home on Maurelle. We made good food, had amazing conversations, and really connected. We feel very blessed to have had that opportunity and hope to spend more time with Rob in the summer.

Rob's House

Rob’s House on Maurelle

Rob Wood

Rob!

The final days were super tough (on Read) but we put our heads down and worked hard then got out of there. We endlessly whistled, hummed and sang our Read Island anthem, and ceremoniously blasted it in Wael when we were finally driving back home:)

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Celebratory Last-Day-Photoshoot on Read Island (Marko trimmed his beard by the way)

When it came time to pack up our bags on Quadra, we were actually quite sad to leave. We made some really nice friends, had the loveliest of neighbours (Linda & her dog Wesley – whom I love), and planted some roots on the island. Incoming trilogy of Wesley and I on mountain tops:

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Saying goodbye to Wes!! He was so sad😦 So was I.

Despite initial challenges, of which I hope not to dwell on, we are comin into our groove here. We have spent many hours in the forest, at the beach, and deepening our connection to our surrounding world. I have been actually reading my plant books instead of letting them sit on the coffee table, foraging food to add to our dinners (stinging nettle, maple blossoms, oyster mushrooms, clam digging and some bonfire roasted oysters!), spending evenings underneath the stars in front of a fire and just being still with nature – often. I have been loving watching the flower buds creep up, bloom and invite us into a more welcoming season. And the birds!! Oh man, the birds. These moments are why we moved here.

Mountain Homie

Wesley on the Chinese Mountains (Quadra)

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Sunset at Smelt Bay (Cortes)

Alas, we are on Cortes and will be for the next five months. It has been pretty rad so far. We’re 5 minutes from the grocery store, cafe, bookstore and, most importantly, the lake! Hague Lake is so boss with its white sand beaches and closeness. We’ve already had numerous lake dips.

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Sunny Day at Hague Lake

The Beauty

Windy Beauty on Red Granite Trail

Our house is a trailer with a living room attached. It’s on a big farm with horses, alpacas, chickens & cats!!!!! We help out in the garden for a portion of our rent and also share in the bounty of the harvest. Pretty stoked on that. The owners, Mike and Samantha, also run Misty Isles Kayaking so I foresee some wicked trips in the future. Some folks have been asking for pictures of the trailer but it’s not the easiest thing to photograph/photogenic. Guess you’ll just have to come see for yourselves!

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The Chickens inspecting Wael. The pretty one is Major Tom, the rooster. He is a bit of a jerk!

For the record, we’ve got cell reception & 3G. However, we don’t have electricity (at least not enough to charge our phones or computers). That means you can reach us for the most part. My phone dies really quickly so maybe try Marko:) Or just make sure you leave a voicemail/text!! Okay?? Thank you. Call me!

We’ve been here just about a week, it’s been wonderful weather, and we’ve been exploring and diving into the community. There is also an AWESOME trail next to our house that leads to the beach!

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Sunrise at Squirrel Cove

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Photographic evidence of being up for sunrise!!

Marko is set up to air a radio show on Cortes Community Radio every Wednesday from 11am-12:30pm. It’s called “Makin’ Waves.” Tune in if you want to hear some Devarrow😉 He’s also scheduled to volunteer at the bookstore. For those who come it’s the best bookstore ever!! Marnie, our pal on Cortes, runs the shop and she is wonderful. Marko mentioned Marnie last post, hoping to spend lots of time with her.

As for me, I’m really excited to garden often & I will be hosting some plant walks with Friends of Cortes Island throughout the summer. My walks will be about the ecosystem, some plant id, and wild foraging. Supposedly they were leading about 30 people last summer!! Eek/wahoo! I’m also hoping to make some jewelry and get down on the summer market extravaganza. I’ll be scooping up lots of materials next time I’m around town. (Mila, wanna join? Actually, when are you moving up here with us??). There are a few other activities on the horizon but I will save it for another post.

We’ll be home briefly April 23rd-25th-ish? Me for Natasha’s wedding shower and Marko to chill! We’ve got some visitors coming this weekends… Looking forward to it!

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To the fuchsia salmonberry blooms!

xx K

A quick pause and the Sicky-Saws

Howdy ho everyone,

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As we look stoically into the camera/ into the deep blue yonder – Yes, that was a long delay in between our last blog – we’re sorry. Let’s fill you in.

When we last left off we were headed back to Read Island to finish our stint (2 weeks working on Read – 2 weeks off). Unfortunately I (Marko) was struck by a nasty stomach flu that gave me a fever and also put me on a 1 slice of toast a day diet, losing almost 10 lbs over a 8 day period. KJ also came down with a lesser version of the bug, nonetheless, it really took the wind out of our sails – moving back and forth from Quadra and Read with our illness and a slight case of the bush crazies. As of right now we are both in good health minus a slight hiccup with my knee but should be all good in the near future.

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Misty Mornings

Work-wise KJ and I have done some pretty cool (if not unorthodox) work projects over the past while. The first big task we had was to create huge burn piles from dead trees that had fallen over the Read Island property. These things were immense in size and for “city folk” like us were quite impressive and enjoyable to make. On a similar note our most common leisure activity when we’re not working is to hit up the beach and have beach fires. It’s really crazy how much wood there is and wouldn’t ya know – if you chop open wet cedar, the interior is completely dry and has a special resin on it that is extremely flammable. KJ also fashioned a hand made wood sign for Coast Mountain that looks pretty boss!

 

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Boomshki!

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“The Double Fire”

Another big highlight of the past couple weeks has been visits from our friends. Our first official visitor came in the form of Dan J, Realtor Extraordinaire and early big brother of the year candidate. He came in, flipped 12 houses in 12 minutes, got elected for mayor of Quadra Island, took us out for a meal like a boss and was outta here for the 5:30 ferry (or something like that). Just this past weekend we were hanging with Emil, Mila, Cara and new friend Mark – mystical fires were had. Really means a ton to have people come visit us up here as that is by far the hardest part of being away – missing our awesome friends and family. Also, realizing that it’s not that far of a drive so we are gonna try our best to make our way back to the motherland once in a while. I’m guessing it’s not gonna be so hard for people to come visit once summer rolls around though because this place is a beaut.

 

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‘The Sibs’

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Mas vale pajaro en mano que cien volando.

Lastly, we have been on Cortes Island. I can honestly say that I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world that embodies this level of community that I’ve ever been too. Whereas Quadra can have the feel of a bedroom community for Campbell River – not to take anything away from the great people we’ve met her – Cortes has a real collective feel to it that made spending a couple days there in pouring rain and cold wind like a piece of mama’s home made bumbleberry pie…mm. Our friend Marnie who runs, Marnies Books, the coolest independent bookstore I’ve ever been to offered to house us immediately after our arrival and allowed us many hours in her book shop to peruse the wide range of luminary authors she houses. There are a few interesting housing experiments as well. Blue Jay Farms houses people in an eco-cooperative whereby tenants build their own tiny homes, farm their own food and put in 20 hours a week to the collective farming plot of land. They still have internet and telephone and all that stuff – although don’t seem the type who prioritize all night gaming sessions regardless of the internets availability. There is a free store as well – old stuff, CCR albums, clothes, guitar books all free with a sign that says ‘shoplifting appreciated on the door.

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Chasing waterfalls.

We are setting our sights on moving to Cortes for April and beyond. Affordable housing in the summer is a huge issue there – as the rich minority that owns large portions of the island returns to their summer homes – but we are hopeful we will be able to work something out. White sand beaches on a lake, chilling people and a very nice pace to life are what attracts us.

 

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That’s what you get when you mess with KJ

Anyhow – I think I’ll leave it at that and just mention that if you are the Devarrow show at the 1018 North Park house this upcoming Thursday – pour some liquor on the curb / sprinkle some kettle chips on the sidewalk.

Much love to you all,

MC & KJ

 

 

A few days on Read

We’ve been on Read Island a few days now & have been working hard for every one of them! We’re basically wwoofing here, ie., doing a work trade for food & housing. Although, we would explain it more as camp for adults… in the winter.

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Ralph, Lannie, KJ at Discovery Islands Lodge (on Quadra)

Read Island, as Marko mentioned in the previous post, is off-grid (sans power). It’s located in between the northeastern part of Quadra & Cortes Island. We’re spend our days in Lannie & Ralph’s house, with evenings & sleeps in the lodge – both of which Ralph built! (Among other buildings… Discovery Islands Lodge, multiple saunas, our house on Quadra, I think the list goes on?) It’s located in Evan’s Bay, with trails and bridges throughout the property & an emerald ocean front.

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Our house!

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chillin

We don’t have cell service but wifi is aplenty, a techy upgrade from our place in Heriot Bay on Quadra. However, we certainly aren’t internetting up here very often.

I have taken to more tedious work & being in the kitchen while Marko has taken on heavy-lifting and chainsaw related projects (among other things)! Lannie is a wizard in the kitchen so I have been learning from her, cooking up some pretty boss meals. Cue gender analysis. She’s also in charge of Project DIEM so I’m trying to squeak my way in on that front. Otherwise, I have been hand-chizzling/carving a sign & some sewing. Tonight we will be bottling some beer Ralph brewed. We never know what we will be getting up to each day but know there is lots to learn at every corner.

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Ralph & Marko sawed down this dead alder and now it keeps us warm. I mostly took videos but can’t upload them.

Side note: Ralph just called in on the radio from his boat to tell us that there are nearly 200 Pacific White Sided Dolphins swimming around his boat. This is THE LIFE.

That reminds me – the other day we got called outside because there were wolves howling from one end of the bay to the other. We sat and listened to the howls echo in the bay, while one howled back & we saw a wolf running across the beach opposite us!! It was so amazing & mysterious. Marko and Ralph left shortly after and they SAW ONE CLOSE UP.

Kayaking, beer making & a big burn to come. Thanks for reading!

Love and hugs,
K to the mfing J homeboy

Life On The Island

Almost one week in!

While you’d think that time would be moving much slower (and to some degree it has), our days have been quite full. In unison with our move we have adopted a one-month vegetarian diet – a big feat for me but not so much for KJ. Luckily cheese and various forms of kettle chip are able to substitute in times of dire need.

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KJ making her way up the Ridge

As we are just settling in – our day goes in this general order: We wake up and prep a nice breakfast, head to the cafe (where there is internet and phone connection) and work on our respective projects (Pedal Easy for me),  go on a hike, head home and cook lunch and dinner, take a rest, read then head out for hang outs with some friends or listen to podcasts / work on guitar / art stuff at the house. If anyone has some good Podcasts to reccomend apart from Savage Love and Serial send em our way!

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“The Old Maple”

We’ve also met a substantial crew of people within our age range which has been a pleasant surprise to say the least.

One couple, Michael and Megan have been here for just over a year and a half (together). Michael grew up here and both are awesome, knowledgeable down to earth people. Yesterday- Michael took us on a hike around one of his favourite places on the island, Heriot Ridge, that offers an nice look out along with 3 massive old growth trees – named the 3 sisters. At night time we had dinner at their place then Michael prepped some kindling and we made our way off to the beach – a 15 minute walk in the pitch black – to make a night time fire where, with blankets, some wine and candy we wished away the evening.

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Marko showing some love to one of the 3 Sisters.

Some other people we’ve come across:

A 4-man crew of kayakers planning  a 100-day trip to the arctic – 1 of them went to high school with me in Ottawa bizarrely enough! Check them out here.
A toolsy handyman DIY survivalist legend named Jean-Luc
An old sailor acquaintance who helped taxi us around Read Island this past summer named Brent
The notorious Aubrey Burke

Their is a calm absence of energy out here. In a lot of ways too, the diminished amount of light, noise, movement are all not so subtle shifts from the pulse of city life. It’s all quite peaceful and makes for some easy night time reading and early morn walking.

 

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The East facing portion of Rebecca Spit

Next on the docket is a two week stint on Read Island (starting Monday) with our amazing islander connection Lanny and Ralph from Coast Mountain Expeditions. Some projects we can look forward to is home brewing a batch of beer, setting up a comprehensive gardening system and building a sauna. These two have remarkably built two world-class lodges (and the house we are living in) from scratch and live completely off grid – with solar powered home and a self-implemented water collection system. We are counting our lucky stars to have the opportunity to learn from such luminary individuals.

That’s it for now! We will have access to internet out there so drop us a line on the blog or shoot us an email!

The baby islander,

Marko

 

We’ve arrived!

Hi friends,

Marko and I have been talking about this blog for awhile. We’ve decided “Beautiful Nowhere” is our new take on “BFN.” We’ve officially arrived on Quadra & have been here about three days. It’s been wonderful so far, getting outside lots, meeting new people, and cooking delicious food – all while taking our time to do it!

We live in Heriot Bay, and while we don’t have any cell service or reception, we’re a minute away from the beach, pub, coffee shop and grocery store. Also, we have lots of room for visitors!

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Francisco Point on the Southern Tip of Quadra

This week, we’ll be scoping out possible jobs and opportunities, mixed with explorations. On Monday, we’ll be boating over to Read Island to spend two weeks working and learning from Lannie and Ralph. Lannie and Ralph run Coast Mountain Expeditions in the summer (potential summer employment?) and Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping in the winter. We’re both really excited to work with them. Read Island is off the grid, so we’re looking forward to understanding what that type of lifestyle is like in the winter!

I (K) have had a little bit of a difficult time adjusting. Not that I don’t love it here & have been having a wonderful time with Marko, I get sad thinking about all the wonderful people surrounding us in Victoria. But as Kara just messaged me, “the beauty of friendship [and family!] is that it spans distance and time.” So very very true. I’ve been pretty good today, just getting used to it all…

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KJ on top of the Chinese Mountains

Yesterday held some pretty hilarious island stories. We went to the Community Lunch at the Community Centre. I baked some lemon loaf and we showed up a few (20) minutes late. Needless to say they were NOT impressed (we thought we were on island time?!) and they were cleaning up. They even suggested freezing my fresh-out-the-oven lemon loaf for next week!! They slanged us a bowl of soup and we ate it, standing around while they cleaned up around us, oops! My loaf got devoured. It was kind of awkward. But we met some people under thirty and are having a potluck at their house tonight:)

At night, we walked down to the Heriot Bay Pub and attended “University of Quadra Island.” The lecture of the evening was monolithic structures, which consisted of a guy clicking through photos of them he downloaded from the internet and talking about them. Oh boy did the audience also participate! It was actually quite interesting while hilarious at the same time.

That’s all for now! We’ll try to update this every once in awhile and get some more photos rockin.

Love and hugs!

KJ