Saturday, June 28, 2008

Aiko in the Forest

Tonight I was much too tired to work, so I found myself downloading more accessories for Aiko. It has been a long time since I played with DAZStudio. Made sense at the time, except now I'm tired and my eyes hurt, too. ;-)

Okay, here goes, Aiko as a fairy in her new "Tink" dress, with a texture applied (which happened to fit okay, even though designed for an entirely different outfit), and her new wreath headband, courtesy of (click the image for a larger view):
Aiko fairy in the forest
What do you think? Was it worth staying up until midnight, or should I have caught an early night while I had the chance?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Garden Glimpses : Mid June 2008

June is a wonderful time of year, since the many blossoms are a-buzz with many fuzzy bumblebees. They are busy on the chives:
Bumblebee on chive flower
...and the Physocarpus opulifolius "diablo" (Diablo ninebark):
Bumblebee on Diablo ninebark
...and the Spanish lavender (Lavendula stoechas):
Bumblebee on Spanish lavender
...and the Geraniums (this first one is "Victor Reiter"):
Bumblebee on geranium Victor Reiter
Bee on geranium
...and the raspberries:
Bee on raspberry flower
The butterflies are now flitting about the garden also, like this cabbage butterfly, enjoying the osteospermum flowers:
Butterfly on osteospermum flower
Everywhere, there is the hope for summer fruit, such as these strawberries:
Strawberries - not quite ripe yet
...apples (on the espalier tree):
Small apples on the espalier tree
...and pears (Bartlett pears, in this case):
Bartlett pears - not yet ripe
The campanula glomerata is in full bloom, and looking beautiful this year (even if the long stems have flopped over again - each year I tell myself I need to do something to support them, maybe next year I will finally take action):
Campanula glomerata flowers
(As always, click any photo for a slightly larger view.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Glimpses of Osoyoos, BC

The low rainfall levels in Osoyoos qualify it as the only "desert" area in Canada. But to its demise, the soil & weather conditions also make it a great place for vineyards and fruit orchards. So there is little of the true "desert" left, around the fringes of the town. It was such a neat experience, coming from the wet and lush Vancouver area, to visit such an arid place, and and for me to see the unique plants growing there.
Desert scenery
I didn't catch a name for this little grass, but isn't it gorgeous?
Desert grass
This is a sort of desert phlox, being only a few inches high, very tiny in comparison to any phlox I am familiar with:
Desert phlox
This tiny but cheery thread-leaved daisy (Erigeron filifolius) seemed to be everywhere in the desert areas:
Thread-leaved daisy
This Brittle Prickly-Pear Cactus (Optunia fragilis) was almost hidden in the desert grasses, but once we spotted it, we could also see it almost everywhere. A few of them were blooming, and many others bearing plump pinkish buds:
Brittle prickly-pear cactus in bloom
Closeup of cactus blooms
This wild rose didn't seem unique to the desert, but was beautiful also:

Finally, the classic "desert" scene (and note the clumps of Brittle Prickly-Pear Cactus):
Classic desert scene

Monday, June 09, 2008

Glimpses of Osoyoos and Manning Park, BC

We pulled the kids from school 1.5 days, and escaped to Osoyoos BC this weekend. We have talked about camping again, but this weekend we stayed in style at the Walnut Beach Resort. Check out the view from our balcony:

View from Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC
The clouds rolled in and out, but for the most part there was blue sky to be spotted (unlike Vancouver, where I understand it rained most of the weekend). Anyhow, we toured both desert centres in Osoyoos, and I took LOTS of photos there (click any photo for a slightly larger image)...

I love thistles, and they must taste sweet, too, if these bugs are any indication:
Thistle with beetle
Thistle with bumblebee
I was really hoping to spot a rattlesnake somewhere during the trip, but was still very happy to see this western yellow-bellied racer [thanks to Jake for correcting me], which raced through the sagebrush and grasses beside us, crossed the path, and seemed to stop for a moment to look at us before speeding on:
Rubber boa constrictor
While we're on the topic of wildlife, what trip through Manning Park is complete without a spotting of a black bear? This little guy was on the side of the road leading to the Lightning Lakes:
Black bear in Manning Park, BC
And of course, the Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus, but commonly known as "gophers") around Lightning Lakes are so charming, it was worth a number of photos:
Cute gopher at Manning Park BC
Columbian ground squirrel
It might be hard to see, but this little guy is chewing on a blade of grass:
Columbian ground squirrel at Manning Park
I'm too tired tonight, but I'll try to post a few more photos this week, of the many beautiful flowers found in the desert areas.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bunch of Baby Bison in Beautiful BC

On the weekend we went to visit the bison in Agassiz (yes, there are bison in BC!), since we heard they had a baby bison. But when we arrived, we realized that there were a number of babies. As we climbed the hill to see them, the mothers quickly moved into a huddle, with the babies between them, except for one little guy who didn't seem concerned:
Bison huddle
Fairly soon, they realized we were armed only with a camera, and went about their business with only a few stares at us (which makes for better photos, anyhow). We were able to count 6 calves among the 7 females, with the last female visibly pregnant also. One male. Here are 3 of the moms with calves:
Bison moms and calves
Here are a couple more pics (click any photo for a larger image):
Bison with calf
Another bison with calf
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