The long hot days of summer are well behind us as Autumn slowly descends on our little valley, bringing gifts of red and gold and amber.  It is my very favourite time of the year.  A time to rest, a time to reflect, to slow down and unwind.  A romantic time where a walk in the park with your favourite toad, flipper in flipper, feels more like a date than a hike.  A brief reprieve between the blistering days just passed and the algid ones on the horizon.  A magical season when the air smells of burning wood and freshly baked meat pies, and the streets and sidewalks are paved in gold.

So, naturally when the sun peeked out from behind the ominous clouds for a few short moments, we just couldn’t help but grab the camera and head down the street to one of our favourite places, our neighbourhood!

Cowichan Valley - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Now, I will spare you my rendition of “It’s a Lovely Day in the Neighbourhood”, but I must admit the scenery made my heart sing.  Just down the street from us, there is a road that leads to two beautiful marinas and several farms.  The morning air was cold and crisp, leaving the water covered in a thin blanket of mist that added a softness to the landscape as the sunlight danced and played on the water.  It occurred to me as I stood there that Mother Nature must love this time of the year as much as I do, as every inch was alive with light and beauty, almost as if she just couldn’t contain her delight.

Cowichan Valley - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

We toads weren’t the only ones out enjoying the nice weather.  We may not have had anything with us for a picnic on this day, but if we did I would have put my blanket right here.  Certainly Mr. Toad would attest that it would not be the first picnic that we’ve had where the snowflakes were more of a problem than the ants!  The patchwork quilt landscape, framed by the mountains and dotted with yellow and orange makes for a striking view for these cows having breakfast.

Cowichan Valley - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As we slowly make our way up the road, every corner brings a new reason to smile.  This place has it all, beautiful trees, sprawling farmland, majestic mountains and expansive ocean.  Looking up at these mountains that stretch to the sky can really make a toad feel, well, as tiny as a toad.

Cowichan Valley - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Life here at Maple Bay Marina just seems more relaxed.  Tucked away in the safety of this little cove, these lucky folks not only live here, they become part of the scene.  Each floating home is as unique as the people who inhabit them, and the only yard work is perhaps to catch dinner!

Cowichan Valley - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

A little further up the road sits Genoa Bay Marina.  A little community of people, some landlubbers, others preferring the gentle sway of the sea, but all intrinsically joined by their shared love and appreciation of this picturesque and special place.

Cowichan Valley - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As we meander our way back home, we are struck by the dichotomy of this scene.  The bright red geraniums conspicuously stand united against the fading backdrop, overtly refusing to accept their demise.  And while I do admire their tenacity, I can’t help but hear the theme from “Jaws” silently playing in my thoughts!

Cowichan Valley - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Valley – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As the clouds slowly reclaim the sky, a chill fills the air and thoughts turn to hot chocolate and a warm fire waiting at home.  Soon this landscape will transform into a Winter wonderland, compelling us to come back and visit again to capture whatever stories it chooses to reveal, and to share them you, our dear friends.

We do hope that you have enjoyed our walk together today and that you will join us again next time.  Until then, stay warm and well, and please do leave any comments or thoughts you have as we love to hear your stories!

Until next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad



  1. avatar ehpem says:

    Wonderful post Toads – Mrs. Toad’s writing is exemplary, and the photography is fantastic, much helped by perfect lighting. You certainly live in a wonderful part of the world!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so kindly, Ehpem. I would have to agree that we are very lucky to live in such a pretty place, matched only by the wonderful folks we call our neighbours. Thank you for stopping by today!

  2. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    You totally have me singing songs from the Wizard of Oz now!

  3. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    What a combination – great writing by Mrs Toad and wonderful images by Mr Toad. That first one is killer. I wish I was there shooting that location with you.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you for your kind words Len, they are much appreciated! That first shot is one of our very favourite scenes around here, and it is just next to one of our favourite restaurants, so we tend to visit it often!

  4. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Wow, what a wonderful journey Mrs. Toad! Well done! The image from the Genoa Bay Marina is fantastic – a perfect fall setting! Just an awesome post!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you very much Jim! Genoa Bay is just one of those truly special places that makes you feel instantly welcome, and is one of the prettiest places I’ve seen. Thanks for your comments and for taking the time to pop by today.

  5. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Ahhh such a wonderful post Mrs. Toad. The images are spectacular. I’d love to live in your beautiful neighborhood or at least visit. Have a great weekend.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Edith for your kind comments! We would love it if you ever came for a visit, you have a standing invitation! Hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.

  6. avatar Sandra Kent says:

    I loved the “walk” we had together today.;-)) The way you describe your stories makes me feel as if I was there. I would love to travel up and down Vancouver Island capturing it’s beauty.
    Thank you for sharing this fantastic part of your life.! You are truly an inspiration for those of us who take a camera and try to capture our own story. For this I thank you!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you for your kindness Sandra, I cannot tell you what it means to Mr. Toad and I. We just love this little part of the world so much and have such fun sharing it with good friends such as yourself! We would be delighted if ever you did come to the island, and would be happy to show you around with your camera!

  7. Quite a surprise being taken on a walk through the old neighborhood. Both text and photography put me right there again. Fond memories. Thank you Mrs Toad, this is a real treat.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Joseph, I’m absolutely sure you never tire of seeing your old stomping ground, but I must say your new one is magnificent as well! Thank you so much for your visit today, and Mr. Toad and I look forward to our coffee with you soon!

  8. avatar Mrs. Mudpuppy says:

    Well Mrs. Toad, you’ve done it again! What a lovely description of a perfect Autumn walk :)
    Wish I was there taking it with you but with the way you write it felt almost like I was there! Great images Mr. Toad, it really brings to life the gorgeous countryside you are surrounded by. Very enjoyable post, can’t wait for more :)

  9. avatar LensScaper says:

    A great joint effort, Toads. I think we often pass by gentle rolling countryside looking for something with added drama. But there is something so comfortable and homely about images like the ones you’ve posted here.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Andy for your wonderful comments. I must admit we are pretty fond of the scenery around this lovely little neighbourhood, and it’s just so fun to be able to share it with everyone.

  10. Lovely images which really capture the feeling of these places. I especially love the one of the floathomes at Maple Bay Marina.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Laurie, Maple Bay Marina is one of my favourite places, it just has such a relaxed and happy feeling to it. Thanks so much for coming by!

  11. avatar Jim Nix says:

    wonderful work Mrs Toad, lovely pics all around! happy Fall season!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks so much for you your kind comments Jim! Happy Fall season to you as well, I see you must share my love for this time of the year!

  12. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Thanks for the journey! What fantastic scenery! I definitely have a desire to get back up that way! So awesome!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks Rick! We are pretty lucky to look out at this beautiful scenery every day. Please do come for a visit and check it out in person!

  13. avatar Renee Besta says:

    Wow, Mrs. Toad, what a wonderful story accompanied by striking images. The true beauty of nature is revealed in this fabulous post. The Cowichan Valley is now on my bucket list of special places to visit and photograph. What a beautiful place to reside. You are most fortunate.

    Totally stunning scenery and highly inspirational. Makes me want to rent a cabin and relax in the pines. I can see and smell the area just viewing your fabulous images. Wonderful work here you have done. Congratulations!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Renee, it really is such a pretty place and always an adventure to explore. If ever you do make it over here, we’d be happy to show you around! Thanks for your visit today.

  14. What an extremely beautiful place you guys live in! I love the shot of the yellow trees reflecting in the water! Thanks for taking us on a journey with you!

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