The mornings are the best part. Invariably tired (there are no early nights in Tofino) there are boys padding around in their PJs, excited to be in Tofino, wanting pancakes or poached eggs on toast.
Some mornings we take Lou alone to the beach, but there is also the lure of the boathouse, set on stilts two flights of stairs below the house, just above the rocky inlet. I go down in the cool air with a new cup of coffee and a book to sit in one of the pair of pale green Adirondack chairs (not so comfortable, but well-suited to this particular scene) overlooking the water. Lou follows me down and dozes on the warm wood in scattered sunlight. Crows caw testily at me (or at Lou, for being a dog and snoozing rather than pay attention to their presence a few feet away in the branches?) and wildlife goes about its business of living.
Meares island sits quietly across the water as it always does – there are cows living on Meares, their descendants having swum to shore from a sinking ship in the 1800s with sailors who were later rescued by another ship that didn’t have space for cattle. The tide is out, leaving the mudflats an open buffet for sea birds and buoys left sitting on the muck. Sometimes you can see the tide turn, and barely-there waves tentatively begin to tiptoe back toward the shore. Today, it made me realize I had promised the boys we’d drop the crab trap – best done at low tide, and pulled up when it’s high, the ocean having brought crabs along with it.
I stay down as long as I can, resisting thoughts of the boys and what they might be up to – what plans are being made – everyone else must be anxious to start their day, to go on outings. Sunscreen and towels and dry clothes and snacks and bottles of water must be packed. Eventually I go up and we head to the beach, or the park, or the little aquarium in Ucluelet.
Today ran long, and by dinnertime after too much sun and sand no one had the gumption to come up with a meal plan. There was enough in the fridge, so we steamed corn, cooked spaghetti and tossed it with pesto from the beach grocery, made up a salad from the head of lettuce the 90 year old next door neighbour offered from her garden, peas in their pods, slivered purple onion, strawberries, avocado and crumbled feta, toasted kale chips and roasted the tiniest potatoes we bought at the Saturday morning market. Creamy yellow and red the size and colour of radishes – some as small as peas.
All they needed was to have their dirt rinsed off and to be tossed with canola oil and salt, then roasted at 450F for 20 minutes, until tender inside and crispy out.
I’m hooked, in case I haven’t told you this already, on kale chips.
To make kale chips: wash, dry well and tear kale into big bite-sized pieces, tossing out the thick stems. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with canola oil; toss with your hands to coat them well, and sprinkle with salt. Rearrange in a single layer and roast at 400F for about 10 minutes, until crisp and starting to turn golden. (Watch them closely – if your oven is too hot they can burn quickly!)