Pine trees and spruce trees tower over our cottage and gently wave in the breeze, while the nearby mountains on Salt Spring Island lift into the low clouds. It’s a lovely vista. Water surrounds, but to really see it we need to walk or drive down the hill into town. There fishing boats, houseboats, gift stores, restaurants and a pub built out upon the wharf greet the visitor. There is a wonderful bakery filled with some of the most delicious, oven-baked bread I have ever tasted and a fish and chip shop to remind us of England. This is Cowichan Bay, or ‘Cow Bay’ as the locals call it.
Behind our property, on the top of the ridge, the lush, green, farm fields are teaming with large birds; Canada geese, ravens, Trumpeter swans, Seagulls, and the odd Bald Eagle watching intently as each finds food among the abundant, fresh scatterings. There are cows; black, white, brown, tan and others, and as many wineries and a cider brewery to excite the taste buds. We could ride our bikes to a couple of the wineries. One of my favourite wines is a deep, rich, ruby-red from the nearest winery sold by a Spanish owner who looks like a transplanted onion seller from Spain, complete with his tilted black beret. We went sketching among the rows of grapes there last year.
Cowichan Bay is country, ocean, mountains and fresh air. The bay itself is the outlet for the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers that stream from Cowichan Lake and the nearby mountains that surround the farm-rich Cowichan Valley. This Vancouver Island valley was so named by the native peoples as “Warm Land.” E. J. Hughes, one of the many local artists, once said, “I have painted in the Cowichan Valley for fifty years and it is the most beautiful place on earth.” It is also Canada’s only Maritime-Mediterranean climate, resulting in the mildest year round temperature in the country.
Mowing grass and chopping fire-wood is going to keep me busy and possibly fit, and one day we have plans to paint the outside of our cottage. We’ll outshine the neighbourhood yet. We have christened our little cottage “Hygge House.” Hygge, pronounced hoo-guh, is a Danish word meaning coziness, pleasure and peace. It seems there is always a word in another language to fit the bill.
I have always wanted a home by the sea, in the country, near the mountains. What could be better than to live in such a wonderful place along with our pet cat, art, good music, sail boats, a glass of red wine, a wood burning fireplace and love? And in our garden hummingbirds come to visit. As long as we don’t miss garbage day or forget to pay our taxes, we have found our little bit of heaven.