West Wind’s Epic Corporate Camp-Out!

July 8, 2014 West Wind CompanyEventsExplorationStaff

20140629_095432Galiano Island, Montague Harbour

Every year we brave the weather (however wet it may be) and spend two glorious days camping, boating, fishing, relaxing & eating… Good times were had and oh boy were we well fed!


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Camping In Clayoquot Arm

March 14, 2014 West Wind Exploration

Danny, our milling manager, brought back some stunning images from his camping trip to Claypquot Arm this past January.


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Big Trees – Big Dreams

September 26, 2013 Shelley Nielsen ExplorationIndustryShelley's Articles

Ballet on Water – Pas de Poisson – Photos by Jan and Shelley Nielsen

Ballet on Water – Pas de Poisson – Photos by Jan and Shelley Nielsen

Jan and I have traveled north – beyond on the rapids – to The Broughton Archipelago on three occasions since 2004.  We have always been the smallest, oldest and most wooden boat up there.  It is a go-to destination for yachts, mega-yachts and super-mega yachts without a doubt.

Being ‘bookie’ people, we have quite a library aboard.  We collect books on natural and cultural history, on local stories – from then and now and of course, the various boating bibles on the go-to destinations.  If you read my articles, you’ll know we love to mix travel and timber-talk as much as possible…..and what better occasions to see the industry in action.  These books spin a tale of hard work and the pioneering spirit, industry growth and decline…..and reinvention.  Up in the Broughton’s, you can ‘live’ history.

I have discovered a fabulous synopsis of the History (150 Years) of the Forest Industry in BC.  This is credited to The Historical Thinking Project at www.historicalthinking.ca.  This project is committed to the incorporation of historical thinking into curriculum, classrooms and educational resources.  Can’t argue that!


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Boating in Turkey

May 17, 2013 West Wind Exploration

By West Wind’s Danny Schaftlien

These beautiful photos were supplied to us from our milling manager, Danny. Crystal clear, aquamarine water and ancient Ottoman ruins. What a fantastic locale for boating!


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Pacific Yew- The Cognac of Wood

July 4, 2012 Shelley Nielsen ExplorationHardwood & SoftwoodIndustryShelley's Articles

This wood is my absolute favourite of favourites.  Quite simply, it has a richness that speaks to my senses like a fine cognac long-aged in French oak barrels, or perhaps your preference is Grand Marnier.  My kitchen cabinets are made from yew, as are many of our doors here at West Wind Hardwood, and upon returning from time away, I am always struck by how extraordinary this richly coloured, unique wood is.

There are many, many species of yew; one of the more common is English yew.  The name “Yew” comes from the Proto-Germanic “īwa-“and with a possible origination from the Gaulish “ivos” referring to the colour brown.  Our local species is known as Pacific yew, western yew, American yew, Oregon yew, bow-plant, mountain mahogany.

Long associated with magic, death and rebirth/eternal life; attributed with magical and psychic abilities, yew was one of the ‘nine sacred woods’ used in the ritual fires of the Celts, and as a ‘totem’ tree by Celtic tribes.  Reincarnation has always held a fascination for me; multiple lives and such.  I hold the concept lightly having had no first-hand experiences but I was recently informed that I have lived three previous lives; my first as a female warrior in Pre-Roman Britain which I find curious considering the importance the yew tree  held in these times.  Perhaps some heed should be given to Hamlet’s words:  There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’


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Mesquite – There’s a Love/Hate Relationship

May 11, 2012 Shelley Nielsen Artwork & Hobby WoodworkingCompanyExplorationShelley's Articles

On our annual Mexican road-trip inland, we were drawn to the beauty of the mesquite tree.  The traveler sees twisted, crooked limbs, sharp spiteful thorns amid flowers looking like long spikes of yellow catkins and delicate feather-like leaves; as yet, seasonal pods have not matured.  There is a delicate fragrance perfuming the arid landscape.

Mesquite (from Nahuatl mizquitl) is a plant found in Mexico and upwards through Southern US; some species are also found in Central and northern South America.  It is a deciduous tree reaching heights of 20-30 ft; depending on the particular species and environmental conditions, it can exhibit more shrub-like tendencies than tree.  With long deep taproots making it an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant plant, ranchers consider this a nuisance tree because it competes with rangeland grasses for moisture.

Native Americans relied on the mesquite pod as a staple in their diet; the bark used for basketry, fabrics and medicine.  Today, the flowers provide a nectar source for bees producing wonderfully flavoured honey.  It made, and continues to be, a significant element in the natural and cultural landscape.


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