Little River

young SIBLINGS reflect on the home they’re growing up in.

Photos by

Photos by


My family and I have lived on the northern end of Quadra Island for two years. We moved here from Manitoba, and brought along our tiny house, two cats, and a dog named Yuki.

Before we could stay in our tiny house for good, we lived in a little cabin on Village Bay Lake. One night, when there was not a cloud in the sky and the moon reflected across the water, we could hear the clear sound of a wolf orchestra beginning to sing. It was unlike anything I had ever heard. I kind of felt shivery, but at the same time, excited.

On one of the very first days after we were living on our land, a small pack of beautiful wolves stood on the hill and stared into our living room window. Although our dog barked, the wolves didn’t shy away and just looked calm. They even had short naps on the mossy rocks. It was like they were introducing themselves.

Once our tiny house was ready, we began our small farm journey on this island. We soon built a chicken coop and a small goat barn for the arrival of our first goats. We have our chickens out in front of the house. In the morning when I walk out onto the deck, they always greet me. It feels nice, as if they are saying, “Hello.”

When it is pouring rain and we go out to visit our goats, I like to take my art book to the barn and draw. I’m not sure why, but when I’m with the goats I get better ideas of what to draw. Sometimes the goats nibble on my paper, and I can’t help noticing how funny and curious they are.

I love going for walks with the goats and my brother Simon. The babies go bouncing ahead of us and I feel gleeful. It’s hilarious to watch them.

Life on Quadra Island is really amazing. I do miss Manitoba, sometimes, but I can’t imagine not living here. If we hadn’t stayed, we wouldn’t have met the people we’ve met, or loved the goats we have loved. I think this Island is very special. It definitely snows less here than on the prairies, but I rather enjoy the rain. I always sleep better when my ears have something to listen to. The sound of rain is calming and makes me feel safe.

We don’t have electric heaters in our house because we live off-grid, but I think I prefer our mini wood stove anyway. After a good hard rain the mist rises, and I love the refreshing smell of damp wood and wet moss. It’s like bringing your lungs to the spa. Decaying leaves give a lovely earthy smell, and wet cedar has a zingy scent. Yuki, however, is not as fond of the rain.

I also love living so close to the ocean. The salty smell is thrilling. When we first arrived, it gave me a lot of excitement to see large schools of fish. But the most exciting thing of all is seeing the glossy head of a seal pop out of the water and look at us while we are kayaking. You can almost feel the seals watching you from behind. They give themselves away by letting out the breath they have been holding. It’s magical to see them swimming so near.

I turned 12 last December and I am excited to continue my Quadra adventure.

– Sophie Kuhl, AGE 12

little river simon sophie gallery

My family and I live in the temperate rainforests on the northeastern part of Quadra Island. Our land is on the side of a very tall, rocky hill. From the topmost peak of our land you can see the lights of Campbell River, and also the waters of Discovery Passage below.

On hot summer mornings, if we wake up and decide that this day is definitely a lake day, then after lunch we pack our bags, grab our paddles, and hike to the water. Our driveway is relatively long, but not as long as those of some of our neighbours, who might travel a kilometre, or more, before they reach their house from the road. Our driveway is surrounded and bordered by huge, majestic trees. I love walking below them among the ferns and plantain. Depending on the time of year, there are always ripe berries to eat on the hike down. It might be Huckleberries or Salal or Salmonberries that we snack on. Thimbleberries are tasty too, although very fuzzy on your tongue.

On the road before we turn down the shady path to the lake, there are long grasses coated with fine dust from the road. Sometimes I like to brush a stick through them, disrupting the silt from their bowing blades.

Once we reach the lake, I love the moment when I step into our small blue rowboat named The Blue Dasher, unmoor, and row out. It is such a small boat that, if I take more than myself, we must be careful about where we sit, for the bow could be too high, or much too low. It is one of my favourite things to be in the rowboat and paddle out, by myself, into the lake, sometimes rowing completely around the Island on the Island, which is our family name for the island at the centre of the lake. It is so calming to hear the rhythmic splash of oars as the boat dashes across the water. It could almost soothe me to sleep.
If I am out during the evening, I might hear the occasional splash of a fish leaping from the water, or the fluttering squeak of a bat flying past, catching insects mating on the water. Closer to the island there is always an abundance of hunting water striders delicately placing their microscopic toes on the water’s surface and swiftly launching themselves across and onto their unsuspecting prey. It is a magical dance.

Other times I will row underneath the bridge that divides our lake in two. On this side the lake floor is much closer, and the clumps of muck look like stones. One border of this half of the lake is shielded by thick reeds, and you will almost definitely find a dragonfly laying her eggs.

Since the water level on this side of the lake is shallower, there are more large rocks poking out of the surface. One in particular is always covered with the shattered claws and carapaces of crayfish, the remnants of some bird’s delicious snack. As I row back underneath the bridge, there is a heron who occasionally will nest in some of the trees on the island, and sometimes his silhouette is outlined by the fiery orange, setting sun.

I row past Party Island (not really an island, just a peninsula) and notice it is vacant. Through the tall, underwater forest of plants just below the surface. Past the lake banks, thick with hardhack in full, pink bloom. Back to the dock, where I tie up, and head home.

– Simon Kuhl, AGE 14