Living Like Birds in British Columbia (Free Spirit Spheres)

The spheres remind me of my gourd birdhouses.  I had come across this unique place at some point and made a mental note to look into it when I planned our Vancouver Island trip.  It is everything you’d expect an upscale birdhouse for a person to be, only more comfortable.  The property is nestled on an acreage in a residential area between the Inland Island Hwy (the “new”, fast route) and the Island Hwy (the older, scenic, coast-hugging route).  Despite neighbors nearby, everything about it feels like a secluded, wild retreat.


There are currently 4 spheres here, three for rent and one that serves as the office.  Each is set apart in the forest, so much so that we only saw ours and one other during our two-night stay.  Our sphere hangs from ropes attached high up in three trees.  It is also tethered horizontally to these same three trees to minimize swaying. It rocks gently, without much sway, whenever one of us moves about. It’s not enough motion to really offset your balance.  The two big side windows allow us to look down to the moss-carpeted forest floor 25 feet below where I watched a deer amble by, from bed, one morning!Sphere (2)A woodpecker has left a gridded series of holes in a tree trunk directly outside our window.  A pine squirrel throws cones down onto the sphere, an expression of her opinion about this invasion into her space? With the big windows allowing in the crisp, cool night air and the stars shining through the skylight, it’s like sleeping outside, up in the trees but with no bugs.  And in a really comfortable bed.   It’s camping with plumbing and no risk of being soaked in the rain.  It has all the benefits of sleeping in a tent except the portability.  This is my kind of sleeping outdoors.Sphere (4)

The Spheres property is scattered with well-placed painted stones bearing inspiring words, painted flowers or hearts.  It’s like an adult Easter egg hunt, but with peace and inspiration instead of candy.  Free Spirit indeed.


There is a small pond with a woodland path that separates us from the fully plumbed, modern bathhouse and the kitchen cabin.  These small buildings are built on trailers – the original “tiny houses”?


Each has a nice, covered deck and sitting area overlooking the pond.  One evening we were sitting at a café table on the deck enjoying some local brew and watching the stillness of the end of day settle in.  It felt like we were all alone in these woods.  The crisp, coastal air is silent but for the occasional drip-like sound of a fish’s mouth breaking the water’s surface in pursuit of an insect.  A kingfisher is quietly darting between the trees working his way around the pond edge.  The neighbor’s cat came by to rub on our legs and purr her

As I lowered my head to look at a map for tomorrow’s hike, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  I froze, shifting only my eyes, to see a diminutive deer approaching.  She was browsing the grasses and leaves at the edge of the trees.  With my finger to my mouth, I gestured “shhh” to Rob and pointed over my shoulder.  She came so close that I could hear her ripping the grasses and grinding them in her teeth.  She looked up at us, stopped momentarily and went right back to eating.  She doesn’t care about us.  (Despite this, I still was afraid to stand up to take her picture above the deck railing!)  Deer (2)Then, a second deer head appeared around the edge of the building.  This young buck was growing two velvety antlers.  He also does not care about us.  Deer (1)We watched them in silence as they moved through the edge of the trees, occasionally alerting at some distant noise, leaping into the air to bolt a stride or two before settling back to eat.  False alarm.  I later learned that they are black-tailed deer, 3 feet tall at the shoulder and known for being habituated to people.  “You will probably see one during your stay”, the Vancouver Island guidebook says.

It seems to me, high up in their nests in the trees, the birds have got it made.


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