"Don't wish me happiness I don't expect to be happy all the time....It's gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monday, 5 October 2015

A parcel and fish

Social injustice in British Columbia isn't a thing of the past. It didn't end with residential schools. There are teens in my province who need help today. I mailed a parcel the other week to the high school in the northern part of my province where I am involved with a project to provide food and clothing to homeless teens. Inside were new, warm winter socks, tuque's, a scarf and money to buy gift cards and voucher's at a local grocery and fast food store. In the past several weeks I have taken some time and searched a bit online where I found out about Threshold housing, located in Victoria BC and Covenant house, located in Vancouver BC. Both of these organizations are dedicated to housing homeless teens. Covenant house which assists around 1500 + youth a year have a lot of programs. They also supply both emergency and longterm housing. Threshold which has helped 300 youth in housing since 1992 is a smaller program but they also offer two different types of housing based upon needs. Both have program's to teach basic's like budgeting and cooking and they stress the importance of the relationship with the teen and building trust with staff. Both receive about half of their money from the government and the remainder comes from donations from business's and individual's. It was thrilling to read about the board members at Threshold and their obvious devotion to there project felt genuine. It is this shared vision to make this world a better place that made this parcel a reality. Later that day in town we visited a park where we watched salmon spawning. It was amazing watching the enormous amount of energy the fish expend to swim up the creek. The return on giving is an investment. The results like spawning continue forever.
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Thursday, 10 September 2015

A break

I took this picture in August back when I would be on the beach at six am to share the glory of a sunrise with my young daughter. It's cool now and dark in the mornings and instead I try to sleep a bit longer. The warmth of an early morning fire in the stove and the orange glow it casts in my kitchen beckons me like sunshine. So does the flickering lights of the sweet smelling, hand poured beeswax candles I made with my daughter. These times like the seasons are fleeting. I am reminded to make time for where my heart is. I need the time and space to follow where it is going and so I am taking a break from blogging although I will continue to post about my fundraising efforts and the homeless teens my heart goes out too. At some point I may change back to my regular posting. I thank each of you for your warmth and kindness. It is my sincere hope that in the pages of my blog your faith has become strengthened. However, difficult the way may be; "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deut. 31:8

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A big thank you and creating social change

A BIG thank you to everyone who came to my studio and bought. I deeply appreciate your support. Because of you these kids will receive food and clothing. Because of you these kids will receive love. I am both deeply passionate and disturbed by the injustice being done to these innocent kids. We as a rich, western society can not simply abandon our children just because for whatever reason their parent's have. These children may be undesirable as foster children in the sense that they may have drug and alcohol issues and other poor and or bad behaviour (ie. stealing) but that is still not an excuse to care for them. I do not have any experience with advocating social change through our political system but I do understand that I need to contact the local mp. I do not see myself as one with the skills or resources to do something about this situation. But I can not sit silent at this injustice so until someone else more qualified than myself takes the reins I will do my best to help these kids. If you have homeless kids in your town what is being done about it? Have you advocated for social change and do you have any advice for me? The picture is of my daughter feeding a chickadee in our yard.
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Friday, 21 August 2015

To bloom

It's hard to know why some parents walk away from their children. Some opt out early. Other's later. Sometimes it's addiction, mental illness, or a combination of factor's. With the lack of commitment in relationships today sometimes home environments become unbearable, complex, abusive and children opt to leave. The reality is there are teens today who do not have a home. They live with the contents of their lives in a backpack and stay at a friends house - until it is time to move on. Hopefully they have another friend - whose home they can stay in and that it too is a safe place. Maybe they can surf enough couches until they graduate. Sometimes they get a job and drop out like one of the teen's I became familiar with last summer. His father had opted out when he was born. There were problems and the day came when he couldn't go back to his mother. He was alone and did not have other family member's who could step in, help, nourish, love, and guide. I don't know why some parents walk away but I'm not here to judge what just is. To be human is at times to fail. I know I have. My daughter and I have a peaceful, happy home. We have food and clothes. I have gratitude for what I have. All kids need food, shelter, clothes and love and in return they give the gift of a flower.

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Open Studio

My studio will be open for visit's on Wednesday, August 26 from 10 am until 3pm. The photo above is from part of the second framed tapestry on exhibit. This tapestry is titled, "Duck Bay" and it measures 27" wide by 29" long including the frame. It is woven with New Zealand wool that I dyed with acid dyes. I wove this tapestry last winter on my hand made loom. Why bother making a loom when I already own a top quality american made one with all the bells and whistles? The reality is it takes far more skill to weave on a primitive loom than on any factory built loom used today. I needed a challenge - and I found it in first constructing this loom and than on learning to weave on it. I also needed to feel that primal connection and I love this loom for giving me all of that and more. The price on this tapestry is 885.00 Canadian dollars. Forty percent of that is going to buy clothing and food for homeless teens. I charge actual shipping only. If you are not happy return the tapestry to me within 14 days of receiving it and I will refund you minus the shipping charges. I want you to be happy with your purchase. If you think you may be interested email me and I will send you more pictures. Together it is possible to make a difference and share the love every kid deserves.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

To make a difference

Could you put all your belongings in a backpack? Have you missed a meal today because you don't have money? My annual open studio is coming up quickly. Through a turn of events that happened last summer I became acquainted with some B.C. rural kids (ages 13-18) who didn't have a home. With last summer's sale approximately 12 kids were helped through out the duration of the school year with much needed winter clothing. It was because of those who came to my open studio and bought that those kids received help. Some of them graduated. Sometimes a little goes a long way's. This year the vice principal of the rural B.C. high school who I am continuing to work with has expressed not only a continued need for winter clothing but also for food. After all the cafeteria isn't open for supper or weekends or Christmas. Our world is full of pain and suffering and the biggest gift we can give it is to be the change we wish to see. For me the inspiration is my love for God - my husband. This year I have two framed tapestries on exhibit. My next post will be on the second smaller tapestry. The photo at the beginning of this post shows a small part of this first large tapestry. It is titled, "Two Islands" and it is from my personal collection. It was woven with New Zealand wool that I hand dyed with indigo that I grew in my garden. Indigo is an ancient blue dye with a long history. The tapestry including the frame measures 38.5" wide and 50.5" long and it is 885.00 Canadian dollars. Forty percent of that price will be going directly to pay for food and clothing for these homeless teens. Shipping is actual shipping charges only. Email me if you think you may be interested and would like to see more pictures and/or if you would like to know about my lay - away plan. In the event that you are not satisfied return the tapestry within 14 days of receiving it and I will refund your money minus the shipping charges. I want your enjoyment.

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Friday, 14 August 2015

Something new

Sunday morning when I went outside I couldn't help but notice drifting through the trees like a swan in the mist was my neighbour's smoke. They had lit the first morning fire belonging to fall. It was cool enough but I decided against following suit as I was going to make canned applesauce on the gas stove. It was a labour of joy and I wanted to dance amongst the apples and jars in the sweet smelling warm heat. Canning does this to me. Lunch was easy. Thick slices of toasted home made bread with peanut butter and fresh, hot applesauce. After eating we sat down to look at an August 1990 issue of "Country" magazine. It was full of evocative images celebrating a country harvest. There were pictures of children with farm animals, a combine working a lonely field and snow geese migrating through a misty sky. I was amused to see no pictures of apples or woodshed's brimming with seasoned wood. Fall is relative and means something different for everyone - but for all of us who live with four seasons it brings change. What does fall mean to you? I told my toddler we were going to move things around for something new including some of her toys. The afternoon passed quickly and while the last batch of applesauce was in the canner an apple pie baked in the oven. After the little angel was fast asleep I put on my work clothes as I needed to go and stack firewood and that's when I saw the bunny. This - like fall it's something new.
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Friday, 7 August 2015

Seasonal changes

Summer in a subtle way is shifting to fall. Evenings are not quite as long before the ribbons of a fading sunset tie a bow in the sky. Squirrels have begun harvesting cones in the tree tops around the cabin and I've been busy working on a myriad of projects - most of which are still undone and in various stages of being completed and other projects that I haven't started - like the woodshed. So I have no beautiful photo's of any completed work but I've been busy. It's nice to work outside - everything is dry and it's pleasantly warm but most of all life is peaceful and for that I am eternally grateful. Last winter I learned a technique on how to store firewood in this environment and this winter I am implementing it on all of my wood. The stovepipe has been cleaned but the top of the stove needs touchups and the new seal for the door needs to be glued in place. Mornings are silent - the nesting birds have faded away like the early dawn. Sea breezes in tree leaves sing a lullaby for the nesting mice in my shed. Wait a minute! Their gone now - I evicted them. Some days I keep the cabin windows closed but I like to open them - just to hear the falling rain. The reality is we are somewhere between late summer and early fall. When does one begin and the other end? To me they mingle together like the red and yellow on a once green leaf.
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Saturday, 1 August 2015

Camping and family visits

We went tent camping overnight on the mainland and met up with family. There were several things that happened. One was in the middle of the night I got up to go to the bathroom and discovered my headlamp was stone dead. I unzipped the tent door and through the trees I saw the most beautiful moon - her light casting a dimpled pathway across a darkened sea. My daughter and I picked blackberries and when we got home I mixed the blackberries with the freshly picked cherries family had brought us and I made some really good jam for all of us. Having family around reminded me how much easier life is when you have someone earthly to share it with. They have gone home now and I will miss them a lot but the joy of their visit and the image of that night accompanied by several passages of scripture remains with me. This is one of them; "..If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you.....You will pray to Him, and He will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways." Job 22: 23-28.
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Friday, 24 July 2015

A legacy

One day when I went down to the garden to cut a bouquet of flowers I saw a pileated woodpecker drilling on a stump on the other side of the fence. I scooped up the little angel and headed quietly over to look. When I realized the bird wasn't going anywhere we went back to the cabin to get my phone so I could show you this bird that frequently finds mention in my blog. There is a zoom on the camera phone but I've never figured out how to turn it on when I want it and this particular day it wasn't on. The bird was about six feet away eating termite's while drilling the stump apart. It was a male as the crest descended right to the beak and it had a moustache (a red line on the cheek) The female does not have the moustache and her crest is only at the very top of her head. Wood chips from heavy blows landed near my bare feet. When the side of the stump furthest away from us was decimated the bird hopped up on the remaining side and paused to take a good long look at us. Given that a pair typically will have a territory of approximately 150 acres or larger and that the longest recorded living pileated woodpecker in the wild was 12 years old it's nearly guaranteed that this is the same male I've seen and heard on a number of occasions. The black and white wings swooped like an oversized butterfly as it quickly passed into the secret depths of the forest. It's the raw beauty of this movement that endlessly appeals to me as the bird moves effortlessly through time and space leaving nothing behind except feather's and sawdust.
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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Arms and feathers

There was something I wanted to share with my daughter so we put some of her favourite books in her wee ladybug backpack. I told her we were going for a walk and that we were going to read some books. I took her little hand and brought her into the forest where whispering giants grow. We climbed over blowdown and waded through sword ferns until we came to the ancient maple tree I remembered. I came here long ago, as a girl, a young woman searching to find my way. I never stopped coming. There are three enormous arms spaced equally apart on this tree and they are all a footstep off the earth. We settled down in the dry moss sprawled out in arms to big to hold us to read little books and my mind wondered at the loveliness of it all. Over us leaves in sea breezes sang a hymn. Beyond the chorus of greens I caught a glimpse of pureness. I thanked God for this life- our days a breath of peace and gentleness. I thought of Deut. 33:27," The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms..." When it was time to leave the beaming angel stepped down by herself and we headed home. We had hardly taken a half dozen footsteps before I spotted the wing feather of a pileated woodpecker. Several more and I located another. I knew where the feathers came from - it was too obvious and I knew one was meant for each of us. Turned out that backpack was a little to big so when we got home we found her chocolate brown corduroy one - with the patchwork dog and it fits properly. It's hanging on a hook by the door for next time.

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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Salal and umbrella's

There is a salal bush a short distance away from our hummingbird feeder and this last winter a female Anna's spent a lot of time perched in the bush. When it was dry she was on the tallest branch and when it was raining she was under a leaf- or so it seemed. There is something particularly interesting about the shape of these leaves. They have a point which seems to somewhat direct the rain to run off the tip. These leaves which are very common in the Pacific Northwest -are also popular in the florist industry. There they are known as lemon leaf and are used as greenery for long lasting cut flower arrangements. I remember years ago there used to be a crew who came over to the island. I remember watching their boat leaving the wharf loaded with the bundles stacked so high that only the rider's heads were visible. The leaves are evergreen, leathery, relatively large and shiny. They make excellent emergency toilet paper. Today it rained - a long dripping rain that eventually soaked the dusty earth. My daughter looked out the window at the wet robin perched on the fence and said,"That robin needs an umbrella." Amused I forgot to ask what kind of an umbrella she had in mind. I wonder if it was a salal leaf.

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Monday, 6 July 2015

Salal berry muffin recipe

When the northwesterly wind blows through the open kitchen window it keeps it comfortably cool so that I can spend my time baking/cooking without heating up the cabin. Baking is easier than splitting firewood or putting in fence posts (my recent project) and I really enjoy doing it as a way to spend quality time with the little angel. I have salal ( a common native shrub of the Pacific Northwest) growing around the edge of my yard and now the berries are ripe. Raw they are dry and mealy but in baked goods they are scrumptious. This is my muffin recipe: I mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry in another before combining. Wet ingredients: 1 cup salal berries ( I also substitute blueberries); 1/3 cup melted margarine or a flavourless oil; 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk or any kind of milk; 11/2 tsp vanilla; 1/2 cup applesauce or one 113 gram snack cup of unsweetened applesauce. Dry ingredients: 11/2 cups all purpose flour; 3/4 cup white sugar; 1/2 tsp. sea salt; 1/2 tsp. baking soda; 1/2 tsp. baking powder; 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; 1/8 tsp nutmeg Preheat oven to 350. Bake 25 mins in greased muffin tins. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from tins. Makes 9 large muffins. Freezes well.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Firewood and my choice

I always wondered what I would do when the last block of firewood was chopped. Would I lay down in the dirt around the sand castle's my daughter and I built and stare up at the treetops and sky? I didn't. Instead I sharpened and oiled my splitting maul and went to bed. I can't really show you all the firewood. At this point it is scattered in several heaps. Do I have enough for winter? I don't know but the wood is now split and drying in the summer heat. Speaking of summer I am reminded of the first summer I visited Mrs. N. It was early july and as I stood in her yard; I looked at the tall overgrown grass. "This is my meadow," the sprightly, elderly woman told me her face beaming and that's when I saw the wild flowers sprinkled like glitter in the grass. Perspective is everything. My perspective is something I can control no matter what the circumstances. By changing it I can change everything.
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Thursday, 25 June 2015

A painted door and summer solstice

I don't really know when morning begins. I do know that sometime around 5 am when the little angel wakes up it is daylight. Half an hour later when I get up sunlight is sparkling and scattering the shadows in the trees along the edge of the yard. On summer solstice our sunrise was at 5:09 am. I love these long days where daylight stretches on like a sleeping cat. Over the past week I decided to spruce things up on my back deck with a bit of red paint. I used Victorian red by CIL. This is the same red as my windows. Red is the complementary colour to green and with the forest greenery all around I really like how it warms things up and makes the cabin sing. More than anything else it was something that needed to get done but I was pleasantly surprised at how much it brightened my spirit's. Sunset on solstice was at 9:30 p.m. At 10:00 p.m. it was still plenty light enough to take the scissors and cut a bouquet of flowers in the garden. As usual I didn't fall asleep until the last robin had fallen silent and the glowing gold of the longest day of the year had faded forever into the western sky.
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Saturday, 20 June 2015

For Father's Day

Dear God I love you. I know you are stronger than seven husband's and in reality I just need one - you. I trust you to lead me for you are as gentle with me as the whispering wings of a fluttering butterfly. Thank you for looking out for me. Thank you for giving me strength. You overwhelm me to tears with your caring heart when you see my need and you supply it before I ask. Before it become's a worry in my heart. "Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew?" Job 38:28. Thank you Father, Husband, Creator, God. Thank you for your love and care and for never letting me go.
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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Lumber

This is some lumber I ordered and had delivered outside my gate. I bought the lumber in town and paid a hefty price for there delivery truck to take it to the yard of the barge owner. He put it on his delivery truck and barged it across to the island and for another hefty price it arrived conveniently outside my gate. After it's arrival over several evenings after the little angel was fast asleep I began hauling it piece by piece to my front yard. There were two 6x6 eight foot long pressure treated posts that I packed in one at a time. They were heavy - and had an uncanny resemblance to each of the totes I push home in the wheelbarrow on town day. Then I had two 6x6 ten foot long pressure treated posts to haul and my gosh I struggled. The first I carried. Barely. The second I partly carried and then dragged. These posts left huge painful bruises on my arms. Later I began to wonder just how heavy they were so I looked online. I should have did this before - back when I was designing the woodshed. It was an oversight although I did check the weight on the bags of concrete. An eight foot post is 65 pounds and a ten footer is 81 pounds.
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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Roses

I took two quilts off the bed and I can forget about feeding the wood stove. It's hot outside and the northwesterly wind that usually feels cold is now refreshing. I feed off the long hours of daylight like a caterpillar on a leaf.
What is the simple life? If it's defined by a washing machine and running water than I don't have it.
I bought three miniature roses when they were marked down to 2.00 each at Walmart five or six years ago. They came looking dead but after I planted them they came to life and became these shrubby, little blooming bushes that furiously dance and cackle amongst themselves. Of course they never let me see them. It's all done behind my back and when I turn to look at them they are standing still but I hear their smothered giggle's. Have I arrived at middle age carefree from the expectations of other's only to be convinced that my roses are talking? "The quieter you become the more you can hear." Ram Dass
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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Forest of Light #2 - a tapestry valance

Before my daughter was born I did a tapestry commission that got me interested in weaving something similar yet quite different. So when I finished that piece I wove this one. After I removed it from the loom I put the weaving away - unfinished.  I think most people who create do this at some point and while it can take a long time it has never taken me this long (4 years or so) to return to it. It's been very dry here but the other night when I heard the sweet sound of luscious raindrops on the roof I was brought back to the unfinished weaving. In the early morning light as the rain fell dream-like outside our windows and turned our world verdant shades of green I baked bread and a cake. I skipped my daily laundry chore and still in my pyjama's I took out the weaving and began to make the feeling a reality. I had a friend, F. who unexpectedly passed away shortly after I wove this piece. F. was a huge supporter of my weaving and my lifestyle and I was anxious to show F. this piece. But F. never saw it.  It's hard to explain the feelings the finished piece invoked when I stepped back after hanging it in my window. I know F. would have loved it; everything and the organic direction it was pulling me in. Forest of Light #2 is in my etsy shop now. My phone won't allow me to post a picture and a link so I'm posting the link to make it easier for you and I hope you will stop by to check it out.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSingingLoom
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My etsy shop

I am so excited to share with you that my etsy shop is now open. As I mentioned before I was having troubles with my older smart phone as it would not work properly with the etsy app. To make a long story short I kept trying until one sweet day it worked. So come by for a visit and make yourself at home.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSingingLoom
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Saturday, 23 May 2015

What's in the tree?

The centre tree is a western hemlock and leaning into it from the left hand side is a much smaller hemlock. The arborist, J is in the largest hemlock about halfway's up. He has a dark colored backpack on that you may or may not be able to spot. While up there he freed the top of the smaller hemlock and then he cut it down when he was back on the ground. He also took down the second tree that was blocking the sunlight in the garden and then he bucked nearly everything up. J is from off island but he conducts himself in a professional manner that gives me peace of mind and that is why I hired him. Now it's up to me to get this watermelon smelling wood split up so it will dry in the summer sun. This wood gives me satisfaction visualizing it in my soon to be woodshed. It means freedom, peace and practically speaking warmth and for that I am filled with gratitude.

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Monday, 18 May 2015

Oyster mushrooms and preserving the harvest

I was introduced to oyster mushrooms (pleurotus ostreatus) when I first came to this island by my neighbours who are mushroom experts. They brought some over along with some other mushrooms as a welcome gift. That was sixteen years ago or so and each year around this time I watch for oysters when my little girl and I are out walking in a nearby forest. Oyster mushrooms fruit on dead, sick or dying red alder trees. Sometimes I have smelled them before I actually saw them. They have a scent that to me is a blend of forest earthiness and the salty sea. I use a pocket knife to remove them and I leave part of their short stem behind. I believe that doing this encourages a continued harvest. It's typical for me to return to the same tree for several years and then after that point the tree is rotted out and they are unable to fruit. There really is no poisonous look a like's here in the Pacific Northwest. Hypsizygus ulmarius, ( which currently has not been found in B.C.) is edible but apparently it is not as tasty. It's gills stop before the stem. In contrast the gills in oysters always run at least part ways down the stem. Omphalotus nidformis which grows for the time being in Japan and Australia look very different to my eye but it is touted as a look a like. However it has a rusty brown spore print which is very different from the white to lilac spore print of the oyster mushroom. So I always make a spore print, (lay a mushroom gill side down) on black paper which takes overnight. You can never be to cautious with wild mushrooms and peace of mind is knowing 110%. The only time I have ever gotten sick from an oyster mushroom was when I ate a popsicle at the same time while slicing raw mushrooms. My hands and the popsicle never touched each other or my mouth but they came too close. Since then I never eat while handling raw mushrooms and I always wash my hands and kitchen utensils after I am finished. I store oyster's in the fridge in a glass Pyrex bowl with the lid ajar as plastic bags make them slimy. I use a dampened rag to wipe off forest debris. The idea is to get them as little as wet as possible. I always end up harvesting more than what we can eat so I preserve them. One method that I have tried is dropping them into salted boiling water for a minute or two before freezing but it destroys their delicate taste and I have never done it again. A better way is to sauté them in oil. First I slice them into the size I want which is bite sized. Then, I sauté them in an uncovered frypan with oil until the water is drawn out. After they have cooled I measure out 1 cup amounts and put them in bags and freeze. But the best method is drying. I slice them approximately 3mm thick or so and put them in a food dryer I have hanging above my wood stove. When they are done I store them in the freezer. To reconstitute I soak them in warm water or grind them into a powder. I add them into soups and stirfry's. They are a gift from the forest and they enrich our lifestyle through the simple joy of forest walks and in our diet where their earthiness adds variety.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A lady's axe and some history on a stump

I've had the Fiskars x15 axe for about a year now. I use it regularly to split my kindling and it works very well. Not only is it lightweight and vibration-free but it holds a sharp edge longer than my splitting maul. I gave the Fiskars a trial run at something a little more challenging when I decided to fall a tree with it. A western hemlock was growing on the top of a 8-10 foot high Douglas fir stump. This stump is a piece of history. Sometime between 1888 and 1893 the section of island where I live was logged to make pasture for 300 sheep. The logging was done the old way by hand and trees were felled with axes. They began by making two notches on opposite sides of the tree. A springboard is a narrow board about 3 feet long with an iron toe which was placed into the notch. The picture above is of one of these notches on this particular stump. Most of the stumps in the area have either been demolished through further land development/clearing or the stump has disintegrated to the point where the notches are gone. Two fallers wearing caulk boots each stood on a board opposite each other and using razor sharp, double bitted axes together made an undercut in the tree. The undercut is a wedge shaped piece cut out of the tree which determines which direction the tree is going to fall. Finally, they made the back cut which is made on the side opposite the direction of fall. They made this cut by pulling a large crosscut saw together back and forth until the tree fell. This is one of two trees I mentioned in an earlier post which is blocking sunlight in a large corner of the garden. There are two other trees as well but because my daughter's swing is attached to them they will stay for now. Before I began I waited until the little angel was fast asleep and I replaced my long skirt for a pair of pants. Instead of a springboard I used a ladder to get to the top of the stump where I stood and chopped the tree down. Although falling a tree with an axe is physically demanding the slowness allows me to methodically note slight variations in the tree as it shifts before plummeting downward. I'm pleased with all the light in the garden and the Fiskars x15 is a good all around axe to have around. I'm going to intentionally disconnect and I will post again after the weekend.

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Saturday, 9 May 2015

For Mother's Day

My living grandmother taught me to knit. My late grandmother inspired me to design this knitted baby bootie pattern. She knit and crocheted a lot of booties and they were all made in love for other's. It was my tribute knit in loving memory of her. It became a special gift for a special baby. Since then I knit the pair above. Do you know a new or expecting single mom who could use some joy in her life? This pair will fit a newborn to 9 months. If you do email me with her contact details and I will mail her this pair. Motherhood is a blessed journey. An invitation into the sacred. Sleeplessness, and cheerios stuck in kitchen chairs are a part of it too. I am very thankful for my own mother and my grandmother's. I will celebrate Mother's Day with a thankful heart that now I too am a part of that circle.

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A robin's nest(s)

I found the robins nest in the eaves of my shed. It was partially built when we located it and each day we checked on the progress. One day a single blue strand appeared woven into the outer edge. That probably came from the blue tarp that I have over my firewood that leaked last winter. Does this robin like blue? Curious I pulled some blue plastic threads off the broken end of the ragged tarp and set them in a visible spot. Would she be interested? This robin wasn't and the next blue thing was an egg. Then a squirrel moved in and the egg disappeared. There is a simple, delightful book for toddlers called, Have You Heard The Nesting Bird?" By Rita Gray. Of course you all know that the nesting bird is quiet. In this book the nesting bird is a robin. The book shows what's going on at the nest and it also introduces other common birds and their calls. Maybe the robins in my shed needed to read this book. I'm leaving you with a picture of a robins nest we found on the ledge of an open window at a cottage where I am working. We've been peeking at the babies each day. Isn't birth a precious gift?
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Saturday, 2 May 2015

In the garden

My garden is overgrown. Herb's have tumbled over like spilled paint into and over each other. Two trees on the edge of the garden are casting too much shade and the only thing growing in that corner is moss. Lots of it. But even there springing up like polka dots of color are flowers. They toss their manes in sea breezes and sway like a mother lulling her baby to sleep. Our footsteps wind around these free spirits, forget-me-knots who bloom with careless ease and smirk at boundaries. Birds found the soft soil where we planted the peas. They danced and traipsed uprooting most of the seedlings. I covered the remaining ones with netting but I need to plant more. We watched a pine siskin gather dried stems scattered randomly in winter winds from last years garden. She filled her beak and flew up high above the tangled garden into the secrecy of the evergreen bough's. I sit in the warm dirt with my daughter who is holding the pink, wriggling worm in her growing hands and share with her the mystery of contentment so easily found here. The sunlight twinkles around us bouncing off the new yellow-green maple leaves from the swaying tree that watches over the garden. I see the weeds gathered in clumps around me laughing. I realize the imperfections of my garden and the wind tugs on my hair and I wonder what could be better than this? My garden reflects the chaoticness in life right now. Yet in the midst of the swirling winds of needs and demands I have perfect peace. "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A blossom

It happened this week. I was working; raking in the forest when I began unearthing old bones. Large bones under a red cedar tree. They had with time become separated one from another. All with a greenish tint. Then the tine of my rake released the bleached skull under the brown fallen leaves amongst the new growth of salal. I picked it up. It was the skull of a male buck. It was mostly intact except a lot of the teeth were missing. When had they fallen out? Had he returned intentionally because he knew this hollow under the cedar as intimately as I know my cabin? I put the skull back carefully and concealed it under the bushes. The deer is like my younger brother. I am reminded of long ago sitting quietly amongst the folds of tree skirts; a young girl listening. Was it then when I fell in love with trees? They have taught me I am small and unimportant but what I do is important. Did the trees notice the girl? I heard the crows in the tree-tops laughing. Last spring I planted this rhododendron to celebrate my motherhood; my movement within the circle of life. This is the first blossom and I am sharing it with you.

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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Horsetail hair rinse

Field horsetail ( equisetum arvense) grows freely amongst my roses. If your not familiar with this plant it looks like a long, lush animal tail and that is no tale. Horsetail has a plethora of uses and if you have any medical/health condition(s) I suggest you google "medicinal uses of horsetail" as that is beyond the scope of this post. There is wild beauty in this mimicking weed. To make my hair rinse I pick a handful of it and put it in several cups of almost boiling water. I let it steep until cool and then discard the plant material. After shampooing my hair I then pour the tea over my head and then I allow my hair to dry naturally. It makes my hair so soft. I have never had a conditioner that can rejuvenate my hair like how this plant does. It's also supposed to encourage hair growth but I can't attest to that as I have very long hair. It may also be beneficial for hair loss and dandruff. If you decide to use horsetail please email me with your experience. I would like to be able to further share with other's. It grows in a wide variety of soils. Some places to look would be roadsides, swamps, stream banks and meadows. When gathering any plant material please take into consideration whether or not the area has been sprayed. I noticed you can also purchase it online.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A disconnect and a ladybug

I was weeding a flowerbed when I saw spring's first ladybug. The little red and black bug was sitting quietly on the green leaf in the warm sunshine. What was it doing? I showed it to my daughter; and then I put it on my finger. The lady bug ran down it and flew away. Spring beauty has me wide-eyed, open for more. I don't own a TV or computer nor do I read newspapers or time magazine. I could read the news off my smart phone but I don't. For the last several days the screen has been frozen on my phone and I wasn't able to use it. It's working now but I spent several days disconnected. I don't know that it mattered. My days activities are rotated around the weather, tides and in the winter by the amount of daylight. Weekends I turn on CBC radio to listen to an arts program and I get the news on there. That is enough. I hear about the violence and the suffering in the world and it makes me cry. Somehow like this ladybug I would like to create a little beauty in this world. I'm thankful my phone is working again and since I don't have a ladybug picture for you I'm showing you a blossom from my Mt. Hood daffodil's.

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Saturday, 18 April 2015

In the forest

I have spent my week back in the forest working. I love this job. My companions are my daughter and these second growth Douglas firs, western hemlocks and red cedars. As I work, a small figure amongst giants I have contemplated how these trees spend their long lives cleaning the air, while providing a sanctuary for the birds who roost, perch or nest in their branches. As I raked I contemplated on the countless cones they have given for many generations of squirrels. I have looked for indian pipe ( monotropa uniflora). Through fungi these flowers are connected to tree roots. Without forests these flowers would cease to exist. I thought about how someday after I am gone the trees will fall and when they do their death brings birth. Young trees are nourished from the fallen tree. In short I have realized that the tree spends it's entire life giving for the benefit of the forest. The tree silently teaches by example the meaning of a well lived life.

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Friday, 17 April 2015

A call for prayer requests

I've been working on my lumber list and compiling numbers of what I need to go ahead with my building projects. Yesterday afternoon I measured some fencing boards I had stashed. These boards are costly new and I doubted that I would be able to go ahead with the project if I didn't have enough. I took my numbers inside the cabin to do the math and would you believe it I will have 1 extra board left over? I salvaged these boards several years ago and I am so elated and feel like divine help made certain that I got enough boards so that I can go ahead with this project that is important to me. I praise and thank God for his loving care. I enjoy praying and I believe in the power of prayer to our Creator. Time spent in prayer has enriched my life. I want to share it with you. Do you have a prayer request? Is there something you would like to thank God for? Please comment with your request. If you believe with me in prayer please take the time to pray for the requests that have been shared and thank God with me for His care in my life. Let us pray," Father in heaven we live in a world where there is much suffering and turmoil. Please give us the desire in our hearts to do what we can to help those in need. Help us to be encouraging with our words. Put it in our hearts to desire service. We ask you to comfort all in this world who are suffering. We claim Matt: 18: 19,20 "again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."  We lift up your holy name in reverence and honour. Amen"

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Brooms and birds

There is always much to say but little time to put my thoughts together and say it. There is a pot of blooming hyacinths on my back deck and the sweet, perfumed air makes me dilly dally with the broom when I sweep back there. It is then that I forget about whether or not I will finish everything that needs to get done for the day. Speaking about brooms I was paid to clean a cabin where there was no broom or mop so my daughter and I walked back home to borrow mine. The back lane was alive with the wingbeats of birds and when we got home we watched a male, audubon yellow-rumped warbler darting like a butterfly after insects in the elderberry. These birds are always on the move like a baby who has learned to crawl. The warbler true to its nature quickly moved on and I was reminded to keep myself in motion. The whirling wings of spring sing of the constant movement the season brings.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Humility

I've been working in the forest all week. I pick up fallen limbs and lightly rake to gather together in heaps the smaller, finer branches. How do you not feel enthralled when your surrounded by these large trees? Shafts of sunlight wrap tendrils of light around green bough's like the warm arms of an embrace. I cannot see it but there is a pileated woodpecker nearby calling. We find the upper piece of a bird skull. It's bleached white and I spot it easily lying amongst the brown sticks. Looking at the long bill I guess that it is a blue heron. There are no other bones or feathers. I have seen this before as I have another at home that I keep in a cabin window that I found the same way. It's an unsolved mystery reminding me that I don't know everything and that I need to listen more.
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Thursday, 9 April 2015

The circle of life

I looked out my cabin window. The one I painted Victorian red and watched a deer with clam sized clumps of winter hair left somewhere else eating the fresh, green grass as soft as my child's cheek. I'm at the stove where I'm making stovetop rice pudding. As I stir the milk and the rice I watch a robin gather last year's dead grass at the edge of a puddle. She fills her beak and flies away. I keep stirring and suddenly she is back for more. Suddenly this little task has gotten a whole lot more interesting. Somewhere in the yard is the promise of birth. I smile. Now I will share this joy with my daughter. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Dry firewood and more firewood

I danced unapologetically beneath the watching trees in my yard. My feet kicked up under my long skirt and my daughter laughed. I felt delirious with ecstasy. I picked her up and together we swayed like the wind in a tree. She giggled and then my hair tumbled down my back when the hairpins I had been wearing fell out. I have firewood. I have been waiting for awhile for Mr. L who finally came by right on island time and cut up the snag I had paid to get fallen several months ago along with some other logs. Seeing the bucked up wood fills me with great joy. It means warmth in this home we share with peace, kindness and gentleness. As soon as I gave Mr. L his money and after he had left I pulled out my splitting maul, wedge and sledge hammer. It's been awhile since I've used these tools. I broke open the first block and the sweet intoxicating scent of cedar drifted in and around me and I realized parts of it were still dry even after several months of waiting in the rain on the forest floor. I stood there momentarily motionless breathing in the heady scent and then I promised the tree I would try to live as beautiful as it once was before the storm that brought most of it down. And then I thanked God who made the tree.
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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Why I knit socks

I just finished knitting these socks and as I set the needles away I imagined a little discussion with them. This is what they said, "Wool socks are warm but why bother knitting us when you can buy others for less than the cost of the yarn? Besides who has the time to knit us on those teeny 2.0mm needles just so you can wear us in your rubber boots?" So I said to the socks, "Their is a satisfaction that comes from making something well whatever it may be and to be able to repair it when it does wear out." I heard some muffled giggles and silence. What's that about I asked? "Oh," said the socks, "we just wanted you to quit putting us in those stinkin boots." Happy Easter however you spend it and my next post will be after the weekend.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Cellphones, blogging and making milk

I got a friendly email from a lady asking me to make my pictures larger. Are they small? I wouldn't know as I run this blog off my iphone 4. For anyone who doesn't know anything about phones it means my phone is old and the apps that are in use do not work properly on it. In short I am limited to what I can do on my blog and in my posts. I use a smart phone and not a computer because it takes much less energy to operate a phone. A smart phone uses about 10 watts, a laptop about 60 and a desktop 150+. So for this post I have tried to enlarge the picture. Is it bigger on your screen? Is bigger better? I want to share with you how I make milk. You might find this handy for your own emergency the next time you run out. I measure 1 cup of oatmeal (quick or slow oats are both fine) and a pinch of sea salt into a glass jug. I then measure and pour in 5 cups of cold water. I put it in the fridge where it sits overnight and sometime during the next day I will pour off most of the water into a second jug. The remaining oats and water go into the blender which I turn on for a few seconds. I then put a jelly bag - in the past I used the foot of a panty hose that had only been used for that purpose over the first jug. I secure it with a rubber band. I then pour the milk back into the first jug. 'Milk' it for about 16 seconds and pour up a glass. There are times now when I will skip the straining part and just blend it in the blender really well. It makes for a richer milk - almost like creme and I will usually water it down with a cup of water. (Each time give it a quick stir before pouring - this is natural stuff and it behaves differently.) You may wonder why even bother going to the store at all - wait a minute you got to go get the oatmeal.

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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The sign part two

Let's just say that if you haven't read The sign part one than you are reading the ending first. The plant growing outside my gate along my fence and the back lane is petasites palmatus. It's common name is butterbur, palmate coltsfoot and their are probably other's. It is a member of the composite family - that's the same family that aster's and sunflower's belong to. At lower altitudes on the BC coast it is a native woodland plant. Native Americans used the herb specifically to treat respiratory issues. There was a study done in Japan in the 1970's that concluded the plant should not be used for internal purposes. However there is some dispute with the study. One being that only the blossoms were tested the other parts - the leaves and roots were not. My next door neighbour, Mrs. B told me years ago that she used it regularly from time to time. At that time she was gathering her plant material from the plants along my fence. I don't have respiratory issues so I am not familiar with using it. I think the plant is very decorative and that it would look good at the back of a wildflower bed as it grows about 3 or 4 feet high. The friendly hand shaped leaves are attached to a sturdy stalk that doesn't fall over. As the thick stem emerges from the earth it begins to flower. It's amazing really. How is it that it blooms first before the leaves appear? This plant has undampened enthusiasm for spring and since it is such an early bloomer it provides for the bees while everything else needs a caffeine dose of spring sunshine to wake up. Maybe one day I will get around to that wildflower bed. And I really need to put it right outside my gate.

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

The sign-part 1

One morning on my day off when I ventured outside my gate I found this sign attached to my fence. It had been taped on both sides to make it rainproof and it was attached through eyelets screwed into my fence which runs along the back lane. There is very little vehicle traffic along here as it ends at my neighbours driveway but because of a footpath which trespasses through private property their are people who use it for walking. I am one of them. In case you happen to live somewhere where hogweed hasn't arrived- yet, you may not be aware of the general public hysteria around this introduced invasive and poisonous plant. Did I say poisonous? I meant VERY POISONOUS plant. When I saw this sign on my fence I took it as an insult. After all what kind of an idiotic careless mother would allow this plant around her baby? I guess by now you know it's not hogweed. I wrote a note telling them all this and identifying the plant with its common name. I then asked them to remove their sign promptly. I stapled my sign to the fence above their sign. That afternoon I received a phone call from a woman who I will call Mrs. R. In the warmer months she walks by on a regularly basis. "I didn't put up the sign," Mrs. R said. "but I had a look at the plant," she said, "It's not hogweed it's cow parsnip......." Now cow parsnip is a native plant and it is in the same family as hogweed but it isn't anything near as poisonous as hogweed but it's nothing you want around your baby. But since this was coming from Mrs. R it wasn't a surprise still I was so irritated if I had wings I could have flown. At this point I know you all are thankful to live where you already are. "Do you have a pen? I asked her, " I want you to look this up." Then, I gave her the plants scientific name. I never heard back from her but two days later my sign had been torn down and the other left. Now I am a very busy person. I'm working right now and I do not want to spend my free time removing this harmless plant that has been here longer than I have. So I took their sign and threw it in my stove and put up another sign this one naming the plant with its full and proper name and left it at that. In my next post I will introduce you to the plant that has caused the ruckus.
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Thursday, 19 March 2015

The goldfish

We were in town last week and we made a side trip to a store that sells fish. They had one orange goldfish left. It was small and very active; darting around in the big tank with the green gravel and plastic plants. So for 1.49 Fishy became ours. I bought him some food and a water thermometer which cost 14.49. For now Fishy resides in his home which sits on the kitchen table. The first few days he spent his time charging into the glass barrier. Ting, ting, ting I heard and I wondered if he was ok. Lately, he seems to have accepted his boundaries as all is quiet. One of life's boundary's is time. After all we are only given so much of it. Fishy does not have a choice to change his boundaries but I can choose what I will do with the time that I have left. It's my daughter's birthday tomorrow and mine is Saturday. On the eve of both of these happy events I am reminded of the precious, irreplacable gift of time.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Each moment

We are spending more time outdoors as I have gone back to work and today like yesterday I am raking up fallen leaves and cones. I enjoy being outside but it's the silence I love the most interspersed with the natural sounds. There are the usual calls of bald eagles and ravens. Then I hear a song sparrow singing and a bee buzzes by. A small flock of geese pass overhead and I pause to look up. Their heavy wingbeats seem to brush the tops of the Douglas firs towering above us. Did their feet touch the needle tips? Suddenly they are gone and the moment is over. The northwesterly breeze picks up and I hear the ocean on the shore. The sun tries to come out and in the lazy streaming smoke filled light I take this picture. It all seems sublime and I am a part of it. The earth is drier than usual for this time of the year. The fire that I light burns very well as the cones, leaves and sticks are partially dry. I rake the fire together and it hiss's and sputter's. Nature has taught me to enjoy the beauty in each moment.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Ferns, digging and a........

Years ago I transplanted a lot of ferns into the front yard. At that time the forest floor around the cabin was barren and I loved the 3-5 foot high sword ferns growing nearby. Evidently, ferns have a very long life if their growing environment is left unchanged. These ferns are all well over 16 years of age as that's how long it's been since I transplanted them the first time around. Turns out now they are going to be in the way of the woodshed I have decided to build. Now I am relocating them along with the other volunteers that came up over the years. While the root system is shallow it's the weight of the roots that makes them a bit unwieldy. I've found it's easier to prune all the fronds off first before digging. The aroma of the earth is wonderful and I don't mind the dirt under my fingernails. The plan is to have it done before it starts raining next fall and I've got a little helper to assist me along the way.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Chimney fire

The morning started out as normal. I got a fire going in the wood stove and then put some water on the gas stove. I then began to put away the clean dishes on the drying rack when I noticed a funny smell. It was something that I didn't recognize. I looked around at both stoves and everything looked normal. I walked over to the wood stove and looked up through the small hole that I framed where the stove pipe goes between the two floors. That's when I saw the red hot of fire burning in the hairline crack between the tightly screwed together pipes. That was something I had never seen before. I also saw that the room upstairs was filling with smoke and that's when I knew I had a chimney fire. I closed the dampers on the stove then I stepped over my happily playing toddler and went upstairs. In the smoky room I quickly began to gather an armload of our things and sent a prayer. I took our legal documents that I keep in a ziplock bag, my purse, my jewellery box as there is some sentimental jewellery from my child's father that I wish to give to her some day. I also gathered two scrapbooks/albums I made for my daughter, my bible and my daughter's favorite doll.
I took the armload downstairs and set it outside on the back deck. I went back inside to dress us as we were both still in our p.j.'s. If the cabin was going to burn down I wanted to leave with warm clothes on our back and pyjama's with our valuables. After I tended to the water pot on the stove I paused to look back up through the stovepipe opening in the floor and I realized the fire in the pipe was going down. I gathered my daughter in my arms and thanked God. I have been burning wet wood. Wet wood or green wood for that matter causes creosote to form in the chimney pipe. For the most part my fire has been smouldering for hours on end over this past week or so. For whatever reason I was able to get a good hot fire going and the result was that the creosote that had been created in the pipe caught fire. At some point during the day I suddenly remembered a stack of firewood that I had covered up as 'saving grace' last summer and up until now I had forgotten about it because it is located away from the other wood. Isn't grace a beautiful thing?

Saturday, 7 March 2015

An Invitation

Nancy at A Joyful Cottage has featured my story and cabin in her series Living Large in Small Spaces. Please come over for a visit. http://www.ajoyfulcottage.com/2015/03/living-large-in-small-spaces-weaving.html

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Hope

"She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbour: 'Winter is dead.' By A.A. Milne." Daffodils symbolize re-birth and new beginnings. I find it meaningful that spring comes first in the calendar year. I think that daffodils give us a message of hope. Every fall I plant a new clump. Can one ever have too much hope?

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Monday, 2 March 2015

Sea Glass

The other 'things' that lay glistening in the spring sunshine amongst the strange white seashells on the beach that my island friend and I found while out walking was island sea glass. The picture above is only a sampling as we filled a small ziplock bag. Island sea glass has become scarcer over the years and the pieces we found were lovely. As you may have noticed the aqua piece is heart shaped. When we saw the sea glass it solved the shell mystery. Somebody had chosen this lonely beach to return the sea glass and the shells to the sea. The lapping waves had gently distributed it's gift across the beach instead of returning it back to its unsearchable depths had it been windy. Why I asked would someone chuck there collection? Was it to purge memories they wanted forgotten? Or had it belonged to somebody else who had returned it for them? The shells and the sea glass weren't going to talk so we divided the collection and I lovingly brought mine home where they sit on the cabin window sills. This is simple, natural beauty and I don't mind spending the time to dust them.

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Do you recognize these shells?

Yesterday we went for a beach walk with my friend. It was a glorious day. The sky was cerulean blue and the water which is always darker than the sky was dotted with shimmering diamonds. We were chatting happily away when suddenly we both reached down to the beach. She to one side and I to another. "I haven't seen this before," she said. My friend, an elderly widow in her eighties has been on this island much longer than myself and as I held the shell in my hand I knew that I had found something beautiful and new. We then held out to each other our finds and noticed that we were both holding similar but different shells that were unlike any of the island shells we both knew. Our eyes turned and scanned the pebbled beach. Scattered all around us were the glowing, silky, milky white shells and there was something else there to that glittered in the sun and I will show you that in my next post. This was more excitement than what I was used to. We filled our pockets with the strange shells and our other find. When I got home I looked in my North American shell identification guide and what we had found wasn't in there. So they are from somewhere else, further away. If you know something about these shells please say something and help solve the mystery.

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Monday, 23 February 2015

Candles, winter and spring

The candles are going to get dusty. No longer do we eat our supper or start our mornings with them. The growing fingers of daylight have crept into our world and illuminates our waking hours. When I was younger I struggled with the darkness of winter. Now I have come to the place where I accept winter and the darkness for what it is. And with that has come contentment. Why and what it is that makes me accept it at this time in life I do not know. It just is. The last few years I have been making my own beeswax candles. I started to do this because I learned that unlike paraffin candles which are a known health hazard beeswax actually cleanses the air. They also emit a honey scent that I love. This is the aroma that gets me into the honey jar and admittedly I eat more of it in the winter months.
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Friday, 20 February 2015

Sunshine, wet wood and hummingbirds

This morning I did something that rarely happens. I ran out of water before I had finished rinsing the shampoo out of my hair. But it was a sunny day and such inconveniences can be easily overlooked. For the first time this year the sun climbed high enough above the island to shine into the sitting room. As I drifted around the room dusting cobwebs that had suddenly appeared I absorbed the warmth coming through the window. This is a good thing as I am nearly out of dry firewood and what remains is split, wet wood. How wet? I put a piece standing on end behind the stove and when I turned around there was a puddle around it. Fortunately the rest of the firewood that I retrieved from under the leaking tarp was much dryer. I brought a pile of wood inside and now it is in the entry way drying out. When it is dry I will take it outside to the back deck and bring more wet wood in. I don't have time to get bored. The female Anna's hummingbird that showed up last fall successfully over wintered at our feeder. I think she is nesting somewhere as I did see a male briefly a few weeks ago and now she doesn't spend all of her day in the elderberry bush guarding the feeder. I have a deep affinity for hummingbirds. These girls do it all on their own. The male plays no role in nest building or raising the young. For such a tiny bird this is a significant undertaking and I feel joy to have had her company over the winter months and now to share the embrace of spring.
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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A DIY birdbath and a lullaby

Hush little baby is a lullaby thought to have been written in the United States although the date of origin and author are unknown. In it all sorts of materialistic things are promised to the baby if it will be quiet. Sylvia Long wrote a beautiful board book with alternative wording. Here it is: "Hush little baby, don't say a word, Mama's going to show you a hummingbird. If that hummingbird should fly, Mama's going to show you the evening sky. When the nighttime shadows fall, Mama's going to hear the crickets call. While their song drifts from afar, Mama's going to search for a shooting star. When that star has dropped from view, Mama's going to read a book with you. When that story has been read, Mama's going to bring your warm bedspread. If that quilt begins to wear, Mama's going to find your teddy bear. If that teddy bear won't hug, Mama's going to catch you a lightening bug. If that lightening bug won't glow, Mama's going to play on her old banjo. If that banjo's out of tune, Mama's going to show you the harvest moon. As the moon drifts through the sky, Mama's going to sing you a lullaby." I like how it encourages baby and mama to look and enjoy the simple beauty around them. The robins arrived several weeks ago and I decided it was time to introduce my toddler to the joy of watching a bathing bird. I also wanted it to be an opportunity to encourage her to look at how she can use things creatively rather than buying. We found a scrap chunk of 6" by 6" pressure treated post. It happened to be the perfect height for our base. After locating the perfect spot we dug a hole and "planted" it. Then we moved two young ivy vines that were growing elsewhere in the yard and transplanted them to the base. I will train them to cover the post. The bath was the lid from a plastic 50 gallon water drum that I use to collect rainwater. Now we are ready for the robins.

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Friday, 13 February 2015

My radio valentine message

It was breakfast time and looking at the dark grey cloud quilt out the window yesterday it looked like it was going to be a day of solid rain. I don't usually mind such days but that day unlike most days I felt discouraged. It darkened my perspective and I was struggling to stay patient with my toddler at the kitchen table. I turned the radio on thinking I would listen to the news on CBC for a few minutes. Distraction I have learned is a wonderful coping technique as it makes me pause before I say or do something I will later regret. Strangely the station wasn't coming in so I turned the dial to a christian music station that I was aware of but seldom listen to. The dj came on the air at that minute and began to speak. "Ever feel like you need more patience?" She asked. I stared at the radio in disbelief. "Patience, she said is the fruit of the Spirit." An excellent reminder. "God teaches us patience," she said, "through the long line-ups at the grocery store and through people who irritate us." And I thought right now, right here it is with the sweet toddler of mine. "God loves us so He is working on us by handing us these opportunities. What will you do with your's? "Thank you, I prayed." "...it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar." Ezekiel 17:23

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Monday, 9 February 2015

Change

It is because of winter that I appreciate spring. How many people do you know whose favourite season is winter? I used to dislike winter but as the years have gone by I've come to appreciate it. Winter is a time that encourages stillness making it the ideal season for inner reflection. As I watch the crocuses bloom I am reminded of how normally I resist change. Yet here I am welcoming spring. How is it I ask myself that this apparent contradiction lives within me?

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Friday, 6 February 2015

A long way's home

The previous trip to town I pulled the top muscles in one foot after putting on a pair of wool socks over my cotton tights. I knew that my feet would get cold in just the tights in my rubber boots so I thought this would rectify the problem. Unfortunately by the time I got to my truck on the mainland and removed the offending socks the damage was done. I decided I wasn't going to make this mistake again so I bought leggings in town. Once the shopping was done and we were finally back on the island I had to make three trips from the wharf with the wheelbarrow to bring everything home. Part of the time I packed my toddler in a backpack. It was dark before I got it done and I had to stash two loads part ways home. All of this is normal although this time I had an extra trip. The following morning I went back and got the remaining totes. After that I spent the next three days inside resting my foot. The stack of chopped, dry wood on my back deck never looked so beautiful. The trip I made to town this week I wore my skirt, leggings and hand knit wool socks in my Baffin rubber boots and my feet were toasty warm. I had learned the lesson the hard way. Since I was feeling comfortable my memory of the day is more pleasant and I enjoyed watching the interplay of light on the still water and the rolling waves of fog shifting across the sea scape. As we went in and out of stores the rain was like mist and settled on us like shower spray. In this picture it is late afternoon and we are approaching the island in the boat. From the time I leave the cabin until the time I'm standing in Walmart is 1.5 hrs. The return trip is much longer and so it is a long way's home.

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