"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

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


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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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

DIY rustic garden bench

In reality I never really thought about having a bench in the garden until my daughter suggested it. "Sit in garden mommy," she said last summer as we headed outside with our homemade popsicles and so the idea was planted. It was reinforced when I had to sit on rock edging. Still it was late summer and the maple leaves were showing the first tinges of sun yellow before I got around to the project. I looked at some bench plans on google but I never found anything built with the scrap lumber I had on hand but it did give me an idea of how I was going to build it. The uprights are scrap, pressure treated boards and the seat was cedar siding pulled of a shed that was torn down and burnt. I built the bench lowish since I wanted my daughter to be able to climb up onto it easily. It can be built whatever height one wants by cutting both uprights the same. Since I am quite proud of the fact that I can cut straight with a handsaw I cut all the boards with it. It helps to keep your eyes on the blade where it's cutting and not on the tip of the saw. As there were very few screws to be put in and since it was soft wood I just used a screwdriver. If your scared of the wood splitting- predrill. I took my chances and it worked out. This relaxed pace gave me plenty of time to talk to my toddler and interact with her. Over the winter it's been stored on my back deck. I saw it the other day and my daughter had lined up a row of moon shells on it and I thought of summer and I smiled as I thought of the homemade icecream I'm going to make with her this summer.
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