"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

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


"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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