"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, 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


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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