"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

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Taming the towhee

The Rufous sided towhee is a secretive little bird. It spend's it's time scratching amongst the fallen leaves and needles under the shrubs in the yard. In the winter I have suet hanging near some shrubs and typically they come and feed off it when we are inside the cabin. Once we are outside they magically disappear into the bushes only to reappear once we are back inside. But all of this changed when I was cleaning out a cupboard and found some stale peanuts. My daughter shelled them and we began leaving the peanut's by the suet. Towhee's love peanuts and very quickly they were able to associate us with the treats. Unfortunately much of the firewood I paid to get bucked up was cut too long so this winter I have had to saw it down to size in order to get it into my woodstove and I do this with my bucksaw. I do this task on the back porch. The female towhee which is a chocolate brown - (the male's are black) figured out where I was so when she hears the saw she comes looking for a handout. (If it is too windy than she doesn't come because she can not hear me) I toss her a peanut and she picks it up in her beak and hops away into the secret sword fern hideaway for her peanut picnic. For me this has really brightened a necessary task. In a few minute's she is usually back again. All of the towhee's are very tolerant of my four year old who with the upmost enthusiasm delight's in tossing them peanuts. Occasionally they have caught the peanut in mid-air. There is much joy to be found amongst the simple companionship of wild birds.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016


I was outside in my yard today with a small, smouldering fire. Most of the yard debris I burnt in the fall but today to mark solstice after making a wreath for the door I burnt the remaining limbs of the young evergreen tree the recent snow pushed over. Two ravens flew noisily through the yard. They landed in trees and seemed to be discussing something between themselves in great detail. I watched them casting sideways glances at me. Were they concerned I was eavesdropping? "Look mommy," my daughter say's excitedly. This child is like the golden sunshine falling down on me through the tall tree's. In it I feel the gracious love of God and in gratitude I smile too. Merry Christmas!
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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Sewing buttonholes by hand

I decided to make a Christmas bag this year and every year until I have enough to stop using wrapping paper. I am sewing them from my daughter's outgrown christmas dress's. I wanted to use a drawstring closure and I needed a buttonhole for the drawstring opening so I did it by hand. Here are some tips I found useful. 1. I used a tapestry needle and embroidery floss that I ran across a beeswax candle. The wax helped to hold and tighten each stitch. I experimented to find out the suitable needle size and number of strands needed. A small buttonhole on lighter fabric worked well with a 14 count needle and two strands of floss. 2. I used a embroidery hoop and ironed on interfacing on the back side of the fabric. A 1" by 1" piece of interfacing worked wonders at stopping the fabric from fraying and giving the needle a bit more tooth to stitch into. 3. I cut a slit in my fabric a little larger than my cord. I used buttonhole stitch with each stitch placed 1/16" apart. (This is the only stitch I used. ) 4. I stitched practice buttonholes first on the fabric I intended to use. Some fabrics are easier than other's. A tight weave fabric worked well but when I tried it on an open weave fabric this method did not work. I put the unfinished bag aside and several weeks later I talked to an lady in her eighties with a life long history in textiles. She told me in great detail how she was taught to sew buttonholes by hand from her mother. She sewed many buttonholes for years before she got a machine with a buttonhole attachment. Virtually every step she told me is the same with the exception that sewing thread was used instead of floss. Number ten which is equivalent to quilters thread was used for heavy fabrics and number thirty-six was used for light weight or regular fabrics. When I asked her if there is a difference between buttonhole and blanket stitch she told me the stitch is the same except buttonhole is placed very tightly together. If you google this you will find a wide range of opinions with some being very adamant that it is a completely different stitch. She also told me she did not use an embroidery hoop (she did not use one for her embroidery either) as she knew how to hold the fabric tautly with her hands. At the present time she has been busy sewing lounge pants for Christmas presents and a new skirt for herself. I took the unfinished bag out and used a thread colour that was similar to the background fabric and the buttonhole turned out nicely. Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, 10 December 2016

When things go wrong-with parcels

In September I discovered Organic Matters - a company selling affordable organic food in the Nelson B.C. Area. (They offer shipping to any Canadian address.) Every 4 - 6 weeks I have placed an order which I have mailed through Canada Post. It comes to the rural post office on the mainland and than I pay for a water taxi to bring it over and I meet it at the wharf. The box goes in my wheelbarrow and I push it up the hill to my cabin. This arrangement has worked marvellously well. It has meant town days are easier since I am bringing back less to push home and we are eating what I believe is a higher quality food. A week ago I placed another order but things went very wrong because my order was bigger. Unknown to me Canada Post does not send out parcels weighing over 50 pounds to their rural routes. These heavy boxes remain in town and my huge box ended up at the postal/lottery outlet in the mall. It wasn't the huge Christmas line-up that worried me - it was the reality that the box would not fit into a shopping cart and if by chance I did get it in there I wasn't going to get it out. But the box was to heavy to pack out and through the mall and across a parking lot while hanging onto my young daughter's hand. I began praying. Two days later I was able to leave a message for the supervisor in town. He later called me and said he would deliver it himself to the local rural post office that same day. I told him it was a direct answer to prayer. When the post mistress called me just after lunch to tell me that the supervisor had delivered the box she was very surprised and told me that this doesn't happen. I explained to her that it was an answer to prayer. I never told anyone that I was out of flour and having this box means I will be baking fresh bread on Sunday and beginning my Christmas baking. No matter how much ice, cold and snow there is outside my kitchen window (the smaller window beside the red door in the picture) my heart feels the warmth and care of God's love. "My God shall supply ALL your needs." Philippians 4:19

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Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Norwegian knit afghan

Two color stranded knitting is called Norwegian and I decided to give it a go for this afghan. This project isn't something I would recommend because I was not knitting in the round. I was flat knitting which means every second row I was purling and the back of the work was facing me. This is quite awkward while following a pattern since I couldn't see what I was doing but I saw it as entertainment and I did enjoy the knit. This afghan will be gifted to a little boy whose life has been touched with the awfulness of divorce. I was a young adult when divorce destroyed my family. It's negative ripples have never finished there destructive result. It rips my heart out that a broken family is a part of the legacy my daughter has inherited. Is there another way? Divine love is about forgiveness, it's undeserved, selfless, it's grace. Divine love is eternal commitment and it is Jesus. Christmas is a beautiful invitation to pray and reflect on Him. May you all be gifted with an abundance of love this holiday season.

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Island time

We wondered along the beach. It was as if we had become part of the landscape like the seagulls. There was no plan to go to any particular destination and no hurry to be anywhere. Living in the present brings contentment. Storms have come and gone and there will be more but today the sun is shining and that brings unexpected joy. Sea ducks were swimming on a crystal specked sea and peace for me is accepting where everything is and letting go of expectations. Blessings.

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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Driftwood candlestick holder

After giving away my antique glass candlestick holders I was momentarily left wondering what to use for a candle stick holder. I burn beeswax candles that I make as a lighting source. Than I remembered the neat piece of driftwood I had picked up on the beach some time ago. I checked the baby jogger and it was still there. I drilled a 7/8 hole and than put in one of these brass candle cup inserts that I bought online from Lee Valley. Even with shipping and taxes this candle stick holder cost me exactly 3.00 and I still have a handful of inserts. Beautiful! I can make more.

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Sunday, 6 November 2016


I've been sewing scrunchies. I make these because I can make the multiple sizes I need in the colours I like and save money at the same time. Another big plus is that my home made ones last longer. The first time I sewed a scrunchie I took apart a worn out one which gave me my initial pattern. Sewing scrunchies are quick and simple. You cut out and sew a rectangular tube leaving both ends open. I sew them on my treadle sewing machine and leave a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn it right side out and insert 1/4" elastic. Tie a knot with the ends of the elastic together. With a needle and thread sew the tube shut. I like to tuck one unfinished edge in and fold over the other raw edge and slip stitch shut. For a large scrunchie my fabric is 21 1/2" long by 3 1/2" wide. The elastic is 8 1/2" long. For a medium size scrunchie I use a piece of fabric 12 1/4" long by 3 1/4" wide. The elastic is 7 1/2" long. The green one is a small scrunchie suitable for my four year old and I used a piece of fabric that is 7 1/2" long by 3" wide. The elastic was 6" long.

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Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Psalm of Praise

A candle is burning on the coffee table and beside me a small book lamp is illuminating the knitting in my hands. The windows in this room are curtain less and on a clear night there would be stars but tonight it is black. The clouds are hiding the face of the moon and I sit listening to the rain. My little girl is asleep and I am silent now too. There is an intimacy of life I have found in the velvet blackness, a quality of quietness in a long evening alone and I savour it. All day we watched ribbons of Canada Geese trailing across the sky and leaves falling from the maple tree in the yard near the edge of the forest. By late afternoon the tree is looking plucked and by my definition winter will be here when the last leaf falls. Dressed in the finery of fall - is the tree acknowledging its Maker or is God showing his care for us in giving brilliant colour in what would otherwise would be an incredibly depressive season? "Praise Him,...... fruit trees and forests...Praise Him,....all people...."Psalm 148:9,11
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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Lead free

This is lys Duralex manufactured in France and it is my new everyday dinnerware. I chose it because it is lead free and it is tempered glass making it 2-3 times stronger than ordinary soda lime glass such as Pyrex and Anchor Hocking - although both of these in clear glass are lead free and American manufactured. The glass in my setting is from Spiegelau which is manufactured in Germany and their series authentis casual. This is a beautifully brilliant clear glass which has a lovely ring when tapped. I contacted the manufacturer through an email and they told me this series is lead free. It is produced in crystal glass ( lead free). I've been having fun with my young daughter learning different napkin folds and the heart fold I learned from a wonderful book called, " Napkin Folds," by B. Jones and M. Brehaut. All of my dishware I bought/collected and some of it was gifted over twenty years ago. It has served me well and while necessity has brought change I couldn't be happier with my choice.

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Sunday, 9 October 2016


I have spent many happy hours with my young daughter gathering, drawing and preserving leaves. This simple activity is resplendent with blessing. Time becomes meaningless when spent amongst their company. I become aware of a different dimension to life where what is of value in our culture today becomes meaningless. I leave their company refreshed, calm and whole. It is God who made leaves and in doing so He gifted mankind with the indelible fingerprint of His love and care for us. For this particular wreath I traced the desired size onto poster board, cut it out and glued the pressed leaves that my daughter had chosen on to it. It is under the glass of our kitchen table. I need to get inspired now and take the summer wreath off the front door. I will leave you with the words of this poem titled Leaves by Craig Sathoff. "The leaves of autumn speak to me in fast, impatient tones of all the beauties to be seen and tasks that must be done. At other times they sing to me in accents soft and low, inviting me to sit and dream not hurry to and fro. The leaves might laugh and jest a bit and pass the time of day, or barely stop to speak to me as they rush on their way. I've talked with leaves at autumn time since I was just a boy and every year their friendship brings a special touch of joy."

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Looking for red wrigglers

The earth is dark from the autumn rains. We are out looking for wild red wriggler composting worms. These worms are different than earthworms. They are red, flat on the underside, and have a yellowish tail. Unlike an earthworm they are generally found on top of the ground rather than down in it. This is how we found ours. We put down a piece of wet cardboard with a stone on top and it worked wonders at attracting them. Looking under the compost bin was another score. I guess inside the bin isn't quite right. Raking under fallen leaves was another success and after three days we had approximately 40 worms. We continued to collect by revisiting the sites where we did find some. We put them into a two foot square wooden box with a sloping lid that I built last summer from old douglas fir siding boards. A piece of plywood serves as a roof and another for the floor which has holes drilled in the bottom for excess moisture. Their bedding is paper we needed to recycle that my four year old cut up for them. Tucked into that is kitchen compost. The idea is new and the adventure young so we will see how it unfolds. If you are interested in learning more about composting with red wrigglers what I found helpful was a 1973 September back issue and a July/August 1983 back issue of Mother Earth magazine.
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Sunday, 25 September 2016

A good mug

Twenty years ago I bought this mug new. I have utilized it regularly since than. It was a good choice. It has outlasted the men in my life. Lately, however I have noticed staining and pitting on the bottom and I decided to replace it. To my dismay I found that while Waechtersbach still makes the same style of mug they are now being manufactured in China instead of Spain. I guess it's time for a change. How hard can it be I wondered to find lead free or almost lead free North American pottery dishware manufacturer's? At this point I have found three options. Homer Laughlin China Co., Emerson Creek Pottery and HF Coors all clearly state on their website that their dishware is lead free or nearly so. Whichever I choose I know the new one's will still match these mug rugs I knit up in worsted wool. Each one took part of an evening. It was a great way to use up left over yarn. If you knit you can make these easily too. Just draw out your design on ordinary graph paper allowing 1 stitch for each block. My red Waechtersbach mug is still as perfect as the day I bought it. It reminds me of sweet days long ago and good decisions.

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Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Mother and daughter skirts

It was the last item on my summer mending pile. A skirt that I had sewed years ago but it no longer fit and I no longer liked the style. However, I still loved the cotton Swiss dot fabric. It was a very full skirt and after removing the excess, I shortened it and put in an elastic waistband instead of the zipper. Now I suddenly had something I loved that fit. It was easy to see what to do with the excess fabric and my daughter was thrilled.
The summer mending pile is gone and the last camping trip is done. The sweetness of it is preserved in my memories. My daughter has grown with those good times and I see how the summer experiences we have shared together have become a part of her like how they are a part of me too. I feel truly thankful for these memories and I will carry the lesson I have learned into every season - not just summer. "True wisdom lies in gathering precious moments out of each day." Author unknown

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Vegan Hummus Recipe

My daughter loves this hummus. It's creamy and subtly seasoned. It get's it's creaminess from the oatmeal. If you are interested in how I make oatmeal milk check out my March 3, 2015 post titled Cell phones, blogging and making milk. For the hummus you will need; 1/4 cup of oatmeal ( any kind) soaked overnight in enough water to cover them, 1 cup cooked garbanzo's, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. olive oil and 1 very small garlic clove. Put everything in the blender and add a touch of water so that the blades will spin. Blend until smooth.

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Sunday, 4 September 2016


I broke the first birch wooden knitting needle shortly into the first mitten but I wasn't too alarmed. After all there are five double pointed needles in a pack and I only needed four. What are the odds of breaking two needles in the same project? And than I broke a second needle. What was a gal to do now? I wasn't going to town and there is no courier service or post office on this island so ordering online wasn't going to help me now. I checked to see if my bamboo skewer sticks were the same 2.75 mm dimension as my needles - but they weren't so I carved a new point on the broken end of my needle with my pocket knife, lightly sanded it with sandpaper, rubbed it across a piece of beeswax and knitted on. It worked very well and I actually preferred the shortened length of that needle enough that I carved a new point on the other broken needle and used that one too. But it did make me wonder how is it possible that I've knit four other pairs of mittens for my daughter from this same yarn and never broke a single needle? At least they both broke near the end and not in the middle. I've never had to make a knitting needle - at least not yet.

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Monday, 29 August 2016

Morning Psalm

I set the alarm for 5:40 a.m. This is the first summer with my daughter that I have found it necessary to do this. The other year's she was my alarm. It was dark when I was awakened by the ringing on my cellphone. I put my headlamp on and I followed my daughter downstairs where we hurriedly dressed under the beaming light. We put our sandals on and than we slipped outside. Although it was dusky I left the lamp behind in the cabin. We hurried through the dark trees to the beach. It was a low tide and there were still little twinkling lights on the mainland hills. We walked east slowly toward's them on the beach. My daughter began to collect shells in a bag. The sky began to quickly light up until even the wet beach under our feet glowed in the red of morning. A raven in a wind twisted fir watched with us or was it watching us? Somewhere across the water, loons were calling. "Your righteousness, God, reaches the skies. You have done great things; there is no one like you." Psalm 71:19
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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

One more time

It's evening and a northwesterly wind has kicked up. The tree's are sending down showers of needles and cones. I hear a large branch break and fall somewhere off in the trees. I go upstairs and hear flapping against the side of the cabin. What kind of bird is trying to get inside? I wonder outside to have a look. A piece of tar paper covering the plywood high up on the side of the cabin has come loose but I go to bed hoping that in the morning the paper bird will still be there. This wind reminds me that fall is nearly here. Soon the storms will come. The woodshed is full of chopped dry wood but if the weather holds I want to do all the fun things my daughter and I did this summer one more time. Than I will get serious, haul out the ladder and staple those wings down.
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Thursday, 18 August 2016


I pulled the rug out of the sitting room, washed it and hung it up to dry on the fence in the sunshine. When I put it back I laid it down widthwise instead of lengthwise. I cut pictures of contemporary bird paintings out of a wordless children's art book I picked up at the thrift store. I replaced the dated family pictures I had framed in my hallway with these. This has been the summer that I completed refinishing my floor loom. (I've spent the last two summer's working on this.) I used Tried & True Danish Oil and will continue to apply it periodically. I'm really happy with this product and if you want to check it out you will find it on amazon. (No I never got anything free or any rebate for saying this.) The best part of summer is that it is still here. I'm still barefoot and there are still flowers blooming in my yard. Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 7 August 2016

When things need repair

No matter how practically simple I try to keep things invariably I still deal with repairs. Some things have helped me like anticipating what may go wrong and planning for that and if possible to postpone a decision on how to deal with a break down for as long as possible. This is generally not easy but it has saved me money. Sometimes by holding off long enough I will be led to a new decision that I had not previously entertained. There are other things I do. I take into major consideration worst case scenario and I google a lot of things. Prayer which I have mentioned last is in reality my first choice. I had a section of fencing that was falling down and I was faced with what to do. I took my time - prayed over it- planned out exactly how I was going to rebuild it and eventually I did. While it was a relief to complete this repair it came easier than I anticipated and I was left wondering why I often feel so incompetent. Still there is an incredible feeling of satisfaction in doing a good job and in getting it done. The picture is of my Estwing hammer that I "splurged" and bought for myself just before I began my cabin renovation and it is a pleasure to use. It was this tool that taught me that a well built tool is part of a process and in that way a good fit between you and it go beyond the definition of an object much like a good fitting brau is more than a clothing item.
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

No regrets

The long, endless, dreamy summer days are filled with easy warmth, free time and endless inspiration. I have to keep pinching myself to see if this is for real. I spend hours at my loom while my daughter sits next to me weaving on her loom. At last I am at the loom long enough to weave tapestry. It has been many years to get to this point. I treasure those years and I have no regrets about my decision not to weave tapestry during her babyhood. When I finally put that first warp on two years ago this September I got so much joy just looking at the warped loom that it more than made up for the fact that all I had was bits of time. It is now that I have time and I am relishing this new freedom. I lose track of time and a day pass's unnoticed. Shocked I wonder how that could happen - I do after all have a phone to remind me- but wait a minute- I didn't turn it on. I spend the afternoon on the floor drawing out a weaving cartoon while my daughter sits beside me tracing her hands with a pencil and than colouring them with felt markers. Than she draws moons. Earlier that morning before the sun peeked over the mainland hills we had walked the beach gathering rocks and shells and we had admired the luminescence of a full moon hanging over the island. Her moons are bright and colourful and many are striped. She is in love with what she is doing. "Mommy I can't have supper until my work is done," she says. Apparently that means using up the large sheet of paper I gave her. I smile feeling the joy in my own heart. Life is full and sweet like that moon.
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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Notes on cross stitch

I liked this text enough to cross stitch it and make this pillow which I have on my bed. The only way one can do what the text admonishes is to surrender one's will and look to God for His will to be done on a daily basis. If you haven't done this I suggest you try it. Cross stitch is remarkable easy. This is my second project. I find it much easier to design my own patterns. I use graph paper and do a basic outline of the shape and leave the rest to the whim of the moment when the needle is in my hand. I do all of my cross stitch with my four year old daughter and find this process works very well with frequent interruptions. She has finished two complete projects on her own- motivated completely by herself. Both of these were worked on plastic canvas with yarn. Back stitch and French knots are two other great stitches which complement cross stitch and give one greater design possibilities. Cross stitch is extremely inexpensive. All of the required supplies are available at Walmart for under 20.00. To keep in that budget I wash my Aida in hot water to remove the sizing and this softens it enough that a simple 4" embroidery hoop is more than adequate. The only other things you need are a tapestry needle and floss. Ordinary scissors work fine to trim floss and are not necessary. Patterns and ideas can be found online or in thrift stores for 1.00 or less. I would love to hear your thoughts on cross stitch or embroidery.
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Sunday, 17 July 2016

A new ribbing stitch

I was attempting to learn a look alike cable ribbing stitch from a knitting dictionary. I never did master that one instead I came up with this one. It's simple and fits easily into the rhythm of my pattern. Cast on an even number of stitches. Row 1: *purl two sts., knit two sts., repeat from * to end of row. Row 2: repeat row 1. You are knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches. Row 3: *purl two stitches, k2tog but do not slip off needle, insert right hand needle between these 2 stitches and knit the first stitch again, slipping both stitches off needles together. Repeat from * to end of row. Row 4: repeat row 1. This stitch has given me joy while doing my annual sock knitting task. I always knit a new pair usually for myself and several pairs for my daughter. As I sit barefoot knitting the next pair I feel the glory of summer content knowing we will have warm socks for whatever lies ahead.

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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Salal sourdough pancake recipe

An entry I wrote last week on my phone: "My hands are covered in blisters but I am finished digging up my waterline which for a variety of reasons had to be moved. Tonight I feel joy running in my veins. I will not think about the fact that I have yet to finish filling in the old trench, dig a new one and re-assemble the pipe. But the night is young so I switch activities and begin hauling firewood in my wheelbarrow and than stacking it in the woodshed. Time passes but how much of it is irrelevant. What is important is how much wood I get stacked. I stop when I am feeling dead tired and than I notice some ripe salal berries that my daughter and I neglected to pick earlier in the day so I head into the cabin to find something to pick them into. I pick bare armed and ignore the few mosquitoes buzzing around. Through the darkening forest I see the golden setting sun and I pop a few berries into my mouth. They are dry and earthy. I love them but it is an acquired taste. Late spring/ summer is the closest season to heaven on this side of paradise." I make this pancake recipe once a week: In bowl add: 1 cup white flour; 1/4 cup oatmeal; 1/4 cup flaxseed flour ( I make mine in my blender) 1 cup sourdough ( from a sourdough culture) and enough warm water to make a pancake consistency. Cover and allow to sit overnight. In the morning add: 1/2 tsp. baking soda; 2 tablespoons honey; 3 tablespoons flavourless oil; 3/4-1 cup salal or blue berries(optional); water as needed. Let stand 15-30 mins. before frying.

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Father's Day story

I had family come for a visit and they helped me with the annual task of cleaning out the stovepipe for my wood stove. Segments of pipe are removed from the back of the stove and a special brush specifically for the task is pushed up to the top of the stove cap. It's not complicated but it is a dirty job because of the falling black soot. It is much easier with another set of hands much stronger than my own. Hands that can turn the pipe and line up the screw holes with out me having to put in new screws while trying to hold onto the pipe. I know because I installed all of the pipe by myself. My guests left on Father's Day and insisted on stopping by my truck parked on the mainland. Than I got a text from them informing me that my gas cap lid was sitting on my tire and the lid covering up where the cap should have been was wide open. If you have been following my blog you will be aware of stollen gas posts- but this was something new. In the past thieves always put the cap on and closed the lid. (On two separate occasions I have tried locking gas cap lids and they have been pried off and than put back on.) The truck had been parked for two days and during those two days it rained a lot. There may or may not be water in my gas tank. I will order some stuff to help remove the water and it will be at the post office -located nearby to my truck the next time I go to town. I am thankful for my family's insistence on stopping by my truck as it will be a month before I return. I know that my care and that of my young daughter is completely in His hands for He is able to provide better than what I or any earthly man can. "Great is The Lord and most worthy of Praise." Psalm 48:1

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Thursday, 9 June 2016


It's raining outside. After several weeks of sunshine it is a thrill. I just feel overjoyed to sit and listen. The other day a pair of swanson's thrushes showed up at the birdbath. While we hear these birds singing in the trees around us they are shy about making an appearance and their visit caused a stir of excitement. So did the truckload of firewood that I bought. This is the first time that I have ever bought firewood and while it may not be the best wood it is cut and split. I stacked it in the woodshed and it looks pretty to me. I have a bit of wood that needs splitting but the handle on the sledge hammer that I've been using finally wore out and it was unsafe to use. It was a tool I found too heavy and feeling free from it I bought this 6lb beauty. It is a lot lighter making it much easier for me to swing. It means I can split more wood before tiring and I feel considerably less fatigued after using it. The longer handle gives me more leverage which allows me to swing harder if need be. Using a wedge I broke open some knotty blocks. In order to fit one into my stove I split it right through the knot - something I would have avoided before. Parting with the old tool has brought me as much joy as the peach Iris's that have finally bloomed.
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Tuesday, 31 May 2016


Much frustration comes from putting self interest first. When I pray and feel it in my heart,"Thy will be done," God gifts me with perspective and a softened heart. Instead of harshness or self pity He shows me how to live beyond myself. If only it were easy to do this all of the time. I was cleaning a cabin with my daughter and I took this picture from the window. The trees on this bluff have a beauty I find appealing. They are defined by the wind. It is a raw, natural beauty gleaned from hardship. The winds in life offer me the capacity to elevate my soul to what truly matters. At the end of the day when my toddler sat on her potty unrolling an entire roll of toilet paper (a new privilege) and than trying to tear each into a two square piece leaves me with the choice of my perspective. How and what I say/do or what I don't say/do says everything about who I am inside. At the times when I am rooted in Him and living beyond myself than the choices I make will be beautiful. Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A sweater

Grace was gifted to me when my daughter fell asleep early the evening I wanted to begin finishing this lace sweater. She hasn't done that in a month. It was the gift I needed and I finished before dark. Grace was gifted me a second time when I lost all the drafts on my phone - except for this post. I knit this on 2mm needles and I used lace weight baby alpaca. The pattern and design are my own. I've rejected following patterns years ago. If this type of knitting appeals to you my tip is to make swatches. Success is all in the planning. It has taken me awhile to learn this. The swatch if it is wool should be taken off the needles and blocked as this will give accurate measurements and will show the drape. Knowing how it hangs can be a defining point in the success of a project as is knitting the correct size. Both of these are determining factors as to whether or not your garment will get worn. I am very pleased with my sweater. I am wearing it in the cabin when it feels cool and it is cozy.

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Friday, 20 May 2016

A woodshed

In early April I discovered the last of my double tarped firewood was wet. Somehow a trickle of water had gotten in with the winter rains. Most of the wood was ok but some of it was quite wet. I quickly moved all of it into the roofless woodshed that I have been building and put a piece of plastic over the wood. The woodshed is located in a very sunny spot in my yard and I knew it would dry out much quicker there than the shaded spot where it had been. The weather has changed now and I rarely find the need to light any fires in the woodstove. Yesterday I completely finished framing the woodshed although the metal roof is not on. I will order that the next time I buy lumber. Until then I will be putting plastic over the framed roof. It's been a long dusty haul to get to this point but my heart and eyes lift graciously to the eternal God for his gracious blessings.

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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Curtains and tips for using a sad iron

I put up a pair of curtains in my kitchen window. It is a smallish window mounted over one of my counters. After putting up a rod that I found in my shed I attached the clip's to a pair of pillow cases that my great grandmother embroidered. Everything came together perfectly as they were the right length for the window. They were deeply creased so I put my sad iron on the wood stove and than I ironed them. I've learned a few things about how to do this easily and I am sharing my technique. My sad iron has a detachable wooden handle. I take the handle off while it is warming and than I put the handle on when I use it. I know how hot the iron is by how hot my stove is. When I use the iron I prefer a low fire in the woodstove. If the iron is not hot enough it simply won't iron out the creases but if it is too hot it will burn holes but that has never happened to me. I like to use a dampened pressing cloth on some things like white's and I typically mist the other's with a spray bottle before ironing. I like to work near the stove and when I need to set the iron down I put it back on the stove for rewarming. For large items I follow my grandmother's advice. I sprinkle water on it (sometimes I use a mister) and wrap it in a towel and leave it for a day to moisten before ironing. Sad irons are easy to use but they do require some intuition and relatively strong arms. The irons come in different sizes and weights and when they are off duty they make an ideal doorstop. Ironing this way is slower than an electric iron but there is something to be gained in spending time this way. It is a task that I enjoy even though it requires more from me. My late great grandmother was an exceptional woman in her time and her faith and strength encourages me and the curtains are a reminder.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A wreath

I am picking up branches and cones and my daughter is playing beside me. My hands smell of trees and earth. I am immersed in my surroundings. It's cooler here and the light a bit subdued. Standing above us huddled together like a prayer circle are mature Douglas fir trees. Their arms are outstretched over young trees rooted in the fallen firs lying with their guts wrenched open and red earth spilling out of them. "Look," my daughter says excitedly. She hands a nest to me. It has blown out of these outstretched limbs in the winter winds. While some of the nest material is gone much of it remains. There is a piece of cotton string, blue tarp threads, clear plastic shreds, rootlets, and feathers on the rim. They are intertwined together delicate yet strong preserving this piece of woven history. A story untold. When we get home we make a wreath for the cabin door.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

White and an afghan

I love white. It brightens, creates space and it unifies other colours and textures. White carries a certain starkness and serenity and it is this blend that gives me a sense of well being. I recently finished knitting this bedspread for my daughter's bed. It is a feather and fan pattern which gives it the scalloped edge. I reworked the original pattern to include some additional rows of eyelets and I used a circular needle and cast on all the stitches I wanted. This simplifies the pattern and makes it more efficient as it requires no time to finish once I cast off. I don't write out patterns anymore - I do but they are written in lingo only I can understand. But I wanted to share this basic pattern and I found I still have the original pattern. It came from a book called 7 day Afghans. I have never knit an afghan in that short of a time frame but I have never knit all day either.
Size: 47" by 60" Materials: worsted weight yarn 28 oz; 14" long size 11 straight knitting needles or size required for gauge. Gauge is 7 sts=2" INSTRUCTIONS Panel (make 3) Cast on 54 sts. Row 1 (right side) knit. Row 2 purl. Row 3 *(k2tog) 3 times; (YO, k1) 6 times; (k2tog) 3 times; rep from * across row. Row 4 knit. Repeat rows 1 through 4 until piece measures about 59" long, ending by working row 2 of pattern stitch. Bind off loosely. To finish join and sew panels together.
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Monday, 11 April 2016

In the garden

I am working in the garden with my daughter. Last night it rained and the earth is dark and fragrant. The growth rate among the plants and leaves is phenomenal. It is a cool day dappled with sunlight behind clouds. Clouds that look like they could leak at a moment's notice. There is a hummingbird nest high up in a western hemlock bough beside the garden. Her nest receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Once I saw her voraciously attack a chickadee who perched too close. I watch her come and go. From her nest she can see everything going on at the feeder in the yard. I wish I could spend all day out here in my yard like her. I built a raised garden bed for my daughter and she is really excited about it. This is her garden and like her mother's heart she loves flowers. In the newness of spring through the emerging plant life I am contemplating the character of God. The beauty speaks of his love and in the task of caring for it I find fulfillment, peace and joy. However short or long I make that acquaintance in the time spent amongst plants their presence transforms my life blessing me. Such is the care of God. In the countless diversity of plants I see He celebrates variety in a way that I cannot comprehend.

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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Wild Green's and Onion Pie

In blender put: 2 eggs, 1/2 cup water, 2 Tablespoons milk powder, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 of a small onion chopped into large chunks, 1/2 cup cauliflower cut into large chunks, 1/2 cup wild harvested greens ( I use chickweed or cleavers as they are readily available. Other green's would be nettles, dandelions etc. I also use kale.) You should have approximately 1 3/4 cups after blending. Blend until smooth. Pour into an unbaked 9" pie crust. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350- 375. I serve it cold with potato's and a salad.

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016


My daughter and I had our birthday's. One of us turned four and the other forty something. This is the ladybug cake we made together. "Thank you God for taking care of us. I rejoice for this time you have given me and for the joy you have gifted me with."

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency bestir my compassion

and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

This thanksgiving poem was written by Samuel Pugh an american published poet who wrote, taught and read poetry to children in a daycare centre until he was well over 100. Birthdays are beginnings and I look forwards to continued growth - for my daughter and myself. We spent the day making a special card for a unknown canadian soldier abroad. I hope that whoever receives this card will be deeply encouraged. Kind words can elevate your mentality, your self perspective and give you strength to persevere. I have appreciated all the kind words all of you have spoken to me. Thank you.

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Campfire blessings

We had a campfire the other day. It wasn't raining and I wanted to do some yard clean-up and keep the burn pile down to a manageable size. I got the fire going and I toasted some vege weiner dogs and we had some fruit salad. We heard a pileated woodpecker off in the forest and seals barking in the low tide. Unknown to me a very large ember landed on my long skirt. I had been looking at my daughter who was talking to me but something made me turn away. When I looked down at my rubber boots I saw smoke swirling around my legs. I ruffled my skirt and that's when I saw the large burning ember. I jumped up and shook it off but the skirt continued to burn. I was on fire! Most clothing I have learned is extremely flammable. The exceptions to this are nylon, polyester and wool but this skirt was not any of those. I grabbed my daughter's cup of cold water and carefully extinguished it. Just before this happened we had been to the cabin and brought the full cup back with us. There was just enough water in it to put the fire out. After we had lunch the fire got hot and I got motivated to do some yard work. I moved a pile of split cedar rails. They were wet and heavy from the winter rains. Than I stacked firewood that I had split last fall where the rails had been. The little angel helped along as much as she could. There were robins in the yard, shadows from sunlight, and high up in the maple trees above us catkins. The firewood almost got stacked but it was time to go inside. I've got a 2" hole to mend reminding me of this campfire and my blessings.

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Tuesday, 8 March 2016


It's been raining a lot but since it is spring I have gone back to work. The little angel is dressed in a pink raincoat and pink rubber boots. This makes it easy to spot her amidst the green of the forest. We walk to work in a drippy rain which soon turns to a pouring rain and than alternates to a rain. I gather limbs and rake sticks amongst the trees listening. I find pleasure amongst them and they enrich me like a conversation with a good friend. Soon I am wet. My wool sweater and long wool skirt are soaked. But I am warm. It is my hands that will get cold first as I am wearing cotton fingerless gloves. I watch my daughter gathering cones off a fallen hemlock branch. She fills the pockets on her raincoat with them. I think about what we can do with them later. I find fish bones under trees, seagull feathers and the skull of an unknown songbird which I carefully set aside to bring home. We look at the bark on a Western Red Cedar. "It's a raincoat I tell her for the tree." I marvel at the ability of the local aboriginal's who long ago wove water proof poncho's and hats from this bark. Eventually we walk home. I hold the little wool mittened hand in my mine and feel joy. We linger. We wade through puddles and stop to nibble on primrose blossoms. The rain stops. When we get home I chop wood and than kindling. The little angel helps me put it in the wheelbarrow and than I haul it to the woodbox on the covered deck and than we play catch with a ball. We go inside and I look out the window - it's raining again.

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Wednesday, 2 March 2016


The other day my daughter and I went to the beach on a specific mission. She wanted to collect green pebbles. The fog swirled around us like thick shower steam. There wasn't much we could see beyond the pebbles at our feet. The fog reminded me of questions in life where I don't have the answers. As we walked along gathering an assortment of green pebbles, sea glass and shells the sun began to shine. The fog drifted apart like a curtain in a breeze and suddenly there were tree's, blue sky, a swimming seal, merganser's feeding, and the beach far ahead of us. When we got home the little chubby hands washed and placed them in tidy lines on the cabinet shelf. They remind me of the seascape I saw after the fog lifted. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Cor.13:12

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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A skirt and a wood shed

My daughter asked for an ankle length skirt so I cut one out for her from a skirt I had recently bought for myself at a local thrift store. Unfortunately I had never had enough time to try it on in the store and sure enough when I got home - it didn't fit. I used the existing hem and put in an elastic waistband. I easily cut and sewed it within a hour - or at least it felt like that-on my treadle sewing machine. She was delighted with it and it brought me joy watching her wear it. Spring is here and there are blossoms, leaves and rain showers. We've been spending more time outside and I've been back working on the woodshed I am building. I now have three of the four 6 by 6 pressure treated posts cemented into place. Being alone isn't easy. There are plenty of tasks which seem to be physically impossible- like lifting 80 pound posts- but God gives me strength. There are other tasks that need doing. I do not know how I am going to tackle those but I know that God isn't going to abandon me. God loves me far too much to treat me that way. I know I don't deserve all His grace and so I marvel at His love. It lifts me up inside and I long to know Him more. Check out this verse. This is how I read it. "The Lord Himself goes before (put your name here) He will never leave me nor abandon me. Be not afraid nor discouraged."
Deut. 31:8
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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Scented play dough recipe

I make play dough for my daughter and this is my recipe. 1 cup flour; 1/2 cup salt; 1 cup water ( may be tinted with food colouring); 1 Tablespoon sunflower oil; 2 teaspoons cream of tarter; 3-5 drops essential oil ( I use lavender for it's calming properties) Mix together the flour, salt, water, oil and cream of tarter in a medium saucepan. With a spoon stir the mixture over medium heat until it thickens. Drop in scented oil and knead with a touch of flour for about 2-3 minutes. I store it in former commercial play dough canisters and it lasts forever if put away promptly after play. All of the ingredients are in my kitchen and that makes it for me the frugal choice. This recipe I gleaned from a book titled, "Natural Beauty at Home," by Janice Cox.

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Monday, 8 February 2016

Gift of a storm

Last week I made a trip to town. After I arrived at the mainland and started my truck I found very little gas in it - definitely not enough to drive to town. I emptied a jerry can half full of gas that I keep locked up in the truck for such purposes but the thief had taken so much fuel (locking gas caps do not keep thieves out around here) that I wondered if there was enough to make it to town. In the early years of island living this was never a problem but in the last six years it has happened on occasion. The last time was when my daughter was quite small. You can read about it in a post I wrote titled - When Things Go Wrong dated July 22, 2014. The forty minute drive to town left me with plenty of time. I was reminded how the storms of life no matter their size show me my heart and they present an opportunity for me to deepen my relationship with my Husband. This is the gift of a storm. When I drove by the spot in the road where last time the truck had run out of gas I felt thanksgiving because I knew in my heart that we were going to be ok no matter the outcome. How thankful I was when I turned off the truck beside the pump at the gas station.
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Sunday, 31 January 2016


I fell asleep to silence and in the morning there was a storm. The trees were clanging like escaped church bells. We followed our daily routine and went downstairs. I lit a candle and then I made a fire in the wood stove. As I waited for the fire to build itself up so that I could add some larger blocks I poured myself some mostly hot water left in an insulated thermos into my mug. Outside the storm raged and inside there was another. My daughter was having a tantrum. She was lying on the floor kicking. I have written much about the beauty of parenting and about the fatigue but I haven't written about this. Tantrums it seems are as common to young children as winds are to a coastal winter. The room suddenly filled with orange light. I scooped up the toddler with the tear stained cheeks and we rushed outside the door to watch orange clouds like goldfish in a pond. I looked at the little face and saw a smile. No tantrum and no storm can last forever. "...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5
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Monday, 25 January 2016

Trust in the valley

In the silence of an evening I sit in front of a curtain less window. High overhead is a white moon and a white cloud floats on the horizon. The room is dark behind me and the moonlight brushes my wet cheek with the luminosity of promise. I follow the pathway of wordless light into the forest. I see tree trunks standing silently and sword fern fronds reaching up like children for an embrace. I don't remember what it is like to feel a mans arms anymore but I feel peace in this light knowing that I too walk my own path. It isn't one I charted - but as the moon cannot run from it's light neither can I edge off this trail. If the moon shone every night there would be no intoxicating blindness. Neither would there be sadness that clings like sand on a leaf. In time we all must find our way. Faith is mine to chose and release belongs to those who trust. Looking backwards I see the blind folly of youth and its sweet innocence but here in this mid life forest I have learned I am not to blame for what was or could have been. I know now when a tree falls to look up before moving and when the wind blows to stay home. Moonlight is deceptive. Blooming unseen beside the ferns are the white blossoms of primroses. In the morning I will see them and this is why I choose to trust in what I cannot see. "Even though I walk through the valley.....you are with me." Psalm 23:4 May I pray for you? Do you have a prayer request?

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