"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, 19 April 2017

More on wild red wrigglers

I first posted on our efforts of finding wild red wrigglers and the box I built to house them in on October 2, 2016. I left the box with the worms inside outside by the woodshed for the winter and hoped for the best. It was a cold winter and at times I wondered how the 140 plus worms we had found were doing. I waited until early spring before looking inside. When I lifted off the lid and smelled the rich aroma of earth I knew that the worms were doing fine. I left them with a large bucket of kitchen scraps and a small pail of cut up, soaked recycled paper. Apparently there are 700 - 800 breeding worms in a pound. (Breeding worms are the big ones with bands around them- they are in the picture.) I saw lots of breeding worms in our box - far more than what we had found last fall to put in. To me there is something incredibly beautiful about the sensuous rawness of nature's rhythms.

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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

At work in the forest

Some days all I hear is wind and the far off roar of the sea. When it is quiet I hear song sparrows, kinglets and robins. I rake and gather branches and cones shed from winter winds. This forest is my work place. I have worked here for years and it has shaped me in a way that is hard to define. I watch my young daughter gathering conifer cones and than she drops them into a red squirrel cache under a stump beside a large midden pile. I don't attend church but in this space I feel something far greater beyond myself and my work becomes sacred. My heart lifts toward my Creator in prayer and thanksgiving. Yet everything is not serene. I have a recurring shoulder injury that has reignited and many days I am not here. I know He hasn't brought me this far - only to abandon me. With a quiet, simple faith I wait to see where He is leading me.

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A simple cake

You don't need a freezer or a crumb layer. This is a simple 8" x 3" cake from a Wilton decorating book. My almost five year old daughter made approximately 60 drop flowers ahead of time. We used tip #2D and #78 and the flower centres were tip #5. (The cake colours were yellow and lavender- the camera got it wrong- there was no blue.) There is a shell border I piped on with tip #21 after I iced the cake. It is a chocolate cake with buttercream icing between the layers. The buttercream frosting was applied with the light touch of a spatula and the flowers were simply added on. My daughter loved making the flowers and in her words the cake was, "beautiful!" We celebrated our birthday's and the cake was delicious.

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Rats, a mouse, and a squirrel

The islands history goes back to over a hundred and twenty years ago when white man first began to settle here. Even with the long history of steam boats servicing the island there have been no rats. All of this changed in the last year when black rats were trapped on the island. When I found a single dropping that was to big to be a mouse dropping on my covered back porch I was mortified. Five weeks later when I went out to town I purchased two plastic snap traps - each one made by a different manufacturer - just in case one did not work. I baited them with peanut butter and placed one on the back deck. I put it under a table and tied it to the table legs next to the cabin. The second went into a box with two small holes cut out as entrance ways and weighted with bricks. I put this trap under the foundation at the front of the cabin. Than I waited. The first night I caught nothing. The second morning I caught a red squirrel in the trap on the back deck. The third night I caught a deer mouse in the other trap. These rodents I am used to. In the four nights following that I caught nothing. It turns out that red squirrel droppings are similar to black rat droppings so this seems to be a case of mistaken identity. I am truly grateful. Nevertheless my trap line is still set up. I am sure none of you have any interest in seeing pictures of any of this......

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

All about thumbs

My daughter needed a new pair of mittens for her growing hands. She loved the fish pattern and colours from the last pair I made so I simply enlarged my pattern. I have a basic pattern that I use for all of my mittens. Each pair that I knit for her I write down how many stitches I used at the key points and that assists me in estimating how many stitches I need to enlarge another pair. (I also write down what yarn and what size double pointed needles I have used.) I only use double pointed needles to knit mittens. After knitting to where I want to place the thumb I estimate how many stitches I will put on a stitch holder. This is approximately a quarter of the total number of stitches you cast on. For this pair it was ten stitches. Immediately after placing them on the holder I will cast on the same number - ten stitches. I will then finish knitting the mitten. After the mitten is knit I will return to knitting the thumb. I put the stitches on the stitch holder on two double pointed needles - dividing the stitches equally between them. For this pair of mittens I put five stitches on each double pointed needle. Than I picked up ten stitches - putting five stitches on each needle. I now have four double pointed needles with five stitches on each of them. I will now knit these twenty stitches with a fifth double pointed needle until I have knit to the top of the thumb. ( You will have to try the mitten on to determine this.) At this point I will divide the stitches equally between two double pointed needles. For this pair of mittens it was ten stitches on each needle. The shaping for the top of the thumb is: knit 1, slip 1, psso, knit to the last two stitches on the needle and k2tog. I repeat this on both needles until I have 8- 10 stitches left - roughly half of how many stitches I started with. This is counting all the stitches on both needles. I will than do Kitchener stitch ( There are some excellent video's on utube demonstrating this finishing stitch.) to weave the opening shut. There are many other possibilities of doing this - but this has through trial and error become my signature way. I like to keep things simple and I look for repetitive patterns and I use proportions to assist me in this way.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The fridge - part two

As you all know my fridge quit working on Jan 21. The serviceman for propane appliances came back from his holiday on February 1 and never returned my call. I waited politely and than snow fell and for two weeks the roads were impassable. As soon as it melted I went back to work. It has now been over a month since the fridge stopped working and everything is ok. I have simplified our eating. I am conscious more than ever of what we are eating and I have learned and am learning new ways to prepare and keep food. I am also finding that a transition to eating vegan for now really helps. After all Adam and Eve (who were given that diet in the garden of Eden as God's original diet for mankind) never had a refrigerator. The cool weather has also helped. Life is decidedly simple and I am content. I am thankful for my peace of mind. This is an answer to prayer and I am truly thankful for His care.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A rug for Helping House

Welcome to helping house - This is my daughter's playhouse and here is a 3" by 2" rug that I wove. After weaving the rug you saw in the preceding post I flipped over my discarded picture frame (my loom) and wove this.
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

My loom

Women have been weaving for thousands of years and until recently they all used what was around them to build their looms with. It is possible to still do this today. This loom is a discarded picture frame and the remaining loom components are various weights of cardboard, string, and masking tape- things I already had. The loom is sitting on my kitchen table and the weaving is 3" across. It is a rug for my daughter's dollhouse. Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Mittens and a saw

Bob Dustrude's quick action buck saw is a wonderful tool however I find the square tubing uncomfortable to hold with bare hands. (I have average sized hands.) I knit these mittens from two strands of leftover worsted wool using 2.75 mm double pointed needles. They are very heavy and they are perfect when I need to use this saw in the winter months. The saw is foldable and built to last- I have given it plenty of use this winter after having to recut much of my firewood. Any blade will do although it would be wonderful to find a blade that I could resharpen myself - instead of the disposable blades which is the only option I have been able to find. There is a wooden tensioning device not shown at the top of the photo to tighten/ loosen the blade.

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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Snowed in

On Thursday after pushing the wheelbarrow home from town I saw three robins in the yard. Are they not the harbinger of spring? I hope they quickly turned around and flew back from where they came from. On friday it started snowing. It snowed and it snowed until the roads became impassable and than it snowed some more. There is no snow plow on the island so it will not be removed until it melts. With the freezing temperatures it has stuck around longer than I can ever remember. There is no vehicle traffic and no boat traffic either but there is an abundance of tranquility. This makes me so content. All I hear are bird wings, snowflakes and silence.

"We need to find God and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature- trees, flowers, grasshopper grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence......We need silence to be able to touch souls." Mother Teresa
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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The fridge - part 1

Propane fridges are truly wonderful because they are silent but they are also expensive to purchase. An electric fridge isn't an option because they use too much electricity- which is something I have very little of. On Jan 21 my old and used propane fridge quit working. I cleaned the chimney out but that made no difference so I put all the remaining food outside on the deck in totes. The weather is close to the same temperature as a fridge and that is a blessing. Another blessing is that this happened shortly before a planned town trip and no food was wasted and I thank God for that. However, I postponed a town trip so we could eat all the remaining food up. Both gas servicemen are on holidays so there is little to do except pray, wait and trust God. Whichever way this goes I have complete confidence in God to provide because that has been His track record. For anyone who is facing uncertainty I find Philippians 4:6,7 to be a gem. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I am living in that peace and it could only be given by a God who loves and cares.

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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wheat free-sugar free vegan cookie recipe

I like to have these Sesame Seed cookies with a chicory hot drink. The chicory is grown in my garden, cut into tiny bits and roasted in the oven. Than, I grind it up with a mortar and pestle. Chicory has a coffee like taste but without the caffeine. It has a number of health benefits that you may wish to look up on google. The manufactured drinks, Krakus or Akava both have chicory as an ingredient in it but it tastes much better when it comes out of the garden. The coffee taste is so much more pronounced in the garden variety. You can buy chicory seeds from Richter's here in Canada. They offer a host of other herb seeds and a few heirloom vegetable variety's. Here is the cookie recipe: 1/3 cup peanut butter; 2 T. honey; 3 T. water; 1/2 cup sesame seeds- hulled (I used black ones); 2T. sunflower seeds; 2T. unsweetened, shredded coconut; 3/4 cup quick oats; 1/4 tsp. salt. Combine peanut butter, honey and water in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix. Form into 2-inch balls, flatten, and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned - approximately 7-8 minutes. Makes 8 cookies. Recipe from A Taste Of Nature Cookbook by Lavonne Hoover

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Prayer is like a window

With the passing of the years I have learned that the winter season gives the sacred space of quietness. I appreciate this time to nurture the silence within me and prayer is an important part of that process. Recently I felt the specific need to pray for the salvation for my partner who left me when I was five weeks pregnant. Initially I resisted but than I followed the prompting and within two weeks a wondrous change came over me. The bitterness and anger I have unknowingly carried toward's him left me and when it did I realized I had forgiven him. In hindsight I realize the bitterness was telling me I needed to continue to accept the love of Jesus within. I praise God for reaching out to me and healing me! The closer I walk to Him the more he creates in me something beyond self - and gives me more than what I could ever do on my own - Him. May you too continue to grow in love.

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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Not counted cross stitch

This design I created as I went along. In doing this for the most part I avoided counting. First I outlined a leaf or flower in backstitch and than I filled it in with cross stitch using my chosen colour's. At times I found graph paper helpful as a general guide for the lettering. The source of my inspiration were the morning glory's I grow every year on my back deck and a pillow case embroidered by my great grandmother. On it was a bluebird and I merely copied the shape and added it into my own design. I love this fusing of the old patterns while creating new. The pale blue border on the pillow was a pair of corduroy pants my daughter wore when she was a baby. It was actually kinda tricky to find enough fabric on those itty bitty pants to make this border work. The back has an envelope closure sewn from a creme corduroy dress she wore several years ago. The bible text on the pillow is, "Fill us this morning with your constant love that we may sing and be glad all our life. Give us now as much happiness as the sadness you gave us during our years of misery. Let us your servants, see your mighty deeds; let our descendants see your glorious might. Lord our God, may your blessing be with us. Establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:14-17

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017


It's been a few years now that the Anna's hummingbird has continued to be a daily visitor to my feeder during the winter months. These little birds are able to survive some cold weather because they eat insects and do not completely rely on flower nectar. This winter like last winter there are two female's and one male. (The picture for this post is a female.) In year's gone by I remember many freezing cold mornings when I would make certain that the feeder was unthawed and filled and than wait for the morning light pensively wondering if they were still alive. Slowly the light would creep into the northern sky and silhouette the maples in the yard and than they would arrive. In my excitement I would dance around the kitchen holding my baby daughter. These day's on these cold winter mornings I am still awed and I still marvel at how they stay warm enough to be alive all day in subzero temperature's (at least at ground level) and through the long, cold nights. (They are absent from the feeder from 4:45 p.m. to 7:45 a.m.) They have an amazing story of survival and in it I find courage.

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