Friday, December 22, 2006

Wishing all a blessed Christmas 2006

This is the Skimmerhorn, facing east from our porch.
We wish you all a time of peace and friendship this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bandy loves Skeeter.

Notice who gets most of the cushion.
Skeeter has gone from being a poor pathetic little waif to being a little round cat. In that we suspect Bandy brought her up to the house he has always been nice to her although at times I've suspected he thought she was a toy. She is still skittish but she does spend some nights in and she is becoming more comfortable.
I am not back in the shop since the hand surgery in Sept but it's getting close. Then the other day when visiting the hospital I bought coffee at the kiosk and managed to scald the same hand, so that's another set back.
I have been making calendars of James' work to sell and have been making cards. Now I'm working on creating cards from postcards sent by my grandmother and friends in the early 1900's. I'm calling them "Cards like Grandma Sent."
James has a show of his work at the Park Studio Gallery here in town until December 16. He is also going in and doing painting demonstrations at the library about once a week and this Sat will be doing a demonstration at Annette's Delicate Essen on Sat.

Friday, October 27, 2006

the gold

The rose displaying many beautiful rose hips is a Winnipeg Parks. It is a somewhat "messy" and floppy rose that will only bloom once a summer and should you dead head the drying blossoms you will not get more blooms and will miss the glorious hips. We begin winter with lots of "colour" and as the winter progresses the deer eat the rose hips so there are very few come spring.
I don't know the name of my wondeful pink rose. It came in a box that said something "picotee" and was supposed to be a small, hardy tea rose. It isn't. It is a huge mound of pink blossoms in late June and reblooms through the summer. We think it may be some sort of climber. Whatever it is, aren't mistakes wonderful?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Late October gold....

The full moon would have been a while ago. Last night was as black as can be.

The fall keeps lingering, lovely, on. Lots of the gold is gone but more remains. I must get a picture of my beautiful rose. The leaves are golden and there are still blossoms, not as many but a more intense pink than in June.

James painted the striped kitty recently.

Skeeter comes in at length now. She has even spent the night on occasion. Little by little we are charming her. Of course she has us completely beneath her spell.

My hand is healing but it is taking longer this time and I am feeling impatient.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Here she is.....

Here's Skeeter looking rather intense. Looking at her little face staight on it is a checker board of orange and black - top lip 1/2 black and 1/2 orange, bottom lip 1/2 orange and 1/2 black. She's a funny little creature.

That's it for this summer!!!

My but time is rushing on!
Our unbearably hot summer ended just as fast as it came and we had a few cold and drizzly days and now we are back into a beautiful Indian summer. A gallery visitor asked if this was warmer than usual for this time of year but, in truth, we have had wonderful falls the last few years.
The leaves have dried and fallen off the little wild Pin Cherries, but the Trembling Aspens aren't turning yet. It will come, and we have wonderful drifts of gold. I love fall. Here in Creson and the Kootenays it is a beautiful time of year. The smoke from forest fires and field burning in Idaho has subsided and the world is fresh.
I have had hand another surgery, this time on my left hand. I have Dupuytren's Contracture, which is a genetic condition which can cause ones fingers to draw down as the facia around the ligaments shrinks. Last year and this spring I had 3 surgeries on my right hand and now this is my left. That means 8 weeks swanning about and "petting the cat." I hope to be back in the studio and building birdhouses by late November. Meanwhile i need to produce a calendar or 2 of James' paintings for the 2007 year.
On the subject of "petting the cat".....
Skeeter is growing a bit and becoming less angular. She is built like a Siamese, so while she is no longer skinny she looks to remain tiny. Now the project is to get her comfotable coming in the house for winter.When we first tried to invite Skeeter in she would only dash in and dash out. She was most distressed if someone closed the door. It would absolutely panic her.Who knows, in her other life she may have been abused for coming in the house. She would like to play with feet but is very nervous of them, and she is a yeowly little creature - more confirmation of my Siamese suspisions. We had a very satisfactory visit last night. Skeeter was in for a good hour and more than 1/2 of that she spent letting me "hold" her. This is not the idylic cat-in-the-lap holding I am used to with Bandy. This is an exercise program all in itself. She is up, she is down, she turns around and flops so completely the "holder" has to catch her from falling on the floor, she turns and lies on ones legs, she gets up to lie on your chest, she turns around another 3 or 4 times. What a tiny wiggle wart, but she is a sweet little thing and bit by bit she is learning to trust us. She is "a keeper."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Summer is drawing to a close.

Summer is drawing to a close. I feel it, and it is a relief. It has been such a hectic summer that a slower season seems a welcome relief. The evenings have less mosquitos, and it is pleasant to sit out after the sun hides itself behind the mountains and just enjoy the evening.
James painted these dragonflies last week, and then, one evening driving to town, the air was alive with them - none of those dainty damsel flies - the big guys with big eyes and big mouthparts - a little intimidating close up, but etherial in the air and do they ever clean up on mosquitoes and flies.
The skies are smokey, hazy, probably mostly from the fires in Washington State, but we too have the drone of little helicopters , and the cedar bugs are back. Cedar bugs are another failed experiment 0n "nature", where they were imported from Sweden, I think, to kill off some native forest bug pest. They didn't kill off the pest and they thrived and multiplied. As far as I know they are harmless, but high on the nuisance value scale. They are rather clumsy in flight, hitting the lights, landing on people, bashing into things. They look a little like a wasp in flight, and if squeezed or squished they let out a pungent stink. This time of year they are looking for cracks and crannies to overwinter in. They like to hide in the firewood and come out and bash about when we bring in wood in the winter.
Tomorrow we make another flying trip to Cranbrook, 100 km or 70 miles away. My hand mixer is dying and before it falls apart in my hands and I have to buy another $35.00 "cheapie" I am going to get a Kitchenaid. I've gone through 3 of the the Proctor Silex, Black and Decker sort you can find anywhere for $35.00 or less in the past 2 1/2 years. Within the year the beaters are falling out or, like the current one, the switch no longer works and I have to press it really hard and sideways to get it to stop. I can imagine it disintegrating in my hands.
When I first started building birdhouses 12 years ago I bought these very nice light weight little hand drills from Black and Decker and the switches went out on them in a month, a week, the last one , a day, so I bought a larger $56.00 or so Skill and it lasted about a year, until James used it building a deck and it died, so I bought an $89.00 or $99.00 Dewalt. That was 10 years ago and I am still using it.
I am imagining that the Kitchenaid handmixer will be like that. It will cost $99.00, but it doesn't take too many 35s to reach 100.
On the "glad to see fall approaching" theme, there are only 2 more Saturday Markets this year and though I really enjoy them I will be glad to see them done - for now.
We have been having more people at the gallery of late and even when we aren't in they are welcome. Today we discovered the doorbell wasn't working. People can come into the gallery but we don't hear them if we are in the house even though the gallery is attached. We also found $45.00 American from where someone bought a small painting when we either weren't home, or weren't aware.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sweltering in SW British Columbia

I don't think I'll catch up in this lifetime!
I did get birdhouses shipped to Castlegar last week.
I am spending all of 2 days a week baking for the Saturday Market. It pays the bills, but it's exhausting.
My mom spent about a week in hospital as they tried to help her with her dizzy spells. Old age is not fun, at least certain aspects aren't fun for the mother or the daughter. I spend a lot of time worrying.
Yesterday we took a flying trip to Cranbrook for baking supplies, and special glue, and....
We stopped at Goat Mountain Soap in Yahk on the way back as they are part of the ArtWalk. They were run-off-their-feet busy and Mike was being interviewed by a camera crew from Colorado. Marlene said last week it was a crew from Bosnia (or the Balkins?).
Tomorrow we are going to all the ArtWalk venues from Creston to Kootenay Landing. We'll get the really local ones early next week.
Skeeter continues to charm me. Her fur has become soft and healthy and she no longer looks like such a neglected little waif. This morning I managed to pinch my finger badly. James had installed a new handle on the slider and he was showing me that it fit too close to the door frame. I was proving I could still get hold of it, and it pinched and I let out a yelp and Skeeter came skooting around the house to see what was wrong. What a good little cat!
She is still nervous but it is a joy to watch her roll about and play like a happy little cat.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Family" Pictures

These are our little friends, Bandy and Skeeter.
Bandy, the grey striped tiger cat, is 5 this year, having been born on cenquo de maeo (my phonetic spelling of May 5) in 2001. Bandy has lead a blessed life, always wanted and treasured, cared for by his mother until he was the appropriate age to come to our house and cared for by us ever since. He was "chosen": the only cat we have had the privilege of choosing as all our others were orphans and strays of questionable heritage and unknown pasts. Bandy is a neutered male but this is his territory and he will defend it.
It is hard to get a good picture of Skeeter. When she chose us it was evident she had lead a difficult life and she looked like a little kitten but our vet, Dr Marling, assures us she is probably a year old but very petite. Skeeter weighs less than 5 lbs: Bandy weighs a svelt 15. He is a big, beautiful boy.
Skeeter is getting to know us. She isn't much for being held but she does crave attention and, besides being a very excellent mouser, she will actually eat leftovers! This is a trait not shared by the pickier members of the family. Skeeter has been spayed and had her shots since we took her in so she should be well on her way to a healthier life. I would suspect there is a Siamese somewhere in her ancestry as she has the voice, more's the pity, and her frame looks Siamese - long and angular. We are trying to put a little padding on that frame and we are hoping to tame her to come in the house by winter. She's so tiny I'm not sure how she would fare outside all the time.
Bandy quite likes his little friend and she is rather fond of him as well. This makes welcoming Skeeter into our family easier. We are all for a "Peaceable Kingdom."

As life goes whirling by......

It has been a busy, busy time, balanced by unremitting heat.

Last weekend, (July 22 & 23) was Creston's Garden Festival which was wonderful as always: beautiful gardens, great artisan's market, music at Milleneum Park all Saturday, a play Thurs and Fri, but oh, so very hot this year.

This year's celebrity guest was Des Kennedy. As I am always busy with art shows, artisan markets, or you name it I generally do not get to tour the gardens. I did manage to squeeze in Des Kennedy's rather humorous presentation on "The Ten Commandments of Gardening: Who's breaking them and who's Not." That was Sunday morning, and then I spent the rest of the day sitting in Andrew and Anna Zelinski's lovely shady garden in West Creston telling people how to mount and care for their birdhouses.

Saturday James and I took part in the Artisan Market, which also took in the weekly Saturday Market. Every week I already spend 2 days baking for the Saturday Market and with the heat this year it has been quite a challenge. Normally we are set up on the gravel lot, just north of Milleneum Park, facing North, and are only there 'till 1:00, but for the Garden Festival we were set up on the black top parking lot of the college, facing east, and were there until 4:00 pm. By then we were all pretty much cooked.

Four oclock was when they also held the umbrella auction. The umbrellas were paraded on stage by some of the local "Red Hat" ladies. People were so hot there was not enough participation and no bids were placed. They will regroup and re-examine that activity as they do have some lovely, high quality cotton canvas umbrellas painted by local artists. The auction was to benefit the local Arts Council and the Garden Festival, as well as the artists receiving a portion for their hard work. James did the orangy umbrella and was the only man who painted an umbrella. I wouldn't mind just keeping it, but it is for sale.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Our tiny princess

Here's a head shot of Skeeter. She doesn't pose well, and she may be looking at the baby swallow sitting on his house in this picture...
Whereas I thought she was only 4 or so months old, our vet thinks Skeeter is probably a year. She is a tiny wee thing, although she has really grown in the past month. We still need to get some meat on her bones, and she is trying too. She shows off with 2 and 3 mice a day and if they aren't shrews (which taste bad - to cats!) she eats the whole thing.
This has been a lovely week for wild birds. James and I saw a bobolink as we were coming up the driveway the other day. I remember my mother talking about them when we were little but I don't remember ever seeing one before.
Our baby swallows are flying and one little fellow has been sitting on the birdhouse where James could photograph him.
This afternoon as we sat on the deck watching a magnificent vulture circle overhead a catbird came along and "meowed" at us from the bushes. They are quite the handsome bird. When we were growing up in the old house just down the hill from where James and I built on top of the hill, there used to be a catbird who would seranade us from the thorn bush by the outhouse.
My dad used to work a crazy night shift at the saw mill and when he would get home just after 3:00 in the morning he used to enjoy the cat bird seranading him too.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Roses love Sunshine.....

They must also like long, cool, wet springs. Now, however, the weather is very hot and dry.
I need more hoses to drag to thirsty flowers.
This red rose is a Winnipeg Parks: very hardy, it only blooms once a season but oh the rose hips! Fall begins with many, many rose hips and over the winter the deer nibble them off. Something to go with my hen and chicks which they can find down under 6 inches of snow!
The other morning I was walking down to my mother's and sort of daydreaming about the Blaze Climbing Roses that have grown 15 or more feet off the ground up into her Silver Lace Vine, and suddenly I heard a little yelp - or bleat? A tiny, spotty fawn had nearly run into me. We studied eachother for a few minutes and then I went on to see if I could get my mother to the window to see him, and he went to find his mother and tell her about the monster on the driveway.
I was able to show my mother the doe hiding in the trees but baby was mostly obscured by bushes.
Tomorrow I go to town early to pay the land taxes and then I will go to the vet to gather up little Skeeter who has been there recuperating from being spayed. I hope she won't have found the whole experience too disquieting. When I put her in the cat carrier to take her in she fairly roared her disapproval of being caged, but having had kittens get up in behind the dashboard once, all cats travel in a carrier in my car.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

And I even got to cut the cake!

Dena Kubota, our Eastshore Representative for ArtWalk, sent me this picture of me cutting the cake at the Creston opening last Friday night. Actually, Mayor Snopek did the honors, but I got to do the more "domestic" cutting and serving after.
James and I finished delivering the last of the venue posters and brochures this afternoon. Now we need to whipper snip the grass at our own gate and put up our own venue posters.
This afternoon as I walked down to my mom's there was a bald eagle circling just back of her home.
We had such a great time this evening. There are a group of people working in clay every Wed at the Wynndel Hall and right now they are making bugs for a "Go Buggy in the Garden" installation for the Creston Valley Garden Festival this July21 - 23. James and I went and had a really fun evening and toasted summer with a lovely sweet white wine to top it all off. And there were stars! We've seen so few lately with all the rain.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Proof the bird boxes really "work"!!!!

Here's proof the birdhouses "work." Our friend Taryn emailed this picture of a swallow peeking out of one of my houses. Jim and Taryn bought a house for smaller birds and the swallows were so insistent they needed a home they bought another house the right size for them.
We are still having really changeable weather. This morning was lovely and I took my mother for lunch at the Blueberry Patch Country Market - a farm that grows blueberries and hydroponic strawberries, and has a lovely little gift shop and restaurant. On our way home we stopped and watched a whitetailed deer doe and fawn cross a field. Because my mom is 85 she doesn't spot things as fast as earlier in her life, but these two weren't too far away and weren't moving particularly fast so we had a good view.
I had to run back into town for errands but didn't get much done as the skies opened and it just poured rain. It dumped again this evening but now, at 9:15 it isn't bad. This has been a very wet spring!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

As spring turns to summer...

What James has been doing

James has been in the studio. He's done some lovely paintings lately , starting early in the morning in that "misty", almost romantic light, and with our very wet spring there has been plenty of mist to paint in!

ArtWalk Opening and Saturday Market

First day of the Saturday Market for the season!!!!
It wasn't pretty, in fact as we left the house about 7:15 it was pouring and having put our tent up in rain before we know it does not deflect water - it leaks!!! so we didn't put the tent up. We backed both vehicles in and opened the backs (Jeep Cherokee with the door forming a roof too low for Danny to stand under, and Ford pickup with a canopy that the door sticks out but not beyond the tail gate.)
Lois and girls were there too but their tent is water proof and she has shower curtains attached around the sides with their curtain rings, so their world didn't disolve into soap bubbles, and I got my feta fix!
I have a squall jacket that knocks about in the back of the car and gets in the way, but it is there "in case." Today it was "in case Lois forgets a jacket" and it looked very nice and tidy on her. Eileen had brought it one time and the back of the car seemed like the appropriate place for such a garment.
The rains would come, and then the sun would shine weakly through the clouds, and then it would be raining again, but we had a steady stream of customers - not a lot, but quite steady - and I pretty much sold out except for a few cookies. I had 2 loaves left which is not a problem and the rhubarb crisp muffins vanished early on. We decided people are just fed up with waiting for good weather and decided to come out anyway.
Last night was the ArtWalk opening for Creston and it was just great! We had a local, and very good jazz band, After Hours, play and they did just play and play without even a break for 3 hours. Their music is danceable for those who do, and really nice to listen to as we all visited and ate Annette's great goodies. (Annette of Annette's Bistro and Coffee House.)
James has a large showing of his work at Annette's.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Nest boxes and wildlife

Here are two recent nest boxes, or bird houses depending on what one wants to call them.
The house on the left is sized for a bluebird or swallow. The house on the right is for a small bird like a chickadee or wren.
We've been having quite the wildlife days. A couple nights ago we drove out to the back field and saw 4 elk in the middle field grazing like cows. We drove around the neighbourhood and as we came back in the driveway there were 3 little groupings of white tailed deer totalling 10 deer in all. No wonder gardening is a challenge!
The day before yesterday I was gazing at the neighbour's field watching a cow elk in the tall grass when she came out with a calf following her. She was none too relaxed crossing the open field with her precious baby.
Skeeter, our little abandoned kitten, is becoming more tame. If I sit in a low chair she comes to be petted, but she's not too sure about being picked up and if you approach her face to pet her from the front she flinches. Someone was not kind to her! But she is putting on a little weight and her coat is improving.
The other night we were sitting in the yard having an outside dinner when she caught a really big vole (field mouse) and she was some proud of herself! She kept running from one side of the yard to the other carrying her prize. She would have to put on a nervous little spurt of speed as she passed us, but she did want us to see what a good cat she is.

Monday, June 05, 2006


This is Skeeter. We are having some success in taming her. She is still a poor nervous little creature but we found that if we set my little kids school chair on the deck and sat down low in it she was not so intimidated by the huge humans and she does want to be petted even though she is scared of sudden moves and not quite sure she won't get hit. Poor little thing. Someone wasn't kind to her.
I have managed to pick her up a couple times ever so briefly. My friend Betty brought over some kitten weaning food that looks for all the world like someone took cat food and pulverized it in the food processor and put a big price on it. You're supposed to mix it half and half with water and she does eat it. She is starting to eat the regular cat food too but I think she may need a little special care. She's rather thin and her hair shows the lack of good eating. When she first came she wouldn't eat and I have found this behavior in stressed kittens before.
One little kitten was depressed and suffering separation anxiety I'm sure. She had decided to never eat again and I coaxed her back to eating by biting vitamin E capsules and putting the oil on her lips.
Look at the size of those feet! She has one orange foot, one black, and two tortoise shell, which I believe is what best describes her colouring.
James is painting wonderful moody garden paintings these days, that and actually gardening when the weather permits.
ArtWalk is nearly up and running. Tomorrow I've an early morning meeting and then the brochure will go to the printer. I have another meeting with KC from Kootenay Employment Services who is helping us (James and I) set up our web page.
Sunday is the ArtWalk opening in Crawford Bay and Friday the 16th is the opening here in Creston.
Sat the 17th the Farmers' Market opens for the season. Busy, busy, busy........

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Skeeter, or "the things we do for love...."

I fear we may have another cat.

For a few weeks my husband would see a dark flash down by the chicken house as he came out of our house. We knew there was a little stray about but hoped she’d wander on.

It sounds harsh, but harsh are the people who drop their animals off “in the country” for the coyotes and hawks to kill, and for them to be totally unprepared for life in the wild.

They drop them off in winter when everything is frozen and there isn’t even water!!! Never mind food. They drop them off in the heat of summer too.

We see them in the ditches sometimes and it is no life for a domestic animal, and yet we can’t take in every stray. We have our own animals that we are responsible for. We see them where they’ve been hit by cars too.

Well, a couple days back she moved up to the house and is yeowling. She is pathetic. She is horribly thin, and has a tiny, warped, malnourished little body. She is that very dark brown and orange brindley colour, which is why I think she is “she.” There is no size to her at all. I wonder how young she was when someone discarded her. She has a sad little bent tail that probably was broken in another life not too long ago as I believe she’s still a kitten. She may be in heat, oh joy! We always have our own animals neutered and chose not to acquire more than we can care for. We did not choose her.

But we have put out food and water. We can’t just let her starve.

I wonder if she was someone’s pet. Would a cat that was completely feral crave human companionship? That is what she wants. She won’t let me touch her but she is managing to get closer, and I can tell she wants to be near.

I spent more than an hour today sitting out in the lawn chairs sweet talking her and dangling my fingers down near the ground and she even managed to jump up in the chair by me ever so briefly. I talked to her and talked to her and assured her I wouldn’t hurt her. I think she's been hurt before. She has probably been chased or kicked. Twice she gave my fingers a tentative tap. This is real progress, but I really don’t need, and I really don’t want another cat.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spring marches on.....

I seem unable to catch up with the year - mentally, or physically. I fear my gardening will again be "splendor in the grass" as, with the hand surgery I still can't garden, let alone build birdhouses, but it will come.
I think of columbines and Centaura Montana as June flowers, but these are blooming enthusiastically in May. We've had so much rain that they are falling down from the weight of it and creating an absolute tripping hazzard on the walk. Last year's Autumn Joy still adds interest to the rather wild bouquet.
My columbines are olde style flowers, heritage in the real sense, dug up from the flower garden my mom had when we were still children. We didn't have running water and the flowers drew life from the left over dish water. It didn't hurt them!
Please note the leaded glass disk above the columbines. It sits atop a 4 ft metal spike and was made by an artist friend, Catherine Roy.
The super big tortoise hiding in the greenery was chain saw carved by Garth Huscroft.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Humming Birds and healing

Well, I saw a hummer checking out the Christmas light bulbs the other morning. They're actually a little late this year but I made them some sugar water anyway. James had to fill the feeder - I'm still swanning about one handed because of the surgery. By yesterday they had found it and were quite busy in the sunshine today.
I'm still typing left handed and a little with the right but then I pay for it after.
Saturday is our annual spring paint-out, when folks are free to come paint outside on our lovely hillside and we always hope for good weather though many years we are dodging rain drops.

Friday, April 28, 2006

It is that day...

Well, it is "that day." I am off to Trail for the third hand surgery on my right hand in the past year - all Dupuytren's Contracture related. Dupuyetren's is a condition that causes the fingers to draw down - not "handy" for building birdhouses.
The messy scenery picture is of my poor, sad forsythia which has finally decided to bloom. Beyond it, and barely visible, is a wild Saskatoon. Soon the hills will be covered in little girls in white, ruffly party dresses. The poplar leaves are appearing, little, bright green and waxy, and then the leaves will continue to grow to their normal summer size.
In the past week the world has become green. This spring had a hard time wresting itself from the arms of winter, mild though the winter had seemed.
Somehow, I had dreamed of having a bunch of gardening and yardwork done by now, but it is not to be, not this year anyway. I do have a good supply of bird houses on hand, so that is a good thing.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Arts and Culture Week, Creston Style

What a great day Sunday was!

Sunday, late morning, early afternoon we went out to the Wynndel opening of Arts and Culture Week and saw the great installation of Raku fish they had mounted on iron bars all along the creek with little areas where one could read about the various dams on the Kootenay and how they affected the Kokanee Trout in Kootenay Lake, and how that affected the larger Girrard Trout and Dolly Varden. Also, added to the changes from the dams, when Cominco cleaned up some of its practices of releasing fertilizer into the river it lowered the algae growth in the lake to the point where the fish’s survival was threatened and there was a whole program of adding fertilizer to Kootenay Lake in the 90’s to the point that the fish population has rebounded.

At the Wynndel Hall there were also people demonstrating Raku firing, there was ice art, inside there was a fish and chips feed, and a quilt show and sale with some sales going to the Wynndel After School Arts Program and a bunch of wonderful quilted fish wall hangings being sold with the monies going to the Creston Aquatic Society.

Sunday evening was the Creston opening of Arts and Culture Week at the Art garage and it was wonderful. The garage was full to overflowing with local artists and what a happy din. It was really great to see so many people from the different arts related groups co-operating on a common cause.

We went home glowing happily. The Art Garage will be open daily through May 7, with various other activities around town all that time.

Today was a trip to Cranbrook with lots of wildlife along the way. 5 white tailed deer, 3 mule deer, many, many geese, ducks, a heron, etc. I had to run back to town this evening and was just in time to see the 'clean up crew", this time a large hawk, gathering up the remains of a Columbia Ground Squirrel who tried to cross the road just one time too many.

This evening our friends, Jim and Taryn WoodnoteSaberwing, who create beautiful stone and silver or gold jewelry, came out and we did a trade. They now have a swallow birdhouse for the little swallow couple who have been trying to squeeze into the enty hole of the chickadee house, and I have a wonderful pair of rustic woolly mammoth tusk earrings.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

What a busy time!

Yesterday one of the volunteers from the Creston Valley Garden Festival (July 22 & 23) was out to interview me about my birdhouses as I will be demonstrating "The Care and Feeding of Your Birdhouse" - in other words, how to mount and care for a birdhouse - in one of the gardens. I am also hoping to get to hear Des Kennedy who is the celebrity speaker this year.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of this year's provincewide Arts & Culture Week which Creston's Arts Council always expands to two weeks to include the schools' annual celebration of the arts, Focus on Youth, which runs from May 1st - 6th.

Wynndel is celebrating with an opening tomorrow late morning - early afternoon with a raku fish release and quilted fish and ice art and a fish and chip lunch all celebrating a live sturgeon release the children from the elementary school will take part in.

Tomorrow evening is Creston's opening at the Art Garage, an old unused garage that the owner has allowed us to transform into gallery space for the two coming weeks. James and I spent a good chunk of Friday helping with our 7 Studios display. James will be doing demonstrations at the Art Garage on Tues and Thurs and a day long workshop sponsored by the Art Club, at the Rotocrest Hall on Wed.

Friday we go to Trail for more hand surgery for me. Hopefully this will cure the seizing up business. I won't be building birdhouses for a few weeks, but then I'll be back at it. Fortunately I have managed to have a good supply of bird houses on hand- never as many as one would like but a fair number for now.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Every day a little springier!

I'll have to put a picture on of the great shelves James built me. I have been industriously trying to get ahead with birdhouses for when I have hand surgery at the end of this month, and consequently the birdhouses were taking over the gallery, all on the floor, and piling up in front of the benches, and.....
Our friends Jim and Taryn gave us some old bifold doors and James used them for my shelves. Now I have four 6 foot shelves in front of the one bank of windows, and I just got all my finished houses up on them when some ladies came up the driveway and bought one!
Yesterday, late afternoon, there was a real gully washer of a rain storm with lashing wild winds and then, just as quickly as it came, it went, and we had sunshine - and a whole flock of Mountain Bluebirds flying about and sitting on the old wagon wheels. James saw them again this morning. I would love to see bluebirds nesting near the house.
Mountain Bluebirds are all blue with some whitish feathers on their breasts and the females are less bright, with a gray hue to them. We also have Western Bluebirds here in the Creston Valley but they are more rare. The Western Bluebird male has a rosy breast and a pink tinge to his shoulders. Female bluebirds are more difficult to tell apart. The song of the bluebird is a soft, sweet, sad call.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More irises

Now that James is done repairing the truck there will be more time for painting. He has been working on a painting of some antique silver, pewter, and copper tea and chocolate pots we have. Actually, he's also very busy getting garden beds ready for planting.
Last night I planted a gazillion rudbeckia inside. This summer and fall we should have a sunset of golden blooms.

Spring is springing

James and I went for a couple little drives today. We drove out to the back of the place and there are some incredible puddles across the road. James won't be cutting firewood for a while: we can see that! Oh but it was green and lovely, and a gorgeous red tailed hawk was wheeling on the breezes overhead.
This evening we went for coffee at DQ and a drive around the valley, taking the long way home. The skunk cabbage are blooming. Somehow I have had a hard time getting going this year and am still in Jan/Feb mode, and had no idea we are so far into spring. Some things are kind of late this year. The bushes are still just on the verge of leafing out. Some of the poplars and birch are festooned in catkins, but others are still waiting for that first really warm day.
Coming up the driveway this evening I looked out to the back and there were 16 elk grazing in the middle field. This sounds idylic but it isn't really the best news for the farmer. It's like having a herd of the neighbours' cows grazing in your field and eating the newly emerging crop, but then that is balanced by their beauty and magnificence and realizing many people would travel hundreds of miles to see what we can see before breakfast.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Birdhouses and quilting

This may be a little hard to see, but we were learning free motion quilting with a "bouncy " foot and rather than just stippling I tried doing a branch with leaves and some very abstract roses, among other things.
Spring is really upon us now. The leaves on the bushes are beginning to pop and the poplars are decorated with fuzzy chains. It is such a great time of year!
Then, feeling totally spoiled by the springy weather, and running about with no jacket yesterday, this afternoon the wind came up and the rains descended and we were treated to the other side of spring.
The river is rising again, and now the water is muddy.
I'm still busily building birdhouses and hope to get some pictures of them and of some of James' recent paintings on here. We got some old bi-fold doors from our friends, Jim and Taryn, and James is going to make me some display shelves as right now the gallery is pretty well brimming over. I need to go in there and rehang some of his work.
Ah...... It never ends.
I had hoped to get so much deep gardening done before I have hand surgery at the end of the month but at this point we're just enjoying the little violets and daffies and wondering what has blighted my myrtle (or periwinkle, depending on who you are talking to.) It looks like it was scalded or sprayed, but we garden organically, so it's a mystery.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The swallows are back!

James painted these boxes of apples the other day. The small box reminds me of a shop project from my dad's generation.
This morning and yesterday there were swallows on the electric wires, all bright and tidy in their "formal attire."
On the internet there is streaming video of an eagles' nest on Hornby Island. It is wonderful!
I got to see the 2 parents change places. There are 2 eggs, laid last week.
Here's the site.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A beautiful time of year

It is a beautiful time of year.
Spring comes more slowly here than some other places but it does really feel like it's coming now.
I have oodles of snowdrops and a few crocuses and there are more green noses popping up in the sadly neglected garden. I have tiny tet a tet daffies, but only because I forced them in the shop - more things to walk around when cutting boards.
I finished the 10 "little bird" houses sized for chickadees and wrens, and now am cutting parts again.
I have a bunch of gray 8 inch boards with 2 inch sides and strips of lath nailed in them. They were used for core samples, but in their new life they will be birdhouses.Where the lath was nailed it leaves them with subtle stripes.
They take quite a bit of taking apart but are pretty good wood and they are pine! I keep getting old fir which makes fine houses but it is hard and slivery and likes to bend nails.
James is getting ready to mount a new show at Annette's Delicate Essen in time for this summer's ArtWalk. Actually, he will be changing work around sooner than that as she is changing the layout of her restaurant at Easter.
The last two days James spent lying under his blocked up truck removing the clutch, transfer case, and transmission. I guess the good news is the weather has finally improved enough to do such things.
The other good thing about working outside is that you see wonderful things and can come get your wife to see them too.
This evening we saw a large flock of swans flying north just as the sun was setting. Their wings were awash in the sunset. We also saw geese,but that is not so exciting as the swans.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Morris Flowers Greenhouse

This morning was Morris Flowers Greehouse's annual spring pancake feed. Lloyde and Heather were flipping busily and Heather, who is also the Diabetic Nurse at the hospital, had provided a diabetic pancake syrup for those of us who require it, as promised.

Last year I brought my own, but when she saw it she said she'd have it this year, and I wasn't the only one using it.

Monte Andersen's music students were performing - piano and fiddling, very good. There was one little 9 year old boy who played his own composition: The Waterfall Waltze and you could hear the water tumbling over the rocks. It was really impressive for such a little guy. When Monte asked him what he wanted to play next he played the Theme from the Pink Panther. He was, after all, just a little boy.

James took pictures as reference material for his paintings and took a picture of one of my birdhouses while he was at it. I had planned to come home and work in the shop but I got chilled at the greenhouse, and after delivering Grandma's Applesauce Cake to an elderly couple who I bake it for occasionally, shopping for my mom, and doing errands I was bushed and came home and wrapped up in ablanket and watched figure skating. So much for good intentions.

Next Sat I'm going to the local art quilting group for my first time.

I think they are calling themselves "A Walk on the Wild Side."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bluebird Houses

I finished these last week. They are sized for bluebirds and swallows. I am now building houses sized for the little guys - chickadees, wrens, downy woodpeckers.

The air is full of birdsong these days and everyone is checking out realestate. Spring really is in the air.

This morning I looked out north of the house and there was a big adult "Mr" pheasant checking out my little "memorial garden" - memorial to our kitties that are no longer with us.

Mr Pheasant was in lovely shape. This was such an open winter I'm sure many of the birds made it through in fine form. Now we see the male pheasants sparring as is their spring ritual, or you'll see two fellows 20 feet apart in a field, unable to move as that might signify weakness.

Yesterday I potted up the last of last fall's daffodill bulbs. I don't know that they'll bloom this year but at least it should keep them "healthy" until I can plant them in the lawn next fall. These are mostly "tet a tet." (I'm sure that's the wrong spelling, but they are a tiny daffie that has multiple blooms.) I have given up on tulips as the only folk who get to enjoy them are the deer. They have decimated my hen and chicks and other sedum.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Improbable Sightings

On my way into town this morning I had to stop for a little family of pheasant chicks. They were fully feathered - not just baby down - but they weren't even as big as a dove. What cute little guys, and in that they are feathered out they'll probably make it, but around here we don't expect to see them before mid-summer!

March 18 - National Quilting Day - I had no idea!

I spent today and yesterday evening working on a sweatshirt jacket which will then be free motion quilted. I have the fabric placed on the front and back - next come the sleeves.
The raven is a screen print James made.

I did have to buy the Oriental print and the fabric that looks like birch bark. The rest I already had. And I had to buy the red sweat shirt. I love red!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Busy, busy, busy.....

I finally finished all the houses I'd cut parts for before I got sick and now am on to a second group.
Those were sized for bluebirds and swallows and these will be for chickadees, downy woodpeckers, and wrens.
I'm taking another quilt class this Fri and Sat making a sweatshirt jacket.
I've pieced a table runner and begun a second quilt but still have to finish sewing the first together and in that the first is still up on the wall, I'll have to finish it before going on the #2.
I also finished mailing out all the entry forms for art walk. Three of us got together and collated and stuffed envelopes one night and that really sped things up. I did labels from a mailing list and there were still a few glitches but I only had to write out 2 by hand and that is very good!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Local trapper bags the big one!
And you thought it was all fun and games in the gallery.
"Something" had been eating (and digging up) the root of one of my columbines, right down into the ground. It had made a hole about a foot deep, eating away at the over an inch wide root.
We decided the hole was just way too big to be a mouse - not even a very large mouse! and the last snow we had we could see his little footprints going from the pond over to the mudroom, so we bought a rat trap and James baited it with a date and covered it so we wouldn't catch a cat. James got him the first night. We suspect "he" was a very pregnant female pack rat, in just beautiful condition.
You may note it does not have a skinny, naked tail like a Norway rat. It actually had little round ears, a fluffy tail, and looks not unlike a chinchilla, and we wish it had just stayed in the woods and lived its happy little life. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and pack rats stink badly, or their "leavings" do, they can chew and destroy things, and they just don't fit in with domestic life.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New houses for our feathered friends.
I spent the afternoon in the shop creating new real estate for the birds - many, many, little birdhouses. These are only partially assembled - next will come door knobs and faucets and various other pieces of used hardware - plus a wood pile, and a key.
These are sized for bluebirds and violet green swallows.
This afternoon I noticed the towees have returned and are hopping about the bushes. Down by the chicken house I saw my "mystery bird" again. Often he comes and sits on the electric wires in Jan or Feb but I haven't been able to identify him. He is a very soft gray with dark "eye makeup" and white feathers along the edges of his tail. He likes to sit on the wires just 'till I get the binoculars and then he is gone.
James has been in the studio working on a commision.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I'm taking some quilt classes to relearn skills I'd learned in 1990, before we moved back to Creston from the Seattle-Tacoma area. With our building our house and me starting my birdhouse business, and sewing being the "reward" for when the work is done - ha!! I never got back to it until now, but now I have several directions I want to try, and I need to reaquaint myself with some of the rules so I can break them.
This is a modified four patch based on "Four Patch Harmony" from the book "Fat Quarter Frenzy" by Daphne Grieg and Susan Purney-Mark. It was supposed to be a throw about 56 X72 and then James said "I hope it will be big enough for the bed" so it has some growing to do.
I learned a slick trick for lay out. We've stapled an elcheapo plastic table cloth with a flannel backing backwards to the wall and it works like a felt board. I am so pleased.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

So on Mon the 13th I spent a good part of the day cutting birdhouse parts in the shop, and by that night was coming down with the current crud that is going around. I'm still fighting it off and spending time watching the Olympics and finishing the quilt I started on the 10th and 11th. I didn't make it back to last weekend's classes - didn't want to share the "dread disease," nor have I made it back to the shop.
Massive quantities of dust and a cold don't mix!
Today we met at Annette's Delicate Essen for lunch, and to plan this summer's ArtWalk.
James is still painting more beautiful pictures and has managed to stay relatively "disease free."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Everything is beginning to look like a quilt. Here's another little village James painted.
I spent another day at Quiltview Corner doing the quilty thing.
I have many little pieces in different states of being unfinished but am hoping to have it pieced by Friday, when we start another.
As per Wednesdays blog, I did ship 3 birdhouses to Nelson and getting back in the shop is also on next week's list, and watching the Olympics - 1 gold so far, for Canada, Yea!!!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Well, I went to my quilting class today, to try to shake loose some of the rust - like which side of the fabric one cuts from with the rotary cutter so as not to end up needing stiches. I've cut the pieces for an 80 X 80 quilt from "Fat Quarter Frenzy" and have begun sewing. It is all flowers, and like "Candy is chocolate" so, "Flowers are roses," and there are lots of them. The pattern suggested using batiks and the ladies laughed at me when I said I was "saving them."
It is incredibly cold and crisp tonight.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

James has been busy in the studio. He created another piece for his circle series last week.
i need to ship an order of birdhouses to the Craft Connection in Nelson, BC.

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's hard to believe it is 35 years today, though in retrospect there's a whole lot of water under the bridge in those years.
We were married in Seattle, WA at a friends house on Queen Ann Hill, and my bouquet had daisies from a flower shop, and heather snitched from the rocks along the front of the Hari Krishna Temple on Roosevelt Street.

Friday, February 03, 2006

So, in Eastern Canada and the United States I understand the groundhog didn't see his shadow, but here I fear he did.
The sun was wonderful though. We've had so much gray we'll take what we get.
I've signed up for a series of "Fat Quarter Fenzy" quilting classes just to get the juices going again. Since I bought my new Janome - and all the appropriate feet - last fall I've only managed to sew one square for a quilt for a friend with cancer( It's the one above. The center piece is a block print James made) and to mend, so this should get me going again.
Betty came over and we did a grand furniture move. I directed while she and James "yoe-heaved", and now the computer room is much improved but the sewing room is in absolute grid lock, and the hall is full of apple boxes of books, a bunch of which go to the library for their spring garden sale.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More snow yesterday, lots of residual ice, but sun today for the moment. This painting by James makes me think of a quilt.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

James too, dreams of summer. This is one of the paintings he did this week. It is in oil.

We're still in winter here on the Hilltop, but so longing for spring.
James has been busy painting in the gallery, and I have been being lazy, waiting for the light as it were.
Today I potted up some daffodil bulbs that didn't get planted out in the garden last fall. I have given up on tulips. They serve only as a smorgusboard for the deer.
Planning has begun for next summer's ArtWalk and I have letters to write and address lists to make up.
Next week I hope to get back to some birdhouse building.