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.