Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter persists!

Christmas is over! I'm ready for spring.
These pictures were taken yesterday and we even had a bit of blue sky but now it is snowing again, and snowing, and snowing, and snowing.

The picture above is of Goat Mountain, looking north from our deck. The rule is you can take as many pictures as you can without putting boots on!
This Thompson Mtn where the fire lookout is. It's to the east of us and following the ridge south is the Skimmerhorn.
The picture below is the Skimmerhorn. It was taken Dec 10, before it started to snow down at our level.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Merry Christmas to All

When morning comes our trees and bushes will still be robed in snow, but this is a winter scene James painted a couple years back.
I have been carefully turning the Christmas lights out over night because of power concerns but tonight they are tinting the steadily falling snow - very peaceful from our vantage point but a real problem for travelers and others at this time. I just read Greyhound has suspended bus service from Vancouver until it is safe to continue. I sympathize with folks stuck in a terminal somewhere not getting home for Christmas.
Later today James and I plan to go have dinner with my mom at Swan Valley Lodge. It's not the sort of weather to take frail elderly out in.
I bought myself a set of Nifty Nitters (circular looms that do large spool knitting) and am making a few toques for this winter. It doesn't seem at this point that it ever develops a smooth rhythm like crochet or regular knitting. I do enjoy crocheting but haven't mastered knitting. I got the Nifty Knitters specifically to use with a red and black eyelash yarn my sister gave me to make a shawl. The pattern called for crochet but I could not see the stitches and I plan to use the circular looms and knit a black yarn with the eyelash and hope I can see that. Another of the joys of aging.
Saturday is Creston's Christmas bird count. I had said I would watch our feeder and hoped to have one on the other side of the house. I have not seen any birds at the feeder in a long time. They like it in spring and fall but really don't like this location in winter. Maybe next year.
Poor James got to celebrate Christmas Eve by plumbing as the sink faucet decided to spring a good leak. Unfortunately "progress" has changed the parts available and they no longer make 1/2 inch supply hoses. They don't even make fittings to go from the 1/2 inch supply valve to the hose so it will mean more parts and a more involved job. There's no cold water in the kitchen until at least Saturday when the parts stores open again.
Well, now it is 4:16 am and maybe I should try sleeping again. You would think I was waiting for Santa!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Little flakes, big flakes, little flakes, big flakes........

It's snowing tiny flakes just now and at 2:30 pm it feels like night. Dec 21st - the shortest day of the year and James always looks forward to it with anticipation as tomorrow the days start getting longer. Yeh!!!!
I think we are almost safely into our quiet, reclusive Christmas. I got up this morning with grand intentions of going in to town to find an elusive gift for my mom to put under the tree at Swan Valley Lodge.It's so hard to shop for someone who doesn't need (or want) anything. I buy her cut flowers because if I bring a plant she promptly gives it away, lest it die! When you're 87 you deserve fresh flowers all the time.
My resolve melted with the falling snow and we're just staying warm.
James has been racking wine. We will have lovely berry wine on the deck next summer. I should be baking something (she said unenthusiastically). The lasitude of the season is upon us. I want biscotti but I need to bake something softer for James first.
My sister visited recently and brought eyelash yarn for a shawl but I can't see the stitches when I crochet it. It is the joy of growing old!

The cats are not happy about our weather. Bandy sits at the door with his ears at an irritated angle and if I open the slider for him he looks insulted. Little Skeeter is such a faithful hunter that she has to go out for a bit every day but she's not impressed either.
Well, back to the football game! That's what this weather is good for.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The seasons change

The picture above was taken this morning. It was -17 Celsius which works out to 1 degree Fahrenheit - very cold, especially with a wind.
The picture below was taken last Tues. We've had a very long and open fall - quite lovely.
This is our little town. Today it is lacking one of it's historic buildings, built in the early 40's, Sunset Seed (known to old timers as "The Pea Shed" because at one time Creston grew many, many peas) burned to the ground on Thurs night.
I'm told my grandfather may have been the contractor for it. Grandpa Good was a fine carpenter and built a number of buildings and homes around Creston.
The last 2 weekends James and I were busy at craft fairs, one, the Creston Arts Council Christmas Craft Fair and one, the Wynndel Christmas Craft Fair.
I make calendars and cards from photos of James' paintings and we sell them. It's been a busy time.
Now it's so cold I can't think and the lower photo may portray my aspirations more closely.
Larry and Lisa will be in Victoria this Christmas and we anticipate a quiet time at home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another Thanksgiving

The truth be known, the leaves have mostly fallen off the trees and it's frosty mornings and ice on the puddles and any day could bring snow. Tomorrow is our son Larry's birthday. I remember when....
Next week will be American Thanksgiving which falls on James' birthday this year and the anniversary of the day we met 39 years ago, can it be so long?!
Sat the 29th is the Christmas Craft Fair and the next Saturday is the Wynndel Craft Fair and then we may get a chance to rest a wee bit.
Right now we are very busy with calendars. Every year I make calendars of James' paintings which we sell, along with cards, at the craft fairs. James likes this better than when he had to help lug in my bird houses to sell.
Sadly, because of the recurring problems with my hands I have had to give up building bird houses.
My hero has been a friend of ours, Ted Diakew, who said "I'm retiring" from doing spectacular pottery, and on a given day, he invited all his friends, threw a retirement party, and quit. I have had to ease into it, but I now can say "I don't build bird houses any more." It is still hard.

This is James bull floating concrete, while our friends Sandy Kunze and Bruce Johnston help, as they pour the floor for the storage room for the Wynndel Mudders' "Mud Hut."

The Wynndel Mudders are a group of us who work in clay and we are retrofitting the old changing rooms at the Wynndel Hall into a place to use for our work.
I think they just squeaked in under the wire on pouring the concrete before the freezing begins.
As we were cleaning up and finishing up from the "pour" yesterday we looked up to see 3 eagles soaring by. I have never seen more than one at a time before and even one I receive as a blessing.
When we were growing up in the 50's and 60's we never saw an eagle but happily their numbers are getting pretty healthy.
The other day as I was heading out for town I looked up in one of our bare poplars and there sat a fat little pygmy owl. He looked like a little ball with a tail. He was probably looking for little brown birds, but even the little owls have to eat.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

My mom's brother, David, and his son came to visit my mom for Thanksgiving. We were able to bring her out to our place for a turkey dinner Sat night and then Sunday my uncle and I joined her for turkey dinner at the lodge. We are well turkyed.
Other than seeing my mom this holiday for my uncle's visit was sort of a wash as people are out of town or busy with their own family dinners.

Poor Uncle David, not only are people occupied or out of town this time but he is 88 and hasn't lived here since the early 50's and there are less and less people he remembers from his past still living. I guess that's why we need to live in the present.

So, in that we did the turkey dinner on Saturday, the "not picked clean" carcass is simmering along on it's way to lots of turkey soup.I'm not sure which is the best part of the turkey: the cranberries and stuffing or the soup!We're thankful for both.And many little packages of sliced turkey for sandwiches, with more cranberries.
There's also some left over sweet potato pie, so we can still celebrate on the actual day.
Uncle David and Bruce left on their way home as there wasn't enough excitement and "Dad doesn't like to sit around." Some of us wish we had time to sit around a little more.
James and our friend, Garth Huscroft, made the annual pilgrimage to the back to pick apples off the "secret tree" but this year there was not apple one. It's a bit late so the deer and elk and bears and ravens may have got a few but apples have a good and bad year and last year was very good so we were prepared for less this year. Well, maybe not this much less!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche 2008

This is a recent painting of James currently being shown in his show at the Creston Public Library.

Our son, Larry, was invited to take part in the ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche art show in Toronto last weekend. Here are some sites concerning his piece. Nuit Blanche is a grand occasion, taking place outside at sites around Toronto from 7:00 pm Oct 4 to 7:00 am Oct 5. Larry's piece is a combination of installation and performance.

Here, fall approaches and our Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming Monday. James has been clearing up the yard and gardens getting ready for winter, while we carefully move praying mantids so not to squash them in the process.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

An egg case, as promised

This is what the egg case of a praying mantis looks like. It is about 1 - 1 1/2 inches long, made of a funny dried bubbly stuff. This one would have hundreds and hundreds of babies in it but once they hatch, and eat each other in the first days, there will be many less.
Fortunately, the shovel handle this is on is not from the only shovel we own. We will keep it safe until the little ones hatch out - next spring, I presume.
I contacted the Royal BC Museum as no praying mantids were listed as having been found here so I am sending them a couple specimens.
No frost yet.
I had a call from the gentleman who is studying badgers. They would like to set aside appropriate crown land as badger habitat but there really isn't any in our valley so I hope the private land owners encourage the wildlife.

Monday, September 29, 2008

That fallish time of year

The day before fall officially began our weather turned cool and rainy and fall was here.
Not many trees have turned colour yet but even on warm days there is a coolness and as soon as the sun sets, which is earlier every day (at 6:00 pm this evening), there is a chill in the air.
As we're getting ready for winter we look forward to a killing frost, not because we wish an end to the growing season or to the of the flowers in the garden, but we look forward to less wasps. They are a plague this year. Their nests are in every nook and cranny and this weather has them very grumpy. On cool days they are not so evident, but these sunny warm days they are really busy and really cranky.
We have praying mantis this year.
Today we found 5 praying mantis on the side of one of our raised beds.
Praying mantis are new to our area, but if you want something to expand it's territory this is a good candidate as they eat many, many unwanted insects and do no harm. Besides, they are truly wonderful, being up to 4 or more inches in length at maturity.
Here's an article about how they are expanding their territory in British Columbia and a history of how they even came to North America.

Praying mantis change colour depending on what they are on and we've seen them anywhere from a pale fawn wheat colour, to bright green, to dark green, and to a rich brown. Their egg cases are a pale brown dried bubbly looking affair that can be found stuck on a board or other object. It is sort of oval shaped. If we find one we can photograph I'll add the picture later.
This was a nature weekend. On our way home from town on Saturday afternoon James and I were in separate vehicles and a minute or so apart, and we both saw a badger cross the road going from left to right at the foot of the rise before our gate. We think it was likely two separate animals, but even one is wonderful. They are red listed in our area and they too are a very beneficial sort of wildlife.
Badgers will dig out the burrows of gophers and stay until their job is finished before moving on.
James has seen geese flying south. The white tailed deer who only weeks ago were a lovely red have turned to their grayer fall and winter coat.
It is hunting season. We do not hunt nor do we let anyone hunt on our land and I always am cheering for the wildlife. We know that people poach and we have no interest confronting someone who may well have been drinking, and we know they have a gun. It affects our ability to enjoy our wild land as not all hunters are careful. Soon enough, though, the season will be over.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Afternoon Excursions

James and I took an excursion today to Nelson - a flying one as James was helping paint the tourist kiosk this morning - so we left at 1:00 and were back by 5:45.

Our friends Lyn and Eric Johnson have a daughter Laura who is about Larry's age. She has opened a chocolate desert restaurant in Nelson called the Cocoa Nut Lounge.

We did indulge! I had a great piece of very cinnamon's apple pie - one where the apples are cut very fine and stacked with not a lot of "goo" between and not a lot of sugar - a "best" choice for a diabetic.

James had bitter chocolate cake with about 3 kinds of chocolate and heavy, very chocolaty icing. He felt as if he overdid it. It would have been better shared.

Laura needs some art work for December so we went to see the venue and agreed to "participate."

We also wanted to check out the Craft Connection where I sold many, many birdhouses over the years. The Craft Connection is the best run artist owned co-op I know of - always well run, very professional, and very high quality crafts. They have bought their own building and it has an art gallery in the basement so it was necessary to scope that out too.

We entertained ourselves by noting all the pieces to the "new wardrobe" we saw along the pass. Some poor menopausal woman must have gone before us as first there was a black, quilted jacket, and then a red sweatshirt, and still further on a pink T-shirt, and at the top of the pass all discretion had gone to the wind and there were TWO (you never see two!) gloves on the road!

We also saw about 8 mountain sheep who were so unconcerned I could have reached out the window and patted them. Fortunately everyone slowed down for the silly creatures.

The little red bushes and Mountain Ashe berries at the top of Kootenay Pass are brilliant! There is still Indian Paintbrush blooming at the summit along with Pearly Everlastings and Asters. A very pretty day.

We got back to town in time to call our friend, Betty, and meet her for dinner at DQ.

After our very rich desert at the Cocoa Nut Lounge simple fare seemed quite attractive.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall approaches

As you see, James has another show of his new work at the Creston Public Library.
James has 13 new paintings in the meeting room and will have several other pieces of work in the main library.
We had an enjoyable opening Friday night and then all adjourned to the Snoring Sasquatch Hostel and Music Venue for the CD launch of Elena Yeung's CD "The Gravedigger's Daughter." That girl can sing!
Elena has taught herself banjo and the songs on the album are ones she has written herself and are truly great work. She has former Juno nominee,
Mark Koenig, accompanying her on guitar, Karl Sommerfeld on fiddle, Gary Snow on standup bass, as well as a number of other very talented musicians. Our neighbour, Peter McLennan, did the cover photography and the photos are of the old house I was raised in.
Earlier, actually in May, our friend Mark Koenig released his CD ," "Livin' this Life," for which James provided the cover (and inside) artwork. James painted a loose portrait of Mark holding a lovely rooster for the cover and Mark used several of James' tractor, and old car pictures inside.
With ArtWalk over for another year this was the day James and I travelled up to Riondel to pick up his paintings from Bob's Bar and Grill. It was a lovely sunny fall day, clear as clear could be. We visited with a couple local artists at Bob's and then thought we'd take a brief detour to Nelson.
No such luck! As we approached the ferry landing the boat was just pulling away. We decided not to wait the hour and a half for the next ferry crossing but to pop into Fairy Treats for a snack (they always have good home style baking) and meander our way back home along the east shore of Kootenay Lake.
Stopping at Lockhart Beach we took our annual end of summer stroll and as it was such a sunny day we wandered longer than many other times. Often this late in the summer there is a cold wind coming down off the mountains across the lake to the west. Not this year. It was just great.
We found 20 or more bright orange little butterflies having a drink in some damp sand and warming their wings. I'm not sure what they are. They are shaped like a Mourning Cloak with dark outer wings but the insides are bright orange and spotted. I will have to look them up.
We also found a number of lovely little miniature villages someone (or ones) had built, some all of tiny stones and one with battlements of tiny 4 or 6 inch driftwood twigs and with rows of "trees" of fir tree cones.
We stopped and talked with several of the folks who were enjoying the sunshine and then continued our way home.
Too soon the nice warm weather will be done.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's been quite the summer!

It has been a while!!!

The summer has gone briskly by while we seemed to be spinning at times.

After our trip to Calgary and the launches of ArtWalk in Creston and Riondel I took the time to go on a brief Greyhound Bus trip with my sister to Duncan, BC to visit an ailing auntie and my cousins nearby.

Auntie Lorine fell and broke her hip earlier and was hospitalized and then in a seniors facility. First there was the hope she could go home eventually but it became apparent more care was needed. At the time we visited she was in a "transition bed" and, the day we arrived, her family (and many other families) had been informed the facility was closing in a month (an illegal government maneuver which is being appealed) and the 100 residents would either go to the new 50 bed unit that was opening, and already had a 100 person waiting list, or perhaps hover in the air!!!

There has been much brew haw haw since and the BC Ombudsman has just recently said there will be an inquiry into the bed situation and closings of beds and moving around our elderly and separations of families.

At one point, when it was pointed out that moving fragile elderly could cause an attrition (read death rate) of 25% the man in charge had the gall to say he could live with those figures.

Obviously, it wasn't his mother!!!

Fortunately, at this time my aunt is stronger than when we saw her and has been moved to a more permanent situation for her, but it was flash backs to getting my mother into adequate care.

The day after I arrived home, even before I could get a shower!!!, the pump on the well went out. We had a week of hauling water, begging showers, and bucket flushing.

I grew up without a well and my dad hauled water in barrels which was transferred into a barrel by the door and bucketed into the house, but we had an outhouse, and the lack of one was not handy, and James was hauling water for 2 households as our son and his girl friend have spent the summer in the guest house.

So, the pond did not get its liner. The new pump and PVC pipe came to very near $3000.00, but when we remember the former pump lasted for 20 years the cost is not so bad. Also, a very special blessing is that, in getting rid of the old galvanized pipe, we got rid of our rusty water problem!!!

James taught his week long class in acrylic painting at the college again this summer and we helped organize and put on a summer long show of artist's hand pulled prints at the library.

It has been a slow tourist year but nice to see those we have.

James and I got fishing licences for the first time in years and, though I've only made it once, James has gone a few times and brought home a tasty meal.

My computer had serious problems and was in the shop on and off for nearly 2 weeks - not quite as long as Skeeter had to be at the vets. Poor wee tweep, we don't know what she did but she very badly cut the top of a back foot and the inside of that thigh.

The doctor bandaged her foot and stitched her leg and kept her in so she'd be quiet and heal, and a week later when she should have been able to come home she pulled out all her stitches and had to be restitched and more extensively bandaged and didn't get to come home for another 2 weeks!

Skeeter is home now and up to her old tricks, spending some of her nights out, and generally loving "out" so much more than "in." She came home favoring that leg but is improving quickly.

Larry and Lisa are in the process of moving to Victoria where Lisa will work as a nanny to her sister's little ones while her sister writes her master's thesis.

I'm feeling like summer will be over and I haven't done any of the work I had planned. With car sharing, and running too and fro, I haven't worked on any art myself. Also, I absolutely melt in hot weather and end up just sitting in front of the fan. I have great plans for reordering rooms as it is absolute gridlock of my and my mother's stuff since last summer. I want to move the woodworking out of the room it is in and make that room into expanded gallery and a place to work in fabric. That part of the house, the shop, is 4 steps lower than house and on a concrete floor and cooler!!! in the summer.

A friend of ours has just "retired" from pottery. He has for many years been a master potter but felt it "was time."

I have not had such success in "retiring" from birdhouses. I actually finished 3 recently and as one went as a wedding gift, and one sold, I'll need to finish a couple more. I did inform all the businesses that had carried them over the years that I wouldn't be able to supply them but I believe I can still make them for our own gallery and sell a few on line - at least until I've found another medium to work in.

The joy has been not having hand surgery this summer - the first in 3 years - and that is the incentive NOT to build too many birdhouses as it aggravated the condition of my hands.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Wasn't That a Party!!!

Well, we did the Calgary Show in our friends Mark and Lynn's private home and it was a wonderful success and a great time to boot! Mutual friends, Linda and Ed from Creston, travelled up too and of course there were all our hosts' friends and business associates. It was a lovely evening and great hospitality, and then a different group on Saturday morning/early afternoon.

Now we're back in Creston and James is busily painting up another storm for the ArtWalk opening in Creston, on June 13 at 7:00 pm at The Coffee Creek Cafe (formerly Annette's) and in Riondel on Sat June 14 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at Bob's Bar & Grill. The brochure has been proofed for the last time and is at the printers and we have posters to distribute around town.

On Wed James and I went up the lake putting up posters. Just a moderate number of deer on that trip.

Coming back from Calgary last Sat night there were numbers upon numbers of deer and elk.
Only once did we see the truck, towing a trailer, in front of us have to swerve to miss an elk but we all drove judiciously.
This week we've been trying to untangle the phone company's snafus.
Larry and his girlfriend are here in the mobile home for the summer and the phone company began by disconnecting our phone and connecting his number to our place. Then they disconnected Larry's phone from our place and connected our number to his place.
Are you confused yet?
Then this morning (All of this takes days. It has been going on for a week.) our phone was ringing at Larry's and Larry's phone was ringing at our place.
This was the day we were to see a human. He phoned this morning and I explained everything and he "fixed" it and called me and Larry at our proper numbers and mine does seem to be fixed but Larry's is disconnected again.

Tomorrow is the PaintOut and we are hoping for good weather. It is not what we've been having and it is not what is predicted but we can hope.
The Oriental Poppies are just delighted with themselves and the Irises are in full bloom.
I haven't been back on the hill to see what's blooming there with all the rain and cold.
There was fresh snow on the tops of the mountains this morning. It's an unwelcome sight but not totally unheard of. I took a picture last June with the roses in full bloom and fresh snow way down the Skimmerhorn.
This morning, when opening the old, brittle hummingbird feeder it broke irreparably and I dug around and found the lovely pale green one I bought last year. Last summer they wouldn't even look at it but maybe because I had them well established coming to the red one I broke they are accepting its' replacement. Yippee!
With the success of James' show we plan to bight the bullet and spring for the real pond liner as the tarp has not been successful. I have the flowers for one planter and will get more.
We need a new frost free hydrant as the handles on two of ours have broken. One broke when a tree fell on it during a huge wind storm last summer and one just seized so tight James broke it trying to open it. There is no end of things to spend money on and to fix!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nearly summer

The first poppy of spring/summer today. I love Oriental Poppies. They look like shiny transparent tissue paper flowers. The irises are beginning to bloom too.
I went up on our little hill and the lovely delicate blue Large Flowered Tritelia or Douglas's brodiaea are blooming - more every year. Somewhere I thought I saw them called "Wild Hyacinth".
They are the clusters of 3 - 6 or so upward facing vase shaped flowers and were "rare" when we were kids. The little hill we live on is healing still from the fires of 1934 and from having cattle pastured on it.
As to plant books, I use mainly "Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia by Parish, Coupe, and Lloyd. It also gives what the aboriginal peoples did with the plants so I now know that some of the peoples of the Okanagan ate the bulbs of these and of the little yellow bell shaped Fritillaria.Please don't start doing this as they are still far too rare and lovely. Onions will have to be a substitute.
We have fritillaria on the larger hill on the back of our property, as do we have penstemon, Indian paintbrush, shooting stars, lupin. wild sunflowers, arum, that either don't grow on this hill or are more rare.
I do believe the fires burned more fiercely here. I have dug up burned black roots in our yard with clay turned the red of brick around them.
Things are a bit late this year.
Usually our Paint Out is the weekend after Blossom Festival and they are nearly done - the wildflowers - and the poppies and irises are going full tilt. This year things are a little late but it's been cold so long I look out and see the poppy and think "Poppies already!" I am so easily pleased.
This year our Paint Out will be June 7. You're all invited. Bring a sack lunch and your painting supplies. We'll serve the coffee.
James and I were to Calgary May 15 & 16 for our son and his girlfriend's Grad Show and graduation from the Alberta College of Art and Design. They both now have their Bachelor of Fine Arts and Lisa was the valedictorian. It was a whirlwind trip but quite enjoyable though we don't like the rush, rush, rush of Calgary.
We are going back this weekend as James has a show of his paintings in a friends home and we hope it does well. Something new for us.
James has been nailing rough boards on the house for what will be board and bat siding. We were laughing as the boards are cut from a bull pine we took down last summer so the neighbour could get reception for the wireless internet from our house - line of sight. James said "The tree wasn't any more than 150 feet from the house. It didn't fall on the house but now it's on the house."
This afternoon Frank and I finished stuffing envelopes for the last of the ArtWalk participants announcing who is in what venue and they are in the mail or to be hand delivered tomorrow. Now all that remains is to proof brochures and posters, distribute posters, order cakes for the ArtWalk/ArtDrive openings.
Creston's opening is June 13 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at the Coffee Creek Cafe (formerly Annette's) and the Eastshore opening is in Riondel at Bob's Bar & Grill form 2:00 - 4:00 pm on June 14, live music and refreshments at both.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Wonderous things are happening in the yard.

Many years ago we had a pond made of silage plastic and eventually it failed and has sat desolate for 10 or so years. My timing is thinking of which cats we had as these have never known the wonder of a pond and they will love it.
So despiration has set in and prices of the "eternal" type of pond liner will only get worse so we are trying a silver hay tarp, doubled and with the black side out. It's worth the try and the price is right. We think this will at least not tear if the deer step in the pond which they probably will. I used to have Papyrus plants that I set around it and they were forever knocking them into the deep water.
The first time we built the pond we had a front end loader on the tractor to move the large rocks. The second time we were younger than we are now but we are persisting as the pond is such a peaceful lure for wildlife and such a joy.
The waxy leaves are popping and this evening is greener than this morning. The forsythia is a disappointment. It blooms sparsly and way too late and only now do I see one lonely little blossom.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Another painting by James, this time of bunchberries.
We've had two lovely days. Today the temperature got up to 72 degrees and the wind felt soft and warm. This has been such a winter to break free. A week ago Sunday we woke to 3 inches of snow! in mid-April!!! It is so nearly May and the leaves are just beginning to pop. It's been a long, cold, dry spring and the weather man is saying it may revert to cold again but what we really need is some soaking rain.
BC Arts and Culture week is done and the community art show at the "Blue Awning Gallery", sponsored by the Arts Council finished Sat. It was a great show but a lot of lot of work!
The Sat before we (ArtLink) sponsored a gala evening, "The Big Picture Art Fest" in Crawford Bay with large works of art, great food, Margaret Ross and After Hours playing (and singing) wonderful jazz, and about 9 artists demonstrating their craft in small works we raffled off. It too was a great time but exhausting. We're beginning to long for younger blood to lift the banner.
Now it is nose to the grindstone with ArtWalk lining up artists to venues and getting the brochure ready for the printer.
Sometime I will get to do something creative myself. I am meditating on what will be next as I find building my birdhouses too difficult on my hands.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hope springs ....

The second really nice sunny day of spring.
Yesterday and Friday night was the Images Art Show, a show begun by a group of watercolourists but it has shifted to include Gunda Stewart, a wonderful potter who does very traditional wood fired - some with salt - pottery in a huge handbuilt kiln, and to have guest artists exhibit with them. This springs guests were Alison Masters who did charcoal and charcoal with water colour pieces, and Maggie Leal -Valais who displayed really great sculptural clay pieces many of which were rakued.
My daffies are beginning to bloom and I was able to take Mommy a bouquet from my garden.
I looked out in the bushes this morning and there was a goldfinch who was really nice and bright yellow again. Goldfinches become drab little brown birds over winter, barely distinguishable from their finchy friends but come spring their wonderful colour returns and they look like bright yellow flowers bouncing in the bushes.
This was the day the library puts on a tea at Morris Flowers and sells cake and garden themed books and magazines. Someone thought it a good idea for some of the local artists to sell work and a portion would go to the library.
James and I brought his cards and my few remaining birdhouses.
People were interested in the coffee and cake but they weren't interested in the art and we artists were clustered by an open door with a bit of shade and a breeze. People were interested in plants. I can't blame them. We've had so little spring.
I would hate to be whiney but it was unbearably hot. Had it been a gray nasty day it would have been more comfortable.According to the weather boys it is going to revert to gray nasty with possible snow flurries starting even by tomorrow so even though it was sooo hot I'll try not to compain. We went to DQ for coffee after and sat with an elderly couple we see as there were no empty seats. We sat inside and watched the cute little blonds outside turn rosy before our eyes.I fear there will be a lot of folks nursing sun burns after today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I am From

As I wandered the internet reading fabric artists blogs I was challenged to write one of these:
March 11, 2008

I am From

I am from Pacific evaporated milk on hot plum cobbler, from Nabob coffee, and Squirrel peanut butter in the can, and fried bologna.

I am from a house of unpainted boards, water hauled from town in barrels, and the outhouse up the path.
I am from rocky hills covered in penstemon, from Avalanch lilies, cowslips, shooting stars and Indian paintbrush, from the red tailed hawk screaming high above the trees and the fine, fat deer tippy toeing through the garden.
I am from New Year’s dinner with all the cousins, and from intense Monopoly games,
From Henry Good and Hulda Lorentzen, from Harry Peterman and Minnie Barraclough,
From Henry and Bette, who once was Margaret and is again,
I am from quick Irish humour and men who shed tears with great pain.

From “Smarten up!” and “Quiet, don’t frighten Grandpa.”
I am from Protestant Irish from County Cork and Presbyterians from York Mills.

I am from church meetings three times a week and a solid faith; faith as natural and deep as breathing.
I am from the Kootenays by way of the praries, from fresh raison bread fragrant with cardamon and wild mountain huckleberries weighing down the vines.

From a mother cutting out cotton dresses two at a time for two little matching girls and a father who, as little more than a boy, took torture rather than put on the uniform to kill.
I am from the farmer who chose the land with the rock hill, and the mother who nurtured her flowers with dishwater and determination,
From farmers and carpenters, and railway men.

I am from dusty albums stored in a trunk and memories of the heart.

Nora McDowell

Spring will come!

This was taken a few weeks ago and though the snow is mostly gone "they" predict we'll get 4 or so inches tonight and tomorrow. It won't stay and we do wait for springier weather : so do Bandy and Skeeter.
Yesterday, as James went out for firewood, he saw 24 swans winging their way north. A while back there were robins and blackbirds and innumerable joyful lbbs (as in little brown birds), but now the towees are back, bouncing in the bushes. Spring will come. It will wrench itself from the hungry arms of winter and all too soon we'll be sweltering in the summer sun.
Things are moving slowly. There are pussy willows and the snowdrops and species crocuses have been out for a week or so. The farmers must be alert to the cold weather and haven't unwrapped their honey bees yet as we've had very few and normally the crocuses would be alive with them.
I actually saw an earthworm creeping out of the dirt yesterday as we Raku fired pottery at a friend's home. Their yard was full of little mouse holes and trails unearthed by the melting snow. There were many wonderful little plant noses appearing and the bushes were full of Bohemian waxwings and Pine siskins. The waxwings leave the rose hips to the very last but yesterday that was their feast.
We seldom see jays at our place but there in Wynndel the Steller's Jays were riotously happy and Mary said they seem more brilliant than usual. I need more bushes. I can see that!
James and I (mostly James) have been trying to rescue the garden from the grasses and trim back the unruly roses. I think the cats approve. They don't know my plan to shelter a feeder in a particularly thorny bush.
We're moving forward on plans for ArtWalk, and the more imminent Big Picture Show in Crawford Bay. James is making plans for a show in our friends' home in Calgary at the end of May. In mid-May our son and his girlfriend will graduate from the Alberta College of Art And Design (ACAD) so life will continue on busily for a while.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

There is a good change in the air

by James McDowell
Spring will come! Spring will come!
What a hard winter this has seemed. We have not had extreme temperatures but it has stayed stubbornly below freezing for very long periods and it has snowed, and snowed, and snowed. Finally about a week ago there was a change. The sun is high enough in the sky to melt a little each day even though it still is freezing at night. The driveway is one long ice rink but we have 4 wheel drive and James likes the challenge of plunging up it in 2 wheel drive.Everything is still covered in hard frozen heaps of snow which the cats can walk on handily, but we live in hope.
Spring will come.
Yesterday morning I stuck my head out the door at 7:00 am and heard the first chickadee singing his spring song. Today my winter bird came. Every January or February a logger head shrike comes and sits on the power line. He's very handsome in his formal attire, but I believe the chickadee. "Springs coming...."
This evening there is a wonderful lunar eclipse and the moon hangs like a ripe peach, suspended over the Skimmerhorn. I keep running out so as not to miss anything, but it is brilliantly clear and just as brilliantly cold; too cold to stay out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Enough, I say!!!

Today is the warmest in a while. It began spitting bits of Styrofoam this morning but it has been dumping heavy wet snow for some time.
We are so ready for spring this year!!! Everyone is longing for spring!
We haven't had a really deeply cold spell, the kind that kills off the overwintering bugs. Maybe we'll get that next week as it is supposed to get colder.
But it has been consistently cold without warmer breaks and everyone we meet bemoans the winter weather.
I think I saw primroses in Overwaitea the other day and I read they were selling daffy and tulip bouquets. I haven't been out a lot as I'm still getting over the cold.
We have friends leaving for a month in Mexico on January 31. Maybe I could stow away.
I am doing my usual January hibernation. Spring will come.