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.