Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell to 2009

As you can see Skeeter is still hopeful. This was taken Dec 26 I believe. We had more snow earlier and then it melted and "wore away" in the cold. Now we again have an inch or so, not much but enough to cover some of the dry remains of last summer.
James and I had a very quiet Christmas with a wonderful roast lamb for dinner at our friend Betty's. Her daughter-in-law is French and French Canadian and this is a part of her French heritage, her grandfather coming from France with Moroccan heritage. Dinner was delicious.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


James has been taking pictures through the slider. This little fellow, a Downy Woodpecker, spent some time peeking in all the cracks on the deck looking for lunch.

e have more birds and more variety of birds at the feeder than in previous years.

This wee fellow is a chickadee of which we've had lots in the past but this year we are being visited by the various finches, most just stripy browns at this time of year but we also have the rosy headed House Finches and I'm sure I saw a Red Poll yesterday. His whole body was rosy and he had the little red stripes on his head; such a bright little fellow.

Sadly James was not lurking about with the camera when he appeared.
We have decided to discourage the cats at the feeder, after all, it is a bird feeder, not a cat feeder! James caught Skeeter sitting on top the other day. It would be a pretty foolish bird who would fly in to that welcome.
Today James added another 20 inches height to the pipe the feeder is mounted on. Take that cats!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Tuesday I put my sister on the bus to return to Kelowna. There was a finality to it.
Nearly 3 weeks ago she'd come to visit our mom and celebrate our 60th birthday on October 5. We'd had a couple really nice visits with our mom and then on the 6th she had a massive stroke from which she never regained any consciousness or reflex or anything. She slipped peacefully away in the the very early morning of October 10.
On the Sunday was the funeral of our very close friend's dad. Her mom had passed away 5 months earlier. It has been a time of goodbyes.
In the spring when the wild flowers are blooming we will have a celebration of life for our mom.
I am giving myself some time to breathe deep and reorder.
One is never really ready for these things

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I have been building birdhouses for 15 years now but have built very few these past few years as I've been having numbers of hand surgeries however, having had a surgery this spring as a result of too enthusiastic knitting I think I can return to birdhouses, but on a lesser scale. The secret, no doubt, is in learning to pace oneself.
Instead of trying to sell my houses all over the Kootenays and Northern Idaho I plan to only build and sell a limited number from our own gallery here at home, and that will also give me time to work more in fabric. I am planning on taking a couple classes this summer.
Also, The College of the Rockies Creston campus is again offering classes this summer in the arts. James will be teaching his Exploring Experimental Approaches to working with Acrylics.
This year the classes are of a 3 day duration, most on weekends.
I will teach a class on Building a Functional Art Birdhouse, showing people how to build a birdhouse that is playful and decorative, but also a safe healthy home for the birds.
The brochure is poorly done this year but I am glad to send people details myself.
The college can be reached at 1.866.740.2687 or 250.428.5332 or emailed at . The brochure lists my class as "Birdhouses" and gives no indication of the rustic, funky houses I build.

Here's Skeeter perched on Garth Huscroft's panther,

and trying to look innocent like she doesn't hear any baby birds!

And here is Bandy doing his Yin & Yang thing with the panther.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My how the times do fly .......

So, somewhere the last month and a half has flown by. When last I wrote Arts and Culture Week was just on and it seemed very soon after my most recent hand surgery. During that week there was an afternoon workshop and presentation by Don Maybe on Artist Trading Cards and this is a photo of the cards I made that afternoon. They are primarily fabric though there's a bit of detritus from the back lot made its way in too. The glue I used is an excellent heavy bodied glue called "Yes."

This picture was actually taken May 8 just after a lovely heavy shower. The forsythia, which I had threatened to hack down because it had bloomed so poorly for years rewarded my good pruning last year with a wonderful show of blooms this year.
We have a little chestnut tree my sister brought as a seedling and it has "lived" and grown imperceptibly for about 15 years but this year it is putting on new growth and has rewarded us with a blossom. Never give up!
For Arts and Culture Week the show at the Blue Awning was called Forty and on and was honoring this, the 40th year Creston has had a Community Arts Council. On that theme I displayed my knitted touques in groupings of 10, from infant, to child's, to youth, and to adult , with the highest grouping representing all ages and the future.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And then there were two.....

I do think it is spring this time. The chickadees are singing "Spring's coming" from the bushes. There's a large older magnolia tree ( the kind with white blossoms) on the way to the mall that is just coming into bloom and many bushes and trees are just waiting to pop their leaves.

Went driving north toward Sirdar. The banks are covered with dog toothed violets (avalanche lilies) We decided to drive out on the dike: lots of ducks, geese, coots, Black Necked Stilts, a couple swans, a blue heron, swallows, and a mamma black bear with her two last year's cubs!

The Black Necked Stilt is fairly rare here in the Creston Valley. They have wonderful "formal attire" and were quite close to shore so we could stop and see them well.
They have bright orange legs. They are quite showy little birds.
It was one of those days when I again think "Why don't I just put a pair of binoculars in the jeep?"
The binos were at home on the table because that is where the best bird watching starts.
Friday evening we had a pair of vultures soaring and swooping right close to us - so utterly wonderful!
Mamma bear and babies were across the channel from us far enough away that we weren't making her nervous, nor she us.
This week will be Arts and Culture Week across the province. Here in Creston we are again renting "The Blue Awning Gallery" across from the government agent's office on Canyon (main) Street. We have a show opening tonight in the west side and going on for the week with different activities in the east side of the building.
Next Saturday James will be helping Sandy Kunze raky behind Kingfisher Used Books and I will be attending an Artist Trading Card lecture and session at the Painted Turtle Gallery.
James and I are going to the opening of Arts and Culture Week tonight. James is showing the 2 pieces of metal sculpture shown at the top of the post. They are made to hang and are about 4 feet tall.
I have created an installation from some of the many, many toques I knit from Jan through March. The show's theme is Forty Forward, celebrating the 40 years of the existence of the Arts Council here in Creston and looking top the future.
My installation has large picture frames (4 of them) hung vertically and strung with wire like clothes lines and at the bottom I hung, using brightly coloured clothes pins, 10 infant hats for the very years, then, above that, 10 toddler hats, for a bit older, then 10 adolescent hats, and then 10 large adult hats.
In the top frame I have hung many hats of all sizes and colours representing the future.
I'll try to get a picture. James tried but it wasn't until we got home we realized his picture only showed the bottom 3 frames.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Promises of spring

Now that the Wynndel Ats Center is "virtually finished" James has had a chance to do some art himself. This is his metal sculpture from last weekend which he will show in the Art Show celebrating Arts and Culture Week at the "Blue Awning Gallery."
I need to evaluate who we've heard from and who we need to be contacting for this summer's ArtWalk.

Meanwhile, my frantic and joyful round-loom knitting has paid off. I have many, many touques to show as an installation at the Blue Awning and to sell this next fall and have had to have another hand surgery for a very badly triggering thumb. I am swanning about while James does the cooking and dishes. Stitches come out Friday -yea!!!!
Spring progresses slowly without me. The daffodils by the front door are nearly open and the little purple violets are blooming with abandon. These are "better behaved" than some and spreading slowly but my hope is for some more inclined to "take over".

I went up on the hill today to see what new wildflowers are about. These teeny, tiny blue flowers will soon carpet the ground but now they are still few and far between.

This is a slow spring. Down in the Lower Mainland, in the farming communities east and south of Vancouver the strawberry growers say their crops will be later than usual and sparser.
I've suggested to James we plant some of our own strawberries in the chicken pen where the deer can't get them. We had them in a raised bed where the deer ate the berries and James mulched them for one winter so well they composted, poor things.

Yesterday we bought our seed potatoes. At Straight from Earth Natural Food Store in town I see a sign saying they are selling the last of the local carrots and I need to buy some before they are all gone. I'm anxious to see things planted but I am a spectator at this time and it's still pretty cold to expect things to grow.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A whole day of sunshine! and a job well done.

Whee! Spring feels really here. I saw 2 towhees in the bushes, the honey bees are out again, the little tortoise shell kitty is seeking shade, and everything feels ready to pop.
James has been redoing his greenhouse, getting ready for tomatoes, and the project for the Wynndel Mudders is essentially finished!

James and Bruce Johnson renovated (rebuilt?) the old changing rooms from the former Wynndel Pool and made them into a really nice open 700 square foot clay studio.
Wednesday we threw a surprise party to honour James and Bruce for all their hard work.
Above, James and Dirk Kunze are philosophizing.
Sadly, we don't have any "before" pictures of the warren of toilet stalls and shower rooms and walls rotting off at the bottom.
James and Bruce tore out all that and with some help from several of the women pulling nails, cleaning, and painting they've made a real silk purse out of a sow's ear.

The outer walls and ceiling are all natural wood and the men post and beamed the room so it could be open concept.

In case one fears there's nothing left to do the outside of the building will need some help and there needs to be a bit of landscaping but for the time being both James and Bruce need to do their spring work at home. This being such a late spring they got a bit of a reprieve.
In November I posted pictures of James and Bruce working on the concrete which formed the floor for this large storage room (about 1/2 shown) which runs the width of the north wall.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Still springing

The little hat with the flower is in gray with periwinkle flower and a variegated periwinkle, gray green yarn knit with the gray.
The flower and leaves are crocheted.
I'm sort of resting my hands which, after just 3 months, are loudly complaining and growing lumps. Oh to have strong hands and wrists!
Anyway, I found a pattern for tendrils, as seen in the picture below, and I'm back to teaching myself real, two needle-type knitting and doing a bit of crochet which I know already.
I've been watching all the World's in figure skating but they are done tonight unless there is a gala. I may have pushed it as far as I can in that we do share the TV and figure skating is not James' thing.
I hope I've enough "grace" saved up to watch Midsomer Murders when it comes on!

This morning as we were dropping off the recycling we saw the first Kill Deer of the season. They are a real sign of spring. Robins may just overwinter somewhere else in the valley but the kill deer actually fly away and then return and it's a joy to see them in their jaunty little formal wear. It's amazing how well they blend with the side of the road when they have such a bright white and black collar.
The swans are also back.
As I drove down Devon Road the other day I saw a large white thing floating down to the flats, and my mind was going "Kite?", "Hang glider?", and then realized I was looking at a swan settling onto a big puddle with about 12 of his buddies. I drove down the little side road to get nearer but the binoculars would have really helped. This time of year they come in and rest at the channel on the south end of Kootenay Lake. A friend from Sirdar watched them flying over for more than 1/2 an hour. They don't stay long and then they are on their way north.
James and Bruce are nearly done the big remodel job for the Wynndel Mudders. After many, many hours of volunteer work I think they are glad to see the end nearing.
I'll try to get some more pictures. They took out walls and post and beamed the roof so it is basically one big room and an added on store room.
James decided he did not want to do the chicken-sitting this summer so we will have both pens to use as fenced, deer proof gardens.
I have just received a first draft of the Barraclough family history. My maternal grandmother was a Barraclough and my second cousin has been assembling this. It should be interesting.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Today, as I was driving home from town I saw a large white object floating across the flats and was going "plane?', "kite?" , "Big bird!" and when I saw it land I followed the road and there in a very large puddle were about a dozen swans!
This time of year they come in on Kootenay Lake at the south end, and this morning a friend who lives on Duck Lake, just south of Kootenay, said they were flying over for at least 1/2 an hour - hundreds of them!
This was a true March day we had every kind of weather including sleet and rain. This evening James went out on the porch and heard spring's first little frog.
After all the snow along the mountains and sleet here in the valley today, the sky is clear and starry tonight.
These little crocuses bloom between the walk and the porch. I took the pictures 2 days ago and it's been so gray ever since they've clasped their little petals tight shut.
I've decided I need to put a deer safe bulb garden just to the west of pond where the bedrock is very near the surface and the snow goes off earlier than everywhere else.
Winter is having quite the time letting go this year.
Meanwhile entries are coming in for ArtWalk. The Nelson & District Credit Union, Eastshore Branch is again supporting us with a small add in our brochure, which helps immensely. After March 30th comes the job of calling everyone we haven't heard from and getting their entries (or not.)
I've been "under the weather," "out of commission," etc. for the past couple weeks but am improving so that is good. Before I finally went to the doctor I was to point of going to sleep every time I sat down because I was so run down. One morning James brought me my coffee and fortunately I let it cool a bit before drinking it because I went to sleep drinking it and poured it down the sleeve of my bathrobe. After that I decided maybe this was going a little too far.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Taking Winter Away

James had a wonderful opening yesterday; lots of friends, good munchies and wine, classical guitar by Peter Bodley, all in all a very nice afternoon but boy am I tired today. This is another painting from his show. This body of work is a little smaller than some of his other work and more of a return to realism.
Yesterday was a typical March day: blowing snow, sunshine, more snow, more sun, etc., etc. It was a good day for a happy gathering as we are all so done with winter.
Last night I got home, put things away, watched Midsomer Murders, a British murder mystery show that lasts a lovely 2 hours, and knit 2 more little toques.
It is amazing there is still any one left living in Midsomer as they manage to "off" at least 2 or 3 unlucky folks each week!
This morning I bought my mom tulips from the grocery store. They just aren't even "up" here yet! and I "took winter away" from her room. She has a little collection of fuzzy, dancing snowmen my cousins add to every year. We had them in her window at Swan Valley Lodge over Christmas and the New Year, but it was time for them to go!
I love tulips but have pretty much given up on them for myself. The deer have even pulled the bulbs right out of the ground and eaten them! Daffodils are icky to deer so I have (or will have when the snow leaves) lots of them. I have been meditating on where I can plant some spring bulbs where the snow will go early and I'm thinking out by the old, needs to be replaced, pond because the bedrock is very near the surface and I see soil earlier out there. I do need flowers. I have oodles of grape hyacinths and I thought the deer didn't like those, but these deer seem to so I get to see fewer and fewer.
James and I went to the dollar store for St. Paddie's Day cards and bought some very, very cheap flower seeds, but James longs, annually, for "Heavenly Blue" morning glories and that's the colour I like too.
I also bought some Shirley Poppies, and California Poppies, and sweet peas as I dream of sweet peas along the porch rail out to the east of the house.
For years I sent St Patrick's cards that I wrote "pray for the peace of Ireland" in, and then for a while it seemed that prayer was answered, and then yesterday, there they were, killing British soldiers again. More prayer needed there.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's a Kootenay Sunrise

I went to Straight from Earth organic store and coffee shop today and found some beautiful locally grown carrots. Yum!
I'm so excited. I've been mourning us not having chickens but today I learned of a friend of a friend who is going away for 4 months and would like someone to take her chickens for that time. There are only 20 and they will go home before James has to lug water and such in the winter. I like them even just to look at. The eggs will be nice too.
Tomorrow is James' show opening at Kingfisher Used Books and I now need to go cut up veggies and make hummus so I'm not snowed under in the morning.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hope & Determination

Here they are, peeking out from the snow bank.
There are getting to be real signs of spring. Hooray!!!!
A week or so ago we began hearing the red winged black birds. Because black birds nest near water they don't nest right close here but in early spring they come around.
There are now flocks of little birds flying about in little swooping clouds.
The flock of cedar waxwings who have been hanging out in a tree near the elevators in town was greatly diminished today and I wonder if they are beginning to pair up and go off on their own.
James' show at Kingfisher Used Books opens on Saturday and I've been buying crackers and veggies. I need to make some of my sister Eileen's good hummus and maybe a black been dip too.
Very sadly, when I went in to Sharla Truscott's Straight from Earth organic store today I learned that Wayne and Denise Harris' locally produced Kootenay Alpine Cheese is completely sold out until early summer. Boo Hoo!!! I can't eat commercially made cows milk cheese anymore but this is made of unpasteurized milk and hasn't suffered the indignities of the commercial cheeses and I can eat it. Spring's coming and summer will too.
I am still happily knitting many, many hats and thinking of yarn as "paint" - all the wonderful colours!
Today as I was in one of the local shops I was talking to a young woman in the yarn department and she is about to go out of town to a specialist to see if her problems are Fibro Myalgia. I was able to tell her there is hope and one can lead a good life with it.
I have for many years.
And then, having gone to a number of banks and potential ArtWalk venues, distributing entry forms, I was too tired to finish the last few things on my list so they will be seed for tomorrow.
Now, having opened the windows and doors to the fresh spring air it's probably time to close them and stir up the fire again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Space Station McDowell

I just realized I referred to "Space Station McDowell" in my previous post but hadn't explained what it was. This now also sports a small windmill and an air velocity meter. This picture was taken in early December before it snowed.
What we are referring to as "Space Station McDowell" is actually a wireless internet relay station which our friend, Robert Lawson, of Kootenay Wireless, is field testing on our hill before it gets flown by helicopter to the other side (West) of Kootenay Lake where it will provide high speed internet to people on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake.
We are also a hub for a number of people in our area. Robert has provided this much needed service to people here in valley in areas Telus has chosen not to cover.

New work by James McDowell

I got the posters for James' show finished. Of course he is still painting away, happily.
Our friend and local musician, Peter Bodley, has agreed to play for us. He plays wonderful classical guitar.
Tomorrow my co conspirators come out and we will stuff envelopes and mail entries for ArtWalk. Another step done. I feel like I'm playing catch up and it's only just begun.
The wind has been blowing for the past 3 days. The other night it blew over "Space Station McDowell" and Robert and James had to lift it up again and hold it down better with guy wires. I am very glad it is temporary because even though it is only a little windmill it makes a steady whistling noise that is bothersome and the cats don't like it, nor do I.
I went to my knitting class and the instructor didn't like my yarn because it was variegated, didn't like the size of my needles, and didn't like my pattern She said it was "a very bad pattern."
I had assumed that she would be teaching the Continental method of knitting. Assume nothing. She said you always held the yarn in your right hand, which is not true for Continental.
I had taken Robaxacet for back spasms before I went and my mind was dull and I lacked what it took to stand up for myself and I couldn't even think straight or count to cast on. It wasn't fun.
So Saturday I will go to the class with my new not variegated yarn, new knitting needles, and a new pattern, and if she doesn't like these well, Saturday is the last class.
Here's a video on Continental knitting and after it, one on casting on, Continental.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Escape to the Outdoors

Well, I left the house today for the first time in 9 days. That must be some kind of record! I am still weak but gradually getting better. Still knitting....
The top hat calls itself a medium. Depending on the yarn they would fit a youth or average adult. If you have a fat head like me you would probably like it made on the large loom.

These are only some of the hats I've been knitting using the Nifty Nitters. The little baby hats are such a hoot. Saturday I'm looking forward to the first of two classes on "real" knitting and today I ventured out for needles and came back with more yarn Shhhh
James has a new show of his paintings coming up at Kingfisher Used Books at the end of the month. The opening will be on Saturday the 7th of March. We're still firming up our entertainment and then I'll be making posters, emailing folks, and the like.
Meanwhile it's time to do forms for this summers ArtWalk so we can mail them out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Signs of spring

This 2nd picture is of Skeeter when she first came to us 1 1/2 years ago. She looks like a poor little malnourished kitten. Malnourished she definitely was, but no kitten. Our vet says she was a year old! Poor baby!
And the first is Skeeter now, well loved and fed, but destined to be a nervous little cat with ADD, we suspect, possibly from malnutrition in her youth. She has a very hard time settling. But, she is much treasured and loved not just by us, but by Bandy too, who actually first brought her to the house. I find her very hard to photograph not only because she is a cat and not wont to cooperate but also because she is so very dark in many lights. I would say she is an orange cat brushed with black but there'd be a good argument that she is just the reverse.Good eating and raw eggs have brightened her coat considerably.
The signs of spring, lest you feel I've been leading you on - two wasps in the slider window. I'm not sure where they come from or how but this time of year they start appearing. If we can keep the population down at this end of the year there should be less at the end of summer when they begin to believe they own the farm!
This has been a sad and thoughtful day. This time of year a herd of elk makes a daily migration: at dusk, down from the 80 acres of woodlands at the back of our place through the neighbour's fields and across the road to the river and in the morning just as it is coming light they reverse their trek. This morning James spotted a full grown adult with most likely a broken front leg. It could only hobble 3 paces, and then rest and then start out again. It was a painful sight.
I called the game warden who couldn't come right out and unless it is fairly close to the road they can't do anything as it would be a mile of deep frozen snow. If he can come out and harvest it the meat would go to the food bank.
I would like to see it out of its misery. Nature is not always kind, in fact it's pretty brutal. We don't know if it was hit by a car or injured some other way..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I think I will live!

Here are Bandy and James communing. There's something about a nice warm cat in winter.
I finally think I'll live. First James got the nasty cold/flu and then I did and it sure takes its time to shake off.

Skeeter is such a nice round little cat, so very different from when she came to us, all scrawny and emaciated. Mind you, she is spoiled rotten! but such a good little hunter. She has been regularly bringing great big voles up to eat on the deck, or under it. She may be getting them under the chicken houses. She'd like to bring them inside but we draw the line at that!
Yesterday was lovely and sunny and so bright with the frozen snow. On a bright sunny day there actually is a lot of colour to be found. My big rose bush is quite attractive with its red arching vines.

A friend was bemoaning her lack of snowdrops yesterday. Obviously she's on another timetable than winter in the Kootenays. We can hope for them in March, I fear, this year as they are under that heavy frozen berm of snow where James shoveled off the porch roof.
But summer will come and in the next 2 weeks I need to make up and get the forms for ArtWalk printed and then we'll have a big day addressing envelopes to mail out the entries. Time also to mail out funding requests.
There was good news on the morning news! Another coffee study has found non-smoking nurses who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day have a 43% lower risk of stroke. That's a good enough figure one could take it up, if they weren't already a coffee drinker!
I'm thawing a flat zip lock bag of tomato sauce from last summer's tomatoes. I find the flat bags more space efficient and if you have a large freezer, which we do, freezing tomatoes as they ripen, and then, at your leisure thawing and making them into sauce (to freeze again) is an easy way to go.
This morning on Martha Stewart she and her guests were talking about what one should have in one's pantry. Well, maybe city people live with nothing on hand but I can't imagine not having their list of foods on hand and then some! It was obvious things like pasta and rice and chick peas and canned tomatoes, mustard and olive olive oil and bread crumbs: the kind of things one needs every day if one cooks, but then many people don't cook from "scratch" or at all, so this is the new money saving tip - cook!
I've still been knitting touques on the round loom (more pictures next time) and this weekend and next am taking a class on "real" knitting.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Frostier, and frostier

We have even more frost today than yesterday and if you can imagine a mountain behind the wagon and frosty trees you can see we are still socked in to a lacy lovely world - but c-c-c-cold - -6 degrees Celsius (21 F).
This is Japanese knot weed which some would argue really is a weed and others would class it as "noxious". It's all where you grow it. Mine is planted in a 5 gallon bucket in a trench between bedrock slabs. It has been here many years and never escaped. We're also so dry up here on the hill that few things wander, the challenge is for them to grow and live! I love the fact it holds it's lovely dry burnt sienna leaves in winter and the little stemmy business left from the flowers are lacy in themselves. In late summer when it blooms it is alive with paper wasps.
And this, the mock orange, is just so very lacy! I moved it from further down the hill. Here they are wild and wonderful in June,
So today James has "stolen" my beautiful big orange squash that I've been saving since fall and probably should think about baking before it turns to compost. James is seeing if it will star in a painting - and then I'll cook it!
I love the fact that winter squash will last and last without the need to can or freeze. Mortals shouldn't even consider canning them. They need to be pressure canned as they are low acid but even in the pressure canner it takes 90 minutes. Letting them sit on a cool shelf makes so much more sense, and then freezing the leftovers as, if we're talking of a big hubbard squash, there will be leftovers.
Your gardening - food preservation tip of the day: if you wipe things you've harvested from the garden, like winter squash, with a 10% bleach solution it will get rid of some of the organisms which would cause them to spoil. If you consider chlorine bleach to be toxic waste try using vinegar. It should work equally well.
Zucchini, which is not a winter squash, will keep a long time if allowed to get big and over ripe and to develop a tough skin. At this time it is good in soups or zucchini bread.
Besides the obvious "squash as a vegetable" serving suggestions winter squash is equally wonderful in soups and works as a rich filler. Winter squash also makes an even better pie than pumpkin. If you buy canned pumpkin in the store (and who would?) what you really get is canned winter squash.
And then, on a totally other subject, sweet potatoes or yams can be substituted for pumpkin and make a lovely smooth pie filling.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What an absolute trial!!!!

The next 2 posts actually run in reverse order.
Blogger did not want the second post (which runs first!) because I had copied from a Word document and I had to delete numbers, and numbers, and numbers of Html commands! What a fiasco!

If at first you fail, try, try, again....

This was taken this morning looking to the north east. The fog is rising along the Goat River and we have hoar frost on everything. The bird feeder is one of the many I built when I was building bird houses. You are actually looking at the back of the feeder. Sadly, the birds don't like this location except in spring and fall. I think here, on the north of the house is too dark for them.

So Blogger didn't like the number of photos first and then it didn't like the html which it had written itself! so we'll try this again. It actually is part 2 of Cozy heads, but given the computer's mind of its own.
This second picture is facing the north west and the fog is rising off the large flats which are a flood plain, now diked, of the Kootenay River. Some mornings with the fog it looks like a huge lake.

This third photo is facing North looking at Goat Mountain which is supposed to be a long extinct volcano and is a much smaller and less impressive mountain than the others surrounding us. The old wagon was used to haul logs out of the bush. It used to be in the poplars down below but we moved it up here to try to "save" it longer in dry location. Time is causing the wood to drop out of the rims of the wheels. "Time waits for no man", or woman either. We have been back here 19 years. The time has gone quickly.

Because James and I only heat with wood we don't go off on overnight jaunts in the winter and if it's REALLY cold we don't leave the house for more than a few hours as one has to feed the fires. Now we have settled into a more comfortable winter pace. The cats were not amused to see it snowing yesterday morning. I think they thought I had "fixed" that! However, we only got around 2 inches which was very slick in the morning and melted by the afternoon, except on the driveway. In that we have a good 1/4 mile of driveway and it was all ice, the snow was actually an improvement.
James and a fellow artist friend have been painting the bathroom in the library to look like an aquarium. There are nearly life sized seals and all manner of fish and sea gulls and..... In that one wall is curved it only adds to the look.
I go along and sit in a nice wooden rocker and knit. I have been knitting toques on round looms. I started doing adult sizes but the last few have been little kid sized and they are just too much fun! I put pictures on Facebook of the adult ones and one child's. Most of these are done with a double yarn so by varying yarns and adding novelty yarns one can get some really fun hats. I have spent WAY TOO MUCH MONEY on yarn but I think I'll be able to sell them. The different colours and textures are quite fun!
For 15 years I built and sold rustic, arty, functional birdhouses but with the problems I have had with my hands the doctor and I decided that building the birdhouses was making me need more hand surgeries earlier. It has taken me a year and a half to be able to say "I quit." and the thought still goes flitting through my brain as it was a significant part of our income.
However, "I quit."
A year and a half ago my girl friend and I organized our 40 year high school reunion, I had two hand surgeries and had had multiple ones the previous 2 summers, was still trying to bake for the farmers' market and build bird houses, and we mostly emptied my mother's mobile home so it could be rented out. However we ended up storing more than we should have and I hit grid lock, mentally and physically.
I wouldn't call it a depression, and I did continue coordinating ArtWalk with all the shows and openings that entailed, and doing openings for James' shows but I've spent an awful lot of time sitting in a comfortable chair. I am hoping to crawl my way out and actually making something again feels good. I still aspire to finding another medium closer to art than craft but this is fun just now.
I'm also trying little by little to get through some of the physical gridlock, so that has been my life. It is a time of losses for us all. Our parents, those of us still lucky enough to have them, are not as they were nor are we.
This Christmas I bought myself Dragon Naturally Speaking so I can get my grandmother's diaries in print form on the computer so they can be shared with her other grandchildren. Grid lock and procrastination being close bed fellows I haven't loaded it on the computer yet.

Keeping wee heads cozy.

This was taken looking east from our porch. In summer the huge mounding rose is a riot of pink blossoms. It was one of the sort you buy in a box and it is very definitely NOT what the box said it was. I recently read Claire Fenton's answers to one of those internet quizzes and the she had listed 25 things about herself, one of which was "I once grew 4000 roses." Well, I did too, but they were all on this bush!
This little rose does not distinguish itself by its many blooms. It is a messy little thing called Winnipeg Parks and it has the most beautiful rose hips. As you may note very few are left. They are not only beautiful but a tasty treat to the deer. Last summer we had a doe with twin fawns hanging around. We kept water in our leaky pond for the little family and they could have pretty much whatever they wanted.

I've been continuing to knit toques and the last few have been for little folk, to keep their wee heads warm. This is a small child's hat - not a tiny baby. These are just far too much fun to do but I need to be careful not to set myself up for some other repetitive stress disorder with my hands. I am right handed but have been practicing doing these left handed
. I have always been fairly close to ambidextrous so it's sort of fun challenging myself.