Sunday, December 18, 2016

white paper

It's pretty fun to paint winter. Especially watercolor winter. Lots of white paper that way.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

the barking


My mom had dozens of cousins.
You run the risk of that sort of thing if you have a proliferation of aunts and uncles and my mom had aunts and uncles aplenty.
One uncle followed his fathers fine example and (almost) singlehandedly produced ten children. Ten cousins for my mother... and there were eight more assorted aunts and uncles all doing likewise.
When the dust settled, there were several dozen cousins wandering in and out of Great Grandma and Grandpas farmhouse.
When you have that much going on, what difference would a batch of puppies... or two make?
None at all.
Bring on the barking.

arms full


My mother's grandparents lived far away, over the Rocky Mountains.
A province away.
A long train trip away.
The year my mother turned 12, she traveled with her younger sisters by train from Blue River, B.C. to Carstairs, Alberta to visit her grandma and grandpa.
Just the three little girls.
It was the first and last time.
For that brief moment in time, my mother was both old enough to be responsible for her little sisters, yet young enough to travel free.
And what perfect timing; puppies were there to play with on the farm.
My great grandparents raised Border Collies so a fresh batch of puppies was nothing new to them.
They were new to the little girls though.

Bet it's pretty hard to feel homesick with your arms full of puppy.

Monday, October 24, 2016

truly

Is watching hockey considered an aerobic exercise? I was just wondering because I know my heart rate goes up and stays that way....
It was my grandson's hockey tournament this weekend. I kept having to remind myself to breath.
Kept having to remind myself of the healthy benefits of team sport even whilst I winced and cringed and blinked rapidly.
My grandson loves hockey.
He scored a dizzying number of goals.
Encouraged his team mates.
Was MVP twice.
Skated forwards and backwards and sideways and up and over and around and even through, to do what had to be done.
It was all serious business.
Serious fun.
And for us watching, serious stress.
My daughter bruised both of her thumbs. From clapping she thinks.
I was preserved from shrieking myself hoarse by having a sleeping baby on my lap for the final medal game.
I tried to express my deepest emotion through facial expressions alone.
I'm sure I could go viral if someone had cared to record it.
We were all wrung out as limp as dishrags after each game whilst being keyed up at the same time. Someone needs to coin a phrase for that feeling.
I know I join a vast throng of hockey fans who are watching hockey in arenas all across Canada.
Watching children.
Watching them play and work and learn.
And our heart is truly in it.  

side by side


This is a picture of my great grandparents, Rufus and Minerva Ray. It was taken smack dab in the middle of the thirties; the dirty thirties on the bald old prairies. The dirty, dusty, desperate thirties. They were resourceful people, my ancestors. One of their many endeavors to keep bread on the table was raising working dogs; Border collies. I love this photo of them standing side by side, a puppy in each of their arms.
I can see my uncle in my great grandfather's face and my own grandmother and mother in Minerva's face.
My great grandfather's jacket looks like it has made a trip or two to the barn.
His hands are firm, hers gentle. 

that way


This picture is more than eighty years old. It was snapped in Drumheller in the mid-thirties. My Dad is third from the left in the back row.


My eyes go to his face like a moth to the light. It is the youngest picture I have of him. He is probably 14 or so. I can see in his face the man he became. His determined chin. His gentle eyes. His fabulous hair. He was a never a large man; graceful but strong, a natural athlete.
He was a huge hockey fan all of his life. He would hunker in front of the TV winter evenings and cheer and sigh and shift and shout and twitch and groan and run his hands through his hair. He always had something to say about the plays too. Hockey is a team sport that way.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

elusive

Want to feel as homely as a mud fence? No? Well don't look in the mirror at the Hair Dressers then.
For goodness sake, avert your gaze. Otherwise you'll find yourself staring in disbelief, your eyes locked on your homely self.
Hair, wet and lank and limply hanging about your ears.
A mysteriously developed double chin.
A haunted look.
Mirror, mirror on the wall....
Hey, remember when the Hair Dressers used to be called the Beauty Parlor.
Well, I suppose.
After.
Not during though.
Definitely NOT during.

Cuteness can be so elusive.
My little granddaughter has only been four a short week.
"I don't want to grow up," she lamented. "I want to stay cute and little."
"Cute and little?" I say, surprised.
"You'll always be cute," I assure her.
"You'll be cute even when you're a little old lady."
I smile confidently.
"No I won't," she says shaking her head. "You aren't, Gramma."

 Elusive.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

fullness of life

'Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough....it can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend..'
M. Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_thankful.html

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

strangest thing

Yesterday,
crossing a street in Fort Langley,
leaves blowing on the wind,
I felt the strangest thing.

That the wind could blow
and there I would be,
18 again and a student at Trinity,
walking in Fort Langley without having experienced all the things that have happened in the interval of time.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

now and always

I snipped and turned the thin sheet of black paper and snipped some more.
And then there she was in my hand, a little girl just like my daughter once upon a time.
My 'once upon a time' little girl who loved rainy days grew up to be a wise and winsome woman who still loves the rain. This birthday card is for her. May the steadfast love of the Lord rain down on her now and always.

Friday, September 9, 2016

ocka bocka

If you find an old book,
and its covered in linen,
especially if it is wonderfully vintage orange linen,
and especially if it is a collection of children's counting and skipping and bouncing ball rhymes,
just like the collection I've been enjoying,
chant a few for me.

Here, what do you think of these jewels?

Bouncy, bouncy, ball-y,
I broke the head off my dolly,
My Mom came out,
And gave me a clout,
That turned my petticoat
Inside out.

My brother broke a bottle,
And blamed it all on me.
I told Ma,
She told Pa,
Brother got a spanking.
Ha ha ha.
How many spanks did he get?
1,2,3, etc.

My mother, your mother,
Live across the way,
Every night they have a fight,
and this is what they say;
Ocka, bocka, soda crocka,
Ocka, bocka, boo.
Your old man chews tobacco,
And so do you.

What's not to love?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

one of the few


Image result for one of the few


I've just finished reading One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd. It is such an articulate and powerful book. 
Skillfully combining story with analogy, Ladd offers an immensely practical and passionate defense of the Christian worldview. He is disarmingly genuine and personal while achieving a rare universality that makes this book widely readable ( and highly recommendable). 
His stories span childhood to adulthood with enough action to appeal to even reluctant readers. 
One of my favourite things about this book is the use of dual quotes to begin each chapter. They made me want to cheer!  
I found this honest recounting of the journey of faith incredibly encouraging and challenging. It rings with truth and hope.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

still summer

Summer slips through the fingers of August don't you think?
I had almost forgotten that feeling.
Children make you remember.
School age children.

With August almost in the rear view mirror, my daughter and my grandchildren and I  hastened to the beach yesterday.
The great wide wondrous beach.
Windy too.
I had forgotten how cool that wind can feel, like an air-conditioner on high.

We built smallish castles and my grandson studied the power of erosion by water. Great calamitous overhead water while his little sister joyously sloshed pailfuls into her castle moat like a bucket brigade gone mad.
Her big sister drew and drew in the sand, happily adding sea weed hair to a giant face.

We got all of the usual scrapes, chafes and contusions that are a necessary part of The Day at the Beach.
And we come home with a random assortment of stories that are also a necessary part.
Stories about more Canada Geese than seagulls patrolling the beach. Was there a seagull convention out of town?
Stories about little yellow crab apples arriving on the incoming tide. Dropping from the branches of a mysterious far away tree, leaning and laden.
And a sad story about a dead harbor seal. It looked like a very young one.

A train chugged past, bedecked in especially fine graffiti.
There were sand dollars and jelly fish.
Shells like tiny pink butterfly wings.
Special pebbles.
Sand molded by the waves.
Sand and sea and sun and surf.
Still summer.  

hundreds and thousands

"I'm just going to read for a bit," I say to my husband.
"Emily Carr's book," I add.
He looks suspiciously at me.
"I'm feeling sad already," I say by way of explaining.

I love Emily Carr.
I thought I'd read all of her writing.
Then I discovered This and That: The Lost Stories of Emily.
I rushed home and commenced reading.

I discovered that the real title for this collection of stories was to have been Hundreds and Thousands. It was the title she chose, the title she wanted but she died before it was published. It is absolutely fitting that someone else decided upon an entirely different title. It is somehow reflective of a good deal of Emily Carr's life and I feel a little bitter about it on her behalf.
Emily Carr was an enigmatic, whimsical, talented...no....gifted, charming, likeable....no....lovable woman. Her family...no....her sisters, were not.
My heart broke into tiny little crumbs when I read this collection of short stories.

Tears trickled down my cheeks and I sniffed and coughed the first time I tried to finish it.
I didn't do much better the second.
Then I dipped in here and there, reading a happy snippet or two and a great gray melancholy settled like autumn rain.
She had so much to give.
So much sweetness.
Hundreds and Thousands.

Friday, August 26, 2016

gack

Through the window I saw a squirrel balancing on the narrow rim of the oak rain barrel. Hanging by its toes, it leaned down, down, down for a drink.
I wonder what it thought when the goldfish zipped up for a closer look, eyeball to eyeball?
Gulp.
Gulp.
Gulp.
Gaaaaaaack!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

release me

"Please release me, let me go, I don't love you anymore..."

I've been de-junking my closets. Isn't that the perfect theme song?

plaintive

Our old truck has survivor guilt.
I didn't realize that until today.
Then I put two and two together.

Our car was stolen a couple months ago.
Sometime in the dimly lit hours of the morning, with only the moon and the old truck as witnesses.
Gone.
The driveway looked strangely empty the next morning as I stood staring in disbelief.
"Where did you park the car?" I called up the stairs to my husband, my voice quavering.
I knew the answer.
I knew, but I just didn't want to believe.

Can you love a car?
Ours was a dear and faithful friend.

Yesterday as we hastened across a parking lot to the truck, I remembered The Love Bug and as a joke, called, "Herbieeeeeee, Herbieeeeee."
How startled we were to hear,
across the sea of cars,
a plaintive, "Beeeeeep?"

Monday, August 8, 2016

location

"It's a squirrel," the woman said with a smile, rolling her eyes at her dog who was standing statue stiff. We followed the dogs gaze and there at the base of a tree was a small red squirrel.
"She's moving her babies."
Sure enough, something was in the squirrels mouth.
And now out of her mouth on the ground.
She fumbled to pick it back up.
And dropped it again.
There it was again, hanging from her mouth like a little limp, rust colored mouse.
A baby squirrel.
The mother bounded over the tufted grass, her grip holding at last.
"I wonder why she's moving them," my husband said, thinking aloud.
And I found myself thinking about realtors and homes with a view.
Location, location, location.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

genuine

I almost didn't stop.
Something had moved, but the woods are full of shadow and movement.
Full of sudden bird wing and squirrel tail.
I almost just kept walking.
But something made me stop.
Made me turn.
Let my vision clear, like binoculars sliding into focus.

Eyes locked with mine.
Bright, startled eyes.
My hand flew to my mouth.

About a foot from the ground, amongst fern and moss on a gnarled, ancient tree trunk, was a baby bird.
It opened its beak soundlessly.
As I continued to stare in amazement, it shifted uncomfortably.
Danger was near.
And it was me.

I forced myself to look away.
To keep walking.
To not draw any other eye.

Small nest and small nestling.
Genuine Geo Cache.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

children of summer

A little painting of my little granddaughter.
The canvas is a six inch square and I thought it would be a wonderful size to dabble on.
The reality is that for something with detail, a larger size would have been much easier.
Of course now that I've started, I will paint two more tiny portraits of her older brother and sister. Be careful what you start.
When I bought this package of four stretched canvas's a few years ago, I was thinking of painting vegetables or fruit. Something graphic and chunky. That will wait for some other time.
The children of summer are waiting.


Friday, July 15, 2016

dollop

A breakfast table laden with waffles and blueberry sauce. "Do you have any cream?" my grandson asks hopefully.
"I don't, but would you like a little dollop of ice-cream?"
"Is a dollop more than a smidgen, or less?" he asks.
"More," I smile.
"Okay, I'll have a dollop."

Sunday, July 10, 2016

feel like

Her big brother was sick first.
And two days later her big sister too.
"What do YOU feel like?" my daughter worriedly quizzed my little granddaughter.
"Well............," she replied, as though pondering many choices. "I feel like going to Gramma's house."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

on we go

Another Wednesday afternoon and we are all seated around the tables in the main dining area. The afternoon sun has turned the leaves outside the window into a patchwork of greens. Somewhere, a sparrow is chirping and chipping away. I am holding a huge handful of paper strips, fanned out in my hand.  Each person seated round the table cautiously pulls out a paper and reads the single word written there aloud to the rest of the group. Then they tell a little story to us all inspired by the word and the others add on a sentence or two making a chain of small stores. One person chooses the word ‘bicycle.’ She laughs. She recalls how much she wanted a bicycle as a girl but her mother was afraid she would get hurt and so, she learned to ride her friend’s bike. None of us are surprised at her independent streak. When her mother saw her skimming along the road, she relented and bought her a bike. Others add stories of riding bikes to school. We are reminded that another rode a horse to school. The stories pass quickly round the table and back to the beginning. I hold out my paper filled hand and on we go.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

deeply gaze

My eyes were on the wooden bridge where a man leaned against the railing.
Not my husbands eyes though.
His gaze was already aligned with the strangers.
They spoke in unison. "There's an owl."
Perched on a curved branch hanging over the bubbling creek, was an owl. A Barred Owl. It stared solemnly at us.
We whistled softly at it and hooted but it just blinked.
I wished my grandchildren had been along. It isn't often that an owl perches where it can be admired and scrutinized.
I remembered walking with my daughter and the children on a long ago afternoon and being startled by a bird suddenly swooping between the trees, right across the path where we were walking in the dappled light of a heavily wooded park.
It was a giant bird.
A Great Grey Owl.
Silently, it swooped back towards us, and up into the branches beyond.
There it perched in all its magnificent, regal greyness.
What a huge bird.
No wonder they are called Great Grey Owls.
It stared and stared at us and we were just as impolite.
The children and I stood in a row and hooted and hooted.
The eyes of the owl never left our faces.
It began to feel a little unnerving.

My husband went back to the woods with me the next day, hoping to see the Great Grey Owl but alas, the branches were bare.
We hooted and whooted and did hear owls calling but none came for a closer look.

I'd like to be an Owl Whisperer.
I'd like to stand and call, and wings wide would silently sweep.
Black glistening eyes would deeply gaze.
And I would hear with my heart.

gramma-fied

I apparently take caution to a legendary level.
"He's come up with a word for that," my daughter said, laughing.
"Grammafied."
"He says it's been Gramma-fied."

Should my grandson contact Websters?
gramma-fied
verb
definition: an activity modified to reduce danger.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

u-pick

We went for a sunny Sunday stroll in the woods and were astonished to see ripe Blackberries glistening among the tangled green.
We ate a handful.
Then we saw a Huckleberry bush, its fruit hanging like tiny decorations.
We ate a handful of them too.
Salmon berries were beautifully ripe and sweetly tart, and Thimble berries were everywhere.
We ate both just for comparison sake.
"Look," my husband exclaimed.
A huge Saskatoon bush, and then another..
Plump, dark purple berries.
We each ate a handful.
Summer fresh, U-pick.

grace on wings

"Look," my husband says, pointing skyward. "It must be a Sandhill Crane."
Such wide, wide wings.
A huge bird, with rust colored wings is losing altitude rapidly.
Down over the marshy shoreline it coasts, grace on wings.

Friday, June 10, 2016

made her happy


 A flannel quilt for my daughter.
She wanted something cozy and warm.
So she chose flannel.
She wanted colors that made her happy.
So she chose black, gray, creamy white and red.
She wanted something simple but graphic so she chose a woven look.
I loved working on this quilt.
Flannel is so soft.
And I love the colors.
Black as night, cloud gray, birch tree white and berry red.
And the pattern was so simple to stitch up that the top was together in a blink.


If you like the front, you'll probably like the back.
Same fabrics.
Same colors.
Still graphic.


There is always a huge question mark over a quilt top as it is finished and sandwiched. How should it be quilted? As usual, the quilt had the final say. Simple graphic pattern, simple graphic quilting. I just stitched straight lines to and fro. It looks sort of like I dropped a fistful of giant pick-up sticks on the quilt.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

in a circle

I volunteer at the Home my mother is living at now.
I lead a group once a week called Story Circle.
It began with stories read from books.
Stories, pictures, poetry.
It morphed into something else though.
Something unexpected.
And simple.

We just became friends.
And now we sit and talk.
And tell each other stories.
In a circle.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

all the better

I'm a volunteer.
Saying that makes me think of plants that just appear in the garden.
They weren't planted.
But there they are anyway.
Sometimes a potato is missed by the pitchfork or a cherry tomato falls unnoticed, hidden in the tangle of a late summer garden.
Then leaves fall.
Winter stills and chills.
As spring sprouts into summer, likewise the volunteer raises leafy arms and joins the rows marching off into the distance. It is usually in a strange spot, sort of out of step yet somehow perfectly placed.
Autumn harvest is all the better for them.

all around

We camped and fished last weekend and came home sun scorched and mosquito bitten with the yodel of loons still ringing in our ears.
I know it will fade over the next few days, but I can still see the periwinkle sky reflected on the surface of the water, smooth as polished glass.
Can see the bald eagle fishing.
The flash of yellow goldfinch and the startlingly blue wing of the bluebird.
Butterflies zig-zagging above the wild flowers.
Lupines, Oxeye Daisy, Wild Strawberry, Indian Paintbrush.
Birdsong all around.

live up to

My little granddaughter and I sat side by side in the shade, telling each other a story.
Little Red Riding Hood.
I supplied a few words and she filled in the details.
It was a revelation.
Apparently, Little Red picked apples in the forest. Green ones.
So THAT was what she had in her basket. 
I was startled to learn that she planned to make a smoothie with them.
And the grandmother, well, she had things under control.
She got on with her life.
She made cookies and smacked the wolf.
I felt so pleased.
That grandmother sounded like someone you could count on.
Someone brave.
Was I the inspiration?
The little author set me straight.
"That wasn't you grandma," she said. "That was the other grandma. The one in the story."
Oh.
Ahh.
Of course.
Yes.
The one in the story.
That grandma smacked the wolf, dusted off her hands and whipped out the freshly baked cookies.
Now that is a woman to live up to.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

under the wire

I raked autumn leaves today. Well, actually I swept autumn leaves. It was my token spring cleaning.
My grandson told me that the first day of summer is still off in the distance but I could hear a bell tolling. I figure the end of May is about as late as I can leave things go and still get under the wire. Still call it spring cleaning.
We had exceptional winds this past winter. They stripped leaves from trees far and wide and swirled them up our driveway and wedged them around the foundation right in our home's entryway.
Looked pretty in October. Kind of festive.
Looked wild and wind blown in November and sort of 'bleak mid-winter' in December. I distracted visitors with big pots of cedar and holly.
More leaves arrived in January, brown and curled and crisp.
More in February too.
By March I was averting my gaze.
Still, April came and went without my lifting a finger.
And May too.
Almost.
And then inspiration struck.
My grandchildren were working their way through a stack of post-it-note chores for my daughter.
They seemed to be having a grand time.
I'm a joiner I guess.
What's good for the goslings is good for the old gray goose.
Hey! I just had a flashback. I remember a book from days of yore that had a picture of an old gray goose on the cover. It was Mother Goose of course and she had a gaggle of laughing children on her wings as she sailed above the clouds.
Sign me up.

jagular

"What's this?" I ask my tiny granddaughter.
"A zebra," she says, emphatically,
"And this? I ask.
"A jagular," she answers, modestly but confidently.
A jaguar going for the jugular.
Yep, that would be jagular I guess.

watching for them

You'll never guess what we saw at Aldergrove Lake Park this week. We couldn't have been more surprised.
It's a great wooded park filled to the brim with animal and reptile, bird and butterfly, mushroom and moss, berries and bark and all kinds of natural delights.
We've seen turtles soaking up the sun on gray logs floating in the pond. Snakes, fish, dragonflies, ducks of every sort, birds that shrill and hum and zeep. Scruffy little country mice, huge owls on silent wings, coyotes eyeing bite sized pets, mushrooms in every shape and size and color, sun sweet berries, dew dappled Bleeding Heart and ferns as high up in the moss fringed branches as you can gaze.
We thought we had seen it all.
As we climbed out of the car I asked my husband what he thought we'd see. We headed off down the gravel path chatting happily about the similarity between snake heads and turtle heads. As we rounded a corner, I was jolted into the moment.
It was just a Park Ranger but talking about snakes tends to make me jittery about things that move in my peripheral vision.
And then, there it was.
In my peripheral vision.
A very large turtle.
How strangely out of place it seemed there, about a foot from the walking path.
It had clearly clambered out to the marshy edge of the pond, up a tangled bank and across a stretch of meadow.
It had crossed the foot path.
And there it was, blinking in the sunshine, its head adorned with yellow and red stripes.
It was my husband who noticed first.
Noticed that the turtle had dug a hole and was laying eggs.
Great white, glistening eggs.
Bigger than robin's eggs.
The turtle turned her head and held us with her steady gaze.
The ranger thought she was an endangered Western Painted Turtle and was pondering elaborate measures to protect the nest.
A glance at google and a conversation to headquarters confirmed Red-Eared Slider instead.
If you aren't endangered, you're on your own folks.
The ranger did plan to linger and pace a bit while the mother focused all her energies and then escort her safely back to the pond.
I'm not sure what would become of the nest, right there by a busy walking path.
The eggs can incubate for several weeks to several months.
I hope they do fine.
And stay safe and snug in the dark, dark ground.
Until some warm summer day the ground shakes and moves and crumbles away as little turtles haul themselves out into the tall grass one after the other and march towards the cool green water of the pond.
Towards gray logs in the sunshine.
I'll be watching for them.

slow escape

We had a pet turtle when I was a child. I don't remember his arrival nor really his departure. Easy come, easy go, like a cowboy in an old western. I can see him climbing out of the tepid water of his shallow bowl, to perch on a flat stone. And I can still see the blinking eyes and tiny yellow striped head and feet. And the patterned shell. And feel the scratchy feet. Tiny, tiny feet with teeny tiny toe nails. He fit so neatly on our hot little palms. And he didn't seem to mind being gripped by the shell and suspended over vast nothingness while he peddled and paddled the air.
He loved to explore. Well, we thought it was exploring when he launched off across the lino and disappeared under the great squat armchair but it may have been a slow escape. Head for the hills!! Keep heading, keep heading....
I don't remember his eventual, inevitable disappearance. Wanted Dead or Alive. It can't have been too traumatic. But i do clearly remember, when we were packing up for our big move to the city, and the World Book Encyclopedia were boxed up, and the shelf lifted and born off to the moving truck, the amazement at finding a turtle shell.
It seemed no one was home, no little occupant.
Just a shell.

'Oh bury me not, on the lone prair-ie.......'
 A lone tumble weed rolls by.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

very silent




Wooden chickadees, carved by my husband and painted by me. These ones are very silent and sober, not at all like chickadees in Campbell Valley Park.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

proof

"Old MacDonald had a farm, e-i-ee-ii-oohhhhh," we warbled as my granddaughters and I skimmed along the highway towards home.
"And on his farm he had a..."
I waited expectantly.
"Alligator!" cried my tiny granddaughter.
Alligator?! Must be a farm in Florida.
"With a..."
The girls happily supplied the sound effects in unison. It was a wonderful hissing growl. Just the sort an alligator would make.
As I drove along listening to my two, dainty darling granddaughters hissing and growling in the back seat it occurred to me that if ever proof was needed of a big brother, I was listening to it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

kept on walking

There is a pond, quite a large pond, right in the heart of a wooded park we love. It's the perfect place to watch Buffleheads and Mallards and look for painted turtles and giant frogs.
And hummingbirds
and Redwinged Blackbirds
and trout
and dragonflies
and owls
and mice.
As I stepped up to the weathered rail fence yesterday, and leaned over to admire the view, a slight movement caught my eye.
"Snake alert," I intoned.
A rather grand sized Garter snake was lying in and out of the sun on the grassy bank, just at our feet on the other side of the fence.
Hearing my voice, it launched itself with a splash into the cold water of the pond.
The very cold water apparently.
Poor thing.
Snakes are cold blooded. They need warmth like an arthritic pensioner needs Arizona. That super chilled snake quickly raised head and shoulders up out of the water and into the warmth of the sun, using a water reed for support.
As it hovered there, a small trout swam in for a closer look.
A very close look.
An eye ball to eye ball look.
The snake flicked its tongue.
The fish swam off.
We kept on breathing, and kept on walking.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

little sunshine girl


A finished quilt really deserves a little more fanfare than this.
There should be pictures aplenty.
Pictures that show the quilting marching off in different directions.
There should be close-ups of the binding.
And, pictures of the quilt draped casually over the couch or folded block upon deliciously colored block.
And there should be a picture of the backing.
There should definitely be a picture of the backing.
Not just a quick snap. Just a hasty goodbye picture out on the lawn in the sunshine like one of those photos taken of visiting relatives. You know the kind. Where goodbyes in the driveway are extended by cameras being brandished.
Well, it's better than nothing I guess.

The quilting really did march off at lovely right angles though.
And the binding was yellow/green. I had thought purple would be the way to go but against the yellow.....well. let's just say, complimentary colors can be too complimentary.
The yellow/green is lovely. It is spotted and dotted just like the flannel backing. It seemed an inspired match. I love polka dots.
The blocks had been lined up on the floor and pondered. They had been rearranged and considered. But in the end, I was as surprised as any one else with their placement. I'm not sure how that happens but there is a certain amount of mystery enshrouding the quilting arts.
I love the yellows together. Makes me think of dandelions and springtime daffodils and bumble bees....and a little sunshine girl.  

earth moving


Water color cards- a trio of toddler robins and a branch of bird babies.

 
Is it still spring?
We headed to Campbell Valley Park to feed the birds and found them preoccupied. On Mat Leave I guess.
Squirrels were here and there and high and low. And a chipmunk too.
Mallard ducklings were madly treading water and zipping in and out of the bull rushes. Little white butterflies fluttered by like scraps of paper on the wind.
I think I felt the earth moving from one season into the next.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

and it's spring














I've felt a bit confused about the seasons this year. Did we have winter? It's been dark and gray and drizzly. Does that count?
My garden isn't confused at all. It has an internal time table that it keeps every year regardless of my uncertainty. On the appointed day, a green shoot appears. Then another. A leaf stretches, a blossom shakes out its ruffled skirt. And it's spring.

Monday, February 29, 2016

dear old freinds


I'm finishing up a quilt for my youngest granddaughter.
Almost exactly four years ago, I made similar quilts for her sister and brother. Of course, that was before I 'knew.' Before she was a twinkle in my eye.
This quilt has a remarkable family resemblance to theirs.
Same sixteen patch blocks.
Same on-point setting.
Same triangle border.
Same scrappy sensibility.
Same feeling of a stained glass window when held up to the light.
Same polka dot flannel backing.
But this one reminds me of something.
I can't quite put my finger on it.
Maybe it's the color combination.
The bold yellow.
For some reason it feels very familiar....and retro.
Like I already know it and we're dear old friends.
I hope my granddaughter gets to feel the same way about it.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

in the spring


"In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love"
That might be true, but in the spring, my fancy lightly turns to thoughts of McDougall Cottage and have done so for several springs now. McDougall Cottage is a wee museum in Cambridge, Ontario and each spring, they host a Wee Quilt Challenge that I am unable to resist. This year's theme is The Myth and Majesty of Scotland and these are the words I sent along with my little quilt:  

 Fins and Scales and Mermaid Tails 

Selkies and kelpies and merfolk and monsters: it seems much of Scottish myth involves creatures of sea and loch. I suppose that isn’t surprising considering the fact that Scotland has thousands of miles of shoreline. My Wee Quilt celebrates the power of myth to enchant us all and includes two mermaids for my mermaid loving granddaughters and a very famous plesiosaur, the Loch Ness Monster, for my dinosaur expert grandson. I started with a vintage linen napkin and ‘sketched’ a picture with thread. Details were highlighted with plaid fabric applique, black, gold and cream colored thread, jewels, shells, sequins and glitter in this tribute to the majesty and myth of Scotland.

inaccessible solitudes

The Sound of the Sea- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain's side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.

So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine of foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.