Stalking my heart’s desire (warning, this post has gone to the birds)

I found an opportunity today to drive way across town, and end up with a couple hours free in the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary. I haven’t visited since this last time.

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Oh what luck! This is such a wonderful place, where one can get this close to the birds. Close enough to count the drops on the drake’s back! :D

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And the animals are so tame that one doesn’t need a super telephoto lens.

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A marshland/delta/ocean view location, ideal for all sorts of wildlife.

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Like beautiful wood ducks.

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And American wigeon.

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And pintails. Er…excuse me?

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Ah, there you are. :D

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And, of course, the ubiquitous Canada geese.

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Who are a bit neurotic and bitchy right now, hissing up a storm.

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This is about the safest distance…unless you have bird seed in your pocket. It may be mating and egg time, but everyone is friendly for the bird seed!

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And the sanctuary provides loads of nest boxes in all kinds of habitats,

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So whether birds like trees, or marsh, or even for the do-it-yourselfers, there’s a nest, or materials for a nest really close at hand.

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And many are already being occupied, like this one in the middle of a pond has been claimed by a pair of purple house martins.

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I climbed up the three story tower to have a good look around.

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It’s 360% from up here!

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And up close and personal down there.

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But the real reason I came, the real object of my heart’s desire, are those magical sandhill cranes.

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A few are resident here. Last year they raised a couple chicks, but sadly the chicks disappeared and never grew to maturity.

The object of my heart

I’m hoping for a better outcome this year.

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Bye for now.

:D OK, now I’m just writing silly lines to justify sticking one more picture into this post. But if only you know how many pictures I want to post and stop myself, you’d be impressed! :D

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A random roundup for Friday

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There are times when I see something and it’s just so lovely that I have to take a photo. These things are usually everyday ordinary things, like this little escapee/volunteer pansy up against the blue pot, but the everyday things are magic to me…you know, that common magic I sometimes go on about.

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Speaking of magic, who can resist sunlight dried towels and sheets. Oh it’s the best, isn’t it? That fresh smell. I never use fabric softeners or dryer sheets, too toxic, but I always marvel at how companies try to mimic what is easily done freely…and non-toxicly.

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I opened all the windows to air the house out, including the windows in my studio. Downtown looked sparkly across the water.

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Morgan immediately jumped out onto the roof and walked around to the skylight and jumped in thru the skylight onto my drawing desk. Milo ran around like a mad cat in thru the front door and out the back door ad infinitum.

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And on my drawing desk are birds! Birds and more birds. I was so happy that my FB friend Diana suggested I draw a Mockingbird and then Melodye asked to use it to illustrate her writing. Morgan comes around and jumps up for a cuddle and I can’t paint! She knows it and sniggers.

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The other day I found a brand new pair of retro climbing shoes at the thrift for $6! Chloe urged me to buy them. I had a second thought about that because that meant that I was probably committing to climbing! Oh, what the heck, we’re only young….er…as long as we feel like it. :D

I’m nowhere near this spider monkey child of mine, but I was pleased with being able to reach the top of the easier routes and very pleased with my muscles!

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I cleaned up the patio table. Time for an alfresco…something!

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In the morning I usually have a couple bed-ferrets invade my bedroom.

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I love it. :D

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Photo challenges: Early bird and Wet

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I’m actually a big morning person. An early bird. This comes form years and years of competitive figure skating and being on the ice every morning by 6am. Early mornings have become a life-long habit.

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I love watching the sunrise from the beach. Watching it reach its way between the houses, boats and rocks.

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And each time I make the effort and stay to watch the sunrise, at first I might be alone, but soon there’s a few more early birds…

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…and soon after that, many. :D

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For WordPress: Early Bird and Photo Friday: Wet

Visiting the Bloedel Conservatory

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Some days, when one is in a mad rush, it’s important to say, “Stuff this for a game of soldiers” to oneself and stop for more than two minutes together.

Chloe and I did just this the other day.

We stopped across town in my mother’s corner of Vancouver, to visit one of my most favourite places, The Bloedel Conservatory. A few years ago in danger of being phased out and dismantled… CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?…Vancouverites railed up in such huge numbers that this beautiful, tropical garden, with waterfalls and pools of rainbow fish, rescued airport smuggled lizards and geckos, over 200 free-flying birds, and over 500 species of tropical plant life, was saved.

I love greenhouses and, in many ways, being a gardener here would absolutely be my dream job, (if it wasn’t for the tourists…lol) But really, we don’t come here often enough. Each time we do stop by, we walk thru it from beginning to end, and then reverse from end to beginning and start over again, before we find a lovely bench to sit at, usually at a bird feeding station, and hang out for a few minutes. Only then, very reluctantly, we walk out the door, and only because we probably should not have stopped here in the first place. But for our sanity, it was the best decision of the week. :D

PS. First photo is across downtown to the North Shore and you can probably see my house in that photo. Probably about where the two orange cranes on the dock are, above them, if you divide the constructed area into thirds, then just below the first third. (Probably making no sense at all…lol)

Hello from Sunday night

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I’m feeling particularly happy this evening and I think it’s got to do with three things.

Thing one: Lilacs!!!

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Unfortunately, these are not mine. They are in a local park and so I can only bury my face in them but not walk away with armfuls.

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In my next life, you know, that organic farm of mine, I’m having absolute hedges of lilacs. White, deep purple and even the lilac ones. Single, double, every variety available.

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Thing two: Beverly the seal!
Oh my goodness! I just bought this signed beauty for an absolute minuscule fraction of the expected two or three grand that an original, signed Inuit soapstone carving should cost.

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Bev, (named after the kind lady who saved it for me at the end of a huge flea market), joins wrestling bears, beluga whale, Jade bear, Nunavut bear, bird, owl, and the iron water dragons, under my stained glass lamp, (which I made years ago), on the dresser in my bedroom, where I can look at them every day. It’s a very private little collections and I can’t believe how lucky I am to own these amazing, original works of art.

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And thing three: my art on ephemera
Loving the cowboy songs and the birds are coming freely and easily these days. There’s so much satisfaction in the work for me.

This is the newest one, an Eastern kingbird mother and young. The Western kingbird is up on FB and Instagram, but i couldn’t get my act together this evening to post a image of him, so just pop over to one of those if you’d like to see the Western beauty. Hopefully kingbird prints in the shop tomorrow.

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Hope your weekend was lovely and restful and you’re all ready for a fabulous week ahead. :D

Macaroons and the sweetest friend

Today I picked up Chloe just after she taught a particularly colourful art class to some 5-9yr olds (occupational hazard she said)…
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…and we headed to Williams-Sonoma to visit our friend Claire who was selling her gorgeous sweets there.
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She offered us some chocolate raspberry macaroons….
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…and we really only made one mistake…we tried them!
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Oh lord, have you ever eaten anything so delicious in your whole life? Naturally we bought a box, and, after running a bunch of errands…
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…found ourselves at home, at four-o-clock tea time, with a beautiful box of chocolate raspberry and pink lemonade macaroons.
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Chloe just asked if she could have the last lemon one! Oh so yummy. Thank you so much Claire.
If you should like to get to know our sweet friend, and you really should, not only because she’s lovely, but also because she shares recipes!!!
Claire’s website is here: Livia Sweets
Instagram: Clairlivia
Facebook: Livia Sweets
And the yummiest Pinterest: Claire Lassam

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Oh, and one last afterthought, I used Claire’s recipe for olive oil banana bread way back here with the promise of the moistest banana bread ever, and have never used another recipe. It’s that good!
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Drawing Challenge: Grass

Because little things are practice for big things, I decided to roll around in the grass at the house next door, (which is about to be torn down), and count the clouds! To me, little things and baby steps are key. They are a form of reassurance.

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Art: watercolours, inks, watercolour pencils on (shock) Arches white paper! :D

Come visit this lovely spring grassy group: Becca, Tammie, Renee, Marian, Ariane, Carole, Renilde, Viola, Nadine,  Eric, EmilyPatrice, Renee, and Melodye.

Happy birthday Clover! Our girl turns 23.

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breakfast

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Chloe’s last day of 22, she said, “Mom, I don’t think I want to be 23.” I told her to shut up.

And then it was morning, and my child is no longer 22. :D She had a lovely day. Breakfast with Bryson, a nice walk, off to teach her art class and a surprise cupcake birthday party from her boss and her students, then a shopping trip for her funky new shoes, (a prezzy from me), and her favourite supper she always asks for: my bacon and leek pasta.

Then she went off climbing with Bryson and her friends, while I finished the blackbird on Mendelssohn.

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Announcing a new Drawing Challenge: Grass

I’d like to call a new Drawing Challenge: Grass

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How about it? Is it fresh and spring where you are or still under a foot of snow? Is it blue and musical, or greener on the other side of the fence? Full of weeds like mine, (actually, just misunderstood flowers), or a pristine, evenly cut carpet? Do you play golf, croquette, polo, Badminton or tennis on it? Do you love it stacked into hay stacks or do you love to lie in it chewing the ends of the stocks and counting the clouds?

So go roll around in some grassy ideas and we’ll wash the grass stains off later!

Let me know you’re in and I’ll link everyone in Friday April 10th and we’ll all have a visit over the weekend. :D

Hello from Monday night…since it’s a holiday

easter

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home

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prints

So I just had to wrap my head around this bank holiday weekend.

Easter Monday is no longer a statutory holiday in Canada because it’s been traded for “Family Day” a floating late February holiday. Go figure. Consequently, Monday wasn’t a bank holiday. Do you know how I found out? My bank called me on Sunday advising that I go into my branch Monday and change my pin because I used my bank card at some dodgy place where they are suspected of having some sort of spyware to track my pin. Sheesh! Good think I never have very much money in that account…lol.

But, apart form trying to puzzle out the dodgy place of business, I’ve had a wonderful Easter weekend and completely ignored Monday not being a holiday. Took Clove mooching around in shops for an afternoon, did some gardening, had Jon and Chantal over for Easter supper, and generally slept in, breakfasted in bed, had lovely, long morning talks with Robert, (also late into the night talks where Chloe joined in and we sang old Harry Belefonte songs together), lazy few days holiday weekend. Super nice.

Nevermind that I couldn’t get the lawn mower to work, and nevermind that I have a garden show to prepare for, and nevermind that I should have been doing a million other things. It’s been a wonderful, relaxing long weekend. (Except for the one Costco run which couldn’t be put off any longer!)

And, I’ve come to the decision that I think I would like to put some prints of some of the bird up on Etsy. I keep thinking about it and finally thought that a few archival quality prints for $20 might be nicer than one original for $150. Maybe. I hope that maybe everyone might like that. I’m completely at sea here and would love to know what you all think. :D Please?

Also, Clove changed the theme on her website, (yet again), but loves this one to bits. I love it too. I think she’s really coming along with her photography and am ever so very proud of her. She’s really getting the views these days! So nice for her. Right now she’s in the dining room drawing a design for the Sasquatch Music Festival. Next up is a design for the Shambhala Music Festival. Last year, she was asked to design a T shirt for Shambhala, and she did, asking for only a T shirt as payment. Her design sold over $2000! She’s so talented and the design was so good everyone wanted one. This year I advised a bit more for the design. You go girl!

Sharing (really late) with Judith and the mosaic bunch.