Hello from Sunday night

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country home

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City and country, a perfect blend this week.

The sun keeps shining, the daffodils are up, some of the cherry trees are in full bloom, the weeping willow in the country has that bright green flush of new leaves…you know the kind that I mean? I brought some branches home for the vase.

Just a quick mention that Vibeke’s giveaway is still going on, and will continue with a new, wonderful gift to win every day for the whole month, (my turn in on the 10th with three silver stacking rings), and to my snowy friends out East, I do have a guest bedroom. :D

Big warm hugs.

Happy anniversary to me!

Gosh!
Wordpress sent me a Happy 5th Anniversary notice.

Five?

How in the world did that happen?

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It’s hard to believe that five years of my life are chronicled here. (OK, maybe four, because the first year I was so scared of that blank screen that I avoided writing anything…you know…it might not be perfect and someone might criticize me. I have a very strong “anti-critical mother” vibe.) But here it all is; the ups and downs, the whimsy, the silly, the beautiful, the tragic. Life. My life. I’m rather proud of it.

But I don’t have much of anything monumental to say today.

Actually, I was going to write about these clumps of daffodils. Well, I still am.

These, (of which there are at least ten clumps round the garden), started life as those cheap dafs one buys at the grocery store for about $4 to make one’s house springlike and cheerful. Well, when they’ve bloomed their little hearts out, I just plop them into the garden where they green up, feed their bulbs and come back next year as cheery and as happy, and even bigger than ever.

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In the garden are also lettuce seedlings. In the cold frame for now…as I don’t really trust the March weather…but I’m so looking forward to some home-grown veggies. That first salad from the garden is such a treat.

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There are some few garden flowers in the house. The hyacinth, same as the dafs, began life as grocery store cheeriness. It’s always a good idea to plop the bulbs into the ground and see what happens. After all, I figure since I bought them anyway, I have nothing to lose.

In the studio, is a map. I picked this map up at the local thrift for a couple of dollars, but when I took it home I realised what a special map this is. It’s a 1959 map of Austria showing the old Czechoslovakia, and, specifically, showing the exit route out of the old Czechoslovakia into Austria that my family took when we escaped as political refugees.

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And, after a bit of internal debate…there be Merlins!

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Here is the male Merlin,

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And here is the female. Still a work in progress, but I’m pretty happy with it so far.

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Of course, Morgan couldn’t care less…lol.

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But for me, five years! It’s a small monumental achievement. :D

By the way, my friend Vibeke at A Butterfly in my Hair, is having a month long giveaway. Each day a new artist, craftsperson, amazing woman is offering a something special and unique to win. EACH DAY! My turn will be on the 10th with three sterling stacking rings in beautiful spring-toned stones. Go get yourselves in on something special. :D

Sharing with Ivy and Elephants

Hello from Sunday night, yes I know it’s Monday morning

You know what I discovered recently?
I actually only have two hellebores in my garden and they’re not very exciting hellebores at that.

Out at my favourite nursery, Southlands, Thomas had all sorts of these beautiful guys. I love winter bloomers.

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Is it me or have I blinked and suddenly there are about a million exciting new cultivars from the boring old Winter and Lenten Rose types? Look at the ruffles and spots and variegation! Have to look around my own hood for houses which will be demolished this spring and go steal save a few.

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The Southlands neighbourhood is a very bucolic country gentry life neighbourhood, with horses and stables and rural life right in the heart of a big cosmopolitan city. It ends at one arm of the Fraser River and the Vancouver airport is on an island just beyond.

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It might look bucolic and country charming, but the average price of houses starts somewhere around $5,000,000 and goes up from there. One particular house overlooking the path and river is listed at $12,000,000 and has 5 bedrooms 5 bathrooms, about 5000 square ft, and an average city lot. Buying a house in Vancouver means that you can probably afford a house anywhere else in the world…except maybe New York, London or Tokyo.

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But it is beautiful here. Blooming trees and pussy willows and horses in back yards.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

A randomness on Friday

This morning I got an email from my friend Nancy, who has resurrected her Random Friday blog hop. I used to really enjoy that hop and am really happy she’s made this decision.

So welcome back to the randomness :D

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I’m so sorry about winter out East this year. Completely don’t understand what’s going on in the world. Here it’s mild, early spring, very little snow pack. Loving the sunshine, but am a bit worried about the lack of snow for summer water.

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Tomatoes, organic or not, big or small, roma or beefsteak, tomatoes taste rather bland this time of year, don’t they?

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Clover’s lunch time and after school art classes are going really well. This bunch of self portrait paintings, done by 6 and 7 yr olds are going to be turned into pencil cases for them. Aren’t they wonderful?

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Years ago I’ve lost one of these pots to carelessness and an unexpected frost. I still have the lid and am having the darnest time replacing the pot. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way round?

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Did I mention I’m loving the sunshine? :D

Symmetry, the WordPress photo challenge

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How about one made by me and one made by Mother Nature. :D

Sharing with the WordPress bunch for Symmetry. :D

About the January drive for fresh, new, spring, clean

You know what I do when I need to clean up?
I buy flowers!
And what’s better than one hyacinth? Two! :D
At the moment they are gracing both sides of the kitchen sink, but they might want to move to follow me around the house.

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So I swept the floors and got to the dining room floor and suddenly the cat hair and dust stuck to the hardwood. I thought, “what the heck?” I thought it’s my miracle orchid. It tends to drop sap drops from its blooming spikes. So I washed the wood underneath it and kept going.

Imagine my surprise and then imagine my horror when I discovered sap under my saved palm! “Oh, oh”, I thought, and had a good look and my worst suspicions were confirmed. The dreaded scale!

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Oh boy! I’ve thrown plants out for less. But this palm is already four feet tall and luxurious and I actually love it. But scale is so hard to control…and there was a huge infection! Right here is the reason I don’t really do house plants! So what to do? Save or compost?

Oh alright then…Save!

I got a large (2′ x 3′) plastic tub and filled it with warm, soapy water, stuffed newsprint into the pot to stop the soil from falling out, and tipped it sideways into the soapy suds and grabbed an old toothbrush and scrubbed the living daylights out of each and every piece of that palm for over an hour!

After the palm, I really wanted to put away the few Christmas decorations which got missed…

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…but ended up playing with Morgan instead. She commandeered the box anyway.

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Last night C took down my spotlight and vintage tripod to take some photos for her work.

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She finished her photography and said, “Mom, I think your spotlight might have an electrical fault because it really smells like it’s burning.”

Oh no! Not another thing wrong round here! :D

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Then we investigated and guess what we found!!!
A wasp nest? What? A little wasp nest was burning under that super strong light bulb.

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Well, that makes sense. I haven’t actually touched this spotlight since since last May or so. (Counting back, May and June were fine for light, summer I was in E, and since Sept there has been that other bit of nonsense happening…so that makes sense)

I should really get back to work, but today is cold and rainy, and so we all feel like Morgan looking out into the drippy world. Well, maybe I’ll put the rest of those decorations away since Morgan is out of the box. :D At least I will have accomplished something today.

Boy, I really have to get back into my strong work ethic.

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A mid-winter picnic

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Take my hand and come with us. Come high up on the mountain, away from the winter ocean fog, above the clouds, into the sun. Come hike the sky line Baden Powell trail for a while. Fall in love with the dogs and mourn as their owners tug them away. Explore the winter weeds and the new spring greening. Don’t worry, I’ve packed some hot tea and some nourishing soup.

Listen to the birds.

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Walking with the Sandhill Cranes

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A bit of a distance from my mountains is the delta of the Fraser River. Across this rickety little bridge is a small island full of organic farms and the George C Riefel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

On this drippy winter day I drove out there to see something spectacular, special and rare.

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Walking thru the sea of mallards, the occasional American wigeon, wood duck, teal and moor hen, along the paths being serenaded by red winged blackbirds, chickadees and towhees I came to the objects of my affection.

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The glorious and elusive winter visitors, the sandhill cranes.

I knelt on the ground and stayed with them a while.

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Then I walked thru the sanctuary and found all 11 birds. I made a small video to share with you all.

If you’re anywhere around the Lower Mainland, I encourage you to make your way here to walk with these magnificent birds before they fly away.

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A little autumn magic

Today, after a bunch of errands and a shaky nerves inducing dentist’s appointment, (always the way for me even though everything always turns out just fine), I promised myself a little calm and a little autumn harvest of leaves.

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I found my favourite little park and had a walk. Look what I found!

Beautiful amanitas!

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My absolutely favourite mushroom in the world. The humble toadstool.

But isn’t it just right, isn’t it perfect? Isn’t it autumn to the max? I think so. Those were fairies who came down last night to dance on the grass, to recline in the soft moss under the trees. Those toadstools are formed from autumn fairy magic. We all know this. :D

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OK, maybe I did actually stop here to collect some leaves for an upcoming art project. But being in the company of autumnal fairies is always lovely.

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Hello from Sunday night

Does this ever happen to you with a shortened week?

There was the holiday Monday this week and I keep feeling like it isn’t Sunday today.

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Or maybe the shortened work week has been so intense, that I felt a little like I was going in two different directions at the same time, (boy I really could use another weekend), and consequently, there has been very little art happening round here.

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So, half way thru October and some plants are really pushing past their prime now, aren’t they?

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While other plants are just coming into it.

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I’m still not ready to give up the Indian summer yet, even though I can quite definitely see that it’s over, I’m still hanging on to it with as much hope as I can and with lovely sunny things like olives, which always remind me of warm France, but I’m so happy that the “r” months now are fine for mussels, another absolute favourite of mine. Does anybody still believe in that myth about not eating shellfish in months which don’t have an “r” in them?

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At home, I’m over the bright colours of summer and feeling a more subdued, neutral tone. I’m also taking more time to read, and am rummaging thru my library, my friend’s books stashes and my favourite book haunts for new, lovely books to read. It’s so lovely to start to cocoon at home with books and quilts and open fires and early evenings. I’m sort of looking forward to the long winter nights, but I’m sure I’ll be feeling differently by the middle of winter.

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Today the weather in my part of town, (right under the mountains), was that sort of grey/black gloomness which bunches up the clouds and dashes them against the mountains, that kind of unpredictability the west coast is best knows for, but on the other side of town, beside the river delta, there was sun and scattered clouds. So a walk at the river it was. A walk by the old fishing village, in the warm wind and weak sun.

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And just now, the sky is full of hundreds of snow geese returning, some 20,000 strong, returning to the delta for the sun and the mild, escaping the harsh, just as I’m beginning to welcome the cooler seasons.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D