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

Photo challenges: Autumn colour and refraction

It’s been rainy here on the West Coast, but there’s still enough light to cause a refraction in the Murano vase holding garden dahlias. :D

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For the WordPress photo challenge: Refraction and Photo Friday: Autumn Colour

Back to Princeton, (part two-ish)

It takes about thirty seconds after one sits down for a dog to find a lap.

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Dachshunds, Nash, Eddie and Baxter, are generally lap dogs Coco the Wookie thinks she is too, so tea, coffee and reading always include a dog nose in your book or cup.

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And while they ran around with the big dogs and barked at and charged any visiting squirrel, sometimes their short little legs need a helping hand.

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Margot trained as a farrier, and has hung some of her horseshoes into a funky wind chime.

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There is plenty of wood for open fires to keep the cabin warm and heat the area around the fire pit.

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There are plenty of games at the cabin. Some I’ve never heard of, like Settlers of Catan, which six of the twenty-somethings played for hours in the evening, and some like Guess Who and Crib, which are old favourites. And while those games may stay on the shelf in the city, there’s always time to play them at the cabin.

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And the horses, General and Levi, were in their element up there. They do come back to the city after the weekend, but the glorious freedom of those meadows, forests and open country, will stay in their hearts till they come back to the cabin again.

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And so was Lizzy…who thinks she’s one of the small dogs. Chloe thinks she’s a divine creature, and she certainly looks it, with her big blue eyes and silky coat.

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This weekend, our friend’s cabin, this beautiful semi-arid, meadow and forest country of sage brush, yellow pines, deers and owls, was such a welcome break from the hectic city. We got the rest we so desperately needed and were able to forget our worries for a while, and that is priceless.

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We must leave this place and go back to the city now, but we will take this country back with us in our hearts.

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