Opening up the cabin 2015

It’s time.
It’s time to open the cabin for the year. All winter the cabin sits in a frozen valley 200km from the door of my city house. It’s still chilly up there, but the promise of spring is in the air.
I took a lot of photos, and it’s probably going to be quite boring for all of you who’ve seen the cabin before, but, you know what, mostly I write these posts with Robbie in my heart, (because right now we’re apart.)

So here we go, for Robbie, but also, most definitely, for you! :D

Driving in, there was a small, dead birch across the access road. I moved it off to the side.

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Outside the cabin Clover’s and Kers’ bespoke wind chime is still hanging up. They built it from the scrap iron they found along the railroad tracks, which are only about 100 ft behind the cabin.

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The lake, (which is actually a pond, but the previous owner and all the neighbours always referred to it as “The Lake”) has filled up already.

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And the cabin is still standing after the winter!

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I lit a fire to warm the cabin up and invite in the new year.

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Then, a quick check: Kitchen’s fine.

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No mouse droppings on the stoves or counters! A year ago Robbie and I went all over the place sealing up any little hole that a mouse might pop thru, and guess what Robbie, we did a great job!

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Dining area, living room all fine too. I didn’t take the shutters off the bottom windows.

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Fireplace working brilliantly, we’ll need to chop some more wood this year though.
Up the stairs to the sleeping loft…

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…everything’s just fine. No mice, clean linens, fluffy, warm duvets.

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The games are all waiting to be played with.

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It’s lovely to look thru the contents of the vintage medicine cabinet. A photo of my grandfather camping, my aunt’s silly doll from her studio, silver ore, a dried bat, a hummingbird skeleton, dragonfly wings, hand painted Easter eggs, C’s silver baby rattle, love all these treasures.

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Nothing is the worse for winter, nothing got knocked down by the vibrations of the passing trains.

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Everyone is fine…if a little cobwebby.

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On the property, the tool shed is fine. I think some mice snuck in under the door, but, since it’s such a mess there anyway, nothing bad going on.

Odds and Ends, the heritage train workers trailer guest cabin, will need a new roof and the metal chimney toppled off. Must do that this year before something happens to the interior.

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A beaver’s been thru and there are about 10 small trees…

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…and one rather big tree down. There’s our firewood, right there!

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And I think you’re right Robbie, some of the trees need to come down. Perhaps I’ll talk it over with Jon, Kers and Clove and talk to Billy Jr and ask him to harvest that great big cedar right behind the cabin…maybe the one by the side door too. And the blue spruces in the meadow need to be trimmed up, and maybe some of the alders need thinning out too so we can see the meadow and the river from the cabin.

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Apart form that, the porches need rebuilding and the broken window need replacing. (Darn Canada goose)

So that’s on the project list this year: Thinned trees, one small roof, one wrap around porch, and a window.

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But guess what happened as I was locking up and leaving? I got the feeling that I was being watched!

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From up high by the window of the loft. Who’s that? Could it be a great horned owl?

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It is!

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Who is the luckiest girl in the world! That would be me. Who else do you know who has a great horned owl as the guardian of their cabin? :D I need to paint him, don’t I?

Randomness to the max

The other day I bought a lovely basket at the thrift for something ridiculous like $1.99. I imagined all the wonderful picnics I could serve from it, all the stuff in my car I could organise in it, how lovely it would look in the laundry room…Morgan had other thoughts. It now lives under the kitchen table and has a slight smattering of catnip in it…lol.

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With lovely spring flowers appearing in my garden, I’m feeling more like spring cleaning and spring decorating. Fresh green mantle and decluttered, clean house, here we come!

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A generous new friend, Mona, sent me a small envelope of indigo seeds from Denmark. She included a tiny bow dyed with the precious blue dye. I’ve started the seeds and hopefully, come autumn, we’ll be trying out the deepest, richest, bluest dye ever seen!!!

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Speaking of garden, I’m excited to say that I’m making home-grown garden lettuce salads for lunch already.

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And finally, my friend Sara sent me such a beautiful and generous surprise. I can hardly believe it! In a huge box full of packing peanuts were two precious and beautiful tea cups, (which have already been put to proper service), a spectacular glass paper weight, and a guardian angel! The most beautiful, porcelain guardian angel in the gentlest Victorian dress, with white feather wings, pearls and lace. No one has ever given me a guardian angel. I’m so touched Sara. I’m feeling absolutely weepy writing this. Thank you so very much. The angel will be called Sara, and will look after us from now on. Biggest hugs and kisses, and one day in person!

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Sharing with Nancy and hanging out with the random bunch over there. :D

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.

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

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Hello from Sunday night :D

I’m so excited to report that I saw the first bee of the season this week!

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And the sun continued to shine that cold, brave light, but out at the river it still looked very wintry.

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We had a brave alfresco lunch, seduced by the sunshine and the fluffy red patio blankets, we thought we might be a bit cool, but we were fine. And we love eating outside any chance we have.

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There was also a large home and garden expo downtown, so C and I spent a couple nice hours mooching around.

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There were the usual lovely home displays, but a large amount of the booths were really hard push, hard sell things people never knew they needed. To tell you the truth, it reminded us a little of that “as seen on television” push.

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But there were some lovely bits too.
In the home…

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garden…

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and personal love department. Actually, C and I really loved these bracelets and bought ourselves one each.

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At my local river park the Oemleria (Indian Plum) is blooming. This is always the first native plant which blooms and it blooms everywhere, all over the place, every park, every forest, every little bit of wild land, and, it’s a super good thing because it gives so much value to the first bees and the resident hummingbirds.

river finds

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It’s been an incredibly mild winter and there is virtually no snow pack on the mountains. The rivers are pretty low and I worry that there will be water shortages later on in the year.

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But for now the sun is still shining. :D

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Five minutes of peace…with tea

The roof is done! Hooray!

Oh my gosh that was a couple of days of the loudest, most inescapable noise.
That was two days of scraping and hammering and dropping huge bundles of roofing material, which sounded like an earthquake and made my 1920’s windows rattle. That was two days of nervous, hiding, hissy cats.
That was two days of keeping vigil over workmen who don’t know garden beds from foot paths, don’t know that if you step on the irises and peonies there won’t be any flowers come May. That was two days of not getting much work done at all.

But, hey, minimal disasters, and maximum benefit of a new roof. By the way, a new roof only takes two days! Who knew?

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So never mind the backlog of work, time to take a few minutes and enjoy this peace and quiet.

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All winter I’ve been working on my little collection of indoor plants, but now that it’s so unseasonably warm, my thoughts are with the garden.
So for my little tea break I went downstairs into my library and picked a book.

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Do you have precious books in your collection?
This one is very precious to me.
It used to belong to my grandfather.

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It’s a 1969 edition of Gardening for the West by Robert A Nicholson.
It’s a good and practical book, but what makes it precious is that it’s stuffed full of my grandfathers notes.

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They’re mainly about flowers. The notes are written in English on one side and German or Latin on the other. He translated words, phrases and whole sentences. He made notes and wrote down his thoughts. He underlined tons of words and phrases in red in the book and numbered them with his complicated system of filing.

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His notes seem random, but they’re all organised with another number system, which I suppose, corresponds to his daily entries in his journals and the numbered system in this book. There are tons of notes throughout his books. There are plenty of journals too. Mostly I can read them, mostly they’re in a familiar language I understand, sometimes I can’t.

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But I feel incredibly lucky to have some of his books, his journals and his notes, and I always love to spend some time reading thru them.

One more cup of tea and I’ll put away grandfather’s book and look to see what I can do about seeding some radishes and have a think about starting the beets.

I understand it’s pretty miserable and wintry in some places. Hope you’re all thawing out a little this week. Sending some mild, blue skies and warm sunshine your way. :D

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Hello from Sunday night, and, we have a winner!

Hello, hello post Valentine’s! :D

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I do hope your Valentine’s Day was a special and a lovely one.
As you probably know, I didn’t have Robert here this year, but we spoke for hours and exchanged cards and love greetings from across the great, big pond. Some years are like that, and, while we’re determined to spend every Christmas together, Valentine’s Day is a bit hit and miss.

But I did wear my red shoes!

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And went for a lovely walk with my mom on the beach.

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I tell you what; the rain let up, but the fog rolled in and stayed over Vancouver. I was looking out toward Vancouver Island thinking of my new friend The Hostess of the Humble Bungalow, and her sunny walk, and thinking, “Typical! And I chose to live under these bloody mountains!”

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But then Kerstie sent me Valentine’s photos of our precious three, Binky, Bunny and Ziggy, and it didn’t really matter if the sun wasn’t out, there was a smile on my face a mile wide. Thank you my baby.That was the loveliest surprise.

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Valentine’s eve was a special time for C and for me. We had a simple supper of great, big artichokes. Nothing so good as that for us.

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Then, what a difference the night makes!

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From gloomy, leaden sky, to morning sun!
I must admit I took a photo and stuck it up on my Instagram with the caption of something like, “What the hell is that bright light!!!”

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Things are just so much better with the sun, aren’t they? For days now I’ve been living vicariously thru my friend Daryl in New York and her sunny, blue skies!

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But now I have a bit of blue skies of my own!

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Oh my gosh it makes such a difference to my seasonal affect disorder brain!

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And to the garden…and to the hummingbird who zips around scolding my cats and trying to get sips of this spirea.

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And I’m able to take stock of the garden. (that’s a lot of garlic)

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And pick a posy of tiny, sweet violets for my bedside table.

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Even though it’s Sunday, I still had a bunch of work to do.

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And so did C, but really, who cares on a day like today where the sun is streaming in thru every window.

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We all get to luxuriate in the sun for a day or two now, and we’ll all take full advantage of that. :D

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And now for that random generator thingie:

Congratulations Julie, from Forest Poppy.

random number Congratulations Julie! Everyone, if you have a minute, drop by Julie’s. She the most amazing knitter, quilter, all round super girl, mom to four, including the cutest forest baby, (who she’s always taking photos of running away down some forest path), living in the highlands of Scotland.

Such wonderful people as we are, should really know each other. :D

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch

Hello from Sunday night

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morgan
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Hi everyone,

Happy Superbowl Sunday. Did you watch the game? Did you have a party?
We did round here. That is to say, we had the party, but we didn’t really watch the game. Football, as it turns out, is not really our thing. We watched the newest episode of Top Gear, and the movies A Girl Most Likely and Long Way Down. I read the book Long Way Down a couple summers ago and really loved it. The movie was fantastic. Actually, both the movies were fantastic, and Top Gear is always hilarious.

I did buy some cupcakes with the Seattle Sea Hawks logo though; actually for no other reason except that we like Seattle. :D

It’s been a most uneventful Sunday round here and that was really good because our Friday and Saturday were a bit of a nightmare. Morgan has become such a sickly cat lately, and has developed some kidney/bladder condition which necessitated an overnight vet stay. Well, over the night she managed to rip out one of her claws and in the morning no one could get close to her. So I came in and calmed her down, and just as she was calm enough for a urine sample, she freaked out and got me with her remaining claws. Two deep gashes, one on each of my wrists. My poor little cat. She got a couple injections, some more medicine, and I took her home Saturday morning and closed her in my bedroom, where she was nice and calm all day and over night. She’s much better today.

Enough drama round here!
But nothing that a little retail therapy can’t fix. :D

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :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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We all live under the same moon

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beach love

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Yesterday I took a walk on the beach at sunset and I thought about how intensely I miss Robert now that he’s had to return to E. Then I looked to the West, into the setting sun, and then at the rising moon, and thought, “that’s the same sun that warms him, that’s the same moon that lights his way at night.”

It’s a comfort of sorts.