My two night times, the city and the country.
For the WordPress weekly photo challenge.
My two night times, the city and the country.
Well, hello autumn! Is everyone ready? Ready for the mountains of leaves and crisp apples and chrysanthemums? Bring it on!
It’s been a rainy week here on the West Coast, and just as well for me because I really needed to cocoon and spend some time in thought and meditation, but the glorious weekend brought sun and loads of it and a wonderful Saturday at the river and Sunday at the beach.
Dogs, and farmer’s markets abound and also strange little art get-togethers. I love that, you know. I mean I love dogs and farmer’s markets, but so love to see a group of people, of all ages and expertise levels, set up their easels, paints and canvases and just go for it for the day. There was a group at the river, about 30 strong, ages five to 85, who painted En Plein-Air for four hours and presented their masterpieces in one of the historic shipyard buildings as an exhibition. I just loved every painting I saw.
One more thing which means super fall to me is HOCKEY! YAY! Clove and I caught the first Wolf Pack game. C’s boy Bryson is an extraordinary skater and has been serving as a linesman for the higher league hockey games, and this game was being played 10 minutes away, so naturally we went to support him. The Wolf Pack team is the last minor league boys can play in before they get called up to the NHL, (or not), so scouts are watching, and the game is fast paced and…um…testosterone-y to the max. In the third period, there were three WP players off the ice in penalties for roughing at the same time. I’m so glad that Bryson has years of Aikido as offensive training…lol. Although we’re technically cheering for the refs, it’s nice when the home team wins, and the Wolf Pack did!
So, two more days and we technically put summer 2014 to rest. How is everyone feeling about that? Does anyone do anything about celebrating the equinox? A little pagan ritual or something? I’ve been watching Outlander and now love all things Scottish…including Robbie, who is Scots…but now want to do something spectacular to bring in the fall, like build a stone henge right in my back yard and have a ceremony. I know, I don’t tend to do things by half…lol. Maybe I’ll just make a piece of jewellery from one of the pieces of ancient flint I’ve strung up on a copper wire. What do we think? Maybe a necklace with mystical powers? Looking up the powers of flint, I think I need to get this book!
Well, that about sums up my week and weekend. Hope yours was wonderful and you got the best out of it. If it wasn’t, then oh well, tomorrow’s a new day. Big hugs for a wonderful and shiny week ahead everyone.
PS: I have another of those darn spaghetti squashes round here. Anyone know something spaghetti squash fabulous?
Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch.
Well, I must admit that this operation has knocked me on my butt!
Here I was all lah-di-dah thinking, “right, op on Monday, yoga class on Wednesday.” Well, not exactly what I managed. Actually, not even close to what I managed.
I did some research and asked my mother, (who is an anaesthetist herself), and the long and short of it is that the anaesthetic drugs settle in the fat cells and take a while to clear, and the longer the procedure, the longer the clearing. It seams that the 90 minutes might take up to one month for my body to get rid of the toxins. Damn, wish there was such a thing as organic anaesthetic. (Don’t say they could have hit me over the head…lol) So I’m plodding along feeling awfully tired and moody and no yoga at all.
There have been some lovely and bright spots in my week though, The weather’s been so warm and sunny that I washed all the quilts and feather pillows and hung them in the sunshine to dry, had a lovely harvest of organic grapes from the garden, and I also caught up with some of my children for a fabulous curry supper under purple lights…mmm prawn vindaloo. We had Ziggy with us and she was so good that she slept almost thru the whole supper.
Who else loves curry? Do you make it at home? I hardly ever do, except maybe for butter chicken or something like aloo gobi, but I think I should make it more often.
Also, I’ve been feeling a bit stuck at home and have not had much energy for art, so I decided to rearrange things round here to look a bit more late summer-autumnal. I decided I wanted to look at this large oil of a late summer meadow. I painted this several years ago, but it’s one of those paintings I really love, so have never sold it.
Over the years I’ve built up a collection of vintage decoy ducks, (I buy one each time I visit Quebec), and I decided to have my lone goose on the mantle. Behind it I put an oil I painted when I was 20 something, of aspen in the autumn.
Further along are some potted plants and a wooden quail/partridge I found in the forest close to my father’s cabins.
On the other side are the two stupid white cats, (as my children call them), a little art piece of fog in an old tobacco tin I did last year, and a little porcelain of my great grandmother. I have to tell you the story of the stupid white cats: so I found one about 20 years ago and just loved it. Then the second one shortly after that. These two hung around the fireplace off and on in two previous houses for years, and, about five years ago, my children thought it would be funny to start buying me every white porcelain cats they come across, and now I have seven! They still come and go, but these two original ones seem to be hanging around more these days.
I’m hoping for some cooler weather soon, (the garden sure needs it), and, to help with the cooler weather wishful thinking, I’ve brought in some firewood.
So now that I like my living room I have to go redecorate the rest of the house…just need a bit more energy.
But for now I’m rearranging my wardrobe, filling the house with garden dahlias, and enjoying every warm, late summer day.
Quiet day at home. Not sure what I was doing just at that time, but I heard a soft thud and Chloe called, “Morgan, NO, Mom, emergency!”
A little yellow warbler had hit the window and landed panting on the patio. Morgan was up like a shot.
While Chloe blocked Morgan away from the bird, I picked him up and took him to the garage and put him on a soft blanket into the cat carrier to recover in the cool and dark.
And got on with a bit of gardening.
Twenty minutes later, the little guy was recovered enough to fly to a garden tree and he sat there for a very long time, and finally flew away.
Morgan was suitably unimpressed by this, and, especially since she…or Milo…got a small rat in the night…
…but came to terms with it and cuddled up on the little table in the living room and went to sleep.
Sharing with the WordPress bunch for the photo challenge Adventure!
The last few days at home in West Cottage were so very busy for both of us. It’s always that way when we try to get as many projects completed as we can together. There are things we have to do, like replacing a weak piece of wood at the bottom of one of the large bedroom windows, which is just nearly impossible to do on one’s own.
The good thing is that we managed to get all the jobs done. The bad thing is that now we have to be apart for a couple of months.
But there’s no denying that the crops in Oxfordshire have all been harvested, the fruit is ripe on the trees, summer is ending, autumn is fast approaching, and I have to return to Vancouver. The ideal would have been for R to come to Vancouver with me, but his work and projects won’t allow that right now, and my work and projects won’t let me stay longer in OXON, so there you are.
So Robbie drove me to Heathrow, we had a lot of hugs and kisses and tears, and off I went.
All bleary eyed and jet-lagged at home, our sweet Chloe had garden flowers waiting for me.
She took great care of the house here, both the cats and all the plants.
I dug up some potatoes and garlic from the garden, we stopped at a little organic market for some more veggies…
…and made a hearty roasted veggie supper.
In one way it’s good to be home with C and the Vancouver cats, but in another way it sucks…know what I mean?
Oh boy oh boy oh boy! We’ve been major energizer bunnies round here.
We’ve been building the carport, and removing stuff to the tip, and collecting plums, and chopping wood, and burning branches, and digging out a huge and ugly privet hedge for a deep perennial garden along a back fence, and we’ve been at it hammer and tongs till our legs are scrapped and bruised and we look like the walking dead.
All this work has left very little time for art, but I’m happy to report the beginning of a carving.
My friend William, (who lent me his father’s chisels), gave me a piece of maple to have a go. OK, so, maple must be the biggest joke wood in the world! It’s as hard as rock!!! In fact, I can’t imagine oak or mahogany being harder.
So, very quickly it became very apparent to me, that I wouldn’t be the owner of a lovely maple woodcarving of a wildflower meadow with a wren.
I’ve been thinking about carving a wooden spoon and asked Robbie how I might go about doing this. He looked at me and gave me his jig saw. LOL So I drew some designs on my maple and decided on the one I liked and set to it.
I cut out the wooden spoon with R’s jig saw, (R helped me cut the handle), and started carving it with the mallet and chisels.
This is how far I got after about four hours of carving time, plus you can see the scale of this spoon. It’s a big one!
So far so good. More work on the bowl, and, of course, I only have chisels instead of a draw knife for the handle and curved blade knife for the bowl, but I’m getting somewhere.
Where was I…oh yes…fun…
So R got a phone call from his optician to say his contacts were in, so we drove to pick them up, and R surprised me with a day out visit to one of our favourite towns, Wallingford.
This is a beautiful market town of old brick and flint houses and postage sized courtyards and tiny little streets…like this one, called Mousey Lane, where we could hardly walk beside each other.
We had a little lunch and tea and a good mooch around the antique emporium.
I fell in love with two handmade teddies, some old chisels and a beautiful painting of a very curvy nude, while R fell in love with a gas mask, (which he wants to wear instead of goggles to drive his new project Medusa). We bought the gas mask, a chisel, and the handmade teddies for Binky and Bunny to play with, but, unfortunately, the beautiful nude was pricey and painted on wood, so very difficult for me to ship back to Van.
Late afternoon, on the drive back home, R did a u-turn and we parked up at a little hill called Wittenham Clumps for a walk. It’s a special place which has inspired many people, from Victorian poets to contemporary artists. Here is a very interesting site about an artist who dedicated his art to the place.
Run by the Earth Trust as a wildflower meadow, this chalk hill has the oldest stand of beech trees in England.
We walked all the way around the clump…
And looked out over our Thames and over our beautiful South Oxfordshire.
Who says we don’t have any fun.
This always happens, and, we really should know better.
Towards the end of the summer, Robert and I go a bit mental and take on a huge home project. This weekend we decided to build a carport against the end of the garage and this required chopping down a huge damson plum, moving ton’s of wood and Jaguar car parts out of the way, and general over-the-top energy expenditure.
By Sunday afternoon we were gonners (British for tired/moodswingy/divorce central!).
We took a walk in one of our favourite places, The Whomping Willow Walk. The Whomping Willow is actually a huge horse chestnut, but Chloe named it that when she was about 9yrs old, and the name stuck.
I tend to trip over four leaf clovers and find them everywhere, but felt lucky to find this one because we usually see deer in this area, and it felt like a good omen to me.
And just as we walked into the forest, there he was! A beautiful little muntjac deer walked across our path.
We stopped instantly, but he noticed us and bounded into the forest.
I stood up on a stump and tried to look for him, but he was well camouflaged in the bracken and grasses.
I stood there for some time listening to the bird song and the rustle of the great trees and bracken in the wind.
Then we walked on, past the thistle sending itself into the forest…
…and to the Whomping Willow, (which is actually a horse chestnut)…
…and past the Whomping Willow to the alley of yews.
Someone must have planted these yews years ago. They are so huge and make a dark bower over head. Someone keeps a small, child-like fort under one of the yews. It has a few stumps for a table and chairs and a woven branch roof. Chloe used to pretend it was fairies inviting children to have a play.
We walked to the end of the yew alley and turned back for home.
On our way out of the forest, we spied the muntjac grazing in the field. The wind was howling and we were upwind from him, so he didn’t notice us at all. We watched him graze all the way back up the path past the wildflowers.
And then we drove home.
Sharing with Judith and all the lovelies at Mosaic Monday.
Look what Robert had waiting for me!
But that’s not all. Look what else was waiting for me!
This is my new car; it’s a vintage, 1970’s series 3 Land Rover.
And it’s MINE! Robbie bought it for me and he and Jason fixed almost everything on it in time for me to get here.
By the way, it’s been named DODO (as per the license plate)! So I’m introducing you to The Dodo. You’ll probably see a lot of it and my mini this summer, (which by the way has been named The Doctor because the license plate says DOC. I need a Dalek key chain for my mini…lol).
What I thought when I got here was that I only had three tea bags left in the cupboard. How could I survive with only three tea bags? There just is no way! So I asked R to drive to the store so I could get some more tea.
Then we cleaned up the cupboard and found all this tea!
But he still drove to the store to get me some fresh tea bags.
Now we’re at home. R is with our friend Alan trying to sort out a problem on Alan’s car and I’ve just picked this lovely, fat Nigella seed pod out of the garden…
…and drew it on the page that says “English”.
It’s good to be here.
I went for a walk around the hood this evening, after spending hours in the garden, and walked past a most highly manicured garden in the world which must belong to someone who owns a garden service called Momentous Impressions Gardening. (because the vans with that name were parked out front) And it makes perfect sense because this garden has the greenest, most even grass blades in the world, the most manicured clumps of vegetation and the sharpest edged borders from where peaks of the darkest, richest soil can be seen.
Then I round the corner and come up to my garden. The one with the wonky photinia hedge and giant, overgrown cherry tree.
And volunteer fir trees and lawns with more weeds and moss that actual grass.
And a hodgepodge of saved plants from neighbourhood construction sites and rustic, old fences.
So I hope people can look past the imperfections and see the glorious bits.
Like this wild and gorgeous clematis which looks like clematis with a bad hair day.
And the small vignettes I’ve set up in places.
And the saved apple tree, which went from a hand full of leaves and one rotten apple to a glorious green top and a full harvest last year, and places for wildlife with this small pond, a bird bath, three fountains and some water plants.
But the tea cart is all washed and ready to be put into service and to be loaded up with tea cups and cookies, and Morgan is keeping a watchful eye on the goings on and always eager to test things out.
The broken irises have been gathered into vases,
The roses and clematis are starting to open, and a wholly inappropriate chandelier has been hung in the garage just because it looks lovely there.
So nevermind the mess. I think it’s going to be OK.
I’m sitting in the dining room this evening going thru some photos and talking to C about her day. I was just thinking how nice the light is, so I took another photo and downloaded that one too.
Days have been busy and a bit long round here lately. You remember when I contemplated doing this art in the garden show and thinking that if I spend an hour/day till the show working on the garden, this would equal 70 hours and that should be enough? Well, turns out it isn’t enough…and it’s taking a monster amount of time to get the garden lovely. (hence, lack of postage)
And of course, this leaves less time for art, (again, hence, lack of postage)
And, finally, this leads to lack of cuddle time for the cats…hence, interrupted art and gardening…hence, lack of postage. Lol.
But I am getting somewhere, and, generally, the art and garden parts are coming along on schedule…not that there is a schedule…just a firm idea of success or fail in my head.
Days in the garden are long and days in the studio relatively short in comparison, but Chloe joins me as often as she can. The other day she bought a $2 tank from the thrift and sketched a lovely design on it for herself while I painted. I love it when she stays in the studio with me. I love those times.
And other times she tries to get my attention while I’m gardening…lol. I love those times too.
But everything is coming along in the garden. The seeds are all a success and coming along, and I found some old iron fence panels to cage the raspberries with so people can actually walk down the garden path.
Have a look at these beauties. The irises in the lower right photo I bought with the house, but the other three are saved from construction sites in the ‘hood. Aren’t they lovely? Such a beautiful surprise, since I saved them before they bloomed.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how I garden, and that means indoor as well as outdoor. I’ve been after one of these plants for a year or so now and have found a fantastic specimen for very little money. It’s a rabbit’s foot fern. So called because its aerial roots look like fluffy rabbit’s feet.
Another bunch of plants, which I’ve been noticing lately, have been air plants, so I decided to do some gardening with one.
What do you think?
It’s a sort of Wardian case, which came form a thrift shop (and originally held some bath products according to the label which I scrubbed off), planted with three charming Wade figurines: a fish, swimming in a bone fountain, a monkey grinning form some driftwood C gave me, and squirrel ready to hide his nut among the polished pebbles.
And a beautiful air plant…which doesn’t actually live on air as I found out.
Not much to report form the silversmithing studio. I’m afraid that my efforts continue to look rather VERY homemade and organic. (How do people get the bezels so smooth and the edges so perfect?)…(sigh)
There are these five new rings; three with beach glass and two with beach polished pebbles.
Actually, I like this one very much. I might keep it and wear it for a while.
Well, little more sunlight left out there, so I’m off to water the garden.
Missing regular posting, but happy that all the work is getting done.
Big hugs to you all. I’m trying to come around to everyone’s blogs, so just remind me and I’ll be right over to say hi.