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.

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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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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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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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Hello from Monday night…since it’s a holiday

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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.

Supper at mom’s house

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flowers

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C and I drove across town to my mom’s beautiful house, to give her a hand hosting an Easter supper for ten friends.

Mom planned a traditional Czech supper of roast ducks with dumplings and poached pears, I love traditional food from my homeland.

I also love mom’s eclectic house full of wonderful collections gathered by her and my late father over years and years of world travel, including such anachronistic things as a life-sized carved Komodo dragon, a 17C dining room suite imported from a pub in England, 18C tapestries, French quilts, Waterford crystal, old Limoges china, an original Turner, and a large collection of my aunt Vera’s beautiful paintings.

We love mom’s friends, but when a bunch of doctors get together, parts of the conversation invariably turns to statistics, body parts and medical terms we don’t understand. But they’re all generous at explaining…in great detail! :D

But we did have a terrific time and drove home quite late, under the full moon. :D

Drawing challenge: The Key

I took a little time to think about this one.
I discussed it with Robbie, who’s imagination is wilder and more wonderful than anyone I know, and he suggested a colour wheel. Then we somehow got to a bunch of colourful budgies around a bird feeder, like a colour wheel! Isn’t it amazing when you have someone who understands you to talk to? :D

And the end result…finally, way late into the night last night…is this:

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May I explain?

To me, this fully represents the key to my art.
– An old map of Hawaii, not particularly valuable at all, unwanted, recycled to the thrift shop.
– The colour wheel and colour theory, each bird borrowing a bit of colour from the one beside it.
– Conservation, saving an old document, an old piece of paper.
– Awareness, choosing to paint an endangered plant, the Hawaiian Acacia Koaia.
– Birds! I know I paint almost anything and everything, (well, I’m pretty naff at portraits, so try not to paint those…lol), but I just love the birds.
– A community. A community of artists, all of you who I’m so grateful to know and love, a community of friends and acquaintances, either here, or in my personal life. Everyone who I have the privilege to interact with. You all support me, criticise me, help me grow and learn. Thank you, I treasure you all.
– And finally, it’s a large map which requires talent, materials and the space and time to create something.

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Come fly away with this flock and join us if you can.
Becca, Roberto, Carole, Tammie, Tania, Sus, Eric, Sharmon, Patrice, MarianJoke, Ariane, NadineKatrin and Stefanie.

We love anything artistic, (writing, painting, sketching, sculpture, collage, photos…decorated cookies…anything at all you can think of.) :D

Getting ready for Art in the Garden

Recently I was told the happy news. My garden has been accepted again this year as a show garden for the Art in the Garden tour. (Still waiting to hear about my portfolio, but am hopeful)

So today being a lovely sunny day, and with C’s help, I decided to blow out the winter cobwebs and hit the garden.

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First a brief run thru and we took stock. C wrote a list of things to do and it turned out to be rather a long list!

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A simple thing on the list were our tattered prayer flags on the saved apple tree. Since I freed the ancient apple tree from the confines of the child’s fort and planted a flower garden around it, it has rewarded us with a renewed health and tons of apples. We figured that maybe it didn’t need the prayer flags any more.

We took them down…

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…and hung up seven glass globes.

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Morgan supervised from the cold frame.

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I think the glass globes look fantastic, and some have glow-in-the-dark dots on them. That might look really lovely in the evenings.

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Morgan practised her best skulking from behind the irises.

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Then a little weeding.

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Which Morgan approved of.

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Then some pruning.

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While Morgan claimed the box I brought the globes out in.

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And then, C and I spent a couple of hours fixing and supporting the old fences.

And finally, we stopped for a well earned cup of tea.

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A few items crossed off the list and beautiful show garden here we come. :D