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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Thursday, September 8, 2016

How I spent my summer holidaze...

 Remember having the pencil in the notebook during the first week back at school
  trying to corral all of those wild times you had all summer??
The time spent outdoors from dawn to dusk 
seemed endless (and only because you were called in to dinner!) . 
Cottage bound, car packed to see the cousins at the lake...the fire pit, the days
when all you wore all day long was a bathing suit and a towel around the waist...ah, sweet
childhood summers.
This summer was a working summer for me.
And I don't mean a 'going to work' I mean working at moving.
Once moved, it was all about moving in, painting the new house inside...(A LOT!)
But oh so much easier when there's nothing IN the house yet!
But I did have some fun and just to send you a glimpse of how
the non working side of my beautiful warm days were spent...
As with every summer, my young niece Stephanie came to spend almost
2 months here...such a lovely person to have around...always singing and ever so helpful!
We went out on a spontaneous night on the town in Victoria one evening
and found ourselves poking about in Chinatown as usual.
We were taking a selphie in front of my favourite door in Fan Tan Alley...
...when we were invited up to have a look inside!
Since I was about 12 or 13 years old I had always wanted to see what was behind
#23 1/2! So up the 50 stairs and into the home of a gentleman who's restoring the place...
 My 'real' camera is out of commission so had to rely on the iPhone for pictures...
Looking into the courtyard of a disappearing landscape...
 ...before it gets swallowed up by developers.
Speaking of developing...over a century ago a hole was blasted through this piece of land to allow a shortcut for water to be diverted to the small town of Port Alberni nearby. This 'Hole in the Wall' landmark is what is left behind. Stephanie, Good Pal Irma and her new pup Silas and I took a day trip up there to check it out....
It really is something to see...the hole is about 12 feet in diameter and on such a hot day it was a gloriously cool place to be... 
As mentioned Good Pal Irma has a new puppy!! 
Poor old Frank succumbed to cancer. He was Griffins brother.
We went on so many adventures together so now the torch is passed on to young Silas.
Irma wanted me to get his brother but with moving and all I'm just not there yet. Maybe in the spring.
Up the creek there are hundreds of cairns or Inukshuks that other wanderers have left as 
markers to their journey here. It was quite spectacular!
Another adventure I went on with a friend down from Denman Island was to visit this place...
My family has some history grandfathers brother, my great Uncle Leonard, was married
to Thora Harrison. It was her great grandfather who built this 600 acre farm in 1870 and is one of the oldest continuously operated farms on Vancouver Island....
It's a lovely place...
But it has several different stories to it's past, one being that of a pregnant mare urine milking facility.
This urine is used in the pharmaceutical industry and does not have a pleasant history.
The current owner says she still gets shivers when she goes into this particular barn.
This chewed up window frame could be evidence of very bored,
 penned up horses who didn't get out much...
Now it is a happy place and a refuge for rescue animals...
I have much more to write about this place but for now I leave it on a happy goat note...
One of my criteria when we were looking for a place in town was that of being able to ride my bike to a shop. So after finally getting my bike on the road again, I peddled down to the end of our street and explored this fantastic trail system...
This is the Colquitz River Trail which meanders along the Colquitz Creek 
and through Garry Oak meadows and bog lands...
I am so grateful to have this within such easy reach.
It took me 10 minutes to ride to a large shopping area without being on the road ONCE!!
During these melancholy days of autumn, I am once again missing my
old furry love Griffin to ramble with...
I found this very weathered baseball deep in the grass beside the creek.
I wanted it to speak to me of how far it came and the kids who lost it and what a great home run it must have been that hot July afternoon at the ballpark not far away...
In some places along the trail I felt as if I was Huck Finn travelling under the cool weeping willows...
Sadly the worst part of our move is that our 9 year old Rueben went missing.
It's been a month and a half now and still no sign of him.
He was a real country cat and was not very happy living in the close proximity of other houses and cats. We postered the area heavily, put him on all of the websites on social media we could think of but still nothing. We are not giving up hope though. I've heard some incredible stories of cats who have reappeared after long absences. I read the other day of a cat who found it's family after 9 YEARS! If Rueben did try to go back to where we moved from it's a long long journey of 35 kilometers but you just never know...we have alerted the new owner just in case.

So that's a few highlights (and a big low) of my summer this year.
I am currently trying to fit my old large studio into a much smaller space and hopefully
in the not too distant future I will start to create again.
The grey, wet days will help me in that sense.
Time to hunker down and feel the fall.
Hope you are all well.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

On not being Roy and Grace...

One of my first 'dates' with Tom was going to look at a house he was interested in buying.
A year later I moved into the house and the following year we were married there in the garden.
That was 17 1/2 years ago and now we are preparing to say goodbye to this house...
For the first 13 or so years our neighbours across the road were an older couple
named Roy and Grace Kennedy. They had lived in the house they built for 60 years.
Roy was a machinist who could make and fix all manners of things.
He had the funkiest ride-on lawn mower that used to cough and sputter and 
it would take him 2 or three days to cut his front grass of about a third of an acre.
He was a tinkerer. Always busy in his shop.
His wife Grace was a city girl from the mainland and she once told me
"I never liked it here."
Imagine living somewhere for 60 years and never liking it or at least learning to like it?!
I had my days like that here sometimes though.
Years and years ago I felt I didn't have a lot going on here.
I had left my job and friends and most of my family back in the city and even though
it was only a 45 minute drive away, I still felt a bit isolated and lonely.
So Tom had a beautiful separate 10 x 20 studio built for me.
It was my escape, my haven, my saviour in times of darkness.
It was where I went to allow my creativity to flourish, to experiment without
the need to clear it all away at supper time.
In the end I made a life here.
I made some dear dear friends.
I became involved with the yoga community, the foodie community
and started working at the local flower shop.
I became involved in the Fine Arts show and exhibited there several years in a row, 
and again made some close friends through the arts community.
From day 1 we always had a garden...
It got bigger, fuller, structures were built.
Some plants thrived, some failed...all a learning process.
Several cats have come to rest here.
We had chickens, goats, horses and bees...
And of course, for 12 years, we had Griffin...
So much a part of our landscape that I still think I see him out of the corner of my eye
lying on the porch or surveying his Kingdom from his perch on a mossy rock by the back door...
So how do you leave it all behind?
You don't.
You carry it all with you in your heart and soul.
As the Be Good Tanya's sing
"You pass through places and places pass through you.
And you carry them with you 
on the soles of your travelin' shoes"
How true!
This place will always be part of who we are.
Who we were.
Who we've become.
We hope to have someone buy it who will carry on where 
we are leaving off.
Health reasons will carry us to a more manageable home closer to the city
where we will dream up new schemes and adventures.
Different pictures will form in our heads and take us down other
dusty, intriguing roads.
It's a lesson in letting some things go.
But never the memories...the picnics in the secret garden, the walks to the lake,
the warmth of the fire on windy, wet days and snowy, quiet nights.
Big full moons through the bedroom window.
The pulse of this place is here in our hearts.
And we leave some of our own blood, sweat and tears in the soil.
Our voices may be heard in the trees.
Our laughter, the barks, meows, clucks and whinnies...
all arrive to greet whoever may unlock these doors.


Sunday, July 3, 2016


Yes, I know...I've been clearly absent form this blog of mine.
Seems like these days of a busy life I can't seem to put in the time to 
write, edit photos and post. 
Actually to put it more honestly, it's not that I can't, it's more 
like I'm just not there in that head space right now.
We are in the process of moving after 17 years here on the farm...more on that later...
and it's an all consuming task.
One other reason for my tardiness at blogs doors is that my main camera lens
seems to have crapped out on me and I have not had the time to tinker with it
or take it to have it repaired.
I am relying on my zoom lens or my phone camera for now which is somewhat limited.
But even though I seem to be in a 'moving state of mind'  I am still taking photos.
Anyway a little montage of my favourites as of late.
Hope you are all well and happy and healthy and enjoying the bliss of summer days!
 The waters off of our shores are a gorgeous shade of azure blue due to a 
rare phytoplankton bloom which surrounds itself with microscopic bits of limestone...
 For these usually dark Pacific waters, seeing this colour around here reminds me of Nicaragua...
Walks on Island view beach with my dad one morning revealed this lovely driftwood structure...
...always the walker...
These cliffs have been known to uncover ancient mammoth teeth...
The full moon amongst the trees is something I never tire of...
The dreamer in me sends myself into the clouds...
...wishing to land on all that puffiness... look down at the earth through different eyes...
This little fox sparrow by the lake one morning sending out his song...
Tiny summer mushrooms introduce themselves in the middle of the pathway...
Spotting wee spotted fawns around the place...
I am forever trying to capture the small but mighty hummingbirds...ready for take off!!...
Zooming in to the agapanthus...
...a few quick sips of nectar...
Making lavender tea for a hair rinse...after steeping for a few hours the flowers are pale...
...and the liquid a gorgeous shade of purple!!
I showed my mom a few needle felting techniques and she's a real natural! 
Here's a few of her pieces...
A little buzziness to sign off!

Ciao for now!