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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

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Eat your heart out Monet...

I've stepped away from blog land a bit but really I'm not far away.
In fact, I'm just down the road...
I felt a need to share some of these photos with you on such a glorious summer day...
...this little slice of land with the obviously, long ago pruned fir trees,
was once home to several men.
The first being a man named Erik Sellers St Claire who owned this property since 1948
and called his paradise 'La Beaumelle'.
His wish was that after his partner William Simmons and long time friend and resident
Bren died, the land be donated as parkland.
It has been named after his long time companion William Simmons as
Erik wanted it to be.
The houses and pool, long since gone now, but we are so graciously left with
one of Erik's water lilies!
Years ago there was a dock for swimming but it has rotted away leaving
weathered wood, slowly sinking into the lake...
...this was my perilous bridge for picture taking!
To think that one person has left so much beauty in this world gives me faith in humanity...
 ...slowly naturalizing with white and yellow lilies on the other side of the old dock..
 ...a breathless moment everywhere you look...
 Thank you Erik, William and Bren for committing this random act of conservation...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Song for Friday...Adeiu...

Some of you may have noticed that I don't post as often as I used to.
I suppose like a lot of things, my blog has run its course and other things in life take over.
Right now it's my garden which had been a bit forgotten in the last few years.
I'm slowly getting a handle on it and as they say, "I'm feeling' the love again!".
Initially I began this blog as a place to house my photos with a story and
to do a bit of self promotion in terms of my felted sculptures.
Although I still take many pictures,
(I must say I'm a bit hooked on Instagram!)
and go on adventures, I am
finding that the act of writing, editing photos and finding the few hours
that it takes to do so is just not there these days.
I will still post occasionally but forgive me if they are few and far between.
I'm sure my trip to Paris and future wanderings will conjure up
 many tales and pictures but for now I will say adieu.
I'll be keeping up with all of your shenanigans so I'm still on the radar!
To all of you who read these pages, who send such lovely comments and to
those who are always so encouraging I send out a massive virtual hug!
Even though I've never met some of you in person I feel as if we've become friends
and hope one day to possibly sit and have tea and walk in your world.
(ps you can find me on Insatgram under farmlass!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Incoming treasures...

I always know when something special has arrived in the mail
when I see that big square gold stamp from the UK...
 ...this is what came to me late last week from  
Valerie Greeley, illustrator, writer, book binder,painter extraordinaire..
I've been a fan of hers for years now and own several of her prints.
These three children's books are now in my ever growing collection.
Valerie's sensitivity to flora and fauna is justifiably evident in all her work.
Of course attention to detail is one of the reasons I love her work so much...
Living in the English countryside has left an impact on her.
She pays homage to things as big as an oak and as tiny as a raindrop.
The first book, 'Down the Lane' is a lovely walk through the calender year
as well as the meadows and hedgerows of her native, rural homeland...
I have one of the prints from this book...I love foxes and the face on this one just tugs at my heart..
 The second book, 'Acorns Story' is told in the style of the classic 'Who Killed Cock Robin'
but in a much more gentle and optimistic layered tale of how the mighty
oak grows from it's humble beginnings...
 Opposite the illustrations are beautifully detailed headers for the verse...
I own a print of one of the illustrations in this book as well.
It hangs in my studio...
 The third book is a second edition of a book first published in 1990...make sense?!
 (hope that's right Val!)
 Like all of the books, its printed on beautiful quality paper 
with the most vivid colours...
...more lovely headers in this book too...
 Here is a book of verse about colour and creature alike...
 At the end is a little educational section on all the creatures within...
 Forgive my photos for they don't portray the richness of the pages 
but it can give you an idea.
Valerie has kindly signed my books and this one in particular  is
signed for my wee nephew...
I'm sure she would be more than happy to sign a copy for you too!
 Valerie also keeps a blog, acorn moon which chronicles her
adventures through book making, illustrating, painting
and general wandering through the beautiful countryside of the UK and beyond.
You can purchase these books and prints and cards in her etsy shop here
If you're looking for that something special for a little one in your life
and, if like me, you appreciate lovely children's books,
think of Valerie and her gentle, thoughtful pictures and verse.
These books are perfect for bedtime stories as well as
anytime of the day you want to engage children in 
looking at and imaging the details of the natural world in and around their doorstep.
Thanks Val!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Excite' !

Well it's official!!!
Exactly 2 months today I'll be on my way!
Where, you ask?
Here's a few clues...
Bon! oui!
 I'm off to Paris in July!
My daughter and son in law are living there and have given 
me the ultimate Mothers Day gift of a trip to visit them!
I've never been so I'm super excited and that I haven't seen them since last 
summer for their wedding in Toronto well, lets just say
I can't wait to see them.
We've already booked a little road trip down through Provence and Burgundy
(lavender and wine country!)
and onto Marsilees on the Cote d' dreamy I feel!
Now to find the perfect, all purpose little black dress and
 try to recall some junior high school French and I'm set...
Enchante' je suis sur!
(Enchanted I'm sure!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Two surprise visits!

Today while i was out in the garden I had a surprise visit from my aunt and uncle
who were out for a drive. They live about an hour away and decided to take
their little convertible for a cruise in the warm sunshine.
We chatted outside and when we came in the house, my aunt said
"whats that?"
Surprise visit #2...
Just in front of the screen door to the porch sat an Elgaria caerulea...
that's a Northern alligator lizard to us common folk.
I'm not sure how it got in, maybe the cat or it could have crept in while one of the 
other doors was open, but needless to say we were all quite in awe of the little guy.
It was about 6 or 7" long and after about 20 minutes we caught it
in a kitchen sieve and then it was kind enough to allow us to take a few photos
before we returned it to it's preferred environment on the mossy rocks. it is still in the sieve...
 ...and after we put it out on the rock...
 It was quite calm, even though when I tried to pick it up it kind of bit me, more of a pinch really.
I didn't want to grab it and have its tail fall off, which is a defence mechanism.
The tail will grow back but never as long and skinny and it takes a lot to do so.
It's tail is it's fat reserve so it's an important commodity 
and will only 'release' it under extreme circumstances to escape.
The northern alligator lizard is Vancouver Islands only true lizard and is not
to be confused with a newt. They come out to sun themselves on rocks
and so with all of this warm weather it must have been out and about enjoying the heat.
They're quite secretive and spend the winter hibernating in underground dens.
They can have from 2 - 6 babies which they carry inside them until giving birth a few months later.
So there you go...another gift from the outside, another little miracle on the earth.

One word wednesday...babes