Friday, January 23, 2015

Dinner Together

Last Saturday evening the family (minus a couple) gathered for a turkey dinner. I didn't cook a turkey over Christmas and had one in the freezer. One of my favorite parts of preparing a meal is setting the table. 

All the drizzly grey had me craving color. I really love the Anna Maria Horner fabric I used for the table runner. 

X marks the spot. Or in this case, a K. Each place was marked with the first letter of the person's name. The Little Misses know their letters and could easily find where they were to sit. Nana messed up a little, though. She'll know next time that the cousins want to sit beside each other, not across from each other.

Cooking and eating a turkey dinner without the accompaniment of Christmas was a very calm event. 

I'll be taking a blogging break for a week or so. See you in February!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Spare Beauty

Grey. Austere. Bleak. January can be all of these. It's certainly grey around here. So grey that distinguishing colour in the landscape can be difficult. 

Yesterday I took a quick walk around the Bog. Robins sang in the trees; they don't mind the lack of leaves. 

January forces me to look a bit harder, to notice the small things. Moss and lichen cluster on branches, a muted harmony of texture and neutral colour.

A Dark-eyed Junco perches in a tangle of twigs, cocking his head and eyeing me warily. I long to hold his soft feathered body in my hands, just for a moment.

This Bewick's Wren flitted from low branch to low branch, finally landing in a muddle of grass. How well he blends with the landscape. But, there, do you see them - green blades among the brown?

I stopped to watch the ducks, as I often do, and felt a bit like a voyeuse. It's courting season on the pond - delicate head bobbing, a bit of neck entwining, and finally mating. Not long now before ducklings!

Another pair of mallards taking a nap, heads buried deep in feathers. It doesn't look very comfortable to me, but to each her/his own.

Queen Anne's Lace, delicate and fragile, yet it stands in wind and rain, on tall graceful stalks that hold the promise of life deep beneath the earth. Elegant, austere. Beautiful.

"Wait," says January. "Life abounds beneath the surface. Have faith. Hold fast."

What is there that is beautiful in your January world? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tea by the Fire

The first time I traveled to the southern USA, many years ago now, I ordered tea with my meal. I was utterly surprised (and not a little disappointed) when my glass of iced tea arrived. Ordering tea, to me, a Canadian, meant hot tea. During the year we lived in Texas, I soon learned to specify whether I wanted my tea hot or iced.

January has been deemed Hot Tea Month. Do you ever wonder who decides these things? I do.  January is a very good month for hot tea, although I drink it year round.

During the night the wind rose and howled around the house and lashed rain against the windows. This afternoon the howls and rain continue. A cup of tea by the fire is a very, very good thing. 

To make it a bit of an event, I used one of my Paragon tea cups (Romance is the pattern name) and I pulled a pink gerbera, from the bunch I bought two weeks ago, to add a little colour to the tray.

Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith of Lavender Cottage. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January Days

In spite of the grey sky, this arbutus (madrona) tree seems to glow, reaching upward with twisted limbs. 

Primroses appear on nursery shelves and outside the grocery store. Mine are not yet blooming, but soon. 

I've been very uninspired with photo taking so far this January. Both of these photos are from two years ago. Work and other projects have kept me indoors other than for an evening walk with Tim. As the light increases I'm hopeful that my photo taking mojo will return. In the meantime, I'm looking for sunshine wherever I can find it.

Linking to Sunlit Sunday, hosted by Karen of My Little Home and Garden.


Thursday, January 15, 2015


Mrs. MacDonald presided over the Grade 2 classroom. Grade 2 doesn't hold the same impact that Grade 1 with Mrs. Cook did. That year, my first in school (no kindergarten), I learned to read. That accomplishment changed my life forever.

Looking back, though, Mrs. MacDonald was likely very creative. It's in her classroom that I remember making paper fans, Valentine envelopes, and all sorts of flowers.

She taught us to cut blue, purple, yellow or white paper into strips (using a ruler as a guide) and then to draw the strip carefully but firmly over the edge of a scissor blade to create a curl. To one end I applied glue and then fastened the curl to a sheet of construction paper. More curls were added to form an oval mass of curls that resembled a hyacinth. We cut a stem and two long green leaves and glued them carefully in place.

Yesterday the sun beamed into the living room creating stripes of warmth between the window blind slats. Two potted hyacinths, purchased a week ago, began to open and filled the room with fragrance, triggering memories of long ago.

Tell me, did you make hyacinth blooms from paper the same way?

Nana spent some time with a Little Miss yesterday as well. Her mother had an appointment so we ate breakfast together and made pompom tea. Washing dishes is so much fun! Her eyes are as blue as the hyacinth blossoms.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Duck Antics

On Sunday afternoon I went to the pantry to get my after-lunch-square-of-chocolate only to discover that there was none. This is serious! So Tim and I decided to walk to the store via a loop around Rithet's Bog. 

Grey skies, drizzle, frost, or sun make no difference to the mallard ducks who reside at the bog. They paddle around and provide light entertainment for those who stop to watch, as we often do.

Although I know these ducks are dabblers who feed just below the surface of the water, this particular pose reminds me of how I feel some mornings - "it can't be time to wake up yet!"- as I roll over and pull the covers.

The bold bit of blue on this female reminds me of a well-dressed woman in neutrals with that pop of colour that draws the eye.

But who is this? A strange chicken-shaped bird I'd never seen before. He looked a little odd among the ducks. My trusty guide book informed me that this is an American Coot who likes hanging around with the mallards. He reminded me of a teenage boy whose feet grew faster than the rest of him.

Two male mallards engaged in a squabble and a furious chase around the pond that raised great splashes of water.

More hawthorn berries. The water droplets are indicative of the moisture in the air - rain fell during the night, but none during the day.

I did get my chocolate (Lindt 70%) and very much enjoyed it with a cup of tea later in the afternoon. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Finding Light Where We Can

High noon. Light casts distinct shadows against the wall. Unfortunately, the light is artificial as our days are grey and drizzly. There's a quiet beauty to the mist that I haven't been able to capture with my camera quite yet.

Drizzly days are good for curling up with a new book. It's been awhile since I've visited Mitford and I have to confess that it's taken me awhile to really get into the story. I'm there now, looking forward to discovering how the saga unfolds.

Last night we went to watch The Imitation Game. Thought-provoking in several regards. Well done. Thoroughly enjoyable. Have you seen it?

Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith, and with Sunlit Sunday, hosted by Karen.