Showing posts from August, 2014

Five on Friday

1.  Purple coneflowers at the garden I visited earlier in the week. I have some growing in my own garden, a recent addition since I realized that most of my flowers bloom earlier in the summer and I want colour all season long. The petals look as though they've been painted with watercolours. 

2.  My husband has been away since Sunday. Baltimore, Buffalo, Toronto. I thought I'd have all kinds of time to accomplish some projects, but I've mostly been keeping up with the garden. Green beans ready for the freezer. I use them mostly in soups. I did manage a little sewing, but didn't finish all I'd hoped for.

3. Do you prefer vegetables or fruit? I prefer vegetables. I do like fruit but find vegetables more interesting. This Sausage, Green Bean and Sweet Potato medley is a concoction derived from the need to use up more of those beans.

4.  Along with freezing green beans, I've canned applesauce and tomatoes this week. Just one canner full of each. This is such a rich …

Late August: Early Morning

The clock says 5:38 am. I roll over, then my eyes pop open and I jump crawl out of bed. It's not quite dark, not quite light. It's time to practice, practice, practice!

As I drive down the road, I'm hoping for fog lying across the land. Alas, it's been too hot and dry the past few days. I find one low field with a soft blanket of white and stop for a few minutes.

I head to the beach. I'm just in time to join the geese, gulls and ducks waiting for the sun.

Here comes that bright orb, barely peeking above the horizon at first, then rushing upwards in a blaze of red and gold.

Light bathes the landscape. I walk and stop and admire and give thanks to God for this most amazing day. 

Yep. I have a new camera. As soon as the battery charged I looked around for something to photograph - these tomatoes looked like a good subject.

It's a Panasonic GX7, one of the new breed of mirrorless camera systems that allow interchangeable lenses without the bulk of a full DSLR. I'm so…

A Way of Seeing

We made an early morning airport run yesterday. Fog lay in thick bands on the fields. Wisps trailed in the air. I wished for my camera and time to stop. On the way home, I saw the fiery sun burning through and pulled over to watch. I managed one inadequate IPhone photo. 

In the evening I took a stroll through Butchart Gardens, not planning to take photos. I don't want to be someone who looks merely for photo opportunities and misses the richness of life. Tourist watching is so interesting. Some wander along the pathways going snap, snap, snap everywhere without taking the time to really look. 

Surely there's a way to both appreciate the moment and capture a slice of it via photography. I found myself pulling out my phone frequently. The dahlias are amazing and full of bees of various kinds. Here is one blossom with two busy creatures making the most of these sunny days.

No matter the season, there is always something to admire at the gardens. In the Japanese Garden I often notice…

Leaving a Mark: Mosaic Monday

All sorts of textures are scattered throughout the intertidal zone. One day we, (Tim, his sister, and me) sat with our feet in a cooling tidal pool and watched. Tiny crabs, less than an inch across investigated my toes, causing the faintest tickle. Crabs chased each other - they seem to be very territorial. Most fascinating was observing the barnacle feeding - with its feet! The link takes you to a short article explaining just how it works. 

Stone worn by the water looks like a miniature landscape in the top right photo. Tangled ribbons of bull kelp line many beaches.

Someone created this crooked little set of steps, probably with the aid of a chain saw. A random piece of man's inventiveness in the woods.

Tim snapped this one from Solitude as Janet and I rowed the dinghy to shore. Doesn't it look like a blessing from heaven? We were certainly blessed by the beauty of creation and the good time we had.

Many people have left evidence of their visit to Wallace Island by writing/pain…

Five on Friday

1.  It's been a week of getting things done. Feels good. Closets organized, carpets cleaned, and a little pre-fall gardening. 

2. There was a day spent with a friend, including two hours of walking which included views like the photo above. We've not had any significant rain for some time and the grasses are golden. So pretty against the blue.

3.  The tomatoes are ramping up their ripening - they need to be a part of almost every meal. Green beans and zucchini keep chugging along, too, along with the occasional cucumber. The heritage raspberries that produce in the fall are big and juicy although not quite as sweet as the summer crop.

4.  The new Louise Penny mystery will be out next week (Aug 26). I'm looking forward to reading devouring it. In preparation for the new book launch there's been a coordinated re-reading of her earlier novels, found here on Gamache Series. I wish I'd found it earlier. There are some wonderful essays by writers and editors as well as gre…

Today's This and That

Well, hello there! Isn't this a lovely smiley face? Mister F and I got to spend some time together yesterday. He's a fair boy with the bluest eyes. He'll take the occasional bottle now and as I fed him, we looked at each other and time stretched backwards to when I cradled his father who looked at me with the same blue-eyed stare.

This business of walking through life is a funny one - I've never thought of it as circular, but linear, with the ability to move back and forth along the line thanks to memory.  And not so much that I move but that my mind holds the present while musing the past.

Yesterday's pickings - enough green beans for dinner (I made the Copycat Green Beans again thanks to a conversation with a friend who reminded me of it), tomatoes and plums. Something is eating my tomatoes and I don't think it's birds. Gardens seem to go in cycles. This year my winter squashes bombed. I have one small pumpkin and that's it. The tomatoes are doing well…

Making the Rounds

Recently, Maggie of Normandy Life, invited me to take part in a tour of blog land. Maggie is British and writes about her life in the gentle countryside of France. The blog land tour involves answering four questions about my own creative process. Thank you, Maggie, for inviting me. The answers to these questions have made me do some serious thinking.

1.  What am I working on right now?

This shouldn't be too difficult to answer. Right now I'm working on a blog post.

In the larger scheme of things, I usually have many projects on the go. Right now there are a couple of sewing projects cut out and ready to stitch, a hexagon quilt that I piece in the evenings, a bit of crocheting I just began, garden produce to freeze and can, weeds to keep at bay, and a major writing project.

2. How does my work differ from others in this genre? 

I first began blogging because I was looking for a creative community - some place to share my love of sewing and creating things with my hands. I found th…

Gifts from the Sea

Head down I walk along the beach, looking for bits of sea glass. Opaque bits of white, green, turquoise, brown and blue lie in the sand, tossed ashore on the ocean's whim. They have tumbled over and over in the water, colliding with rocks, with sand, with debris, until their once sharp edges are worn into smooth loveliness.  I pick them up and put them in my pocket. Small white stones find their way into my pockets until the fabric sags with the weight. They, too, have been shaped by the force of the sea. 

I am not the first to draw parallels between the experience of life and the sea. I know that, by God's grace, my rough edges are being worn down like the sea and sand polished flotsam.

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith of Lavender Cottage Gardening.

Five on Friday

1. Several people have asked about the zucchini soup base I mentioned in a recent post. I wrote up a rough recipe from my memory and posted it on my recipe blog here. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf - bay leaves don't puree very well. Ask me how I know.

2.  We welcomed rain this week. Rain + clouds + shortening days = I don't want to think about fall. So yesterday one Little Miss came over and played in the little pool until she came in shivering. I wrapped her up ("in this soft blanket, Nana") and we cozied up together on the couch reading stories.

3. Garden produce. There's something everyday - kale, tomatoes, cucumbers. I harvested the potatoes from the two plants I put it. Delicious! My green beans are terribly slow this year but I hope to pick enough for dinner one day soon.

4.  Another Little Miss, this one just two, said something this week that still makes me laugh. Her mother and I were chatting via Skype (just across town) and Miss S came running b…

Rainy Day This and That

We're having a spectacular summer, weather-wise. Endless days of sunshine, but not too hot. Almost endless days, that is. Last night I awoke around 2 am to hear water trickling through the gutters. A gust of rain-freshened air blew across my face. Ah, delight.

The rain has mostly stopped now and the earth is busy absorbing it all. Perhaps this will help the forest fire situation, and will certainly green things up a little around here. Our Bolero Rose had another bloom, all sweetly scented ruffles.

Zucchini is busting out all over. I made a big batch of garlicky zucchini soup concentrate and froze it in jars for cooler days ahead. Ratatouille is next, when I get to the market for some eggplant and red peppers.

Our new favourite summer salad. Tomatoes picked warm off the vine, sweet Okanagan peaches, a little red onion (or not), fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Nothing could be simpler or more delicious.

This is the scene showing on my walk last night around…

Back to Everyday Life

Real life isn't always filled with pretty sights. Here's a photo of my basement freezer/pantry room. I've dilly dallied and avoided cleaning out the freezer, something I like to do BEFORE the current crop of berries and produce begins. Delaying just made the job a wee bit more difficult as I had to deal with the packages of this year's blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb.

I took everything out, filled the coolers, filled boxes and covered them with quilts to keep them cold while the ice in the freezer thawed. While sitting here at my computer earlier, I heard a rather loud commotion and realized the ice had fallen to the bottom of the freezer. Time to get the towels, the soapy water and bend down, waaaay down. It seemed deeper this year.

Everything's back with the fresher things at the bottom and the others at the top where they'll get used up first. 

Three bags of cranberries didn't make it back into the freezer. They've been converted into…

Queen Anne's Lace

Do you find that the Internet can lead you on wild goose chases? Or in this case wild carrot chases? I looked up Queen Anne's Lace and found all sorts of weird and wonderful folklore and uses for the plant. 

I just think it's pretty. Especially growing beside the water. 

Two collages - the first in Picasa, the second in BeFunky. I like them both. That little boat in the top left corner of the water photo - that's our Solitude. We've had such peaceful, relaxing times on the water these past couple of weeks. Seems a shame to go back to real life.

Judith of Lavender Cottage Gardening is the new host of Mosaic Monday. Thanks to Mary who hosted for so long and to Judith for picking up the torch.

Personal Photography Challenge: August

This month's photography challenge subject was animals. I love watching animals in the wild, although I'm not particularly fond of pets in the house, nor visiting zoos. Each of these photos was taken while out and about.

This Moon Jellyfish is just one of dozens seen in Tod Inlet this weekend. I paddled around in the dinghy, pausing to look at the bottom and all the wonderful life scurrying about. These graceful jellyfish, about 8 inches in diameter, pulsated like translucent ghosts along the shore. This photo was taken with my IPhone and the contrast enhanced slightly.

An unintentional animal photo - I was intent on the flower and the bee photo-bombed the capture. The mad blur of wings indicates the speed he was going. Taken with my Nikon D7100 and nothing was done to the photo, taken on Portland Island.

This is another straight out of the camera photo, taken with my Nikon. Mr. and Mrs. Purple Martin. They were not very shy at all. Nesting boxes at the Ladysmith Marina were fill…

Looking at the Details

Sunlight flits across the water, framed by a curving branch. Arbutus trees were unknown to me until I moved to this area 12 years ago. They grow in a narrow band along rocky shorelines, usually within 8 kilometres of the ocean. I guess they like the sea air.  So do I.

Arbutus branches twist and turn every which way resulting in wild contortions. Native to the northwest, they adorn rocky bluffs and dry meadows. Not too much moisture, please. 

Throughout the year their bark peels in thin sheets of curling red revealing hard, smooth green wood that is a delight to stroke. The First Nations peoples used the bark and other parts of the tree for medicinal purposes, and hold the tree in high regard, for in their story of the Great Flood, the arbutus provided an anchor holding their canoe safe.

I love the glow of light through the thin peeling bark and the striking coloration of this tree. Leaves turn golden and dry throughout the summer as new ones emerge. Last week I stood alone and listen…