Showing posts from February, 2017

Reflections: Mosaic Monday

My husband wanted to go to Home Depot this afternoon for a new anode rod for the hot water heater. On the way home we stopped at Thetis Lake Park for a walk. The sun shone most of the time, and although the temperature was chilly (5C), we quickly warmed up as we walked. 

I grew up in the interior of British Columbia, and knew far more about lakes than about the ocean. BC has over 20,000 lakes, of all sizes. Summer vacations were spent camping beside lakes where we swam, fished, and got sunburned. Shorter fishing trips happened summer, fall, winter, and spring. Fresh trout sizzled in a cast iron frying pan for dinner, and later we would sit around the campfire. As the fire died down and the mosquitoes turned vicious, we would retire to our tent or camper. Then, lying tucked into a warm sleeping bag, I heard the poignant cry of loons streaming like ethereal ribbons across the water, now etched forever into memory.

E.B. White, author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, crafted an ess…

Thoughts from the Garden

"In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous"
So said Aristotle all those years ago. The mosaic above was created last February, and I really can't better it. The protecting curve of petal, the cluster of stamens, the colours - all speak to me of the intent and design of God, the Creator.

Last year's spring growth was early according to the photos I looked at. This winter has been unusually cold for an unusually long time. Today, with temperatures around 6 Celsius, we dig some digging and looking. I transplanted the snowdrops; Tim did the heavy digging for moving a Portuguese Laurel from a pot to the ground, and for transplanting a small hydrangea bush. A few bulbs are poking up through the ground. 

In a sheltered corner this juxtaposition of life and death caught my eye. The empty shell of a poppy flower gone to seed, but underneath, springing up from the soil, new growth hints of the showy beauty to come when the poppies flutter their petals and flirt …

Five on Friday: Three Birds and Two Flowers

This week seems to have both crawled and flown by. It's been busy, not with anything very unusual, but with the usual preparations of classes, marking, teacher's meetings and so on. 
We're reading Animal Farm in English 10 just now - it's read every year, but seems to have taken on new significance just now. Today's discussion on double-speak and manipulation of information seemed particularly appropriate, and we didn't even discuss current politics.

The above bird, a Sparrow, is perhaps a Song Sparrow, but I didn't get a good enough look at its head and breast to really tell. We walked around Rithet's Bog and I captured these bird images. 

The Red-Winged Blackbird's song was heard along the path where the birds lurk in the bulrushes, or sing perched atop a swaying rush. On this particular day, the males were sulking in the rushes and didn't want to be photographed. The female above fluffed up her feathers for me, arched her pretty neck and seemed …

Puttering: Mosaic Monday

On Saturday morning I awoke feeling curiously unsettled about how to spend my day. There were the usual weekend chores to accomplish - laundry, bathrooms, a quick vacuum and dusting - but if I focus, I can accomplish that in the morning. I didn't focus. Instead, I puttered.

I recently saw a photo in Canadian House and Home that featured a mass of brass candlesticks. Hmm, I thought. I have lots of brass candlesticks, somewhere. A little rummaging in the cupboard revealed a box full, somewhat tarnished.  I gave them a bit of polish, and stuck them on the mantle.

Away went the red dishes, in the hutch since the end of November. We used them most recently for Valentine's Day. They've been replaced by delicate, mostly floral teacups, reminiscent of the gardening season to come. 

An overgrown, root-bound fern has been relegated to the patio until I decide what to do with it. In its place I brought up the old tea cart from the basement, and set the silver tray with an embroidered cl…

Five on Friday: Things that Made Me Smile

Regular readers might remember our family celebrated Christmas in a rented ski chalet. There was snow, lots of it. We hauled all our luggage, food, and gifts for the grandchildren up on sleds while the snow swirled around in torrents. 
I'd sewn nightgowns for the girls and a cute pair of pajamas for Mr. F - red, with little white cows. 
When the snow finally disappears on Mt. Washington, in May or June, I think a little parcel will appear, wet and bedraggled, and inside will be a pair of red pajamas.
So, at last, over the weekend, I stitched a new pair of pajamas for the young man, and gave them to him at his birthday party. With a Christmas label. Bugs this time, not cows.

While walking one afternoon, we came across a man walking his dog, and his parrot. I asked to take a photo. We occasionally saw wild macaws when we lived in Ecuador. They are so majestic flying through the jungle, bright wings outspread. Their colours are magnificent.

Mr. F is three. He had a bug-themed birthday par…

Mosaic Monday: Valentine Fun

One set of parents asked us to watch their children on Sunday afternoon/early evening so that they could go on a Valentine's date together. So we offered to the other set of parents childcare during the same time.

I prepared some craft supplies beforehand and we had fun making these heart-shaped sun-catchers that look so pretty taped to the windows. 

The two girls, in particular, loved the gluing, the arranging, the choosing of colours and so on. Grandpa helped Felix to create his artwork, and then the two menfolk went off and did other things while the girls continued to craft.

Yesterday I baked a batch of sugar cookies, the same recipe that I've used for many years, my mother's recipe. She made heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's Day, and sent them carefully packed, when I was in college. 

There was a lot of icing consumed, and plenty of sprinkles landed on the floor (and into mouths), and it all added up to a very sweet time - the kind of time I've anticipated as t…

Five on Friday: Delights of the Week

This week we've had WEATHER. Lots of it. Snow, wind, more snow, freezing rain, sunshine, wind, and more rain. Two no-school snow days. 

1. I'm still delighting in the snow, although many people are getting thoroughly sick of it all. I admired the way the snow caught on one of the metal porch chairs, so delicately caught in the swirls and curlicues. 

Our patio and back yard. It's been a long time since we've seen this much snow all at once.

The row of pots awaiting spring, each pot topped with fluffy snow meringue. 

2. And then the sun came out. Blue sky. White snow, dark trees. Perfectly elegant. 

3. The grandkids came over to play in our sloping back yard. Whee! Down they went.

Then trudge, trudge, back up again. They stayed for lunch, eaten in the living room because that's where the sun was shining in. 

4. A snowy Valentine, caught in a tree. Love to you, it says.

5. Tim was up Island today at meetings, so I was on my own for dinner. Some sauteed vegetables, a bit of tu…

Snowy Days

Those of you who live in more northerly climes will surely laugh at our paltry snowfall that wreaks such havoc with normal life here on the coast. I grew up in the north and hearing of Victoria's inability to cope with snow was cause for some derision. 

I understand better, now. We have minimal snow removal equipment for it's not needed every year. Temperatures that hover just around freezing make for very slippery streets. And I'll confess that many people here lack the skills for driving in snowy conditions. So things slow down, or shut down.

All that to say that when I got a text early yesterday morning saying that school was cancelled because of snow, Tim thought I'd gone nuts. There's something about a snow day that is like a gift - no plans made, and no obligations.

He, of course, had to go to work. I spent a leisurely early morning drinking tea, reading blogs, and relaxing. Then I thought I should get some milk, so I pulled on my snow gear (the temperature was …

Staying Safe on the Coast

On a weekend that has been raw with patches of indecisive rain/snow, Tim and I have begun planning our summer boating trip. Our coastline is a beautiful place, its scenery varied and breathtaking. Danger is present, as well as beauty. Swirling currents, plenty of chunky bits just under the surface, strong tides and lots of marine traffic means that we need to know what we're doing out there on our little boat.

This morning, after church, we joined some friends at the Coast Guard Communications Centre for a tour. The centre overlooks the water, through the trees (and you can see patchy snow there, as well).

From this large room, with dozens of computer screens glowing, Coast Guard members monitor marine traffic. Radar sweeps across the screens, lights indicate the movement of large ships, ferries, tankers, and more. 

While we were there, a call came in - a small (28 foot) pleasure craft had hit a log and was requesting a tow. Since it wasn't an emergency, other boats in the area r…