Tuesday, May 31, 2011

may flowers in june

we've had a late cool spring, but right now the garden has a dizzy array of colour. before the weeds, before the bugs, the garden right now is at it's best.

Monday, May 30, 2011

chestnut tree

my favourite tree is the chestnut. it's tiny bat wing leaves unfurling in the spring. it's glorious candelabra flowers. it's cathedral-like shade in summer. it's medieval weapon conkers in the fall splitting open to reveal the deep chestnut brown of it's nut.
i've always loved the art of 18th century british water colourist samuel palmer and especially the chestnut tree, the flock of sheep sleeping under it's boughs. two years ago we bought a tiny (12") chestnut tree and last year it doubled in size (almost as big as our rhubarb now!). we will patiently watch it grow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

in and out of the garden

i've been so busy lately - travel and company and working on finishing up orders. that i feel i'm already neglecting my garden this season. yesterday was a relaxed day. and although the temperature dropped from sandal weather on friday to glove weather on saturday, i did take time to putter around in the garden and take stock. the early spring flowers - daffodils, tulips, anenomes, lungwort all in full bloom.peonies and poppies well on their way. the garlic greens hardy. planted out the first of the lettuce (try to plant every 2 weeks during the summer so there is a constant supply). over the next few days i'll weed the gardens (so much easier when the ground is damp and the weeds so tiny). then maybe i'll sit back and just enjoy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

look! there!

on our last walk, on our last morning together, jan saw her first ever whale. circling and breaching and diving in the blue light.

Friday, May 27, 2011

gone with the wind

my sister jan flies back to ontario this morning. it has been a wonderful week long visit. just enough activity and down-time. one of the best things was working together on the yarn. jan is a batt-making fiend. here is "gone with the wind" inspired by scarlett's curtain dress (green velvet, gold tassels and a crow feather in her hair).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

we're in the money.

well not exactly. but although my sister is here for only a short week, i have to keep working. fortunately jan has become obsessed with making batts and we've had such fun discussing colours and titles (afterall we do share dna). we've also been watching 1930's movies on netflx. this skein "lullaby of broadway" is from the 1935 movie "gold diggers". if you want a shock, go to youtube, gold diggers part 2 and watch it to the end.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

taking it all in

we realized yesterday morning that we couldn't spend the night at the cabin because we would miss the american idol finale! (the o'hagan siblings (and partners) have been in fierce competition all winter and spring guessing who would get voted off each week.) so we went down to the cabin early in the day and jan and abigail and i went for a hike to the blomidon brook swimming holes (through terrain that seems from another planet). while keith drove on to the cabin and got a fire going to warm it up and have tea waiting for us when we arrived. and we spent the rest of the day and evening watching the wild wind and rain on the water. echoed by the clouds and jan beachcombed (choosing rocks to bring home to ontario with her.) and we were home and showered and ready for idol at 9:30 (newfoundland time).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

side tracked

well, on my birthday, i got side tracked.
we loaded up the jeep with flats of veggies - tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers and zucchinis (they'll all stay in the greenhouse for another few weeks) and hanging baskets of begonias and fuchsia and when i got home, all i wanted to do was spend the day in the garden. so we prepared a new raised bed and spread the compost and transplanted some of the new plants into bigger pots and then sat out in the beauty of the day - tiny lime green new leaves and colourful purple finches and yellow birds at the feeders. the pale blue sky as background. and for dinner pea soup and freshly baked bread and left over pistachio cake and an old scottish movie "i know where i'm going" on netflix. a perfect birthday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

what i want

today is my birthday. so i will do what i want. yesterday my daughter and son-in-law dropped in. they had purchased a truck online and flew to boston to pick it up and have a little road trip sans enfants. so last night we all went out to dinner and then to keith's folks for delicious pistachio cake and a sweet little party with some of the people i love deeply. and this morning we're heading off tokim's greenhouse to pick up my hanging begonias that keith got me for my birthday and our little vegetable plants that we'll move into our greenhouse for the next few weeks till things warm up. and then head down to the cabin for our first overnight. my idea of a perfect celebration.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

takin' it slow

on the first day of our visit the weather was cold and dull. so we mostly stayed inside and took things slow (after a good dog walk and a visit for tea at barb's). my sister tried her hands at the spinning wheel and when that proved to be a little too frightening, she began making batts. this one we called "al fresca", inspired by the sweet potato quesadillas we made for supper. and then in the evening we all watched "the fighter". what a powerful movie.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


there is no relationship like sister to sister (or i imagine brother to brother). in my family there were 4 girls (born within 5 years) and then 5 years later a boy. the sisters were a unit. we've moved to different coasts of canada - vancouver and newfoundland and 1 in the middle in ontario. yesterday one of my sisters came to visit. her last vist here was 10 years ago. with her husband al who passed away in october. it's been a rough year for her so i wanted this trip to be soft and nurturing. lots of preparation. a restful place to sleep. wholesome food. that's jan digging into the bottled lobster.
i love the energy of sisters. i understand every word she speaks. from our core. last night we found ourselves sitting together on the kitchen floor. the words tumbling out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

books and cake

this past week our little bookclub met for what seems to be working out to our bi-monthly gathering. (we're a little slow and we wait until everyone has read the book. and then have tp pick a date when all 5 of us are here and available.) our book this time was peter carey's "parrot and olivier in america". i love carey's writing and, like all his books, this one was a big romp. 19th century france, england and then america in it's early development.
the gathering was also a chance to celebrate spring birthdays (4 of the 5 members have a birthday within 6 weeks of one another). so there was cake. and flowers. and lootbags. and abigail (who was born in the summer) joined in...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

clear sight

(actually yesterday afternoon i had toothpaste on my finger and, not knowing it, rubbed my eye which immediately triggered a migraine. so i am appreciating my clear sight today). but this post really is about cleaning and organizing my house. and making hard decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. i find the clutter overwhelming. and i live in a small house with little storage. so my possessions are always spilling over. this week i've been taking a few hours each day to de-clutter. keep. donate. toss. we've had a dumpster out front from the roofing project so the tossing has been made easy. yesterday i even tackled my recipes - some i've kept for 30 years (ie my ex-mother-in-laws pork chops and i've been vegetarian for over 20 years...). and today - the most difficult project - my studio. i work at so many different projects - dyeing and spinning and knitting and felting and sewing. hard to find a place for all the materials let alone a space to work on them. i'll show you the after pictures tomorrow and hopefully there'll be a difference.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

and while i was away...

while i was away, jason and carl, from sheppard designs, started work on a new roof for our house and finished it up on tuesday. yesterday as i sat inside and listened to the rain i knew that the house was safe and dry.
and... brian finished building our vanity for the bathroom and installed it with the new counter and sinks and taps and removed the ugly glass doors on the bathtub. since we moved into this house 14 years ago i've wanted a new bathroom. we finally decided to do it in pieces. a new window has been ordered. the floor and tiles around the tub will be next year's project. i love that the bathroom still feels 50's vintage (because of the original tiles), but now also feels new and clean.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

trees in st. john's

the trees in st. john's are big and old. and, as in any city, precious. last year's hurricane igor toppled many of them and in bannerman park only the sawed off stumps remain. many of the trees that survived were lovingly "protected" by artist heidi wagner and friends. my daughter and family live downtown and have been fortunate to have their property look out onto a little forest. until this week when the owners cut down all the trees to build a new home...

Monday, May 16, 2011

the beauty of old

on this quick trip into st. john's, i had one morning to myself. i did some wandering downtown - choosing roads and lanes that i don't usually see. looking for colour and architectural details. st. john's is said to be the oldest city in north america. sometimes you can feel it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

spring is slow

in newfoundland. spring is slow. and then it is summer. yesterday we woke to snow. st. john's is a little ahead of the west coast with it's blooming tulips and daffodils and hyacinths. we have a week of warm rain predicted so next sunday i predict we will also have leaves and blooms. which will be good because my sister is coming for a visit from ontario (to celebrate our shared birthdays). and i want it to be pretty.