Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crossin' the water

See you all on Saturday...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great ideas

Idea #1: tubular cast-on and ribbing. This is way cool. It just finishes the cast-on edge beautifully. You can so teach old dogs new knitting tricks.

Idea #2: Ruby Tuesday. I'm a fan of puzzles, games and challenges of all sorts. Here's my entry. This is the daintiest tulip - very tiny. But, as you may have noticed I love the close-ups which show features not normally seen. Hence the weird focus.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Job done

This project has been waiting for a nice day. The lattice panel which created a fence panel had been in place since we bought this house. Last summer we noted that it was a bit run-down looking but never found the time to replace it. Over the winter, our frequent snowfalls meant that all the shoveling landed in this corner of the yard. Poor thing definitely didn't have much life left in it.

So Anne grabbed her hammer and nails. We had several fenceboards that we'd salvaged from the side fence (whre the truck crashed through) when it had been replaced. Perfect. Now to figure out how to do this without actually replacing the post.

Our neighbor laughingly refers to this inventiveness as the 'Hornby Island school of carpentry'. All I can say is that it works and I think it looks fine. We solve our engineering problems with flair - we think. And then, we decorate with another recycled piece that is just for whimsey.

And this little hermit thrush sang to us all afternoon. Not the greatest photo but he was kind of hard to coax into cooperation.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday wonder

F is for Flying.

Humans have always looked to the skies and imagined flying like the birds. Imagine being able to look down on the earth and see what a bird sees:

When I was a kid I know I dreamed of flying. I think my idea of flying, really, was to go fast. To feel wind on my face was as good as flying and I didn't actually have to leave the ground. Besides, logical parents informed me that I couldn't actually fly. My early bugs-in-the-teeth adventures with my brother (who didn't seem as keen)

grew into flying down long hills on my bicycle. That's the best part of slogging to the top of a hill, with a bike, skis, or a sled: to fly down to the bottom and then start all over again. Kids have that kind of energy.

I think sailing gives one the same windy experience and it can almost seem like flying. Parasailing, or hang gliding really are flying - even a magic carpet ride like in the stories we used to read.

And I'm sure that's why kids like to swing...

I'm still waiting for my ultimate flying experience, though. I have this dream to ride one of the ziplines on Grouse Mountain. One day, I'll do it. Maybe this year?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lunch break

There's wildflowers and there's weeds. I think our garden is a wonderful mix of wildflowers including


and bleeding hearts.

There some plants that are just annoying but which are beautiful despite their nuisance factor.

bracken which spreads slowly but surely...

the quince japonica which sends little treelets up everywhere in the surrounding garden...

And, then, there's the buttercup. Every spring, we spend hours uprooting these persistent plants. Unlike the glorious (and well-behaved) dandelion, the buttercup is like an infiltrating army. Leave one and before you know it there's a hundred. If they didn't choke things out, I wouldn't be so determined. But look at our poor parsley which managed to survive the winter. I have to dig up the good and the bad then replant. It's the only way.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Morning view

I was sitting on the deck drinking my tea this morning and this beauty caught my eye. Every spring, I am surprised all over again by our checkered lilies (fritillaria).

We have two small clumps. One clump has this gorgeous white flower mixed with the purple ones. We only get the one each year and I think it must be a mutation because I've never read about white fritillaria.

I just love these flowers. They hide under the magnolia beside a group of earlier-flowering daffodils. The mixture of greens getting ready to blossom, freshly opened bluebells, fading crocuses and daffies works well in the dappled shade from the tree covered in white blooms.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Future shock

This hemlock started it all. Trees don't just grow up - they also grow out. And when they decide to grow beside the street, eventually the girth will impede the ability to see oncoming traffic. Hey! That's kind of important.

So, we called up the municipal arborist who determined that it was big enough to be in the way but not big enough to need a permit. Before he made decisions, though, he had to consult with the traffic engineers.

Today, we got the verdict. Since our whole 'living fence' is on city property and, since, in their opinion, it is just as big a problem, everything must go. We have been thinking this might happen ever since we started the dialogue and so we've been making some new plans.

Last week, Anne found a beautiful white rhody and a double white azalea to plant in the new bare spaces. We can try to save the forsythia plants. And we have a copper beech that has survived the truck crashing into - and crushing - its big pot. I'm quite excited about that - they are such beautiful trees. We've nurtured this one since we discovered it as a seedling in the back garden.

So, next week, we'll be more exposed to the road. But since most of it was accidental planting, we can be more intentional. A phoenix will rise.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Treasure trove

I have a lot of buttons. Jars of them. And they are all sorted into colors. They've come from many, many different sources.

The other day I was given a grocery bag half-full of a friend's no longer needed stash. Oh, what fun! I filled up my jars and gave over half away to the thrift shop.

There were even some still on cards.

I'm always looking for enough of the same button when finishing a garment. If you want one special button - I'm your gal. But expecting to find more than two alike has been akin to seeking a matched pair of Barbie shoes. Yeah, I know I could go buy some. It just seems wrong when there's jars sitting in their little box waiting for a chance to shine.

Pink and purple buttons for Becky...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Loose ends

I started this little sweater way back in February. I just needed something bright and challenging - and a pink lacy cardigan was perfect. But not too challenging so I knit it Becky-size .

It's been hibernating for a while now while I got up the motivation to actually sew it together. ( I'm sure there must be a whole group of people out there who prefer to finish items.) But last week, I had a shock. I've left it to steep too long...Becky has moved on.

She told me that she loves purple now - and pink has fallen right out of her color wheel!

I will finish it, though. When she sees how pretty it is and how soft and could any little girl refuse?

Monday, April 20, 2009


Two months ago, I figured I would never be able to walk the trails again. But, thanks to physio, the corner has been turned and here I am. The woodland spirits were definitely with us...

the tiny lichen that beckoned us into the forest...

the fungi watching the trail...

a moss-covered tree pointing the way(s)...

snowmelt rushing down the canyon to the sea ...

can you see the toad and the dolphin?

happy me at the end of the walk...
and today, I'll walk to tai chi.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday wonder

E is for End...

This sign caught my eye yesterday and inspired today's post. End sounds so final but as I searched for photos, I discovered that ends always lead to a beginning. The 'end of the line' is the last stop that the old streetcars made. Once you got off the tram, though, you began a new adventure of walking through the forest.

Here's an end that looks pretty final -

but it can be spliced and knit.

This kind of end always holds the promise of return...

A tree cut down will become a home for seedlings and forest animals...

There's always another story...

... 'tail-ends'. Where's the tail in this Douglas fir cone? The aboriginal people here tell a legend about the mice who ran into the fir cone to escape from a hungry fox. The cone was too small, though, and the tails and hind legs didn't quite fit. We can see them still in every fir cone.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beauty everywhere

Even in a parking lot.

Yesterday, I was captive to a bottle drive. Our seniors' association was raising funds to help with operating costs for the bus. If you've ever done this kind of event, you know that business comes in rushes and there are lulls with nothing to do but chat.

I had the camera with me to take pictures for our newsletter. But - there were these interesting trees right beside the parking lot where we were set up. I think the peeling bark is natural, like an arbutus, and I liked the way the edges blurred on the bark patches.

I was most impressed with the lines and colors of the other tree. I think this is actually the result of trauma - maybe
a car had bumped and scraped against this poor little trunk. Over time it has healed itself and left quite a big scar. Since there were no other damaged trees, this seems to have been a singular incident.

Oh, yes, the bottle drive was a success. The rain did stop and it was quite a nice thing to be standing outside. We greeted lots of people - some actually had recyclables - and had a great time getting to know our fellow volunteers a little better.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ready to roll

Ta-da! My new swift. She ain't pretty but she works like a dream. Ooh, I'm just racing up that technology ladder.

Now the yarn is all in balls and I've picked my pattern: the Diminishing Rib cardi from the latest Interweave Knits.

After reading all the project comments on Ravelry, I'm sort of wondering how my experience will be. Others report varying degrees of elation and/or disappointment. And, I think, everybody fiddled with the pattern.

My turn - soon!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thinking big

These tiny little stems are our gardening adventure for this growing season. Every winter, Maria dreams through the seed catalogs and gets ready to start her garden. We're so lucky that she takes orders for seedlings. Even luckier that she encourages us to try something new.

This time, we ordered three leek plants. They are tiny now but they grow to be six feet! I took some worm's-eye views just to make them look like anything at all. Hard to imagine that they will be as sturdy as they appear to be in the Westcoast Seed photos. Apparently, they are pretty fool-proof and we look forward to having a leek feast about the end of August.

But if I thought we were adventurous, it's nothing compared to NASA. They are planning a future launch, Lunar Oasis, which will put a greenhouse on the moon. I wonder if we will live long enough to have our broccoli imported from space.

I'm having trouble embedding the links today. Here's the link to giant leeks:

and here's the one for Lunar oasis:

I'll try again later...perhaps the linker thingie is on a break this morning.


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