Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thorsday: All Hallows in the West Coast 'Hood

Thankfully the rain held off so our little tricky treaters were not traipsing around in sodden costumes. (scenes from my childhood).
Our local WalMart seems to be the place for last minute costumes.
Here is a typical 'wet' coast Hallowe'en decorated house (notice the fresh cut firewood on the side of the house, a sure sign of a local!)
And these creatures were the first ones to ring our doorbell!
After we totaled up our candy handouts, it turns out we had
83 TrickyTreaters! 
If you celebrated it, I do hope it was not too cold or wet where you are.
Blessings on this Turning of the Wheel as we head into Yuletide Season.
PS. I found out by watching a Canadian Tire ad that if you can see your breath, it's Officially below 7C. Who Knew?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wodensday: October gave a party

My Mother used to sing this to me whenever the first Bigleaf Maple leaves would begin to fall down.
I believe she learned the song  from her mother and when she got to the last line, the one about 'jolly hands around', she always told me, as a child, she used to be sad to think that the party was over!

 "October's Party"
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."
Author: George Cooper

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2Shots Twosday

A perfect day for a walk out on to the Cowichan River estuary road. I even persuaded my cousin Bonnie to join us (mind you it didn`t take MUCH persuasion!)-  a rare treat to have her with us, as our mutual schedules are often miles apart.
A shot of the 3 of us heading out across country and a shot of the dusty blue white river stones that are common to our area.

Blessings of a Sparkling Day wherever you may be!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Meanderings - Madonna of the Red Thread

Today I started on a new piece of artwork for a friend online. It was quite by accident how this project came about. I saw a tweet from her to another great artist known as Dede, asking her if she could do a Virgin Mary for her.
Dede aka Inkwell is one of the most amazing collage artists out there who is beyond generosity itself when it comes to sharing techniques and current works in progress on her Ustream channel: Coffee and Art in the Morning.
I figured I was safe, after all Dede could handle this project probably in her sleep.
This moirning, La Musa poked me in the side with her sharp yellow pencil.
"Well?" she said.
"But she already has Dede working on one for her."
"So? Why can't another Virgin Mary show up in her post? Besides, yours will be unique and a wonderful surprise to her."
"And not only that", she continued, " but you have Marguerite's Birthday on November 1, you could effectively Madonna them both!"
"But, but but," I countered with, "Though I respect their beliefs, I am not Catholic nor Orthodox!"
She waved her hands dismissively, " You already are a Brighidine Flame Keeper for Brighid, who was known as the Foster Mother of Christ or Mary of the Gaels, so your argument is not valid. Get busy already!" (How is that La Musa sounds like a Jewish Mother at times?)
Darn, can't get away with anything around here!
It just so happens... (and isn't it always the Way?) that...
I have been reading a wonderful blog called Letters From The Red Thread Cafe" by Shiloh Sophia..  She has returned to the Orthodox church after many years of searching and her journey and videos are wonderful to view and muse upon. In one of her posts, she explained why her blog is dedicated to Our Lady Of The Red Thread  and published a photo of the Madonna with a drop spindle in her left hand, crimson wool wrapped around with a single skein looping from  it.
From her Blog:
"A Russian icon from the Novgorod School, dating to the first half of the twelfth century. It is now held by the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The icon is commonly known by the name the “Ustyug Annunciation.”
One of the distinctive features of the Orthodox tradition of depicting the annunciation is that Mary is usually shown spinning, as opposed to the western European tradition which often depicts her as reading. In this icon, Mary is holding a drop spindle, spinning a crimson thread. Here is a close-up of Mary’s hand, holding the drop spindle."
The hidden Moon
still pulls me
even though her slender thread is no longer crimson
but silver..
I wonder -
Is she a weaver like Mary,
my silver thread wound round her drop spindle,
darting in and out of her loom,
the tapestry of my days, falling to her feet.?
(c) LTN 2013
Blessings to all those who follow,worship or respect Mary, in whatever Guise She May Be.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday and I'm Looking Back a Year Ago

Tonight is the Anniversary of a Life Event that literally ticked all my boxes.
Not only did I get to meet a small band of intrepid Virtual Choir 3 members, but we had the inestimable privilege meeting with EricWhitacre pre-concert as well.
That evening in the magnificent Orpheum, downtown Vancouver, we sat enthralled in wonder and delight as he wove his musical magic around us.
To Put It Simply: All My Boxes Were Ticked.

In order here are the Youtube links to Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir Videos
(I sang alto in the last two: WaterNight and Fly To Paradise)
Lux Aurumque
Fly To Paradise
Blessings to all those Virtual Choir members out there, past, present and future!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturnsday: Posting from Rhea

Rhea is one of the 62 plus of Saturn's moons (they keep finding more) and I'm sitting on the front porch of my artist retreat villa, in downtown Satelliteville on Rhea.
I am circling around Saturn, which I have made the deposit of my writing Ideas and every once in a while Saturn rises in the sky and reminds me that I really should SERIOUSLY start thinking of Plot Lines because goodness me, I went and signed up for Nanowrimo.
Thankfully there is a direct wormhole to my favourite Starbucks and I can refuel my writer's brain with a Hot Caramel Apple Spice with a galaxy swirl of whipped cream and caramel drizzled on top.
I am trying out various writing programs, such as SimpleMind, and Polaris Office which SAVE my work unlike others. Evernote I have yet to tackle but I like the idea of being able to go back and forth from pc to tablet with the sync feature. We will see.
Blessings to all those yellow pencil hoarders out there! (You know who you are)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Freyas Free For All

A quiet rainy day here at Quail Hill and perfect for getting a few more pages done on the Annual Quail Hill Calendar. I am supposed to be making shortbread and doing up some freezer jam this weekend as well. Fingers crossed, the Domestic Goddess willl surface once more, and poke me in the side with her wooden spoon to get 'crakalakin' on it. We are going to be on the mainland again the first part of Nuvember so that means getting my Solstice gifts sorted as well,
It's also my friend Marguerite's birthday and we have been doing a shortbread exchange for years. So yes, I had better.
Blessings to all those reluctant cooks like me who slept through home economics.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thorsday Thoughts: Portfolio of Desires vs Bucket List

Dear Perusers:
"Bucket List" has always struck me as a rather negative phrase, so I thought to put a more positive spin on the same idea and call it my 'Portfolio of Desires'.
This particular Desire suprised me but after watching episodes of 'The Bridge' and hearing Swedish spoken, made me want to put Sweden and Norway on the List as places to visit.
My paternal grandfather was Swedish and my grandmother was Norwegian and other than a once a year treat of lefse during the Holiday Season, that was pretty much it as far as cultural heritage went. It wasn't until we moved to the city and the Danish Home held Midsomerfest on its grounds, that I became more knowledgeable about my Scandinavian roots. I have always been aware of the Celt in me thanks to my mother but I am not even sure my father knew anything of his heritage. He definitely did not talk much about it,  probably due to the fact that his father, my grandfather left home at 16 and never looked back.
According to anthropologists, I am a Celtic Viking which when you come to think of it, is pretty ironic considering the History between them.
We are currently planning a trip overseas to Italy but after that, we may well find ourselves on 'that bridge' crossing over from Denmark to Sweden.
Blessings to those who are busy organizing their folders in their own Portfolio of Desires.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I am missing my regular Vaio pc dreadfully as of course it has my Entire Life on it and it is currently in the hands of the Staples techies. They are saying 3-5 business days but that's an Eternity to someone like me who is so tech dependent. Thank goodness we were able to blow the dust off an aging Acer that Mr Bear had downstairs and I am now able to finish my project on that as  I don't have much time either. This has to be done before end of the month.
So yes Wodensday today is very much a 'woe is me' kind of day.
Sympathy and Starbucks gratefully accepted. <g>
Blessings to all those who are surviving as best you can with an aging piece of tech
PS Pumpkin Spice Lattes are now in at our local Starbucks. 
I was trying out the FX key on the Japanese maples photo: not sure if I like it but interesting don't you think?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 shot Twosday

You were waiting for me to discover you
Hidden under the Balcony Deck
Where the Sun no longer reaches.
You made your own Light.

Blessing to those who make their own light and share it with others!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Meander= Sunday Leftovers

I could only post the most salient of photos yesterday from our trip north to 'the river' due to the lateness of the hour when we got back.
So I do have a few more from yesterday for your viewing, consider them 'leftovers' <g>
The Drive North into the fog

 The Break of Sunshine

Our night drive home in the pea soup,. Sometimes it was so thick, our high beans didn't even cut it.
Blessing to all road warriors out there.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


We were in Campbell River visiting a friend in the hospital and this was pinned to the glass of the ermergency door!!
I don't suppose it is something one sees everyday.
Welcome to the West Coast Wild Life preseve <g>
Blessings to all cougars out there.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday - Egads! Silly Seaon Approaches..

Dear Perusers:
The Card Challenge this week was (gulp) Christmas or Winter themed.
And Hallowe'en hasn't even been and gone.
Talk about rushing the Season, but o well, I am up to the challenge.
I put my digi cap on and did not one but TWO cards for the challenge (SMACK DOWN! lol)
One of the amazing artlies in the group is Ozegran from Australia and as it her Summer when Christmas comes calling,  I decided to do one up just for her.
Do you remember Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee 1984) exhorting us to come down to Australia and we will 'slip another shrimp on the barby?'
Well, that's where I got the idea from.
The other card was done with a Scandinavian flavour as a nod to my paternal grandparents.
And of course, Mr Bear had to show up there somewhere!
Blessings to all those who like me are 'making a list and checking it twice.'

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fogtober Friday

Dear Perusers: Quail Hill was wreathed in fog this morning, though it did burn off by mid afternoon.
Because our house is perched quite high, it can lend an otherworldly out of time sense to our morning; perfect for slow going and sipping coffee.
Blessings of a safe journey to those who have to drive in it!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday: Stuffing Swans day

Hooray for Thorsday!
Thor's hammer managed to somehow SLAM DOWN whatever buggies decided to infect me and I was actually well enough to accompany Mr Bear down to our local Safeway for our annual flu shot.
(Irony, I had to be well to get one) :(
Yay for us!
In two weeks time we should be able to venture further afield and be more or less 'under the dome' of immunity.
I'm still dosing myself with oil of oregano in any case. We have our niece Jenn and her newborn Master David presenting themselves for oohing and ahhing the first week of November so we want to be 'covered' for sure.
Not only did I get my flu shot - I... (ahem, preening here just a bit) ALSO got my 84 SWANS Stuffed into a Tyvek envelope, labeled and Expedited to the States where they will be joined by others from the 12 Days of Christmas Swap! TA DA!
I'm feeling quite righteously proud of this Momentous Achievement (must be the cold meds I am on) :)
It was a sparkly white holly wreath with a snowflake glue on the back, a digital pic composite done by me of a Momma Swan with her 6 cygnets swimming and behind them was the 12 Days of Christmas Music sheet.
I also embellished each tag with a few glass beads including the number 7 and tied it all together with sparkly white eyelash yarn making it look feathery.
Other than that: it was another Sparkling Pumpkin Cider Day, so warm that folks were wearing tank tops and t shirts and yet chilly enough in the shadows to warrant a good sweater.
Love the contrast and colours this time of year!
Blessings of a Fruitful Autumn to my N. Hemisphere friends and blessings of a Fruitful Spring to S. Hemisphere'rs!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wodensday - Wednesday - Calendar Cunundrum

Dear Perusers:
While I was lying in bed this morning, trying to get better from a something that has decided to give me runny eyes, sniffley nose and a cough, I had a wonderful view of the fog drifting down from the mountain. Being a bit under the weather I did not venture outdoors, so I took some shots from my window and had a good think about calendars.
I have not yet made up my mind if we are going to do the annual Calendar to send out this year, yes yes I know, time and tide.
Carpe Kronos!
As I was saying, calendars have always fascinated me especially when they are not arranged in a pattern I am used to. For example, at work, Monday was the start of the week and at home, Sunday was the start. Then someone brought in a French calendar in which the days of the week were arranged down the left side and the numbers were across. That took some getting used to, let me tell you!
When I was taking French many lunar cycles ago, we memorized the days of the week along with the months. Mercredi always got me. Why?
Turns out it is named for Mercury, as each of the weekdays were named for the planets.
Ok that makes sense, but why Wodensday for Wednesday?
Just who was he? The German name for their god Mercury.
So now you know.
Thinking about French Calendars reminds me of a wonderful site out there run by a lady named Waverly called 'Living In Season' and she has had
French Republican Calendars for sale in her shop. Waverly writes,"In 1793, the French replaced the old calendar, tainted with irrational religious holidays, with a new rational calendar. The months were named after natural phenomena (Winter consists of Foggy, Frosty and Snowy), and each day was dedicated to a plant, animal or tool." She then goes on to say that she is quite pleased how well it matches the weather and cycles of the Pacific Northwest (Seattle). I hope she makes one available for 2014.
I am still mulling over and discussing it with Mr Bear.
Blessings of Woden/Mercury to everyone out there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2 Thoughts Twosday -Thanksfulgiving

Dear Perusers:
Rather than my usual 2 shots on this day (I know I know, I heard the groans of the disappointed legions when I typed this - though I may relent and insert something later - I did, see below) I am taking aim at something I have just read and wish to comment on.
We have just had a literal 'Groaning Board' yesterday with turkey and all the trimmings.
Sadly there are many right here in our town, that did not have that luxury.
In town, every store (Safeway, Superstore, Walmart) have food bins right at the exit door for Food Bank deposits. We can even donate at the till and get a 5 dollar coupon for our 2 dollar donation.
Every month there is at least one highlighted charity that needs our help - This month it's the Tour De Rock in which cops bike race around the Island from top to bottom raising funds for their charity: Cops For Cancer. Next month it will be Movember: raising awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer research and on it goes.
Ok: here is where the rubber meets the road: Mr Bear and I are getting Donor Fatigue.
We have had unusual calls upon our wallet this year, mostly medical expenses and because of that we are scaling back and really considering how to spend wisely.
The other night Mr Bear and I were doing up our annual Gift List for December and I am now reconsidering doing what the very wise Mr and Mrs Heron did last year; rather than spend money on gifts, and firmly believing that charity begins at home, they donated to their favourite Cause the amount they would normally have spent. Mr Heron also within the past few hours. linked a news story, that this year for the First Time in 70 years! the Red Cross will be distributing food parcels to the hungry in the UK!
Here are my 2 loonies worth:
*Thought Number 1: this year for my UK overseas friends: We could donate an equivalent amount to the UK Red Cross - Fair Share UK. 
*Thought Number 2:  My in-laws David and Helen were vacationing in Italy and were caught IN the Vernazza FloodRockWaterslide that within hours wiped out most of the town!
Save Vernazza still needs funds so we could again make a donation in their name in gratitude for their safe return to us! Here is a video from Italian TV in which Helen is interviewed in the first video at around the 2.47 mark. (apologies in advance for the Italian Plumbing commercial)
Of course this is not to say that small gifts will be missing from the December Solstice Gift Bringer's Basket, after all we have 2 new grand-nephews to help spoil and it is the Season of Joyful Giving.
So, those are my 2 thoughts on this glorious Fall Twosday and since I can't go outside to shoot (darnit I have caught the sniffles, so staying indoors and dosing myself with oil of oregano), I have had to make do with our table bouquets from yesterday. On the left is my table offering from Quail Hill's garden: lavender, hydrangea, japanese anemone 'fingers', sunflowers and dahlias and on the right, is Ms P's lovely hostess gift of miniature yellow gerberas.
Blessings to all those who send me thoughtful posts - Thank you Mr Heron!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday - Turkey Trimmings and a New Tradition

Dear Perusers:
Apologies for the lateness of this post, but I was on Holiday yesterday and so was the blog.
We were celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving which happens to fall (pun) on the 2nd Monday in October and is in fact a Harvest Festival which makes perfect agricultural sense.
Every year Mr Bear does the Turkey Trot which goes something like this: take bird from fridge, de-gut bird in sink, then place bird in bag, set bird on counter and stuff bird with stuffing, then put bird in to the preheated oven and leave it alone.
The Look Bag is one heck of an invention when it comes to doing turkeys. It forms its own oven and helps keep all the juices in and no messy oven afterwards to clean!
While Turkey was  happily basting away in its own juices, we and our guests went for a walk next door to the farm. 
It was a 'O aren't you glad to be here kind of day': you know the kind, where the birds are singing and the maples are flaming and the compost pile hides a multitude of pumpkins within their twining leaves. One of our guests, Mr B rooted around in the farm's giant compost pile and found a ginormous 15 lb pumpkin.
It was a good thing our house is a short walk as the pumpkin apparently grew heavier with each step! 
Here is the Mighty Pumpkin Hunter with his Trophy.
Mr B then went around back and began to commit surgery upon Harvey the Harvest Pumpkin and scooped out his innards, saving the seeds which were then roasted along with the Turkey (they were delicious with a sprinkling of salt!)
Ms P came out to lend a helping hand to give Harvey a face to be proud of (Ms P sniffs at those who use stencils) and with a few whacks and cuts, Ta Da! One Carved Pumpkin!
So it looks like a New Tradition has begun at Quail Hill: find a pumpkin in next door's compost pile, and carve it in readiness for All Hallow's at the end of the month.
Of course we had to give it a test lighting to see if it would be really scarey when it glowed.
It will have pride of place on top of our Kitchen Balcony railing and will 'glow' down on all those lil tricky treaters at the end of the month.
Blessings of Bountiful Harvests - agriculturally, spiritually and culturally!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Glitter Sunday

While Mr Bear fussed with his calculator to determine the exact time WHEN the Bird goes into the oven tomorrow, I took over the kitchen table for some assembly line crafting.
So if you wanted to know what I have been working on: it's the Christmas Ornament Swap and yes I'm dong 12.
Wish me luck, I 'm going in (as an artful ustreamer would say)

First there was beading, then there was threading the beads, then the hot glue gun came out of hiding, and finally Feathers, lots and lots and lots of feathers. ( I suspect we may be finding bits of fluff and glitter in our gravy!)
Blessings of a Serene Sunday without having to stuff 84 Swans into a mailing envelope to you <g>

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday's Sojourn Shots

The Day called to us, 'come play, come try and capture my light', and so we went.
Our first stop was Russell Farms to pick up some of their Spartan Apples and to shoot their annual Pumpkin Truck perched on a grassy field and surrounded by glorious orange globes.

Next on our 'must shoot' list was Lowes Garage, a wonderful vintage 1950's institution that is almost completely wrapped by Virginia Creeper.  Every year we try to gauge when the creeper is the reddest and we almost got the right timing today. From the looks of it, we may be off by a few more weeks. 
Not a problem, we will just return and shoot it at its full glory then. In the meantime, here is what greeted us.
There is a small town about 20 minutes away from us called Chemainus which has one of the prettiest little down towns ever seen and is easily navigated inside of five minutes.We chose to eat at The Willow Cafe in one of the historic landmarked building. It is right next door to the church and I think might have been the school house or a hotel.
The Yam  and Ginger Soup had my name written all over it (especially when it came with a hot from the oven Cheese Scone!) and Mr Bear went for the Split Pea and Ham. 
Outside in the golden Autumn late afternoon, we had an unexpected guest, a Sparrow who demanded his fair share of our scone crumbs! He did not know the meaning of the word fear at all and hopped up right on to the TABLE, mere micro inches from our plate! When offered, he even took a large crumb from my fingers.
All in all, it was as they say, 'A Grand Day Out'!
Blessings of a Bountiful and Beautiful weekend to all who read this.