Catherine Bussiere: visit

my mama’s gone to church
I’m visiting for the week end
alone in her house I wander
I look around

it’s a quiet house
the sound of the humidifier fills the rooms with a constant hum

my mama is in her late 70
she lives alone
her days are regulated by a routine that keeps her going
prayers, exercise, a good diet
any break in those may set her off
she needs routine

I wander in her house while she is gone
presence of her children
presence of her faith
are everywhere
it is a peaceful atmosphere

I live far away
I have never lived in the town she was born
I can appreciate her environment and her mine
but even though we share the same blood
our constitution, our needs, are not the same
to be well we need different conditions

tomorrow I will leave
it is always difficult to part
without saying we both know
that soon routine settles again
and we keep in touch
with the regular punctuation of phone calls

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Catherine Bussiere: gardening

I dealt
or rather
I started dealing
with my greenhouse
this week

my greenhouse was like a jungle of mostly
dill, peppergrass, cilantro, and kale

I like to leave some plants go to seed
the reason I had so much kale this spring was because I let one plant go to seed last fall

I crushed and shook the dried pods around in October
In May I had a small sea of baby kale

at this point in the summer
the garden is giving plenty
and it got to the point where I could barely walk through the greenhouse
I did have room around the pepper plants and the few tomatoes and eggplants
but still
how many dill, peppergrass and coriander plants do I need for seeds

But it is so pretty
And fragrant as I walk through

sigh –

I got on my knees
I started pulling

inspired by a woman I met recently
I have decided to plant now
a fall / winter garden

I planted carrots and peas
I put the peas around the few tall dill plants left
I’m thinking that it is a brilliant idea
the peas will climb up the dill stalk
and it gives me a good excuse to leave a few around

I will transplant Swiss chard and reseed lettuce
I think I will put some bush beans in between the grown lettuce
by the time the old lettuce is ready to be pulled
room will be made for the growing beans
( unless I let the lettuce go to seeds )

I have kale and parsley
that should last a while

I’m experimenting

I want to be able to make the most of our old unheated greenhouse
I have a feeling we should be able to get fresh greens late into the fall

I’ll keep you updated

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Catherine Bussiere: father’s day

I always have a hard time using the word husband
as a young woman I had no intention of getting married
I loved a man, he loved me, all was well
then we had a child and that was the most beautiful thing that could happen between us
it was a bond like no others
still, I didn’t want to get married

a year later, as our little blond bundle was running around I wished to have him baptize
I wanted to have a celebration
a few close friends and family were invited
all under the premise of the baptism
I don’t remember exactly how or when it happened but eventually I agreed to tie the knot
my loved one, a patient man, kept asking
it was a surprise for the guests
at the end of that day I had a husband

I remember thinking that the man I would love, the one I would want to spend my life with, had to be one with whom I would want to have children
not that children was on top of the agenda
but, you know what I mean, I didn’t want a fling
I wanted something solid

maybe I didn’t only want a lover
I wanted the qualities of a man that cares for children

As I woke up this morning I knew this blog had to be about my companion
(I think I like that better than husband)
the man of my life, mon amour
has been a wonderful dad
present, playful, patient
loving, generous, attentive
he is and will be there for our kids no matter what, no matter when
I know it, they do to

as I look at our now three young adults
two sons and a daughter
as I see their confidence, maturity, their care for one another
I am pleased and happy
we’ve worked well together

happy father’s day Eric
xo

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Catherine Bussiere: week end

attending a workshop on medicinal herbs
I learned that the burdock root is not only eatable
but tastes as good as parsnip
that plantain is good for bites
and flower tea can be brewed by the sun
with leaves and flowers
collected from the lawn

went to visit someone who saves seeds
has a greenhouse
which is
at the moment
filled with tall plants of all sorts
some flowering
others about to

before too long
seeds will be collected
then sowed early fall
various greens will grow through the winter
providing fresh nutrient
in the leanest time of year

got transplants at my nephews
( they have big greenhouses )
tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants
contemplating the promise of wholesome food
rows and rows of greenery of all size
I get some lemon basil too

saw my niece who has an 8 months belly
little baby boy soon to be born
her first
she glows

spring time
some days already feel like summer

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Catherine Bussiere: Jenn & Cadence

it’s a cool morning
chances of frost last night
I decided yesterday to wait a couple more days before I transplant my sunflowers
I did transplant kale last week
my greenhouse is full of it
I like to let some plants go to seeds in the greenhouse
at the moment I have a carpet of young kale, dill, cilantro, and the odd lettuce

I woke up early this morning
sun right onto my bed
I finished a book that I had read a few years back
I like to reread sometimes
some books are like friends that you need to visit every now and then

I pulled the blankets off
– chilly –
I put them back on in a hurry
I assess the situation
t-shirt on the dresser, sweater near by, those cozy leggings that I could wear one more day
a farmhouse can be cooler in the spring then in the middle of winter
either you’re out of wood or you feel it’ll warm up soon enough, no need for fire
the wood stove is going on a diet

I visited my friend Jenn and her daughter Cadence a couple days ago
both will celebrate their birthday this week
one will be six, the other 35
I came to have this ongoing discussion about age
I was curious to know what Cadence had to say
she was thrilled to be interviewed

I have to tell you that Jenn is a potter
a few years back she left a secure job with Canada Post, build herself a cozy studio, and became a full time potter
she makes beautiful mugs, plates, bowls, vases, you name it
she started off selling at the local farmers market
when I visited her she had just completed a big order for a shop in PEI

Of course Jenn isn’t only a potter
she’s a mom, a gardener, a cook, she weaves, sows and knits, she teaches, she dances, she plays
she smiles and laughs easily
a lovely person

In a way it wasn’t much of a surprise when I asked her about age and aging that really, she didn’t think much about it. Here is what she had to say:
“My goal in life is to be in every moment, so to think so far in the future,
which is what I think when I think of age; it ends at some point, and that’s why people think about it … If I get ideas in my head about getting older I just roll down my imaginary window and I throw them out (laugh) like I’m driving a car.”

“I think that there’s so many things to do there’s no possibility that I will ever get them all done. So I trust in myself to be doing the things that I wanna be doing and that’s as good as I can get. I think that’s the best I can do, and if I start not doing those, I feel it, I just don’t feel like I’m in a good place, so then I change them (laugh).
I don’t know if it’s a good thing, I can’t make myself sit still.”

You’re an older lady; how do you see yourself?

“I wanna be a roaming around the world 80 year old … I wanna be fearless.”
“I think about attachment and I don’t want to be attach to anything”

Nice

Wiggly Cadence in her seat, mini cup of tea in hands gracefully answered my questions. She too doesn’t think much about age. Obviously there’s better things to think about when you’re five. Like her big brother not letting her play nintento at the level she’d like, how many friends she will invite to her upcoming birthday, and that hen that has been sitting on eggs for days… So much things to think about.

Cadence

What does age mean?
“How old you are.”

What is old?
“31 is old”

Is there a number you’re excited about?
“ 12 “

Why?
“I just like that number”

Is there something special that happens when you’re 12?
“well … it’s my birthday”

Jenn: what are you going to do when you are a grown up?
“ I will visit you sometimes “

mama’s heart swells, we drink more tea

I think I will visit someone today.

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Catherine Bussiere: Mother’s day

I woke up this morning to the smell of melting butter
it’s a warm, grey, rainy day
my lovely man brought me coffee in bed
I figure I shouldn’t move until I got an okay from the kitchen
I actually thought something buttery would materialize near that cup of coffee
sipping away I was quite content

Eventually Charlotte appeared from the stairs’ opening at the end of my room
beautiful critter peaking out of her den
“come downstairs mama, it’s ready”
I’m thinking, isn’t it coming upstairs?
“come on down, bring your coffee”

alright alright
let me nose guide me

I enter the kitchen
handmade decorations are hanging over my favorite sitting spot
it is sweet and festive and oh so lovely

On the big serving plate / round table lays a beautiful arrangement of tastiness
A plate filled with cinnamon muffins (result of the heavenly buttery smell)
two pretty little blue bowls filled with frozen berries
a tin box (yes; chocolate)
and a card

I am in awe
aaaaaw Charlotte, when did you do this?
she did that yesterday
and woke up early to bake treats
and she is walking around in a most adorable onesie pajama that makes you want to hug her
clever

I get a phone call from my son Sam
my son Isaac posts something funny and sweet of me, online
boys are thinking about me
love, love, love

my kids make me feel lucky on a daily basis
I loved them as babies
I loved them as they grew up
I love who they are becoming
becoming a mama is the best thing I have done

The sun is peaking out
it’s now warm AND sunny
time for another coffee and a call to my mama

Happy mother’s day!

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Catherine Bussiere: homecoming

it’s been one week today
one week actually yesterday, we arrived on a Saturday
the first two nights I’d wake up in the middle of the night wondering where I was
trying to figure out how our windows fitted in what I thought was my Moroccan room

then I slept better and slept a lot
jet lag I guess and recovering from the journey itself
as if I didn’t realize my batteries were low and needed a full charge

the weather has been wonderful and tons of snow have melted in the past week
I started cleaning up the greenhouse
pruned around an apple tree
got a piece of ground ready to plant garlic

the ice on the pond is still holding but there is an opening near the beavers house
I saw the beavers come out looking for grubs
I should bring them my apple clippings

I saw a couple deers in the orchard and in the garden
I was happy about that
I heard form my neighbor that there are three dead ones in our woods
winter’s been hard

I visited a friend and she has some work for me
I went to a community talk on wild edibles and met a few acquaintances
we’ve shared a meal with family members, made tagine and drank some wine

slowly, bit by bit, as familiar motions take place
I am getting home
it’s been a long journey after all

ps. people are asking about highlights from the trip, there are so many, here are a some visual highlights

pps. I am planing on doing a blog series about women and age. I want to keep that conversation going.

 

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Catherine Bussiere: Home

it was a long journey
we almost missed our last connection Montreal – Halifax
but all and all it went really well
several hours of transit brought us to a sunny Nova Scotia spring afternoon
where Isaac and Haley kindly picked us up at the airport and brought us home

the mud road to our house is overrun by melting snow
little rivers everywhere eating away at the mud
I’m impressed with the amount of snow left to melt

we walk in the house
it’s warm, and has the smell of a cottage that has been left alone for a season
Sam got here the day before to get things going
the fire is crackling, flies are buzzing in the windows
I will get the vacuum out later to take care of those

it’s interesting to walk around
everything looks quite good
a cd case left near a window is washed out, bleached by the sun
the trip “to do list” is still on the kitchen table
most of the items are crossed off
I guess we did what had to be done

Eric goes to the basement
he had made a batch of wine before we left
6 months later we are ready to try it
celebrate our return
the wine is tasty

our cats are back too
they look quite content
Grammy took good care of them
they each carry a few extra pounds
round purring ball of fur they are

it will take a few days to fully settle in
we’re back
it seems somewhat unreal after being on the road for months
seeing and meeting and experiencing so much
time to reflect
time to embrace a new season
time to look for work!

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Catherine Bussiere: almond cake

Last Sunday I did make an almond cake

I don’t think I’ve given you this recipe before and it is one of the best cake I make

It barely has flour and the little it has could be replaced by a non gluten one

it has no butter or milk so it is dairy free

boring you’re starting to think

think again

this cake is mostly nuts, eggs a little sugar and can be covered with whipped cream

originally it was a hazelnut cake

I once replaced the hazelnut with almonds

I played a bit with proportion

and this past Sunday I did something very decadent and exciting

I made baklava syrup and poured it all over the cake once it was done

this is what I will share with you today

My new favorite almond cake

for the cake you will need:

2 1/2 cups of freshly roasted ground almonds (roast the almonds then ground them)

6 tablespoons of flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

10 eggs

1 1/2 cup of sugar

Beat eggs and sugar. Add the ground almonds. Mix in flour and baking powder.

Bake in a large dish 20 minutes at 350ºF.

Now you can eat the cake just like that or if you want bake it in two round cake pan and you can put raspberry jam in the middle then cover it with whip cream or skip the jam and make a ganache (melted chocolate with cream) and cover the cake with it, whatever you fancy, it’s already delicious.

But if you want my new version, once the cake comes out of the oven, pour this syrup all over it.

for the syrup you will need:

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

3/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves (if you have some)

4 lemon slices

4 orange slices

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and cool syrup.

To be honest I did not quite mesure the ingredients for the syrup. If you don’t have much honey put more sugar and if you don’t want to use sugar put more honey. The key for this syrup is the citrus and spices.

Also if you go with this version and think wow, too much sugar here, you can reduce the amount in the cake a little or just skip the syrup all together.

In the end it is a really easy cake to make and is absolutely delicious, nutritious, healthy and quite stunning if you go the whipped way. Speaking of, next time I will make it with the syrup and then serve it with a beautiful dollop of vanilla whipped cream.

That ought to be good.

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Newsy Saturday

Saturday at the studio is new for me. For years I have taken Saturdays off but lately  I am working them, circulating between the women’s store and the studio. Saturdays downtown start with the market at Dayle’s Department Store. I got some great food and some vegetables, and some handmade soap. From there I sometimes stop at Manasseh Local foods for the Globe and Mail and a few groceries and then I head to work. For lunch I went to the Art of Eating Deli and had their breakfast sammie. So though I started working on Saturdays, I’d have to say they are pretty casual.

Today at the women’s store a woman said she was just heading out to Darthmouth to do some shopping but thought she would give us a try first. I appreciated tat so much that she took the time to come in and see what we had before she headed to the city. We were able to get her the outfit she needed and she looked beautiful in it. I know that it easy to just head out but I really appreciate it when people come in to see what we have here before they do.

Right now I am  about to sit and hook for an hour. I am filling in a field with teal sari silk and it is looking very nice if I do say so myself. Now on to the next houses in the village section of it.

Tonight we are having some people over for pizza so there was lots to do to get ready for that. I ordered  a dozen large pizzas so lets hope the crowd shows up. It will be casual to say the least, but there’ll be lots.

Be sure to check out Atlantic Books today. Laurie Glenn Norris wrote an article about my writing and my studio in this beautiful magazine. It is a free publication that you can pick up at all independent book sellers in Atlantic Canada.

The stone patio is all done and here are the promised pictures. Eric did a great job.
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Diane Krys: Artful Gardening

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Some years my backyard patio is chock full of blooming pots and other years I feel like I only need to plant a few for colour. For many summers my plant containers were found objects like vintage kitchen canisters or rusty buckets from my dad’s farm. I’ve even used old metal bedsprings as trellises. Lately, I’ve taken a simplified approach with a few groupings of plain terra cotta planters. My patio is not so different from the interior of my home where I like to change things up.

Our outdoor spaces are another canvas for our creativity and they can evolve over time. My back yard has dramatically changed over the years. When we realized we couldn’t keep up the giant garden we inherited we consoled ourselves with all the great farmer’s markets we could support and went for a “clearing in the woods” look by planting an abundance of hardy, low maintenance trees and shrubs. For a city space my yard might be considered over treed and a little on the wild side but I love how it attracts the birds and makes me feel like I’m living in the country instead of a hop,skip and jump from downtown.

I used to keep thriving raspberry canes in check using discarded black metal store fixtures until our maturing trees obstructed the light and dwindled the raspberry patch.  I enjoyed this black tubular “sculpture”  intertwined with tasty raspberries until our butternut tree grew into it’s full magnificence. We now enjoy it’s waterfall of graceful palmate leaves instead. I find it incredibly beautiful to watch nature take it’s course; the energy and vigour, and the quiet recessions. Gardening is like a call and response dance between nature’s impulses and our own; ever changing and always surprising.

I marvel when we can harmonize with nature and bring our own creativity to the mix. When I travel I love taking photographs of these artful expressions. Here’s a few photos that inspire me from trips I took to our east and west coasts. What’s going on in your garden?

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I’ve launched my new blog on my new website, pop in for a visit if you have a minute!

Catherine Bussiere: Graduation

it’s busy time at the moment
my mom is over for a month visit
yesterday we all went to Halifax for my son’s graduation
he now holds a degree in fine arts
he’s my first to graduate from university
in a card that I gave him I was saying how proud I was
not so much (of course so much, but also) of his talent and achievements
but so happy of the man he has become
caring, attentive, responsible

It’s interesting to see kids grow
their impetuous nature
the challenges we must deal with along the way

It is spring and in this time where all is blossom and growth and promises
I feel so content to see my young man
like these blossoms
fresh, filled with potential
ready to embrace the world

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Catherine Bussiere: April = Easter Eggs

you’ve heard them sing

you’ve seen it thaw

it’s crazy how fast a season can change

one week we are buried under a blanket of snow

and the next the narcissus are poking their noses out

 

I was busy in my green house yesterday getting the ground ready, planting a few seeds

lettuce, spinach, beets

early greens that I hope to munch on in a month time

this morning thinking of Easter coming up

I looked for the eggs that were decorated last year

I wrote a blog then and I will share it again

if you have some old silk ties, or scarfs, or any silk with pretty patterns on it

round up some kids, empty a dozen eggs, and be ready to be awed

happy Sunday!

oh yes: the LINK

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Catherine Bussiere: ice storm and soup

sometimes I just feel like soup
that was the case the other night
March is definitively a good month for soup
all winter really thinking of it

so here we go for enough soup to feed 6 hungry frozen souls

1 large onion
1 red pepper
1 extra large carrot
1/3 of a medium size cabbage

chop chop chop all of the above
drizzle some olive oil in a large pot
on medium high heat starting with the onion, caramelize the veggies

add some salt, some pepper, cumin, garam masala (if you have some kicking around)
add a little sugar

take your time during this process and maybe even turn the heat down
this is when the aroma of your soup gets developed, roasting veggies and spice

then

Add the equivalent of a can of chickpeas
little more or less is fine (I had some left over)
add enough water to make it soupy
if you have broth it’s better yet
otherwise add a cube or two of bouillon
at this point I added a few shake of cajun mix (if you don’t have any replace with a dash of cayenne, some oregano and any other herbs that may inspire you)

Bring to a boil then add 1 cup of uncooked noodles of your choice or if you have left over cooked noodle throw them in, but maybe do that last minute as they will swell.

Simmer until the noodles and veggies are done. Add 1 can of tomato sauce. Whatever you have on hand. This will thicken your soup nicely. Taste and make adjustments. Turn the heat off and add the zest of one lemon.

Serve and shake some parmesan on that = Wholesome deliciousness!

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Catherine Bussiere: Abstract

Abstract: Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. (Rudolph Arnheim, Visual Thinking)

I like that: “which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references”

I played with that thought this morning in my kitchen
looking to distort
looking at shapes
stepping away from references
taking one thing and making it another
looking for feel rather than imagery

once taken, images were cropped
slightly modified to bring them, yet, to another place
how interesting to use one medium, photography, which is so representative, and go down the abstract path

 
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The following pictures don’t really go into the abstract category but I wanted to share them with you as I really enjoyed taking them earlier this week.

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Catherine Bussiere: Serendipity

I like embracing new words
think about them, get a feel of what they mean
english being a second language, every so often I come across a new one that I have to tame
serendipity is one of them
I had, last Monday, the perfect embodiment of the word

About a year ago, my daughter, then in grade 10, announced that she was going to finish high school the following year. She had talked to the school councillor, she had done her research and it was figured out that if she took two classes on her own through distant education and took such and such classes at school she would have all the required credits to graduate. No need to go through another year of high school, she could skip grade 12 all together. Nice. The question was, what will you do the following year. I want to go to Europe, she said, I want you guys to come with me. You guys being my husband and I. In this particular instance I love being you guys.

Clearly, neither my husband nor I questioned that offer. It was the kind of offer we wouldn’t consider saying no to. Our teen daughter wants to spend some extra special time with us before she leaves the nest. Hummmmm, ok.

Now the plan for this coming fall is to travel through Europe or rather visit a few areas and stay, if possible, for up to 6 months. We are not the go on a cruise type or the whirlwind see 12 countries in 12 days type. We are looking at finding a few places where we can spend chunks of time. We found this website called Helpx which connects people from various countries with travelers. In exchange of help around house, garden, business, the host provides shelter and food. Some host have vineyards, bakeries, businesses, small farm they need help with. My personal goal is to learn some new skills, a new language and share my skills. For my husband and daughter it will be, amongst other things, to share their music.

A week ago Sunday we had our first official family meeting. There is plenty to figure out about this trip, just the visa issue was starting to give me a headache. The three of us brought to the table our findings and came to some agreements. It’s a work in progress, getting together made us all that more excited about the infinite possibilities.

Sounds a little gypsy to you, just you wait…

When I came back from work the following day, Monday, I saw a full size winnebago parked in my parking spot. An older one, maybe from the seventies. Now we have musician friends that could potentially own one of those and be touring and be parked in our driveway, but mid January?
I got out of the car, looked around to see the plate and read Tennessee. Louisiana, North Carolina, yes, maybe, but Tennessee… ?
So I get in the house, hear voices in the living room and find my husband in a cheerful conversation with a couple and a teen. We are introduced; Joe, Donna, their son, there is a daughter upstairs with my daughter. They are from Australia. (Oh, ok, now that makes sense!) They have been on the road for years. He is a horse man, a cowboy, a musician, a long rider. He did a lot of his trip solo but is now traveling with his family. He wrote a book that is self published and has cds for sale. They go from town to town telling their story to the newspaper, find a venue, do a show and move on. Like troubadours of another era. Last year they were in Europe for several months. They fill us in with all those details we are wondering about. We talk for hours. My husband plays a few songs, Joe plays a few song. I move to the kitchen and start supper. Little Maddie, the 10 year old daughter, joins me ready to help.

What are you making she says.
Soup, biscuits and brownies.
Can I help?
Sure, let me start the soup, you can help me with the baking.

We shared a meal, stories, they spent the night, we exchanged emails.

Last night they did a show in Tatamagouche, a nearby village. I heard it was well attended.

Oh, you wonder how they got to our place. Serendipity I guess. They stopped at the Chatterbox cafe in Pugwash looking for a venue. That venue being closed the owner who knows us said “you should check out these folks” and instead of driving straight to Tatamagouche like they first intended they backtracked a little and found us. They will be in the maritimes for a few months. If you are curious here is their website: www.joeguylongrider.com

Now, I must go. We are having a meeting!

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Catherine Bussiere: January thaw

I am lacking inspiration this morning
I went for a walk without my camera
it’s all grey with melted snow out there
the muddy look of spring
tiny bit of rain too
my camera didn’t want to bother with the outdoors

I looked inside
nothing inspiring
nothing catching my eye
I thought I’d look in my photo library and recycle some images
I have plenty you’ve never seen
but that’s cheating
must try
get my sleepy camera out
shake myself
look around

going down the stairs I saw my rosemary plant and it’s reflexion in the window
there might be something there
I clicked a few and buzzed around the kitchen

I didn’t do much but still, I played with what I had
sometimes you have to push yourself
even if it’s just a little
like a stretch or a walk
don’t skip
that’s what I’m telling myself anyway
I know better
If I start skipping I’m done for
could be skipping for days

turns out I’m happy with a couple of my images
I edited them a bit too
cropped some and added contrast
but I won’t push it
it’s enough for today

the sky is grey
a distant wind periodically breaks the silence
the melting snow is reveling more and more patches of flatten green grass
Let’s turn the radio on and make a stew

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Diane Krys: Thoughts on Home

Winter hones my nesting instincts. It reconnects me to my domestic landscape and gets me thinking about how we live in it. This year we made some changes to our open plan living, dining and  kitchen area. We parted with furniture that didn’t suit anymore and then rearranged the rest,editing and simplifying as we went. For me, there’s an aesthetic appeal to a simple layout and less furnishings but it’s just as much about taming the dust bunnies. I’d much rather be creating than cleaning!  At one point almost all the artwork was down and everything else sat in clusters all over the house waiting for a new spot.  A different seating arrangement  created new vantage points and suddenly everything needed to shift.  It took a few days but it was a brain teaser I enjoyed and I could feel the transformation with every move. It’s exciting to create with what you already have and make a space feel completely different. I find myself looking at our art and furnishings with new interest and appreciation. Just having a chair in a different place puts me in an afternoon sunbeam and has me purring like a cat. The house feels rejuvenated. It comforts and stimulates me anew. I feel rejuvenated!

To some degree we furnish our home environments like a puzzle and once we get things fitted and working it’s locked into place. It’s understandable,who has time to regularly do a wholesale switcharoo. We need our homes to provide a foundation of functionality as we go about our lives. Le Corbousier,a pioneer of modern architecture, believed houses are machines for living. I think both the structure and the interior furnishings should support our needs, interests and lifestyle. To me, it’s not about a particular style or precise order versus a scattering of possessions, our nests and arrangements express our individuality and ideally allow our homes to bring ease and joy into our daily lives. I want my home to feel like a nurturing hug when I walk through the door.

After a period of time with the most pleasing, practical set-up I still love to blow the puzzle apart to see what can be reconfigured. I believe different settings bring out different responses and interactions. I experienced a good lesson a few years ago at a week long wet felting workshop where we changed work tables and table mates every morning.  Why would the instructor take time to daily dismantle a perfectly functional set up? Surprise, surprise, as the week progressed I noticed things.

Although they were subtle, there were a lot of variables depending on where I worked in the studio space and who I was paired up with: outdoor views, interior architectural details, extroverts,introverts, proximity to a gorgeous buffet of class supplies or the instructor’s station. My work, productivity and creativity were all influenced. That daily exercise attuned my awareness to the different kinds of energy and opportunities that come with even a small change in space and surroundings.

My new home set up has inspired me to make a few new functional rug hooked textiles to spruce things up-something I haven’t done in a long time. It will be a nice contemplative stint of hooking while this year’s plans germinate and unfurl. My home is both an anchor and a launching pad.

Once a shipment of backing arrives in the mail I have my hook revved up and ready to jump into 8’ hallway runner.  In the meantime I’m using up my smaller pieces of backing to hook place mats. I like the cushy feel when I set down a plate or mug. To me,the most beautiful floor covering in the world is a hand hooked rug and I can’t wait to start mine. I hope the mailman is packin’ some backin’ tomorrow.IMG_5367IMG_5361IMG_5368

Catherine Bussiere: relativity

Christmas has just gone by and there is still New Years to come
yet this morning it feels like the holidays are coming to a close
one of my son is leaving for Cape Breton to be with his loved one
My holidays revolve pretty much around family
family home = celebration
family gone = back to routine
it’s not back to routine yet but it’s looming

Last night we had a little get together
a couple of friends were coming over for supper and last minute we decided to invite a few more
I’ve been wanting to have people over but with all these storms and holiday commitment  I was about to let it go by
last night was just perfect
We had plenty of food and on the spur of the moment my husband just made a couple calls
everyone showed up

I love to mix people up
People that may not know each other
different generation and background
all sitting around the table the conversation never stopped

After much delicious foods we kicked everyone out to go sliding
There really wasn’t any option
so these grown up friends
found themselves on crazy carpets
after what may have been 20 years or more
funny how we stop doing certain things
the sheer joy of sliding down a hill
the inevitable screams of joy
brought everyone back to their childhood

so
much
fun

it really is my favorite winter sport
if it is a sport

as the New Year is coming around
I have on my list to revisit simple pleasures
one thing has been
listening to records
thanks to my daughter who got a record player for Christmas
what a treat

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: ice storm

ice storm
three days before Christmas
a bowl of walnuts and a basket of pears
a daughter painting presents
a son helping his dad prettying the living room
an old cookbook found with time treasures
the beauty of handwriting

ice storm
more cooking to be done
maybe biscottis today
my cat sticking his tong out
he doesn’t know about biscottis
obviously

ice storm
the privilege to not go anywhere
have a wood stove
and candles
just in case

ice storm
the mix sound of the radio downstairs
the crazy french music coming out of my daughters iPad
and
the ice pellets hitting the tin roof

bundle up
add a stick in the fire
and look up some biscotti recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: visiting

as I get older
and maybe because of winter
and living at the end of a dirt road
I find it easy when 5 o’clock comes around to just stay put
or like today as this minimal yet steady snow

– is it even snow
up North they’d have a word for it
here with my limited vocabulary it has to be snow
but it’s so thin
it’s a tiny dry snow falling at an angle
it barely covers the ground and will be gone tomorrow
one word in another language would say it all –

what was I talking about
yes; visiting, isolation, age, weather, snow

… as this minimal yet steady snow is falling I could have a very lame but still an excuse not to go anywhere

so once in a while, if you are anything like me, you just have to kick yourself out the door
bam
really this time of year I could cuddle in bed with a pile of books and read and sleep until spring
it really does have a lovely ring to my ears right now
I must focus

last night I went to a party
I barely knew a soul
the hosts are still fairly new in the neighborhood
and their guest were all strangers to me
but they live up the road
barely a five minute drive
in this area might as well be next door
we must go I thought (we being my husband and I)
even just for an hour
make an appearance
be social

I didn’t expect anything
best thing really
no expectation
and it was lovely
a young women named Miriam had made dulce de leche, which is like a caramel, that she poured in some tiny phyllo pastry cup and covered with whipped cream
it was as delightful as it sounds
quite decadent really
another young women whose name I forget had just bought a general store between Truro and Tatamagouche with her partner
young couples establishing themselves in the country
escaping the city lights and getting into the rhythm of the seasons

over the course of a couple hour, in a toasty kitchen heated by a beautiful wood stove
I met a new generation of back to landers
young couples from the city trying to make a go at living on the land
or dreaming of it

I have seen way to many farmhouse emptying those past few years
elders unable to keep up with the seasons demands
leaving their homestead with no one to take over

how refreshing to meet these folks
well worth getting out of the house

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Grammy’s Birthday

This week end was Grammy’s birthday party
Grammy is 75 tomorrow so she organized herself a lovely family reunion just the way she likes it

Grammy is someone rather special
at 75 she lives like the grammy in Little Red Riding Hood
She’s off the grid, in the woods, pumps her water and lights her lovely cottage with beeswax candle that she makes
at 75 she sells those candles at local farmers market
She has taken several arts and crafts over the past 20 years
paper maché, tile work, photography, weaving, beeswax candle, to name a few
Before that she did a million things
amongst which having a restaurant in the Costa Rican jungle
and getting a university degree at age 60
She’s been what most of us would consider poor all her life
yet she is one of the richest women I know

Last night she got exactly what she wanted
in her little red cottage she hosted 22 of her closest ones
it was so tight in there it felt like one of those games where you have the one empty space and movement is directed by whichever element gets moved
all of us being those elements we eventually all had a place to sit, and a full plate of food in front of us
Grammy was beaming

Last night she told me she had a secret
she wouldn’t tell me right away
This morning she came by
sat in the living room amongst all off us
I made her coffee
her eyes were shining
out came the secret
“I have to tell you something she said: I’m getting myself a Kiln!”

Excitement, constant interest, curiosity
thirst for life and what it has to offer
animates this beautiful grammy

Dear GG (for Grammy Gail)
you are a remarkable women

 

the following images are for her

 

 

 

 

 

 

November is nest month

Last SundayI went to see Neville MacKay, a florist from Halifax , give a floral design presentation. It is presented by a local flower shop and it gets all the local women out and in the mood to decorate for Christmas.  I myself am not a big Christmas decorator. A dozen lemons, a few cloves, and a Christmas tree gets me in a festive mood. I really like Christmas but mostly it is the get togethers that I love.  I put out my creche each year, and I bring in some pine bows. Hi presentation though did make me want to primp my house and invite some friends over. Truth is I have not being doing much of that lately.

The studio is the place where I seem to entertain. At home, it is mostly impromptu visits and teenagers hanging out, which I love. After leaving the show, I decided that I was going to go around my house and gather up all my bits and pieces, vases , statues, nick macs etc and put them on my kitchen table and then redecorate the houses in some way. I am going to move some paintings, just primp things. You see I used to do stuff like this all the time. My friend Donny would come over and we would rejig things but over time I have got things the way I like and I start to ignore the house a little. This time of year gets me in the nesting mood. I have gathered up my beeswax candles now that the evenings are longer and have started lighting them for the supper, or sometimes even when I just am watching tv. I am always afraid I might leave them on and go out the door, but still I light them, making sure to low them out if I leave the room.

For me November is nest month, a chance to get used to being at home again. Tonight I have a meeting for our downtown marketing committee, and after that it is nesting time. I a going home to make tea and fix up the abode. Simply moving the pottery from one room to another, or changing around a few lamps does not sound like much but it changes what and how you see things day in and day out and I like that idea. My house is really lived in, it has never been a show home, but mostly I fill it with things I love, blankets I feel comfortable under, couches I like to sit upon, and cups I like to drink from. Small things that make my house feel like my home.

Every now and then it needs a little primping, and I am the one for that. November is the time for that.

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Catherine Bussiere: November 3rd

I cleaned up the green house yesterday
got half of it done
the frost this week crept in
gone are the nasturtiums, ground cherries, peppers and eggplants

on my walk this morning I saw a beautiful dandelion blossom
the white one, the one that spreads its seeds
the one most of the year you want to avoid
to cut in the bud
today I picked it up
tiny umbrellas hanging tight
still

I brought in a previously frosted ground cherry
I love those
little fruit delicately wrapped in paper thin Chinese lantern
feels like opening a present every time you eat one
too late for eating now
I will take a picture

I have been thinking about art this week
how I don’t take time to make it
practical mind of mine
I create on purpose
or for a purpose

there is always a green house, a batch of jelly, a room to clean, a meal to make
in the way

how is it that I can’t just take time?

sometimes I feel that there is so much out there
seems like it’s been said and done so many times
is there really a need to add my voice, my eye, my frame of mind
every second thing is already so good, has a signature
do I have one?

then I think how much enjoyment I get from looking at certain work
for the sheer beauty of it
someone created that
it gives me joy
it gives me peace
it takes my mind away

thank goodness for this blog
practical me has to sit down once a week
and just do it

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Still

the sun is rising later and later
this morning as I walk outside in the mist of dawn
I let the stillness fill my soul
fall

feeling the promise of the day
I look at my garden
the trees
the grass
the empty swing
I look at the light reaching the heights
slowly coming down on me
warmth

my sister came with her three kids for ten days
they just left at 5:30
it’s a long trek to Quebec
I will miss the busyness of the little ones
the companionship of my sister

the house is quiet
my teens
– my young adults
are slowly rising
eating yesterday’s leftovers
pumpkin, apple and cherry pie
breakfast

thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday
I like the feast
the gathering of family
the celebration of harvest
earth goodness

happy thanksgiving
may you be surrounded by the ones you love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: short and sweet

We are moving my son to Halifax today
it’s a grey, warmish, drizzly day
the sun is trying to come out
a bright suggestion behind the clouds

thinking of it, I feel just the same
I am somewhat sad yet excited for the change in my son’s life

18
wings spreading
ready to take on the world
well, the Halifax world for now
one step at a time sunshine

my son is excited this morning
you have to know him to notice
I like to think of him as the Buster Keaton of the family
nothing ever seems to alter his mood

this morning though he is busy, attentive, sweet
his laptop is packed
bags, bed frame, mattress ready to go
he is vacuuming his bedroom!

last night I filled a box with some cooking essentials
going over what pot is good for what
when he is settled in today we’ll hit the grocery store
make sure he has what is needed to start cooking for himself

short and sweet is life
is a season
is the time it takes for a child to grow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Beckwith Bash

another stunning morning
can August be 90 days
90 days of August followed by 90 days of September
that would suit me very well
do I love those two months

today and all this coming week I will be busy
with all sorts of things to prepare and organize
this coming Saturday is our annual festival
a day filled with music, food and fun
we call it the Beckwith Bash
this year is it’s fifth anniversary

year after year this little event has grown
to something enjoyed by people of all ages
my highlight last year was a comment from a four year old asking if we could do this again cause it was so much fun
I like that
of course we will
you just keep on coming

this year we have several acts: blues, folk, rock and world music
something for all

the day starts with a drum circle followed by a yoga and a hula hoop workshop
that’s on my to do list of this week: finish those large hula hoops
fun
I like that on a list

a big part of the list is food
Gumbo is the star
I’d like to say that we make the best gumbo north of Louisiana
it is such a big claim I won’t say it
but it’s pretty good that’s for sure
then there’s treats like baklavas, brownies, oatcakes, butter squares
homemade ice tea
and for the next morning
fresh baked cinnamon rolls
those I prepare ahead of time, freeze them before the dough rise
get them out of the freezer at around midnight so by morning they are thawed and have risen just enough to put in the oven
it’s a nice treat for those who are helping with the clean up the next morning

if you are around next Saturday and don’t have much planned
do join us in Beckwith
good time, good food, good people

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credits this week goes to the beautiful Haley MacPhee who gracefully took pictures of the event last year

the poster is from my wonderful son Isaac

the video is mine with music from Fresia

it’s a family affair

what’s so funny?

I can’t remember and it was only yesterday! We had fun with my husband’s brother’s and sisters at the shore. Just foolin’ around and carrying on. I am going out again this evening for more foolishness I hope.

You will notice a new category in the shop today, and it is YARN. We are adding many of our new yarns so you can shop for your rug hooking and knitting online. We have a very big selection in our Electric Steet Knitting Room for you to choose from. I know shopping online is not like being at the studio but honestly we are doing our very best to make it as real as possible for you. Go peruse the yarns, Megan will be adding more all day. If only we could make it so you could touch them!

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Catherine Bussiere: morning walk

I went for a walk this morning

this is what I saw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: boat rides and pies

it’s a drizzly day today
the sun is trying hard to break through
birds are hopping around delighted by all the worms coming out of the ground
my cats are sleeping
radio is playing
it’s a lovely Sunday morning

we’ve been invited my husband and I to a boat ride later today
If you’re thinking fancy styling boat think again
my friend who is man of all trade has inherited this old pontoon party boat
every time he invites us for a ride it is somewhat of an adventure
the tide is too low
we just about run out of gas
you never know
being a mechanic you feel safe enough that if something breaks he can repair it
plus we’re going down a river
we all can swim
the river’s edge is never too far

one thing that is always a given is that there will be plenty of delicious food
my friends love to eat and so do we

to add to the picnic today I will bring a fresh baked rhubarb pie
I have a huge patch of rhubarb in my garden and I just ignore the fact that rhubarb has a season and that the season may be over
as long as I see rhubarb there is potential for pies

Here is my recipe for 3 double crust pies

For the crust:

5 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 pound of shortening
about 1 cup of cold water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (sometimes I mix an egg in my water)

Mix all dry ingredients well. Cut in the shortening until the shortening bits look like bits of oats. Add the liquid. Mix as little as you can to make it hold.
Put aside in the fridge until ready to roll.

Rhubarb filling:

You will need about 6 cups of cut rhubarb per pie and the sugar ratio is 1 cup of sugar for 4 cups of rhubarb. It’s neither too sweet or too tart.

18 cups of cubed rhubarb
4 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cups of flour (or tapioca)

The flour or tapioca acts as a thickening agent. Cooked rhubarb is really runny and no matter what, the juice from my pies always bubbles over and makes a mess in my oven.
If smoke is coming out of my kitchen chances are I’m cooking rhubarb pie.

Alright, I better smoke my kitchen

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: visiting

I woke up at my mama this morning
A few years ago she moved from the house she owned and had been born in to a bran new condo
It was hard in a sentimental kind of way to see her sell the old house
It was hard to let go

For her it was time

I woke at my mama this morning and you know smells
Each house has a smell
Turns out the smell of the old house seemed to have transferred to the new condo

It must be the books, the house plants, the bedding, the tablecloth

Not only the smell but the feel of the old place transferred to the new place
It must be my mama

I did realize at the time of the move that home was not so much that old house but rather where my mama was

I love the way she decorates
She likes books, artwork, photos of her children and grandchildren, plants
She likes wooden furniture, she likes owls

It feels warm and welcoming

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Green

 

It’s been raining non stop for days
grey sky, puddles
drizzle, showers
cats and dogs
buckets

away
in the city
cozy in the warmth of my sister’s house
I look out the window every morning
at her backward garden
drenched
and long for sunshine

I need to put flowers in
and a few veggies
no need to rush I know
I know

this morning I stepped out
protected by the roof of the front entrance
I clicked away at the nearby greenery
various shapes and shades of green
tender, dark, lined, wet
it’s all so pretty
I love to come up close with the lens
another world

in all colors
lightness and darkness
can be found

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Grow a Farmer

 

Over the past few years
slowly but surely
there has been a movement
of young men and women
that have educated themselves
by school, trade or self
about the essence of who we are
our very core, implanted in us
to grow and gather our own food

a forgotten art

Taken care of by something so big that it has lost sight
and so have we
of natural beauty and perfection
in a need to control and profit
our health and our environment has been jeopardized

But it is so easy and we are so busy
to support such endeavor
I can go to one place
the world is there for me
from China to Argentina, Israel, Costa Rica
Fruits and vegetables, perfect, shined, preserved, waxed
flown express from unknown fields to impersonal mega stores

in the meantime the air is polluted
the water is polluted
those vegetables have lost their original traits
and we are made to believe that we should at all time eat
one cup of this and two cups of that

what to do, what to do
I’m so small and I’m just me

Well…

over the past few years
slowly but surely
there’s has been a movement
of young men and women
that have educated themselves
these men and women are working hard and are not hard to find

Go to your farmers market
join a CSA program (community supported agriculture)
buy locally grown produce
meet this new generation of growers
embracing the battle of health and well being
bring your neighbor
tell your coworker

It is an easy thing to do
it is a pleasant thing to do
it’s the right thing to do

A couple links for you
now that you are all excited about such a nice and easy way to promote beauty!

CSA in Amherst:  http://www.wysmykalfarm.ca

A great link for more csa and farmers market around Nova Scotia:
http://adventuresinlocalfood.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/2012-csa-list

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: April 14th

another grey / white / brown week end
the birds this morning aren’t impressed
they go about their business with no great chorus

I dreamed last night I was pregnant
my pregnancy days being over I wondered
I often don’t remember my dreams
but for once I want to look into it’s meaning
I search
Dream interpretation: being pregnant
The first thing I read is: “At its core, this dream is about creativity”
I like this answer
I actually love it
I stop my search
I could find something I don’t like as much

This morning I decided to play with a setting on my camera
It’s an in camera double exposure feature
I want to show my longing for spring
as in warmth, thawing earth and color
it takes a few shots to figure out the settings
then I play for a while

It doesn’t take too long, I want to be outside
it’s pretty after all
I should say beautiful
I’d say beautiful in November
In April I say pretty

I drop the double exposure and walk around the orchard and the pond

this overcast morning has a hint of melancholy

maybe it’s just me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Oatcakes

These are my favorite oatcakes
A friend of mine brought me a batch years ago
she then gave me the recipe
which I have shared several times
Buttery and just sweet enough, they are the perfect companion to that afternoon tea

here it is

1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of flour
a pinch of salt

Combine butter, sugar and vanilla.
Add flour, oatmeal and salt.
Roll between wax paper to about 1/4”
Cut into squares.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375˚

Want to dress them up
melt some chocolate
and dip them in
or zigzag over

• you may need to share this recipe

 

Catherine Bussiere: to catch a whirlwind

I spent the day with Deanne yesterday
As you may know she has created a new online course about hooking people
She asked me out of the blue a week ago if we could shoot a video
I didn’t ask much, I said sure, when

There’s no point asking too much
I like working with Deanne
it’s always a little bit of a challenge and it’s always fun
so I just say yes

Working with her is like trying to capture a whirlwind
you never quite know which way it’s gonna go
Be ready, place your nets around and hope for the best

I had to be bossy a couple time
I actually had to take her sharpie away from her
when she wasn’t able to stop herself from moving on when the cameras were not rolling
Sure enough a sharpie magically appeared in her hands again
There is no stopping her

I tell you

I love seeing someone create
it is beautiful and somewhat magical all at once
In front of me over the course of the day
I saw different figures appear
as Deanne was talking away
I heard the story of these woolen figure come to life
In a group of sisters one got a flamboyant red dress
Not to be left out, pouting
the one in plain blue
was given a colorful scarf
She seemed content after that

No doubt
whoever is in for that course
is in for a good time
No one gets left out

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Catherine Bussiere: Blizzard

There’s a blizzard this week end
Surrounding my house, the wind furiously blows
We had a house concert scheduled yesterday
Mr Doc Maclean blues man made it through the storm
actually he did get stuck in a snowdrift up the road
thanks to good neighbors with big wheels we got him safely home

Of course no one else showed up
but between my husband and kids and the Doc there was some nice music
played to an audience made of myself and our two cats
I feel lucky sometimes

This morning I walked up my road to assess the situation
See, the Doc has to play 260 km from here later today
and that blizzard is still comfortably blowing
with no visible intention of leaving anytime soon

I dress in layers
one, two, three, four
I grab my camera
I get out there

The wind is fierce but I am made from the blood of the great explorers
or so I pretend
First there really is no big deal
the road seems clear
Around the bend it’s a different picture
the Great White Beckwith Desert opens up to my view
Dunes of white snow are scattered in my path
There’s a challenge I think
I must get to the end of my road

As I plow through I see beautiful snow formation
it’s neat how wind, like water, shapes the elements

By the time I reach my mailbox my feet have gone through several deep snowdrifts
Doesn’t look good Doc
Unless the plow comes by you’re in for another night

As I walk back
working up some appetite
I think that maybe
I’ll be treated to another private concert tonight

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Catherine Bussiere: winter walk

this is my road
dirt
sometimes hard dusty dirt
sometimes frozen dusty dirt
sometimes mud
often mud
infinite variation of texture
from drivable
to barely drivable
to
is the department of highway ever gonna come fix those ditches!
Ditches?
once upon a time there were ditches
so
without ditches comes puddles of water
puddles are wonder
what freezing temperature does to water is stunning
I go for a walk
hunting for water designs
I will not lie
this time the best specimen were not on my road
rather on the pond
in the summer I swim in that pond
sometime the water barely refreshes me it is so warm
today I walk on thick ice
it has been really cold lately and then for two days came spring weather
a warm breeze made the remaining of our snow melt away and so did the top layer of the pond
what happened next is natures’ design
a work of beauty
the thermostat dropping again
bubbles got caught in mid air
– mid water really
and froze

still
caught in layers
a world of it’s own was created
up close it’s a universe of ice
one could get lost in it
designs of time past and future
today’s ephemeral grace
awes me
tomorrow it will be gone
or rather, altered
tomorrow it will snow

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Catherine Bussiere: Beauty

Beauty: “a combination of qualities, such as shape, color or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight”

to find beauty everyday
to see it in the smallest details
as it is everywhere
but one must look
be attentive
be open
beauty isn’t set
it doesn’t follow any rules
it stands against time
it ages
it gets covered in dust
it gets forgotten
and like a treasure it may be found
it may be seen
it may live
in the eye of the beholder

cultivate it
create it
nourish it
take solace in it

beauty is a state of mind

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Clutter

Clutter: “a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass”

I’d say that describes my immediate surrounding pretty well

I got up this morning thinking about a blog
There’s always a few possibilities
First I went around the house and took some pictures
I like to frame things just as they are
I find beauty in my clutter

I thought about a couple phone calls I made yesterday
One to my sister who finally came out of the hospital
She’s had cancer, many operations, chemo, radio, the whole thing
She’s out on recovery row
She has to rebuilt herself from the inside out
It’s a long road, at the moment she is tired all around

I talked to a good friend of mine who lives too far away
Not just hello, hello; a real talk
I hadn’t talked to her in ages, maybe two years
From her I received a great Christmas card
Featuring her beautiful self; a 40 something women with gorgeous grey hair
She’s from Portuguese descent, has a wonderful olive complexion and doesn’t dye her hair
I love it
She is surrounded by her three kids age 4, 6 and 11
She is a single mom forever finishing her master in health or something

The card didn’t give me any signs
It seemed like all was good
If anything the card prompted me to call
First I didn’t reach her, so I left a message
Then I got a message on Facebook and it didn’t sound good
I offered to listen, she agreed, I called again, she picked up

It was a conversation filled with pain
After a long talk of the latest distress we took a left to an old dirt road and amongst the desolation found some gems
It was at times a scary ride but by the end she felt better
or so she said

On this January morning, under a grey sky, at the end of my dirt road I feel lucky
The clutter that surrounds me is so much more manageable then what I heard

 

 

the pond

 

The world of winter here on seven acres revolves around a small pond that was dug in our backyard for skating. When the light shines on that pond at night, it makes me want to watch the skaters gliding about. That clap of skates on ice, swoosh, swoosh as it scrapes lines in the dusting of snow is like music. Our house is about the pond in the winter. We wonder if the cold will hold. They will spend hours scraping piles of snow off it only to have fill the very next day, then they will do again, just so they can go for a twenty minute skate and draw circles with their blades on the ice.

Old ice skates lie in front of the wood stove waiting for tomorrow.

Wool socks and mittens beg me to pick them up and put them away once they dry.

Touques and parkas hang from hooks against the back door waiting to be  worn again to brace the cold.

There is a big light in  tree beside the pond that shines down on it making it like some kind of amphitheatre from our back room.

It is beautiful and still and it makes the winter prettier because it is there below us on a soft wet piece of land at the bottom of the field.

It brightens the night, makes the winter warmer, to watch the cold under the stars.

 

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Catherine Bussiere: Pink and Blue

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I woke up to pink and blue
I wonder why snow has a blue hue under this morning light
I know it’s scientific, I don’t think about it
It’s pretty, I don’t need to know why
I get up, the house is cold, I hear my husband tending the fire
Sweet sounds of the fire being stoked
Promise of heat
I get up to capture those colors, quick before they go
The magic hour doesn’t last
It’s so easy to miss it
I go back to bed
It’s Sunday after all and I love spending a little extra time reading in bed
I bring my notebook and a pencil to write down a couple thoughts when I notice the tiniest spider walking on my page
I get up again to take a picture of it
It’s so small, one would hardly notice
I wonder how big it will get
I don’t mind spiders
This one is plain cute
My feet are cold, why didn’t I put on my slippers
Get back to bed I say
It takes a while but I get warm again
That’s when I hear my cat’s paws against the kitchen window
He stands up and rubs the window as if he was washing it, back and forth, back and forth
squish, squish, squish
and at it again
SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUISH
For a moment I hope my husband will hear and open the door but he is in the living room far away from that window while I am right above it cozily nestled in our bed
I get up again
This time I put my slippers on
Coffee, breakfast and a walk
Have a good Sunday

ps: I read a good post about walking by Michael Moore on Facebook yesterday, check it out

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Felting

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on a stormy December day
near the very end of the year
most like a blizzard really
how comforting to look at felting
in itself it makes you think of warmth
cozy colorful bundles of warmth
I have not wrapped myself in it
rather played with it
creating little people
it became contagious
my kids got to it
and a cat was made
and a princess was made
and so was a mermaid
the plain white Christmas stockings were hit by the needles
in an ongoing process that may evolve over the years
how fun
and refreshing
to see my teens
get away from a screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home again, then home again

Dear Diary, I went home for Christmas, well sort of. I went back to Newfoundland and had Christmas with my cousin, his wife, their five kids and my uncle in St Johns. My whole family came with me. It was a celebration. I had not been to Newfoundland for over four years and not spent Christmas there for over twenty five years. It felt really good to be walking around Water and Duckworth Street, remembering. We took quite a few drives and I walked every day. It is not really going home, because home is where you live, but it is going back to the place that made you.

Newfoundland shaped me. It carved me. It made me what I am. Who I was when I was five, ten, twelve, sitting with my cousin while our mothers drank tea in the kitchen is still who I am today. I have learned new things, earned some things, grown, and softened, but I still am the same. Going home reminds me of that. It makes me remember being a little girl and entranced by all the goods at the Arcade on Water Street. It makes me remember what it was like to be stunned by the city, to have my eyes widen at the Portugese sailors calling out to each other in their own language. It makes me remember what it was like not to be worldly, but to be sheltered. To be a bay girl.

For me it was a time before art, before education, before culture. it was a time when the dresses in the “New York , London, and Paris” store held a lot of promise. A time when my eyes were wide open. It was a time of being a little girl and coming in from out around the bay to “town” as we called it. When I go back now, it still makes me feel a little bit of that. St. John’s is a beautiful city, interesting, full of culture, and scenery. There is so much to look at. It is a city booming with the potential of the offshore oil. Housing prices are high and there is lots of work. That was a big change to see that. Newfoundland has always been a “have not ” province. I remember Brian Peckford, a former premier, yelling through the tv, “and have not will be no more” , nearly thirty years ago when he signed an oil deal, and I doubted it. I was wrong. It is a growing, wealthy city.

I guess I have two homes, the one that built me, Newfoundland, and the one that sustains me, Nova Scotia. There is nothing wrong with that. Most of us have the home of our hearts, and the home of our lives. Only a few us get to grow up and belong to the same place all our lives. For generations my family has mixed and migrated from place to place and that just keeps on. I love where I live and I love where I came from. Going to Newfoundland for Christmas and being with my cousin’s family was peaceful and fun. His five year old daughter made me laugh out loud. There was lots of joy.

The air was fresh, and I was reminded what it is like to hear the wind roaring even louder than the sea. Somethings you forget, even though you think you never will. The wind has a sound that is louder then the ocean when you are on a high hill on the coast.

I think I have rugs to return to. I think when I hooked Newfoundland before I was one kind of artist, but now I might be another. I guess I think I could do it so much better now. I could include so much more. I think it might be time to return home in another way. In my art, in my mats, my own ode to Newfoundland.

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