That old black ice got a hold of me

I fell down walking up Victoria Street. My niece and I were talking when I saw that part of the sidewalk was covered with a skiff of snow. I stepped on  it.
It was not an easy fall. It was one of those falls that you are in the air first and then you land face down. It was a fall like the ones in the cartoons. A dramatic big time real life smash.

Luckily I had on my big fake fur coat which gave me a nice padding. Not a thing was hurt. Not even my pride. I have fallen a couple of times lately. Once I slipped on all the rotten apples under the tree when I was doing the pine boughs. I thought wouldn’t those bare branches with apples look so good in my window boxes. Wham right into the rotten apples. I was covered with brown scum but I continued with decorating. When I came in the door I took off the dirty clothes right by the door. I felt like a kid again.

It is strange how falling makes you feel like a child. As an adult though , when you get up ok, you are filled with this great sense of relief. Thank goodness nothing was broke. You just know you will be stiff. And I am. Stiff and sore and relieved. That sense of relief makes you happy. Oddly enough, after a fall you have this sense of elation. “I am ok, whew that was close.”

“That old black ice took a hold of me”…but I got up , continued to walk with my niece and just counted my blessings. Today, however, I will walk at the rink. I should be fine on that nice rubber floor as I walk slowly and stiffly trying to juice up my muscles and apologize to them for my clumsiness. 


This is my niece and I prior to the dramatic slip on the ice where I pummelled into the air before hitting the ice with a thud. It was misty out so we were protecting our hair with our scarves. Had I known I could have also worn some hockey gear.
  

Winter sets in

It happens so suddenly, that after Christmas feeling. Just a few days ago we were awaiting the magic and now it is past.

Personally I feel a kind of peace to have things back to normal, but also I feel a sense of loss.

I love the idea that it can be Christmas all year long, that we can keep that Christmas spirit, but if that was perfectly true the magic of Christmas would be lost.

I love gathering. I love the beauty of the lights. I love the season.

On the other hand, I do not love the winter. I just try to accept it.

I must adapt to this new season. This season of  winter, with all it’s faults, beholds a great deal.

It is a time to renew and prepare.

It is a time to collect out thoughts.

A time to collect out thanks.

In all the barren and bareness, there is so much joy and hope.

So much anticipation of what might become.

Those bare branches will bloom again. I just have to wait.

Over the past four months I have visited a local Syrian family who has moved to our community. I have watched them adapt to winter so easily, with such gratefulness and acceptance.

It is cold, yes.

It is slippery. It is wet. It is windy.

There is also a fire in my wood stove.

The pantry is stocked.

Life is good here.

Watching someone else appreciate the peace here has made me more grateful in general.

When I start to waver I remember that others have come a long way to be in these blizzards.

Many other wait, and dream of the day that they can build a snowman with their children.

So there is loveliness in the bare trees.

When the roads are bad I will try to  just settle in,

find some hand work,

say my prayers,

and be grateful even when things about the winter are getting own my nerves.


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The pond was fit for skating yesterday. Today it is ten degrees.

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This photo of my friends was taken by a photographer from the states who was here on a Rotary International Film crew. It is so beautiful.

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I am hooking neutrals…..

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Maritime Mary: Hamburger Soup

When I first heard that some of my friends had made hamburger soup, to be honest, the word ‘delicious’ did not come to mind. Now I am a convert and I enjoy making a Dutch oven full of this hearty soup, enough to share. 

This is how I  made it yesterday. 

Cook 1 1/2 pounds of loose hamburger and one cup (or more) chopped onion in a Dutch oven. When the meat is no longer pink, drain out the liquid. 

Add a few minced garlic cloves. Cook for a minute, stirring. 

Add: about two cups of both chopped celery and sliced carrots, 1 large can undrained diced tomatoes, 1 small can tomato soup, 2-3 cups beef or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup barley, a handful of dried thyme and basil, salt and pepper to taste. 

Simmer on low heat for a few hours, stirring occasionally. 

This tastes even better the next day and freezes well. 

Serve with a fluffy biscuit and enjoy while your cheeks are still tingling after a great winter walk. 

   
   

Maritime Mary: A New Day

I slept in a little, 

Woke with anticipation for 

Delicious hot coffee,

Newspaper. 

Read of weekend violence

And hardships in our world. 

Opened the drapes to a sunny day,

Siding on the house was creaking as 

The sun warmed it. 

All was bright,

Fresh, white, clean, untouched snow. 

So much beauty all around

Needing to be appreciated. 

Feeling so fortunate to live where

We can open the drapes to 

Peace. 

   
    

 

Maritime Mary: White

We say, “Oh no, not yet!” when we hear of the predicted early December snowfall. We cringe, scan ahead to forecasted temperatures for the next few days and then feel optimistic that this will be a temporary condition. 

Last night at bedtime, we were in the midst of a rather steady snowfall. This morning it was over and we awoke to a winter wonderland  of white. 

It is difficult not to appreciate the beauty of fresh snow on our fields, our decks, clothes lines, trees and yes, even on our driveways. It means work but for today, white  will be my favourite colour!

   
    
 
   
  

Relish December

December for me has never been a month of being over wrought. To me it is a month to relish. to try to slow down a bit.

It is a festival of lights and I love how the colour lights up the dark nights. It feels less like winter is impending and more like something lovely is about to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be busy this month but I mean to enjoy it. I refuse to get overwhelmed by the baking, shopping, visiting, cooking. I want to relish in it. I will do all the things that need to be done but I won’t let them do me.

That means I may or may not make a fruitcake this year. It also means my shopping will be close to home and easy. It means that whatever I need to do will get done but I won’t be holding to myself to standards of other years, or to the standards of others. Each year, each home is it’s own little entity.

I mean to be grateful for who is here, and mindful of who is not.

I want to have faith and joy in a season that is meant to be a celebration.

I mean to celebrate this dark month with little white lights, presents, prayers, and thoughtfulness.

Never mind all the fuss.

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Maritime Mary: February Is…

February is….
The heart of winter,
Blustery days,
A month of cold, snappy coldness,
When snow squeaks under your boots
And your nostrils feel like they are sticking together.
A white month, many shades of white,
When fields are expansive in cleanness.
Sparkly too.
February is an invitation to dress warmly and be challenged by the outdoors.
It is a month of wool socks and snuggling under knitted afghans.
A time to watch bird feeders and fill them generously,
In February, hot chocolate tastes delicious,
Oven and slow cooker meals are celebrated and warm.
February is persistent
And picture perfect.
February is …. here!

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Catherine Bussiere: Atalbeitar

long days, short week
where does the time go
officially by 9am we should all start working
it’s about right, más o menos quince minutos

Alma goes to school
she is four years old
has curly blond hair
and the features of an angel
morning revolves around getting her to the bus in time
like any other household with a child in school

there is a breath of relief, a sense of achievement, when she is off
we did it again
we can go on with our day

a long list of various task is written on a large piece of paper pinned to the kitchen door
everyone has something to do
sanding, painting, fixing, building
ongoing maintenance of a restored house
very different from our house
this house has rocks for roofing
the ceiling of my bedroom is made of large beams holding a wooden structure that supports loads of rocks
the walls are made of blocks of cement covered with plaster
it enable a creative person to shape them as they wish
to insert rounded selves and small alcoves
I quite like it (I love it)
I want a house like that

it is snowing this morning
first snow we see on our trip
we are way up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
it’s not unusual to have a little snow this time of year

although Christmas has gone by this snow makes us feel like Christmas

everyday we go for a walk
this village is tiny
it has a church, a bar (run by a gentleman named Jesus) and a handful of houses
most of the time you won’t see anyone in the streets except for cats
I have been thinking there may be more stray cats then people living here
I’m not too far off

the houses are all white
every year they get a fresh coat of lime wash
apparently it has antimicrobial properties
you can spot the villages from a distance
white slashes on the mountains

I like it here
every single time we go for a walk I end up picking either: almonds, walnuts or chestnuts off the ground
mostly almonds
people grow almonds around here
I keep writing this word: almond, because it pretty much blows my mind
it’s a dream come true
picking almonds off the ground, cracking the shells with a rock and eating them
I can scratch that off my bucket list
but I don’t want to
I want to live in a place where I can have an almond tree

do you think I could have one in my greenhouse?

time for another cup of tea
it’s Sunday, it’s snowing, I might just go bake an almond cake

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Catherine Bussiere: recipe for a great day

You will need:

1/2 dozen people you love
1 forest
a good dose of fresh air
1 big black pot
1 fire
sunshine

bannock
sausages
homemade cookies

spirit(s)

The kids are visiting this week end
and with some luck
between yet again snow storms and freezing rain
we got a warm sunny Saturday

my husband decided to boil a little sap this year
yesterday we went all out
the big black cauldron was brought to the woods
a fire pit was made
we collected dry branches
we collected some sap
we lit the fire

it felt like pioneer’s time
there was even a piece of pork to be smoked for bacon

we hung out for hours
unplugged from our oh so omnipresent technology
a miniature house and igloo were built
the smell of the woods, the fire and the sap boiling
filled our lungs and put our minds at peace
as notion of time evaporated

On the menu for this dreary Sunday morning: pancake with fresh maple syrup and homemade bacon. Sun is shining in the house!

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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: this morning

this morning
there was an attempt to clean my desk
– picture of a cat

boots on desk

two forgotten cob of indian corn that I meant to snap last fall
– picture of the corn

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a carnation received yesterday after attending a women’s day celebration
– picture of much needed color saturation

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and my oh so lovely geranium that blossoms all year round
– picture of unassuming beauty

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Catherine Bussiere: still life

still life is what occupies my mind as I walk under yet another snow fall
I like that: still
as in awaiting, soundless, unruffled
in french we say nature morte
nature being nature and morte being dead
not quite so nice
there’s potential in still
there’s possibilities
there’s peace

it’s pretty drab out there this morning
I can’t get myself to find another bud or pretty moss to photograph
I feel like snapping bits as they are
plain and simple
in their meditative state
I click very few
let it be dormant
let it be still
be patient
it’s Sunday after all

 
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winter is

Winter Remains

Hockey Games and Saturday Night Storms. We drove home Saturday night in the worst kind of weather. A forty minute drive took an hour and a half . It was clear when we set out but weather was promised and we got it. Blustering winds and snow covered roads. It makes you appreciate yellow lines.

I got home at one and was so would up I put everything away instead of falling into bed. I poured a nip of red wine and read til two or even later. I read until the rush of storm driving was gone.

The next morning I cooked a turkey. Let it slow cook in the oven all day. Turnip and carrots and summer savoury and gravy. I fell asleep in a chair at two third as the aroma sifted through the house. Company for supper. Old friends, the kind you call at 4:30 for supper at 5:30.

Brown sugar sauce poured over blueberry ice cream for dessert.

Winter remains.

Sometimes it is too cold to walk so I go to the rink . Around and around. The same scene rolling in my head yet I am grateful it is there so I can get my pace up with out falling.

Today I walked through the snow, about a mile. Tonight I’ll cook another winter meal and I’ll hook on my dog rug. Maybe knit a little.

I really should unfold and refold every piece of wool in the studio. I do that once a year but my book is good so I know there is competition.

Cozy. warm. Peaceful.

Winter is .

 

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Catherine Bussiere: stormy day

stormy day
wind and snow
swirling

engulfed,
somewhere on the map
a cozy house at the end of a road

no one needs to go
no one can go

it’s a full house
winter break has started
family is all together

time capsuled in the storm
all that is needed is fire in the wood stove

palms and taro are being read
hot chocolate has been made

enveloped in white
serenity infuses my senses

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Catherine Bussiere: February 9

I like how winter is going by
days getting longer
How many minutes a day again?
only a bit (about three)
and so in a sneaky way
day by day
we get more light

I like this time of year because I can look up to things
Spring, summer, garden, heat
All things that I love are in the horizon

There is a lot penned down in my calendar for February
It’s almost surprising
Wasn’t I hibernating
wishful thinking

This week will be my daughters birthday
17
how come it sounds so much more then 16
funny how numbers are
she asked me to make her a tiramisu
that in itself is rather exciting
Tiramisu is an italian dessert that involves ladies finger (the cookies), fine chocolate, mascarpone cheese (like a rich and creamy italian cream cheese), whipped cream and whipped eggs
it may involve brandy
it’s light, it’s rich, it’s scrumptious

This past Monday my son had an opening
he will be graduating from art school this year
he is a creator, a sculptor, a designer
he is a fine artist

my photos this week are from his show
it was called In(ter)action
the premise: you may touch the art
in fact it demands to be touched

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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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Maritime Mary: Why I Curl

It was Thursday evening after an early supper and I was putting long underwear on in preparation for curling. The thermometer read -12 with a ‘feel like’ temperature of -20. And I asked myself why I was going out. My lovely knitting basket was begging for attention, a hooking pattern was waiting, but I was venturing out into the cold to curl.

Why do I curl?
– Well, it’s an indoor sport, chilly but you are indoors. The air is crisp and I do feel invigorated being in cool air.
– Curling is great exercise, hard work sometimes. In fact, no other sport requires you to go up and down the ice, broom in hand, sweeping with all your might while someone yells, “Hard, hurry hard!!” And then to rest, you get to lean on your broom.
– People say things like, “Nice stone!” And, “Good sweeping!” And if you miss a shot, teammates will be kind and blame it on the ice.
– Curling is a social sport. I have had the good fortune to meet and play with people I would never have encountered otherwise, those who are veteran curlers and beginners like me. There is a camaraderie on the ice and in the club.
– I love how you shake hands prior to a game, wish each other a good game, and then shake again at the end. “Good game, thanks.”
– And there is more. Curling gives you a great opportunity to sport the cowls and scarves you’ve knit. A girl just needs that shot of colour.
– And best of all, when you lose a game in our club, you actually win! Winners buy a beverage for their losing opponents, sit together by the fire, rehash those good shots, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

And for all those reasons, while I may grumble about the process of getting ready, I curl.

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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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Diane Krys: Jasper in January

I’ve been enchanted by tropical tales from my snowbird friends but when we have the chance for a mid-winter getaway my husband and I travel right into the belly of the beast and head to the Rocky Mountains. We’ve been doing this since we were young pups and one of our favourite spots to enjoy winter’s splendour is Jasper, Alberta where we recently spent some time.

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There’s a lot of action despite the soft silencing of heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures. The mountains have their own winter culture and activities.  When we were first going out together, about 100 years ago, Frank and I were ski obsessed. That’s what we all did back in the our late teens and twenty something years. Those kind of excursions waned over time as everyone’s lives blossomed in different ways. In the last 4 or 5 years we’ve revived our Jasper love affair with a trip almost every winter, sans skis mind you, but there’s still lots to do.Image

By coincidence we were able to catch the start of the “Jasper in January” festival this year and spent a day at Pyramid Lake. There were a myriad of activities going on including dog sled and sleigh rides. Snowshoers and cross country skiers wove tracks across the frozen lake and our future Canadian curling team practiced with birch stones. The plowed oval invited skaters and strollers. It was a beautiful day in so many ways it gave me a lump in my throat at one point.

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I’m never more keenly aware of my body’s fitness(or lack there of) than when I’m in the mountains, especially in the winter. I think a big part of mountain culture is about fitness, activity and doing it all in a spectacular natural setting.  It begs you to take the challenge and join the fun.

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It hit me on this trip as I saw skiers jaunting around town in their brightly coloured tech gear, how much I miss the intense physicality of skiing and experiencing the mountains on a downhill run. I felt myself longing for it and a nice Canada Goose parka!

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It also occurred to me I’ve been living like a head in a jar lately. That is to say, detached from my body in a sense because I’ve been so deeply focused on other things. In some ways new challenges have become my mountains to explore and master. It’s gratifying for sure but it doesn’t doesn’t do much for leg strength when you’re hiking up an incline.

I guess it’s about balance and perhaps I’ve lost it in this area of my life lately. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and finding the balance between giving my “all” to something and taking care of my physical fitness is sometimes a struggle for me. I do a lot of work to stretch my mind but am I doing enough to stretch my body. The burning and fatigue in my thighs tells me apparently not.

When winter comes I don’t dream of palm trees. I dream of a view of the mountains and being in them.  They connect me more deeply to nature and remind me that I am nature like the elk and crows. It’s a magical experience. It’s also great inspiration to keep my body moving. Who knows maybe by this time next year I might even find my ski legs.

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Catherine Bussiere: flipping the pages of the dictionary

once in a while
for fun
curiosity
for lack of inspiration
or for advice
we flip the pages of the dictionary
and get a word

it’s surprising what it tells you sometime

recently my husband did just that
the word he got was: complaining
now I kinda hope he’s not reading my blog this week but
he has been complaining lately
of course it made me smile
to be fair though, maybe he needed to complain a little

my blog this morning was already started
the tittle, monotone, was inspired by the morning scenery
the blog wasn’t really going anywhere
I was getting bored with it
even though it is so pretty outside

so I flipped the pages of the dictionary and my finger landed on…
well, it landed under “on” and more specifically under “on and on”

what does that mean?
does it relate to my husband and the complaining
that would have been too easy

I looked back at the dictionary
it said
on and on: at great length, so as to become tiresome
oh!
is it my blog
my monotone first draft I did not know what to do with
is it a response to it
monotone does have two on

I know what you’re thinking
I’m over thinking this
True, but hey, still is fun
I was stuck in monotone and now my mind is going “on and on”

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Maritime Mary: Footprints in the Snow

Seeing footprints in the snow is like discovering a secret, it gives an insight into what goes on when you are not present. It is winter’s way of giving us investigative tools.

During a recent snowshoeing trek, while we were the first people to have visibly marked the fields, it was evident that we were not the first to have crossed. We frequently stopped to examine the prints of many animals, but while we were out, we saw none. They may have been watching us and kept hidden.

Deer tracks came across the field and disappeared into the wooded area. A large cat, possibly a bobcat left lots of evidence. A pheasant’s light traces were visible and we saw the proof left as two animals met and had some kind of altercation. Notice the markings left by wing tips.

The animals were probably relieved when we left the area so life could go on for them.

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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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Maritime Mary: Enjoying January

The house has been disrobed of Christmas. Furniture has been moved, lamps and pictures rearranged, the nest has been re-feathered. It’s January and a month I enjoy, always have. While many do go on about experiencing the post-Christmas blues, I feel that it is a time of cleansing, the clutter and wrapping are removed and there is a peacefulness as we ‘hunker down’ for the winter.

We have an abundance of snow and provided that you’re dressed for it, it’s a great time to be outdoors. Snowshoeing conditions have been excellent, snowmobile trails are busy and some of my friends are happy to be skiing. Now if we could get some outdoor ice, well that would be perfect.

January meals at my house are simpler, less fussy and the fridge is no longer full of Christmas fare. Simmering soups, comfort foods and lots of veggies are on the menu.

Through all this I keep thinking of something my father would say every day at this time of the year, “The days are getting longer!” And while I may enjoy the snowy and cold month, I am watching my mailbox for the arrival of a new seed catalogue. A girl has to get ready…..

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Maritime Mary: Welcome!

When I was teaching young children, I welcomed the new year with a poem that referred to the year ahead as a garment with 365 pockets to explore. The exact words fail me but I do recall that some of those pockets would have surprises, some would have holes. The year would bring a variety of experiences and my students always seemed to enjoy and understand the analogy. There is something to be said for anticipating the year ahead in this simple way.

So as we prepare to bid adieu to 2013 and look forward to a new January, I am not making resolutions. Instead I am making plans and hopes that revolve around my favourite things to do. These involve reading, hooking projects, knitting and of course, being outside to enjoy the wonders of our winter. There is no better place to think than being surrounded by white snow and crisp air.

To you my friends, fellow hookers and readers, it is my hope that your daily pocket will be kind to you and your loves ones. May you bask in the freshness of a new calendar year. Happy 2014.

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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: stormy day

it’s the first big one
it’s been announced for days
last week the teachers were planing for it
“it” being, fingers crossed, school closure tomorrow
but that is tomorrow
today is Sunday
winter storm day

lovely this week, my boys are home for the holidays
I did The Big Grocery (which will most likely be followed by several little ones)
I stocked up on spirits
cooking and baking and wrapping has kept us all busy

This year we agreed to dig out our percussion tree
originally it was a large branch on a stand that was covered with percussion instruments for a performance piece
over the years it has been used off and on as our christmas tree
it’s kinda like a Charlie Brown tree but without the needles
or like a Dr. Seuss tree if we attach evergreen branches on it
I’ll show you next week when it’s decorated
I love it

This year the plan is to dig out the old train set
that is my husband’s train set
it will be placed around the tree
we are wrapping all of our presents in boxes and plain craft paper
each box will be painted as buildings and will create a town

We did that once when the kids were little
they decorated all the boxes
it was great
now that they are grown up they want to do it again
I love it

yesterday I made salty pumpkin caramels for the first time
in all my years of baking and cooking and jelly making I never bothered once to get myself a candy thermometer but once I saw that recipe online (and the beautiful video that went with it) I just decided it was time
you don’t want to mess up when it comes to candy
you can very much do it but, hey, I thought I was ready for a new utensil

today I’ve cut them up
just to give you an idea, those caramel contain: cream, sugar, maple syrup, butter, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, spices, and yes, corse salt to decorate, and enhance the whole melt in your mouth bring me to heaven experience

absolutely delicious
clic on CARAMEL for the link

alright, off I go, making tamales tonight!

Happy early Holidays

– hope there’s no school tomorrow –

 

 

 

 

Diane Krys: Feathering My Festive Nest

 

‘Tis the season and I’m  doing up my nest with a touch of Christmas here and there. Putting up a tree is a given but the rest of the house is an ever changing affair from year to year.  The things I already have around the house are providing a good start for a few spots of decoration.My fridge is usually bulging with magnets holding everything from fortune cookie messages to magazine clippings. When I take all the paper clutter away ( which I’ve been meaning to do for months)  I cluster,reshape and add a few of my sister’s handmade gift tags I saved into the magnet mix and voila, I have a wreath in my kitchen.

I position a watchful metal crow sitting on top of an open kitchen shelf into a running pose and wedge a tree trimming and a few balls in his beak. The little devil looks just like the birds I see outside my kitchen window stealing  berries from the trees.

I hang up my carved wooden Santa on a kitchen wall where I can see it from the living room.  It’s a special piece of folk art by Nova Scotia’s Bradford Naugler. This Santa doesn’t need any extra adornment what so ever. I love him just as he is right down to his mismatched mitts. 

I dust off wooden frames containing brightly colored glass shards. Sitting on the windowsill they look like jewels when the light streams through. It’s a perfect spot for my Matroyshka Santas.  A touch of Christmas and a touch of my Ukrainian heritage.

I put up my niece’s paintings  in the living room.  They greet me when I come in the front door and make me smile. They made them at least 3 years ago-maybe more. When they came back the following year, I saw them excitedly pointing to each other that Auntie had their pictures up. Of course, I did!  I treasure these whimsical drawings more with each passing year as I see them grow and change.

I take ornaments the girls gifted me last year and line them up with colorful painted rocks on the stereo.  It seems the holiday season is a time when I always have the tunes going.

Last year I started knitting ball ornaments for the outside trees to go with the tree cozies I’ve shown you in previous year’s posts.  This year the cedars by the front steps are getting in on the knitting action with striped balls.  It doesn’t take many when you make them  big and bold.  I hope to knit a few more. I’m in the mood to knit something mindless and it doesn’t get any easier than knitting squares  then sewing, gathering and stuffing them into ball shapes.

 

 

 

 

 

I think I’m done!  Simple with a light touch-that’s the way I’m rolling this year.  My nest is ready to greet whoever comes up the walk. How ever you feather your festive nest, I hope it’s cosy and that it brings you warm memories and good cheer.  I wish everyone all the best for a wonderful holiday season!

 

Thanks  for stopping in-see you 2014!

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: 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: snow, tea and milk fibre

It’s a wet damp winter wonderland this morning
a mist filled wind is slowly working it’s magic on the trees
depending on how the weather goes
nature will be covered in bling or go back to mud
it’s a Cinderella kind of morning I guess
it could go either way

As far as I’m concern I know pretty well what’s on my board today
I have a hint of a cold naggingly scratching the back of my throat
I’m going to take it easy
drink some tea
have a sauna
watch a movie

that sounds like a great plan

In other news
to be random
I got some – Oh my God this is So Soft – wool at Deanne’s on Friday
I never buy wool.
I’m neither a knitter, a hooker or a crochet(er)
but this wool was on the counter begging to be touched
and it was less than half price
so I picked it up
read the label which said : 60% Milk Fibre
Milk fibre?
Have you ever heard of that.
Then: 30% silk and 10% cashmere
You can just imagine
So I picked up five bundles of an ochre color
with no plan except maybe
to ship it to my sister so she can knit me something
but
last night
bundled up with my two favorite girls and a sleeping son
while watching Funny Face
I attempted to knit (I was just practicing)
I don’t even have knitting needles around
I had to use chopstick
But it was fun and the feeling of that Milk Fibre…
well, you’ll just have to try it someday

Last but not least for anyone with a cold (or not)
Yogi tea (not the bear, the other yogi)

Bring 1 1/2 cup of water to a boil with: 3 cloves, 3 black peppercorn, 4 cardamon seeds, a pinch of powdered ginger, 1/2 stick of cinnamon. Boil for 5 minutes then add 1 tsp of black tea. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Add a little milk and a little honey. Very tasty.

 
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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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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Colors

I went for a walk this morning
a grey morning with a few sunny breaks
not really cold, not freezing anyway
there’s a lot of browns this time of year
grays, browns, some reds, some greens
getting close to the shortest day
in the light I look for colors
the land is squishy
a rainy fall, a couple frost and yet more rain
makes for a squishy field
the woods are muddy
I see tracks left by deers
in the stillness I breath in the sweet smell of the decaying leaves
and I feel peace as I look for colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ponder and wonder everyday

 

Dear Diary, I took a long walk with my sister this morning. We managed not to talk about resolutions or the years end. I am like that: a bit of a curmudgeon who likes to avoid holiday talk, or predictable conversations. It is why I try not  to post a heart here on Valentines. I’ll avoid the news now for a few days, or the media shows that give the top ten of of 2012. It is just too predictable. Yet the nosy in me does want to know what people’s resolutions are. Sometimes they tell you something juicy…like they resolve not to eat more than one package of Reese Big Cup Peanut Butter Cups a day ( that could be mine I s’pose) and you learn something special about them. Mostly you learn their little weaknesses.

I hate imposed reflectiveness. It just gets on my nerves.  I do love reflectiveness though…. so it hard not to get caught up in the  review of your life with the New Year’s eve. Thing is though you should review your life pretty often, saving it for once a year is a recipe for trouble. Think about things lots is my motto.  Every day on my walk I think about what I am up too. It never occurs to me to save it for Dec. 31. I ponder and I wonder every day.

I had a great day yesterday. My neighbor Ronny ( Lorna’s husband) came over and put shelves together for me and I am reorganizing my studio. I was helpful in that I took some pictures of him and gave him a bowl of turkey soup. I am not much good with a drill. My whole body shakes when I hold a drill. I just get caught up in the activity of it. It is the same thing as when I start talking with a french accent when someone french talks to me. I start feeling like the drill. After my one little effort to hold the board, Ronnie looked at me, and I could tell he was thinking, “This would be easier with out you.” So I backed away and took a few pictures.

In a couple of hours my shelves were al done and I spent the day listening to podcasts, and reorganizing. I feel like I had some kind of spa cleansing. Today I am going to go under the cupboards and clean. I hope I can find my way back out so that I can ponder some more later today, and wonder how long it will be before I crack into two packages of pb cups in one day? hmmm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter online workshop well into the works

Dear Diary, as I prepare for the online class I get more and more excited. We have had people register that would never get here.we have also had people register that have been here many times. As excited as I am I have to remind myseof that ywon will not actually be here with me. I am so happy though that we have this to look forward to over the winter. The course site is all set up and we are ready to go. I have taught myself so much in setting this up.  I have also registered for a couple of courses online myself so that I will understand the feeling of being a student. I think this importantant. The more you understand what it is like to be a student, the more you can offer as a teacher. Besides the fact, that I love to learn.

As I browsed my photos today though I was reminded of three people who came here last fall and remembered our great workshop together. Those who take part in the online course will not be able to feel the wind on their face I think you will learn a lot. Trust me the February wind off Joggins where this photo was shot would give you a fright. It is no substitute for coming here but it will be a winter treat. Truthfully, I hope this course online will inspire you to make the trek to Amherst for the real thing. I live here on the edge of three different bays of the Atlantic Ocean.  It is beautiful here, exquisite really and untouched. It is a natural place and I wish you could smell the coast online, but for that you need to come here like Sue , Jane, and Ruth who came to learn about hooking the sea last fall and then went to visit it.

Many people have asked what pattern are we doing, and I have decided that to make the best of the course for the most people we will not chooses a pattern. The course will be based on a series of exercises and activities that will help you become freer and get back to the real reasons why we hook. It will be about becoming more artistic and creative in our approach to rug hooking.

So I just went back to work after a Christmas break. For a few days I barely touched my computer and my hook is calling my name. Christmas here was peaceful and good. I had lots of family around. On Christmas day we watched old videos and saw my nephew pee off the bridge at the shoreonto his cousins and then coyly smile for the camera. He is twenty four now and was there to watch. I watched a video of my parents, where my mother complained that I had borrowed something and did not bring it back. It felt like a visit with her. I did not cook for three days because I was a guest through out the holidays  after years of hosting. It was lovely. I think I will cook a turkey tomorrow though cause brother in law comes on Wednesdays for supper. You need to share a turkey, and he likes everything but soup.

So here I go back to work, getting lost in getting wild with wool, and making the rugs I need to make just for purepleasure. If you plan on signing up please remember that the cut off date for registration will be January 7. There will be no registrations for the course after that date.

Diane Krys: Deck the Halls

During this busy season our rug hooking projects and normal creative endeavors often get squeezed right out of the picture.  Instead of resenting a daunting holiday “to do” list, embrace it. Look it right in the eye and tell it, “We are going to sing through this with joy and creativity.”

1. Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la….la la la la….

Only a real tree will do. My topiary style Christmas tree was the answer to chewed decorations when Baboo was a pup. His palate has matured and now when your back is turned he’s into expensive dark chocolate. At least I can have a full size tree. Over the last years I switch it up between the mini and maxi look.   Mini tree has evolved to include a knit cozy inspired by Magda Sayeg and all those gangsta knittas.

2. Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Good point. It’s a season, spread out the jolly.   I like to turn some of my “to do’s” into socials. My mum, sister and I get together for baking. Sure all the kibitzing can hinder productivity but who needs twelve different kinds of cookies anyways?  Three out of twelve is just fine  as long as they’re delicious.

We always have at least a few pre Christmas play dates with our nieces.  Gingerbread houses, pompom making, whatever. Their unbridled creativity and enthusiasm remind me that finding the magic of the season doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

3. Don we now our gay apparel, fa la la la la…la la la la…

I don’t need new frocks but my outdoor trees do.  As if I could stop at only one tree cozy.

 

While I’m outside, I’m using my Christmas tree off cuts in a Suessical style creation for my front doorstep. Be sure to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas if only to brush up on your nonsensical vocabulary…..pantootlers or jimjamblers anyone?

 

4. Troll the ancient Yule tide carol, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Surf itunes for music to keep you movin’and groovin’. Florence and the Machine mixed with a few of Ella Fitzgerald’s swinging Christmas classics should do the trick.

5. See the blazing Yule before us, fa la la la…la la la la…

No pressure, but it’s only 15 days until Christmas. Deep breaths, have another talk with “the list.” Be tough and threaten severe cuts if it turns into a killjoy.

6. Strike the harp and join the chorus, fa la la la la…la la la la…

If I’m joining the crowds for some Christmas shopping, I’m heading to places that warm  my heart while I empty my wallet. For me, that’s farmer’s markets, hand made gift shows and independent shops.  Surrounded by such inspiration I must knit up a few hats to gift.  Hey, I also have 15 NIGHTS before Christmas. Revisit no. 5 if need be.

7. Follow Deanne in merry measure, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Hooked stars add a touch of whimsy and are quick to make. I’m going to display a mix of my hand made ornaments by my front door. Because of the shortage in the baked goods department, I’ll offer them to guests like a plate of cookies so they can choose one or two to take home.

 

8. Make some time for Yule tide treasures, fa la la la la…la la la la…

What special community events are happening?  Do I really need to knit a cozy for the exterior of my house? Yes, but I’ll do it next year. Instead I’ll check out our local “what’s on guide” and take some time to marvel at all the Christmas light displays around town.  Support and enjoy the efforts of others!

9. Fast away the old year passes, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Ain’t that the truth. I better wrap this up.

10. Hail the new, ye lads and lasses, fa la la la la…la la la la…

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR..

FA LA LA LA LA…LA LA LA LA!

I wish everyone a happy and creative holiday season!

 

 

I’ll have you know I’m twitchy not bit…

Dear Diary, Ah today there was plenty to do. You see I finished a series of rugs so they were taken off the frame. Harry the printer dropped in to help me set up a card display rack. He has some old racks that we are going to get set up.  I had about five other ideas and thoughts that I was working on. I was driving Brenda nuts, but she said, “It’s okay. I’m used to you. You’re like this very spring.” I said, “I am? ” , knowing she’s right.

In the process of all the fuss, and the sorting of ideas, racing from one thing to another…Harry explained that I was twitchy…which is a lot better than…you guessed , rhymes but starts with a b. Brenda and I liked this idea. We were happy with the notion of being twitchy, and felt we could live with that title.

After a quick lunch at the deli, I set out to work on another  little  creative problem…this idea that I cannot let go, but can’t ever seem to work out either. I was in the middle of it when my good man called and asked if I wanted to walk in the woods. I told him what I was working on…having heard it a thousand times before, he said, “you’re not going to get that done this afternoon…forget about it and walk in the woods.” So that is what I did. With our neighbor  Wayne, the one who says that “winter’s back is broke once March comes, we walked a couple of miles in the woods. It felt good, nothing was solved, or created but a soul gets eased when it is allowed a winter’s afternoon.

pretty little winter

Dear Diary, Whenever I am out and about and pop radio comes on with that song, “She ain’t pretty, she just looks that way.” I just smile to myself. Those are some clever lyrics. As I looked at these pictures tonight I thought to myself, after today’s post about winter,  I thought she is awfully pretty, she is pretty inside and out….

so here goes…….pictures from a walk after a fresh snowfall

The snow lays heavy on the branches….but it makes things glisten in a way it never could. An old spruce tree falls into the background in every other season.

I love the atmosphere , early morning after a snowfall. It makes a place as simple as this look mysterious, like it is holding so much more. The cloud cover is heavy, and you wonder what is going on over there.

You know, ” nothing”, but still when the conditions are right you wonder

just a little crab apple but against the snow it is crisply beautiful, they stand out like a bloom to me, a little flower so strong and hardy

rose hips offer the same bit of colour. Everything is white, and then there is this tiny shop of dark crimson, a promise of silky pink petals and bare feet and dragonflies

and then you carry in the wood, dry cordwood for the fire, that you need to light under you every morning just to keep the plaster from crumbling, the pipes from freezing, the soul from seizing

winter takes a bit of bracing, a bit of embracing, it is mid February, and soon March will announce herself and we’ll know, that winter’s back is broke