Friday, November 20, 2009

First attempts at stitching two pictures together digitally. I hope that I will be able to do it more elegantly after some practice, and yes, I probably should have waited until that time comes. But it was such a beautiful rainbow, stretching from one side of the valley to the other (a pot of gold at both ends, perhaps???) - a shame not to see it in its entirety, rather than in bits and pieces.

November has moved on from such schmaltzy things as rainbows and sunny days and has settled down into sulky moodiness, being most earnestly melancholy and carrying on somewhat with the wild west wind.

I comfort myself with Christmas lists and inspirations from high-end Christmas magazines, knowing full well that for practical reasons we will celebrate much more simply and more thoughtfully.

"I saw the lovely arch
Of rainbow span the sky,
The gold sun burning
As the rain swept by."
- Elizabeth Coatsworth, November

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Here in the Similkameen November is playing games with us. The days vary from warm, sunny and calm, to wickedly windy and overcast with dark threatening clouds.

Tuesday was a kind day.

A pretty sunrise....

and half an hour later a heavy shower from the south resulted in a beautiful double rainbow, stretching in the north from east to west. I haven't been able to stitch it all together yet, but here is a small bright portion.

Later in the day white clouds tumbled in a bright blue sky. Fickle, giddy November. - quite out of character.

To see what skies are doing around the world click here, and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today someone asked me what I was doing to keep busy.

I hesitated as I gave some attention to the things that keep me going, day by day.

I answered with the obvious - I am getting so slow that it really doesn't take a great number of activities to fill my day. But I finally realized that my interrogator, being a Crafty soul, was referring to what creative things I was doing with my hands?

Oh yes, - what is it that is keeping me busy these days! Creatively busy?

There is that pair of socks that need both toes finished before they can be washed and given to one of the guys.

And there is a warp on my loom with approximately one yard woven with silk ribbons cut from salvaged blouses, meant to be made into tote bags for young, trendy granddaughters, or fine thin durys, or place mats....

There are the Handwoven and Spin-Off magazines that come with regularity and fill me with inspiration as I spend random half hours being filled with enthusiasm.

I am not sure if this can be classed as creative, but there is my casual job as Go-fer. It does require a degree of concentration and creative thinking...

There are half a dozen Christmas aprons which I cut out half a dozen years ago, intending to present them as stocking stuffers. They are neatly packaged with all their parts together and live in a basket a-top a shelf in the Collective Room! Next to my sewing machine so that if I am suddenly moved to finish them it will be in close proximity.

a free pattern from Phyllis Dobbs

And then it takes time to keep a close eye on my stash of wool and weaving equipment, - it requires sorting through at regular intervals, sighing all the while....

Oh yes, I have a bobbin half full of spun wool on the spinning wheel, and two bags of roving still to spin.... - the thread hangs desultorily from the orifice, tugging at me every time I pass it, but I have grown indifferent and cold hearted, alas...

I'm not sure why I wasn't completely honest. I should have said I spend most of my evenings on the computer listening to music, and all my creative handwork has fallen by the wayside while I google and surf and explore the most delightful and interesting blogs. I am filling my head with knowledge, - some of it frivolous, some of it of interest and some of it even of great importance as it sets my mind along its creative path.

But my friend is not intimate with computers, and so we talked of knitting mittens and baby outfits and hemming tablecloths.

She did, however, waken in me a longing to make something beautiful in its practicality, but it may be only a temporary aberration.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ABC Wednesday

R is for Ranunculus

From Wikipedia

"Ranunculus (pronounced /ræˈnʌŋkjʊləs/)[1] is a large genus of about 400 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae. It includes the buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine (but not the greater celandine of the poppy family Papaveraceae).
They are mostly herbaceous perennials with bright yellow or white flowers (if white, still with a yellow centre); some are annuals or biennials. A few have orange or red flowers and occasionally, as in R. auricomus, petals may be absent. The petals are often highly lustrous, especially in yellow species. Buttercups usually flower in April or May but flowers may be found throughout the summer especially where the plants are growing as opportunistic colonisers, as in the case of garden weeds.
The Water crowfoots (Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium), which grow in still or running water, are sometimes treated in a separate genus Batrachium. They have two different leaf types, thread-like leaves underwater and broader floating leaves although for some species, such as R. aquatilis, a third, intermediate leaf form occurs.
Ranunculus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Hebrew Character and Small Angle Shades. Some species are popular ornamental flowers in horticulture, with many cultivars selected for large and brightly coloured flowers".

I must to confess to being somewhat confused about ranunculus. but I think it has something to do with the Greater Celedine and the Lesser Celedine.

I do believe that Wikipedia is talking about the Lesser Celedine in the above extract as you will note that Wikipedia makes the comment about their prolificacy as follows:

" Buttercups usually flower in April or May but flowers may be found throughout the summer especially where the plants are growing as opportunistic colonisers, as in the case of garden weeds".

I have certainly found this to be the case in our garden, (see first photo) where the buttercups grow with great vigor, side by each with whichever garden flower they might fancy.

I know that you can buy ranunculus bulbs shaped like little oysters with dangly legs that spring forth in the spring in varied hues - a veritable feast of colours.

But I am only familiar with the lovely lustrous pushy type that twines its wandering roots around the Oriental Peony and is now making itself at home among the Iris.

I would welcome any information which would clear up my confusion!

For other R's skip on over to ABC Wednesday here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sliding through November

We were sliding through November quite nicely, thank you - until today.

The month seemed to have discarded its surliness, its lowering clouds and its melancholy darkness. Some days have been absolutely brilliant, and although the trees have taken on their stark winter beauty in many places there was still an autumn glow in the valley when the sun shone.

Today we woke to dark clouds and a bitter wind that has grown wilder with each hour that passes.

This afternoon Charles drew my attention to patches of sunshine in the Cawston Basin, with no break in the clouds to explain their presence,....a mystery we eventually solved by following the lights on the clouds to the south. Rays from the setting sun were slipping along the back of K Mountain and lighting up the Cawston hills and Orofino Mountain.

We can expect the wind to continue until late tomorrow afternoon, and I guess November is just reminding us that the lovely weather of the first two weeks was just a flirty attempt to pull the wool over our eyes...

We have a spat of birthdays to finish off the month in a celebratory mood.

The intimations of winter did cause visions of sugar plums and other Christmas delights. I have illusions about what I am able to bake this year. I know these illusions are only temporary, and eventually I will settle on a simpler version of Christmas as it was in the kitchen in days gone by.

However, I have already stocked up on butter for shortbreads (some things are essential) and soon I will buy fruit and nuts and cream cheese and lemons for tarts. I am beset with plans and questions....

Who will clean the silver in lieu of busy grandchildren?

Who will put up the lights in the garden?

Will we have a small Christmas tree in a cheery red pail?

Or will we bring out all the old and treasured ornaments and find a spot for a larger greenery?

Perhaps we could hang them on garlands around doorways and high, along hallways (large room here for disillusionment).

I glance up at the garden, where the wind blows fiercely and ponder.

Shall I leave the dead stalks for protection during the winter? Or shall I snip them off in this bitter wind and then find protection for the garden elsewhere?

Well, that's an easy decision to make if you don't let your mind wander to March and the winds that sweep the valley in early spring, rustling through the old stalks while the eager bulbs push their way through the great disorder.

Decisions, decisions, decisions, - but lovely ones where Christmas is concerned.

I am off to dig out the Christmas CD's - Pavarotti's old original 'O Holy Night', and the newer music of Ill Divo. My sister tells me of lovely new seasonal recordings by the Canadian Tenors and Andre Botticelli. I look forward to hearing once again Boney M's 'Daughters of Zion' and all the haunting Ave Marias.

Let the wind blow as it may..... sugar plums are not confined to the land of the young...