Saturday, December 26, 2020

The end of the year Draws Near...

 December 26th, 2020

The end of the year draws near, and I ask myself, "do I look forward to this next year, and what it will bring as I age?"  In another seven days I will be 96, and although I have good health and still a wondering outlook on life, sometimes I feel my physical strength draining slowly away.....

Well, it has always been my motto 'to keep right on to the end' and I guess I am not going to collapse now - or ever!

Still, some days I feel more energetic than I do on other days, and some days my spirit is not as jolly and confident as I would like it to be!  Some days I find myself being somewhat confused, and very much aware of this, - and that's not the end of life I look forward to!  I suppose the answer is to keep each day as sinple as possible, and as well ordered (which is not hard, as apart from visits from children I am quite alone and have no events or persons to complicate my life).  But I have to be aware, at all times, and indulge myself with notes and reminders in my daily book.

It is a strange way to be living, these days, what with the pandemic and nothing really happening as it usually has, - there is no church, no singing sessions, or ukulele hours, - I haven't been to the store since last March, and I am so thankful to have space outside and a garden to wander in, and the plans I make for spring when it comes time to plant a bit and watch for little scarlet buds swelling through the rain - soaked earth.

I am so thankful that when Charles and I were first engaged and dreaming dreams of family life when we married on his return from Overseas, during the war years  - so thankful that we decided we would have six children (which we did) who are such a blessing to me now that most of my friends have passed on to the next life that awaits us, elsewhere!!!

I think it might snow tonight, - and I look forward to that, although people who have to drive probably don't anticipate snowy roads!!!  I was thinking tonight about prairie winters, in Edmonton, where I lived from the time I was born until I left to be married.  We skated every day, - and started early in life, on bob skates and a backyard rink that my father faithfully built and watered for the little ones in the neighbourhood.  As we got older we advanced to the Alberta Avenue rink, which still survives, and the band that played for skating on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons.   I think fondly of winter walks in the snow, as it crunched under your boots, and the blue sky and sunshine that was so prevalent on the prairies in Alberta.

The holidays have been lovely, (although nobody has been inundated with family and visitors) but I look forward to January and dressing the looms so I can start creating again, and throwing the shuttle!

I think tomorrow I will wind a linen warp and prepare it to put on the LeClerc, and then I will gather up some hearty wool and weave a krokbagd rug, and I will be back in the swing of things, after all the December holiday days.

Lovely thought!  I will ;post a picture when it is finished...




Tuesday, December 08, 2020

 Many days since I have written here, but I have been busy, busy, busy.

I find these days that  I am not as swift as I once was,  in making plans for Christmas - presents and baking -and putting these plans into action!!!!  Oh well, the days pass pleasantly and if I am a little slow in making twisted scarf fringes the morning passes without too much stress!

I have a nice big cookie tin that I keep well deposited with shortbread, and watch that there are not too many withdrawals from that plain old tin (that doesn't bear any markings as to its contents!)

One of these mornings I am going to be filled with ambition, and will tackle the pastry bowl and make the mince tarts - the tarts that only appear at Christmas as they are not one of my favourites.  I much prefer lemon curd....always with a shortbread pastry... This year I decided to forego the traditional fruit cake.  Last year I made a "Dundee" cake, and the remains of it even went into a custard pudding.

This morning I spread all the intended gifts on my bed, - labelled them and checked them off on my Christmas List, to make sure nobody was forgotten. It occurred to me that I might be getting a little old for this, but still, it's part of Christmas and the tradition of gifts (preferably hand made ones) goes a long way back in my life!  I remember the Shin Plasters my grandmother used to send, - and the hope chest my parents surprised me with, the year I was eighteen. - and I just KNEW that I would meet the ' fellow of my dreams' that particular year.

This afternoon there was just a skiff of snow to relieve the foggy clouds that have been down at least to the mountain's knees, - if not their shins. After a while it turned to rain, but this evening all the neighbors Christmas bulbs light up their yards, and maybe the sun will shine tomorrow.

I have had Christmas music, floating through the house.  For about a week now!  I know it's early, and by Boxing Day I will be glad of a plain, familiar melody, but with music comes memories..... and that's always good at this stage of one's life.

It's getting towards bedtime, and those Christmasy things are still cluttered on my bed, which means I must find a shelf I can put them on, - make some bedtime hot chocolate, and see what nice dreams the night brings!!




Monday, November 30, 2020

 Monday, November 30th, 2020

A beautiful full, silvery moon shining on me from the East, - it came up over the hills, through the clouds, and spread it's silvery light, setting them all aglow within a rusty-red ring.

Marvelous, - I see it through the window in my office, and in the very early morning it will be shining on me from the west, through the bedroom window.   The world is full of such glorious things..... I kept getting up last night to look for the moon, shadowed with its partial eclipse, but I was never successful....

The end of November, and it leaves me full of plans for December, - time to send someone shopping for gift bags and tissue and ribbon.  I wish I could go myself, but between the pandemic and no driver's license I have to rely on shopping lists and sweet and willing family members. But I do have a chest full of hand wovens that I am anxious to distribute, and then I can start again to store away next year's treasures from the loom.  I am so grateful for my looms and for full shelves of yarns, just itching to be turned into something handwoven.

Today I printed out my Christmas card list and tucked it in the box of cards my daughter bestowed on me.  What shall I do first, - Christmas cards and letters or shortbread?  Well, considering the pace that the postal service favours nowadays perhaps I had better write a newsy letter and get it on its way with love and good wishes. I find that if I make the shortbread and the mince tarts too early, even if they are stored in the freezer, somehow the stash gets smaller and smaller as Christmas gets nearer and nearer......

Sometimes I look at that Christmas card list with dismay, - there are so many dear and precious names crossed off it - no postal service in Heaven, to reach them, and only memories remain here on earth.  But I treasure those memories, - they remind me what a wonderfully rich life I have had, - full of loving friends and family, and the little Christmas tree I have tucked in a corner is a sweet miniature reminder of the great ceiling high firs we used to have, and the wonderful children surrounding it....

I was thinking the other day of some of the Christmases we had when I was growing up, and how happy and meaningful they were, despite the fact that they fell into the depression years of the Thirties.  We were content with so much less, and the oranges and the pieces of coal in the Christmas Stockings complemented each other.

When I was getting out the Christmas candles I was also thinking of Advent, and how, when the children were still at home, we had purple and rose candles at the dinner table on Sunday, and each child chose the name of another from a little box, the idea being that the person they chose would be the recipient of their 'loving attention' during the following days!!!

Nice traditions, and although they may not be followed now, in these days, still they are remembered.

That gorgeous moon is high in the sky now, - I have to peer upwards through the window to see it, and after a while it will be right overhead, keeping watch over us all by night!!!


Thursday, November 26, 2020

 Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Well, here I am, contained in my office/computer room, with the cleaning lady having wet mopped all the hallways leading into other parts of the house, and what is better than to at least start a small post in my neglected "Daybyday" - nothing recorded there since the middle of November.

I have been so neglectful. November has been dreary, as it so often is.  The clouds hang low, hiding that weak wintry sun that skims the mountain tops.  The leaves have all fallen, and the teasels on the tree outside my window are small and shrunken, - doing whatever teasels do in the winter, - resting perhaps, - waiting for spring when they will flourish and grow fat and green.  

I suppose we could all do that - rest and wait, and grow fat and green, but as the days roll out towards the end of this grey month December is eagerly scratching at the door of the last weeks of this weary year, and holding out promises of garlands and wreaths and Christmas cheer, to see us on our way to 2021.....  A good thing!  Perhaps as I unpack the boxes of holiday decorations I will find there, all wrapped in gay ribbon, the joys of Christmas.

As darkness falls I flip the little switch that turns on all the bulbs with which my son-in-law so kindly festooned the garden, and all the bleakness of the grey days is swallowed up in a lovely blaze of light. I think we are a little premature with these decorations, but they are so uplifting to the spirit and inspire the evenings......

I know it is probably too early for Carols, but a little modern Christmas music wafts through the house and sends me looking for a wreath or two, to welcome the rest of the decorations.  There are nice, fat books of holiday music on the piano, and I find myself sliding onto the bench to play a bit of Jingle Bells or Silent Night- or my favourite, that Joan used to sing so beautifully, - "O Holy Night".

I miss these dear friends, and my Beloved, as well, and I wonder how long I will hang around, - the one who is as 'old as dirt' - still enjoying life and finding so much to do to fill the days,  - and there is family who are dear and comforting and so kind, but I do miss all those peers with whom I shared earlier days.

Ah well, gratitude for the blessings that have fallen my way, and on into December and the pleasures of a loving Christmas!!!   I must add great quantities of butter to my grocery list so I can start making shortbread and filling Christmas baskets of goodies.....

Life is good,  as long as one remains cheerful and contented with the circle that grows smaller as one grows older.......and the Hellebore blooms in time for Christmas........





Friday, November 13, 2020

It's Friday

and the wind blows frantically...

the branches on the willow

wave to and fro, and

the leaves scurry along the lawn

and the roadway.

Ogden Nash has this to say!!!

"Thirty days November hath,

Unfit for human living.

Including one Election Day

And a hide and seek Thanksgiving. 

An encouraging month November is

For burglary and mayhem;

It's night for most of the afternoon,

And P.M. most of the A.M;

There may be virtues in November,

But if there are I can't remember."

On top of it being November

(and all that)

it's Friday the 13th!

It behooves one to tread carefully.......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Misty again......

                                                                    Living life dangerously...


                                            It would seem Curiousity banishes all thoughts of Care







Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tuesday,

 November 10th, 2020

It has been a DAY!!!!

I woke, after a good night's sleep.  Showered, and let Bruce out into the back garden to stretch his legs,and whatever else dogs do when they first are free outside in the a.m.

Breakfast went well - coffee was warm and welcome and the toast slathered in lemon curd!

I went to the computer to check my mail, and while there took advantage of the quietness in the house to write a Blog.........

It was after this that mayhem struck!

The Blog disappeared - off into the blue, never to return - perhaps it ended up on the steppes of Russia, and someone might read it there, - but not here......   This is not the first time this has happened to me, - once before a completed Blog disappeared - flew from my house in great haste as I finished the final sentence.  I have no explanation. -  that I should be so forsaken over a few words, some well thought out sentences and everything neatly presented in orderly paragraphs. But that was only the first of my misfortunes.....

I accepted the fact that these things happen - mysteriously, and went into the kitchen to continue with the day.  Quite complacently, I thought.

Bruce's cookie jar was getting low, so I decided I would make some doggie biscuits.  I have a good recipe that ends up in biscuits that Bruce gobbles up as fast as his little teeth can crunch and his little throat can swallow. The recipe calls for whole wheat flour.  I went to get it from an out of the way closet.  I keep the bag there to make room in the kitchen proper for all the other things that get shuffled around when I am cooking.

Went to pick up the bag of whole wheat flour!  The bottom of the sack opened up and the flour flowed enthusiastically around my legs, into my slippers, over the floor, onto the mop and broom which were leaning nonchalantly against the wall, minding their own business.

It took a while and a lot of patience to restore order and when younger son came to empty the kitchen garbage can he was amazed at the amount of flour that had found its way there.  Well, amazed is not quite the right word to describe his reaction, - but it will do! 

When everything was shipshape again, and the doggie biscuits were in the oven, I was back in the room where the computer lives when my daughter arrived, and was taken a-back at the fact the dining room was strewn with dried white roses that Misty the cat had freed from the bowl in which they usually live.

The rest of the day has been fairly well regulated, for which I am quite grateful.

Elderly ladies are deserving of peace and quiet - but I guess that could get quite boring and so I have written another  Blog and am going to post it NOW, before it disappears........

I cannot go without acknowledging that tomorrow is Remembrance Day, and although this pandemic has made it impossible to honor it in the traditional way, my thoughts are with all those who didn't return home at the end of WW2, and in particular my husband's two brothers, Gordon and Tom, whose graves we visited in France.





                                   Rest in Peace - but they have been so sadly missed these past 75 years......

Sunday, November 01, 2020

 

                                            A lovely little poem from Mary Oliver, which tells it all!

Fall   Mary Oliver

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this Now, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries—roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay—how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another.........

                      October has ended her lovely visit, - warm days, blue skies and brilliant colours.

                                  November brings with it family birthdays, the anniversary of family deaths

                                       brooding weather and a saddening of the leaves and trees and gardens....

                                               and yet November brings as well the beginning of new life 

                                                        as this return to earth of the summner's bounty  

                                                           brings nourishment, and spring, eventually,


                                          Cleaning up the garden has put me in a philosophical mood, it seems.

                                                                I spent the afternoon yesterday out in the garden,

                                                             under a blue sky and enjoying the warmth of late fall 


                                                    I  will compost what I can, but it is apparent that the yard waste man

                                                          is going to have a barrel or two when he comes on Friday. 

                                       How generous Mother Nature has been with these great multitudes of greenery!!!!

                                             It brings to mind the autumn drives we used to take through the valley,

                                                                    - wonderful memories...    A few pictures.....

                                                                                Autumn in the sunshine


                           and when the darker, (but still lovely) days of November arrive...





                                                         Sometimes the memories are nostalgic and melancholy,

                                                               ....... sad memories of frequent trips across the pass 

                                                              to sit and spend sad November days at the hospital, 

                                                                          desperately  holding on to hope

                                                                                     but I remind myself,     

                                                    the memories of happier days are many and comforting,

                                                                    and I indulge myself in them!!!!

                                                      Here is a picture of the Similkameen Valley

                                                           where we have been blessed to live.




                                              and a picture of a pumpkin which youngest son carved 

                                                      in honour of the Saints of All Hallowed Eve..


                                                                   I have written a few words here,

                                                               have gone to Anglican Online Church

                                                           And now it's time to go and get some lunch

                                                                and maybe go out and tackle the garden

                                                             while the sun shines on this lovely Sunday.

                                                              All is well this first day of November,

                                            and the White Rabbit assures me it will continue this way!!!


                                                 He reminds me that before I went to bed last night

                                                                      I turned all the clocks back....

                                             An arrogant thing to do to Time, who really is all powerful

                                                              as he often whispers to me,  at 95!!

                                            Time is the ancient whisperer, - not the White Rabbit......

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

 October 21, 2020

A miserable day, - low, threatening clouds, a chilly wind,

 and I leaf through weaving magazines,

                                         looking for inspiration that will move me to use up 

                                         great quantities of my stash......

cotton, mainly.

I study a page or two in an old Handwoven,

 that features stripes - narrow stripes, wide stripes, rainbow stripes and a little Fibonacci.  

I poke around in the wicker basket that contains all my bits of leftover cones

 and mentally plan a little warp,

 - or maybe a longer one if I hit on something that really appeals to me.....

I examine this leftover cotton (and wool),

thinking it will dissuade me from ordering some

                                        Jaguar silk and wool 

that inspires me to make a lovely striped shawl. 

                                       


                                        What shall I do, - what shall I do?

Probably give in to my longing, 

- I have reached the age where I figure I deserve what I desire!!!!

In my mind's eye I see a beautiful, brushed square 

with maybe a stripe or two of mohair every few inches

to lend it an especially cosy look 

- and the image of my empty Glimakra springs to same mind, 

making a lovely picture of what might fill my hours and days

 for the next week or two.....

I am off to Jane Stafford's internet page,

 to see what she has to offer....

that should take care of the rest of the morning!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday, October 18th, 2020 

                                                      Misty and I have been weaving lately.

                                                                              I weave, -  

                                                        Misty plays around with the treadles

                                                            or does acrobatics on the loom



                                                       We have been adding to the stash of towels

                               One wonders why, when the chest that holds the completed weaving

                                                      is full of towels and placemats and scarves

                                                                (both men's and women's)

                                                                  all ready for Christmas!!!!

                                                            Here is the latest warp and weft

                                                               stretched out in the hallway




 it is waiting to be

washed, pressed, cut and hemmed

Ten pretty kitchen towels 

folded over and lined up on the

hand rail that is supposed to keep me from falling.....




I peer at them with great satisfaction

and make plans to wind the next warp.....

scarves?  maybe a blanket?

I have great quantities of wool..just a-waiting to be woven!!!!!

and an empty loom looking

for a 6 to the inch dented warp!!!!

Tomorrow starts a new week, and a new warp

sounds like 'just what the doctor ordered'

to keep life interesting.....






Thursday, October 08, 2020

October 7th, 2020

                       Losing oneself in the blue of the sky, and the fabulous colours of autumn.....


                       Yesterday, when the sun shone and the weather was reminiscent of summer.

                                   Early in the day Vincent, the camera and I went south, 

                                                  into the lower Similkameen,
      
                                     planning to record the loveliness of the fall season
 
                                              as it is in this part of the world!!  
 


                                                                Festooned Fences



and the river running by



                                                                           Scarlet Sumac



                            The rills in the Cawston Hills, made by erosion and heavy rainstorms -  

                                                                       We lived just to the right,

                                                                        on the next thirty acres


                     A beautiful apricot tree - its leaves all turned the colour of the fruit it bore


                   An Osprey nest atop a telephone pole, - a familiar sight in southern British Columbia



                                                                     The hills across the valley


                                                        Sumac intermingled with gold


                                                              New Plantings for a vineyard


Two pea hens crossing the road -

at least I think they were hens, - or perhaps cocks who had lost their tails????



                                    It was really a lovely day, - and thanks to the chauffeur, 

                                           whose company is always dear and welcome.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

A sweet and mellow autumn day, and I am about to take my before-dinner drink outside while I watch for birds and butterflies, and great large honey bees in the collection of Asters that the garden holds close to its bosom these days, - not much else blooming.  A few scattered yellow daisies, and the remnants of a tall red rose.  Under the trees a circle of autumn crocus and a lone 'dollar plant' shimmers in the sunshine when you bare the seed covering..

I'm off to pour the brandy - I will be back! With pictures.....

.....................................................................................................................................................................

October 5th, - just after lunch!

Well, I said I would be back, and here it is, three days later, and hello, hello! October 5th, and a surprise invitation!

A little road trip with youngest son, - what better way to spend a Monday morning!


We set off, - circled the back roads and then headed East to the turn-off,  up that old familiar road that Charles and I so often wandered....

A beautiful and mellow time of year, - the leaves donning their autumn colours and the rabbit brush all golden and blooming....

We took lots of pictures, and I share some here.....


It is eight years since Charles and I traveled this road, that last September,
and the memories were bitter-sweet....



Would you call this a swamp, or a pond, - whatever it is shallow and clear and the reflections are lovely.



         The road is lined with beautiful deciduous trees, and the hillsides heavy with evergreens.



                        A sunlit meadow through the straight, tall trees where probably the deer feast



and a bank of bright sumac 





We come home past Bear's Fruit Stand 
laden with pumpkins
 (and our eldest
daughter's fancy art work)

Gorgeous fall day, and so much to be thankful for!


 

Monday, September 28, 2020

 Monday, September 28th, 2020

A beautiful autumn day, - sunny and warm, a slight breeze. and the wonderful scent of fall in the air.

The sky that gorgeous September blue - nary a cloud!



               A large stalk of asters, humming with bees, nestled against the Mountain Ash, and

                  sheltering the bird house - empty now, waiting for next spring's house hunters...






The garden is awash with these asters

and with these bright and generous berries that are so inviting

to visiting robins.



Aster Heaven!






a few fall crocus, here and there in the borders



                              And in the house - a bouquet to brighten the front entrance




                                    Love September......and look forward to October, as well! 

             Youngest son has mentioned a drive through the mountains and up the back roads -

                                            I have the camera all primed and charged,

                  ready to go down Memory Lane as it was with my Beloved in days gone by....