Category Archives: Hobbies

Sawing Logs

Two years ago at a quilting retreat, I had finished my planned small projects and had time left over to mess around a bit.  I sewed a few left over odds and ends together, making a square in the log cabin pattern.

The strips of fabric are like logs of all different lengths,  stacked into a “log cabin” of sorts. I made 14 of these squares with the shortest “log” being 1 inch and the longest, 9 inches. I thought it was a good way to use up scraps of fabric that would otherwise not be good for much.

Then I had a brainwave: I could put the squares together and make a quilt!

Okay. How many squares would I need? I had a quilt at home with a different design of squares. It was  10 squares across and 11 down, but was a tiny bit small for the bed.

I could do the same thing and add a border.

Great idea. So how many squares would I need to make? 10 times 11 = 110.

I had 14 done (and it had taken me some time).

Only 96 more to go. Eeeeeeee!!! What was I thinking?

But I had already made 14 and I had the “logs” cut out for many more. Too late to abandon the plan.

…. Last night, almost two years later,  I finished the monstrosity. Now, if I snore, I can say I’m sawing logs.

Blackberries

I love the taste of blackberries, but I hate picking them. This plant defends itself rather aggressively. The thorns are vicious and you either get your arms and legs scratched up or your clothing torn.  Add to that, the wasps that claim the ripe berries and resent you reaching in to steal them, and spiders that hide behind the leaves and scurry over your fingers as you touch their webs. Shudders! I let the Captain do the picking if he’s home, or his 96-year-old mother (pictured below, picking last year’s berries), if he’s not. They both love picking blackberries. Go figure!

But I think I have found a solution. Take a close look at the vines on these  blackberries below. What do you see? More importantly, what do you NOT see? Thorns! Also, the blackberries are growing on my garden fence so the tangles and spider hiding places are not as many.

Yes, thornless blackberries. Domestic, of course, but I like the idea of no thorns. The berries have a slightly different flavour, but they’re pretty good, and I don’t have to get stung or touch spiders, or tear up my arms and legs to get a few berries. Whoever developed this thornless variety deserves a medal.

These berries are not quite ready, but they seem to be fairly early this year. It won’t be long now before they’re ready to pick.

A Bad Hair Day

I think these are the last of the poppies in my garden that have a different look.

The combination of colours and texture is beautiful, but it was the crepe paper look that made these poppies special for me. I wondered what the word “crepe” meant and found that its origin in 18th C. French was “crespe” which meant “curled, frizzed” from the Latin “crispus.”

In reality, the poppy petals are soft and delicate, but it’s the crepe look that I find fascinating.

D’you ever have a bad hair day

When petals lie down where they may?

You see, for me, it’s nothing new,

They do whatever they want to do.

Crispy,  frizzy, fluttering,

My hairdo takes a battering.

The passing breeze has tousled me

I’m not the queen I’d like to be.

Here comes a lady pulling plants.

I call to her, “Give me a chance!

I’m just not ready yet to die.” 

She halts and breathes a great big sigh.

“I love the messy look  we share. 

To part with you, I could not bear.”

 

 

 

Light Play

This morning the dogs let me sleep in until about 6:00. Then Emma tapped the edge of the bed. Bleary-eyed, I let her and Ruby out and wandered around the yard waiting for them to do their business. They were more interested in what might have spent the night in the shrubs by an old tree stump. Maybe a rabbit or a raccoon? I wandered away a few feet and what I saw made me run back into the house to get the camera.

I didn’t care that the ugliest hydro pole in the world was front and center of my photo. I just wanted to record that rainbow.

The first rays of morning light were doing strange things. The hedge around our place is usually all the same colour, but when the light hit patches of it, you would think it had two kinds of trees.

These are all western red cedars with no colour variation (except today).

When the sun went behind a cloud only moments later, the sky turned dark and so did the hedge. You are looking at the same stretch of hedging in the photo below as in the photos above.

The cloud hiding the sun moved on and the morning rays went to work again.

It was a real light show out there this morning. I’m so glad I didn’t sleep through it.

Foxgloves

The tall white, pink, and purplish flowers standing like spikes around the edge of the garden are foxgloves (digitalis). I found the name fascinating, imagining a fox wearing the tiny blooms of this plant on his feet. Each of the many flowers on the stalks is shaped like a  sock or a glove, just perfect for a fox to put a paw into.

This plant has many common names. I first learned its name in German when my mother told me it was called “Fingerhut,” which means, literally, finger hat, and is the word for “thimble.”  The Latin name “digitalis” is also to do with fingers (digits).

Did you know that digoxin, extracted from foxglove, is used as a heart medicine? But don’t go eating foxglove thinking you’ll get a healthy heart from it. The opposite would most likely occur. All parts of the plant are toxic.

Although it is unlikely to be eaten by children or pets, I want to be careful. I try to keep my foxgloves growing mainly inside the garden fence.

In the photo above, you can see that the bells of the foxgloves gradually open starting from the bottom of the plant. The top buds are the last to open. The bottom ones will be the first to go to seed. I had to wait to see what shape the topmost flower would have. I wanted to compare it to this oddball below.

In the photo of the pale foxglove, the topmost flower opened like a wide bell facing upwards. All the other foxglove plants have drooping bell-shaped flowers right to the top.

I don’t know if it’s a different variety of foxglove or just an anomaly. Maybe it’s the teacup for the fox to sip from while he puts his gloves on. That would get his ticker racing.

Working to Eat

 

The pileated woodpecker has to work for his meals. This is Woody, who came to check out the old fir stump in my overgrown veggie garden. Notice how his tongue sticks out now and then to help lick up anything  he finds crawling around inside the wood.

After he had his meal, he flew into the forested area around the side of our house to have dessert at one of the other stumps we’ve left there.

I followed him to try to get another photo and was surprised when Junior flew in and landed in a tree quite close to me. You can tell that this is a young bird, maybe a female because of no red malar stripe (moustache). The red on her head is not as brilliant as it will be when she matures.

By the time I recovered from the surprise of her appearance, and refocused the camera, the backyard superintendents woke up from sleeping on the job, and came along barking their fool heads off, scaring the birds away.

I sighed, but couldn’t really reprimand them. After all, they are bird dogs.

 

 

Tide Out, Fish In

At first glance you might think it’s a sandy beach, but your nostrils will tell you that iodine  breeze holds the smell of low tide.  That sand would be very soft to walk on and I wouldn’t advise it. When the tide comes in, all that “sand” will be under water. Meanwhile, there’s no telling how far you would sink into that sea bottom.

This is the east side of the causeway that divides the wharves where fish boats can tie up. It is what they call the new side, more recently dredged to provide more moorage and shelter for local boats.

The older side is more crowded because “the old salts” tie up there. It is busy with fishermen getting their boats ready for a summer of salmon and halibut fishing, often far enough from home that the men and their boats may be gone for many weeks.

You can see the roof and the rigging of the Captain’s boat on the bottom right-hand side of the photo below.

The new side is also busy, but is more convenient for boats that come and go more frequently.

Those who have fish for sale will want to moor on the new side. It is handier for the public to visit for dockside sales of whatever is in season. It might be prawns, shrimp, salmon, halibut  or other. Today it is halibut. The customers lined up on the dock know that they have to buy the whole fish. The price is high, but they gladly part with well over $100 for a small halibut. These flat fish have a delicate white meat which, though highly priced, is also highly prized. If you could see what the fishermen have to risk and endure to catch and bring these fish to harbour, you would say the price is a bargain for the customer.

As you can see, there is no shortage of people wanting fish for their supper.

I have removed the name and number of the boat to allow some anonymity for the boat owner.