With autumn's undeniable arrival, I'm feeling a distinctive turning inward.
My creative interests, left to lay dormant during the warm summer months, are beginning to stretch and yawn their way into my daily life again.
I'm feeling a pull to sit quietly and write and illustrate and make things.
I'm very impressed with the hardy nature our chickens are already displaying. Even on the coldest, most blustery days, they're out in the run pecking and scratching and enjoying dust baths.
We're consistently getting a minimum of 4 eggs a day now and as many as six. They're still small, but it's unbelievably thrilling nonetheless. Pearl, for his part, is proving to be very protective of his girls. What personal shifts are you noticing as the seasons transition again?
Our Willow is 3 years old today. She had a rough start, what with the trauma surgery she underwent at 4 months of age that left her with a scar that stretches from her belly button to her chest. We're proud to say that she made a full recovery and has never yet had to wear the cone of shame. She's grown into a lovely young girl. Sweet natured and playful, gentle and intelligent, we love her more than she will ever know. Happy Birthday, Willow.
I'm happy to announce we got our first egg late yesterday afternoon. I don't know who the proud momma is, but I did hear her proclaim her accomplishment to the world at large. It's a pullet egg, so it's quite small, but I think it's perfect in every way.
It seems that I'm more motivated to cocoon when autumn begins than I am to spring clean. When the weather beckons, I'm more likely to head outdoors and visa versa. I've been busy with a paintbrush the last several days and I will have given nearly every wall a fresh coat of colour. We've used Benjamin Moore paint throughout.
Let's begin in the kitchen. The previous owners put a deep, warm yellow on these walls and we opted to keep it. Even though most of the kitchen is white, the rest of our decor would have to complement this choice. (Dijon CC-210)
We chose a pale shade of yellow for our living room, although the colour changes dramatically during the day and with different lighting. (Jicama AF-315) We also wanted to introduce a different colour and elected to pull a rich green out of our area rug for a feature wall. (Hancock Gray Kaki HC-97) (The artwork above the fireplace is a print by Northwest Coast artist, Susan Point.)
We wanted our bedroom to be cozy, so we brought the green into this room, as well, and combined it with the pale yellow we chose for the living room. The cheerful bedspread brightens it up, provides continuity with the rest of the house and adds a shot of poppy red accent. All in all, we're really pleased with the results.
Everything was going along swimmingly and then...Mother Nature had a hissy fit. I finally (!!) found the 'right' paint colours for the main floor of our house. What was supposed to be a winter project - last winter - morphed into an autumn project. I am presently in the midst of repainting and by "midst", I mean, furniture is helter skelter in the rooms, paint supplies occupy every available counter space, and normal routine has been effectively shelved for the foreseeable future. It was the perfect time to get this project underway, really. Until the weather suddenly went from hot and dry to cold and wet. Really wet. And, if that's not bad enough, there's snow in the forecast. My plans to winterize the chicken coop have been pushed forward by two months and, frankly, I'm not ready. Last week, a farmer friend 'gifted' us with 13 bales of barley straw. I packed it in the utility side of the coop and was feeling pretty smug about my winter stash of emergency bedding and nesting box material. That is, until I went to use some of it this morning only to discover that it's wet inside. He must have baled it while it was still damp and it may all be completely useless. I dragged the bales out into the wind and sunshine today and prayed a fervent prayer that they'll dry before the next downpour that's expected in a few days time. In the meantime, I'm going to have to get in my garden sooner than anticipated, to harvest what I can before it rots in the ground. Never a dull moment around here, folks.
What is it about the scent of wood smoke in the air that makes Autumn feel so close? I built a fire outside in our fire pit early this morning. The sun, shining in a cloudless sky did little to dispel the chill that compels me to hunt for sweaters in the back of my closet. Our furnace has come on in the house the last two mornings, luring us out from beneath the heavy quilts that we've burrowed under in bed. Autumn is typically the saddest season for me. It's the time of year when I experience a distinct, if intangible, sense of loss. In an effort to self-soothe, hot baths replace showers, candles are lit to lend a warm glow to rooms made prematurely dark by an early dusk. This morning was different. This morning, with the sweet scent of wood smoke in my nose and the crack and pop of the fire, I felt immensely blessed. The morning felt unhurried as I listened to the geese honk in the neighbouring fields, feasting on tailings from the farmer's recent harvest before seeking warmer climes. With my little flock contentedly scratching and pecking nearby, a fresh cup of coffee, and my dog and cat napping beside me in the morning sun, I felt little need to rush about my day. May your day be filled with moments of calm and may you find much to be thankful for.
I've been participating in Stacy Reck's Living a Goddess Year for the last couple of months where we explore what it means to live a goddess life. One of our recent assignments was to create a crown* for ourselves. This is mine and I have to admit, I'm quite fond of it. I've decided to put it on display in my studio where its playful magic will be near at hand. *If you'd like to create a crown of your own, you can download templates here.
We've been getting a lot of rain lately and it's all a little too familiar. After nearly 30 years of living on the west coast, I've had my fill of wet weather. Forecasters are predicting a week of sunshine and warmer temperatures this week. I hope they're right.
Today the weather is cold and dreary. It's windy and it's doing its best to rain. Everyone in the house is napping, except me. It's the perfect day to snuggle beside the fireplace and enjoy a hot cup of tea.
There's a working blacksmith shop that operates on Sunday afternoons during the summer months in our small town. It was great to see the work being done using ages old methods and century old equipment. The men were all more than happy to talk to The Frenchman about his desire to pursue this as a hobby and offered a few tips of the trade to him.
Raspberries aren't the only things I'm harvesting these days. These creatures seem to have invaded my garden overnight and I'm getting quite good at catching them. My little flock loves them and they're a tasty protein treat.
We can't ignore it any longer. Pearl is not a girl. After only a few short weeks, we knew there was something unusual about her, but thought she was simply a different breed, a leghorn slipped in with our brown hens by mistake.
It was Wendy Woo who first suggested that she might be a rooster and all evidence seems to point to this being the case. At first we thought we might have a transgendered bird. There have been cases of a hen assuming the characteristics of a rooster when none are present in a flock, with incidences occurring about 1 in 10,000. A quick review of our breed on-line, however, and it confirmed that the pullets, or hens, are red and the cockerels are white with brown markings.
He has begun to make tentative, albeit enthusiastic, attempts at crowing in the morning and I cringe at the thought of him disturbing our neighbours. Then I remember listening to their dog bark for hours without end and I get over it. He's also made a valiant effort to mount a hen or two. The hens in question give a startled squawk and run away. Initially, I was a little conflicted about having a rooster in our flock. I do love roosters and he does bring a certain ineffable quality to our little family. When the time comes and we want to increase our flock, we'll be able to raise our own. We've come to know him as Pearl, but I suppose that will have to change. We're still casting about, giving some thought to a suitable name befitting his station.
I think he's developing into quite the handsome fellow. So, what surprises has life had in store for you lately?
We had a mighty storm blow through here last night. Today, we're picking up the pieces and counting our blessings. To be completely honest, I missed most of it. I had run out to the chicken coop to close windows and made it inside just as a plow wind hit. The short definition is a high velocity wall of wind. It brought with it heavy rain and hail. I didn't really see the storm from inside the coop, but I heard and felt it. The Frenchman was afraid I was going to get blown away, a la Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and came to rescue me during a brief lull in the storm. By then, enough water had accumulated in the flower beds and garden that they resembled wading pools. A quick survey of my garden was pretty disheartening. The plants look like they've been hit by machine gun fire and they were blown over and laying flat. I spent some time this morning assessing the damage and doing what I could to shore up the plants that could be saved and harvesting what couldn't. The winds were in excess of 100 km./hr. (**) and tore one of our old growth trees right out of the ground. All of that aside, no one was hurt and we suffered minor damage. Farmer friends had two grain sheds blown over and there has been a lot of crop damage.
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I'm a Superficial Dabbler - I know a little bit about a lot of things and I'm an expert at none of them. I’m a city girl with a country soul, a curious nature, and a very short attention span. I believe that animals are angels wrapped in fur, come down from heaven to model unconditional love.
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