Thursday, January 29, 2009

snow buntings

(I did not take this picture)These are the coolest birds. They've been coming through here in flocks lately and are beautiful to watch. The flocks are quite big and they float over the our open fields. It's easy to see their white against the dark background of trees and hills. Then all of a sudden, in unison, they change direction and become invisible. Then turn and are visible again. I'm going to try to get a picture. Good luck.

what are those drips coming out of the sky?

For crap's sake. It's something like + 7 degrees out there. Crap. Two days ago it was minus 33. Great timing. Sara and Kevin arrive tomorrow from Vancouver and it's not like they've never seen rain. C'mon.

And the wind is HOWLIN'. Probably caused by the sudden warm-up.

the ca-hooters watch the sun rise

Pardon the window. It's in terrible shape and due to be replaced in the spring.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

what planet am I from?

It's amazing what kind of dreams you can have after spending hours and days doing family tree research and then watching the movie "Men in Black" just before going to bed.Apparantly, all my relatives are aliens (which may not be all that far off the mark). Nobody get offended now. It was just a crazy dream.

Seriously though. I have been bitten by the genealogy bug. For the last week I've been all over the internet ... and the world. I found immigration data on my grandmother and made contact with a second cousin I've never met. I wrote to an aunt asking for any tidbits she could share .... and she shared tons. My new found second cousin put me in touch with a person in Finland who has also done a lot of research on our family. I've yet to learn what his relation to me is, but the whole thing is very exciting. I don't know what gets me going, but several times in my younger life I have had the desire to know my roots. I wish I had acted on those desires while elder family members were still around, but isn't that the problem with youth? We don't look beyond ourselves sometimes.

So, my father's side comes from Scotland and Ireland. My mother's from Iceland and Russia.

Monday, January 26, 2009

photographer woes

As Art promised, here are a few of my "frost" pictures.For about a week we had a heavy ice fog. Everything was covered in a stunning hoar frost (which Art's brother pronounces "whore" ... too funny). Each day the frost got heavier and more exotic. It was a photographer's heaven. But do you know happens to me? I go through phases. Sometimes I take pictures of every little thing I come across and other times I don't at all because I get so discouraged. I convince myself that it won't be perfect, so why bother. That's just crazy.

I have a good camera with some great lenses and a good tripod. I see what I think will be a fantastic photo. I take tons of shots, experimenting with all the different settings. Like this one on Art's blog. I took over 100 variations of this one picture. No kidding. I counted 65 still on my hard drive that I need to sort through and narrow down to my favourite. I already deleted 40 or so that I considered garbage. Now, I don't know if that would be considered obsessive or the sign of a good photographer (I think more likely the former). I'm such a perfectionist that none of them are good enough, but I also have a hard time throwing any away. I find it somewhat overwhelming sometimes. This is what holds me up when I'm blogging. I want to tell a story with photos, but I get in my own way so much of the time.

In all this photo-taking I've noticed that I have a lot of camera "shake". Mostly from pressing the shutter release, I think. So, when we went to Prince George last week, I bought myself a remote control for my camera.Probably the least expensive thing in my camera bag (only $30 or so), but I'm hoping it will help. I'm testing it out, just to make sure it works (please ignore that I'm covered in cat and dog hair....occupational hazard).These are a couple of very frosty trees I saw while we wandered around Prince George.We made a stop at Princess Auto. As we pulled into a parking spot beside a giant big pickup truck, Xena started going ballistic in the back seat. She'd seen another dog, so was acting all ferocious.For God's sake, Xena. It's the MIB dog. What do ya want to be barking at him for?

Back at home .... the chickens are laying crazy eggs.Maybe this wild weather is just too shocking for them, I don't know. Maybe it's time for chicken stew.

We've been having some gorgeous sunrises lately.This one's from a few days ago. Art has this morning's on his blog. I thought my fingers were going to freeze off waiting for the flag to be "just right".

Friday, January 23, 2009

Christmas gifts are being enjoyed

Sara and Kevin in their Lucha Libre Smackdown masks (although Kevin likes to refer to them as Nacho Libre .... I haven't seen that movie yet).Treena and the cow scarf. She just wrote me and said that she wore it somewhere and got a lot of comments. It is kinda unique, that's for sure. Bravo to you Treena for actually wearing it out in public. I hope it was fun and not too embarrassing.The easy-peezy sweater. The only problem is that it seems to be snagging easily. Maybe all those pokey-outy wires are catching on it.Art was feeling left out of the whole Lucha Libre thing, so I "whipped one up" for him.


When I make posts for this blog I try to be mindful of who will be reading it. Some of you I know, some I don't. What's really cool is when these pages are the catalyst for finding a new friend.

One day last summer we were in town (Fraser Lake). From across the parking lot of the little mall I hear someone call "Hey, Endako Jo". Well, I am only called that here on this blog. The person calling was Jody, who runs the second-hand shop (well, she used to ... sadly, it's shut down now). I never really knew Jody very well before that, but we got to talking. Turns out that she had an elderly gentleman living with her family and he was a daily reader of my blog. Who knew? His name was Donald. Jody spoke so dearly of him and we invited her to bring him up for a visit some time. He'd been following our progress for ages and wanted to see the place in person. Well, you know how time flies and everyone is always so busy. It never happened. But we did get to meet Donald finally, when he went to work with Jody one day. We walked into her shop, like we did quite regularly because she always had such great items for sale. Sitting there, working away on a laptop was this cute old guy. Very quickly, Jody jumped up and introduced us. This was Donald.

Art sat down and started chatting with him. They got on like gang-busters. He reminded me so much of my long lost friend Jack. Some old guys are just timeless. The first visual impression is that they are "old", but after a minute or two of talking to them that impression melts away. The curious, vibrant person within shines through (of course, I've only met a few of these ... a lot really are crotchety old farts).

I'm sad to say that Donald passed away shortly before Christmas. I was so sorry to hear that. He was 83.

Donald Frank Carson
1925 - 2008

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I am a coffee snob

I admit it. I love really good, dark, rich coffee. A little (OK...a lot) on the strong side and very dark. There's a difference between strong and dark. I've not met anyone around here, yet, who knows what I mean. In some of these smaller communities, I think what happens is, people do a lot of visiting with each other and when they do they drink coffee. When you're making and drinking it all day long it becomes mundane. My dear old friend, Jack, would call it "piss-willy". And that flavoured stuff. Well ... let's not go there. Just the thought gives me acid-stomach.

Some would say Starbucks is great coffee. I don't entirely agree. They HAVE great coffee ... they don't MAKE great coffee. What I mean is, a cup of French Roast they brew in their store tastes way way different than a cup I brew at home. Same beans. I buy them from them. Different taste. I prefer mine.

This is the latest addition to our kitchen.It grinds the beans immediately before brewing them into a heavenly pot of coffee. Sara and Kevin gave it to us for Christmas (thanks you guys .... we LOVE it). I've got a spot all picked out for it on the island in our kitchen. My electrician (wink, wink) is going to wire in an outlet for it there.

Oh ya .... the blizzard .... it is upon us. The temperature rose from minus 25 to minus 8, the wind is screaming in from the east (always a bad sign) and the snow is horizontal. I think that qualifies as a blizzard. Good call on the grocery shopping before it hit. How is youz guysez in Vancouver and on the island doin'?

blizzard warning

This is coming our way. The winds have already started (sounds like Ice Station Zebra around here).So, before the blizzard hits, we're off to town to stock up on food for the animals and supplies for us. Getting dangerously low on toilet paper. Running out of that will never do.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

a broader view

Who'da thought those Lucha Libre Smackdown masks would be such a hit. Art wants one too now, so I've made a start on that. I want it to be finished for when Sara and Kevin come to visit later this month. I'm sure they'll do some snowshoeing and those will definitely keep the wind out. Maybe they'll frighten any trespassing snowmobilers while they're at it. Would that be bad?I received a fantastic addition to my camera gear ..... a wide angle lens.This is the first picture I took with it.The same shot with a normal lens.That's a pretty awesome range. I LOVE it! I'm looking forward to doing some learning and practicing with it. Woot-woot!
(Carol ..... got any tips?)

Once the new woodstove is all polished up and the floor is painted and the clutter is cleared away, I'll take this picture again. From both sides. To show the true wonderousness of that whole project.

Blackie and Chickie are loving the new warmth.After awhile Ewie came to join them. There's that goofy stretch he likes to do.So, Sara, we'll put a chair close to the stove just for you so you can stay toasty warm while you're here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

handmade gifts

I made a lot of the Christmas gifts this year. All of these were fun projects. First, a Lucha Libre Smackdown mask each for Sara and Kevin.They made the request and chose the colours last Christmas when they saw the pattern in this book.


After this pic was taken I noticed I had forgotten some trim around the eyes and mouth. I finished it before sending it off in the mail.

Treena likes cows (at least, she used to) so I made this cute scarf for her.These coffee cup cozies worked up very for each of the girls and one for Kevin.(note: you have to be a member of Ravelry to see the one for Kev. The designer offers the pattern for free there, even though she has it for sale in her Etsy store. That's nice of her).

We had a couple of jars of local honey but I wanted to fancy them up a bit, so crocheted these "toppers".and then glued these little charms onto them.I made a dickey for Art. It is very soft and warm.He suggested I make the flaps longer and then maybe join them with a strap under the arms to hold them in place. Oh and then maybe add some sleeves. I stopped him there and said "uh....that'd make it a sweater!" Yup.


And lastly, an actual sweater for Art. I made this back in the summer and it wasn't meant to be a Christmas gift. When our friend Rhoda saw me working on it she asked if I was making it for Christmas and I suddenly thought "hey...what a great idea", so hid it away. I gotta say, it was the easiest sweater I've ever made. Just round and around and around on a big circular needle. Then pick up stitches for the sleeves and go round and around again. Super easy!

I could hardly wait to give it to Art because if he liked it I would make another one or two.He loves it! Yay. I'll be making a couple more. Maybe even one for me.