Friday, September 28, 2007

Old Fashioned Girls

Here I am, circa 1844.
And the photo below is my dear friend Tai, showing off her wasp waist in clothes that were quite fashionable in 1898. Yes, who knew that Spider Girl and Tai were such old-fashioned girls....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Apple Magic

I have found no better way to truly celebrate the spirit of the Fall Equinox, a traditional harvest holiday, than to be outside in the warmth of the newly-autumn sunshine actually harvesting something.

I'm going to write more about what I was doing on this glorious bee-buzzing apple-laden afternoon a bit later, but I'll leave you with these pictures for the moment.....

Okay. It's later. :)

Here's a link to what I was up to:

Denman Island Community Garden Parties follow the basic principle that many hands make light work. Volunteers arrive at various farms, orchards, and vegetable gardens at specified times and dates and put in two hours of cheerful unpaid labour to support the production of fresh, organic produce.
If ten people show up, that's twenty hours of work done. If twenty people show up, a whopping great forty hours of work get done.
I'm mentally scanning a list of friends that might want to get behind this philosophy in oh, let's say, MY garden!
With a good friend by my side, and a huge canvas pouch on my front that made me feel like a kangaroo, I helped pick the gazillions of apples that grew on a mere three trees.
This in an orchard where long lanes of many, many trees populated an enormous meadow.

There were other jobs to do too, if we were willing. There were potatoes to be hoed, blackberries to be picked, and manure to be spread on the garden pathways. The few hours there sped by. I've discovered that I really enjoy outdoor work. Well, as long as the sun is shining and the breeze is cool that is.

It also helped that Fireweed and I had a really good conversation as we picked, and that we were rewarded with fresh-pressed apple cider at work's end, a few of the really good purple grapes that hung from the farmers' fence, and a good haul of apples to take back to the evening's harvest dinner back at the Denman Hall. (Those apples later met their fate in an apple crumble.)

Oh, the food at dinner was marvellous. Fresh, fresh, fresh produce made a delicious meal. Even Fireweed's lobster- mushroom soup (that's a kind of mushroom, no crustaceans were harmed in the making of this soup) was picked fresh from the forest floor. Yum!
And the dessert featured pears from an ancient tree that justy groaned with the weight of fruit. Happy Equinox to all!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spot the Spider

Did you spot the little spider on the Black-eyed Susan flower from my garden above? He's right at the top of center. That's spider number five thousand, four hundred and sixty-three I spotted today.

Two were hanging from my garden hat at one point. And kind though I am to spiders, I unknowingly barged through and utterly destroyed quite a number of little webs in the garden this week.

Some not so little. :)

Autumn is the time for a spider's last hurrah before winter when things get pretty bleak for our eight-legged friends. Live fast, die young, I guess. Some of them live really fast. You should've seen the fat brown one that ran over my shoe move.

I'm on the look-out for two particular kinds I haven't seen yet: my mom spotted a spider that imitates a large ant in appearance and my mother-in-law claims there are also HUGE SCARY FAT yellow spiders scampering around like puppy dogs.

Spider Girl is on the lookout.

These last couple weeks I haven't been near my blog much.

Partly because it's the beginning of the new school year and that's the time when teachers of little kids everywhere go a bit crazy-busy.

My past two weeks have been full of new kids with new little personalities and new little eccentricities to discover.

Activites have included:

*participating in slug hunts
*tasting mud pies (mmmm...yum)
*dipping myself in paint, glue, day-glo coloured shaving-cream, and any number of messy forms of abstract preschool art
*learning the fine art of cutting out a hundred construction paper leaves without having my fingers cramp
*trying to grow the eight arms which would suddenly become very helpful
*discovering how many pairs of socks have been left outside in the sandbox
*closing my eyes and trying to go to my inner quiet happy place

As I'm a sucker for punishment I have also applied to and been accepted in a Early Childhood Education research/discussion group course through UVic. Once again I'll be a student of sorts. An online one at least.

Another reason I haven't blogged (at least this week) is that I have nearly four hundred flower bulbs in various stages of being planted. (I have my mom to thank for a lot of those daffodils next spring!)

Between my mom's gift and my own budget splash-out on bulbs (daffodils, tulips, crocus, jonquils, allium), I have my work for the next week of non-rainy evenings cut out for me.

It's tedious work--dig hole, stir some bonemeal at the bottom, plop the bulb in, cover up, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I think I was practically meditating by the time I got through the first bag of one hundred.

The zen of planting bulbs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I love this guy. :)

And we've been married FIFTEEN years today!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Your Own Heart on Display

This is from a BBC news article that made me realize that no matter how strange and miraculous life gets, it can always get a little more surreal....

Imagine seeing your own heart in a jar.

(And I thought seeing an X-ray of my foot was sorta nifty....)

Jennifer Sutton, 23, from Ringwood, Hampshire, successfully underwent an operation to replace her heart earlier this year.
She had developed a life-threatening condition called restrictive cardiomyopathy in her teens.
Now the original heart, which nearly killed her, has been put on temporary display by the Wellcome Collection in central London.
The exhibition explores the medical and cultural significance of the heart. (Here's a link to the whole article.)

She said: "Seeing my heart for the first time is an emotional and surreal experience.
"It caused me so much pain and turmoil when it was inside me. Seeing it sitting here is extremely bizarre and very strange.
"Finally I can see this odd looking lump of muscle that has given me so much upset."