I can’t resist picking up a purple cabbage at the grocery store. Oh the colour is so rich and the slicing reveals the most intricate patterns. I noticed that the line from the middle spiral outwards. Is everything in creation a series of spirals?
I came across this totally easy and VERY TASTY recipe called Warm Red Cabbage, Red Onion and Apple Slaw. Even the title is visually appealing.
I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic, but I’m sure both are delicious. I also add a handful of walnuts. AND, I keep it on the stove until the cabbage is soft. That means putting a lid on it at the end.
It’s snowing outside, the washing machine is washing, and the kitchen is filled with a sweet and sour fragrance. The cat is curled up by the fire. Larry is upstairs creating an ad for this season’s Bear River Artworks Gallery.
Reminder to self: the studio calls.
See more of Penny’s stitching, dyeing and fibre story-telling at her blog
I’ve left out the conversations about the recent local Herring Deaths, the Trump stories, the agony of aging parents, the state of the world, heating systems, fostering creativity, music concerts and lost cats.
I’ve left out the Bob Dylan, John Prine and similar soundsin the cafe.
I’ve left out the stop at the post office.
And finally, the walk home……
Upstairs at Sissiboo Coffee is the Rebekah. Open New Years Eve.
Can you spot the typo?
The final hill to climb to our place.
And then a peek into the studio at my newest creation. A need to add some colour to this beautiful, monochromatic world.
The studio beckons on a grey, snowy day.
Unfinished painting by Flora Doehler, 2016
And finally for you, dear reader, a little puzzle.
This post from Aug 9, 2013 is about a lush, rain filled summer. This 2016 summer is not. Drought and heat sum it up. What is the same is the insect explosion. 😉
—————————-What crazy weather this summer. We had record breaking rainfall in June and July and hot, hot, sticky days alternating with cold. These conditions have played havoc with the garden and the insect populations have exploded. This is good news for black flies, earwigs, cucumber beetles, potato bugs and snails. Sigh. It is also good news for birds and their numbers seem up.
I’ve painted more flowers than ever before and haven’t even scratched the surface of what I would like to achieve in that theme.
This week the weather has shifted. The nights are suddenly chilly and the warm daytime sun has allowed full outdoor activity again. Suddenly the vegetable garden is looking lush and strong. I see my favorite pumpkins starting to form – winter luxury pumpkins that taste out of this world as pies or as vegetables.
The green beans are flowering and the tomatoes are green and growing. Larry staked them this afternoon as you can see from the photo in the header. The potato plants are like bushes, in spite of those striped potato bugs that I flick into soapy water when I remember to!
The weather is still always the wild card and teaches both flexibility and acceptance to this gardener.
The rain has accelerated the growth and height of all the perennial flowers. Those tiny plants I put in 4 years ago are crowded now and exploded into bloom.
Perennials planted 4 years ago
Perennials – four years after planting
This is an exciting time for me to paint.
The summer has been filled with other important cultural details 😉 such as:
This summer I’ve worked hard at painting and I’ve been blogging that experience.My writing energy is there now…I guess because I am so involved with the act of painting. If you paint too or are interested in the process, please join me at http://floradoehler.ca
There is a very special place that I go to when I need to be in nature, or when I need a quiet moment. Behind the vegetable garden we have about 1/2 an acre that we let grow wild and that contains our pond.
This piece of land has a few intentional plants like lilies, iris and about 7 willow trees. But the rest of it is a chaotic riot of tangled wild flowers (weeds really) that grow about 4 feet high.
We have a couple of paths cut through it and walking them is like being a child again in my grandmother’s garden. Hidden from view and right in the middle of the natural world. Frogs croak, seagulls and crows soar above. Bees buzz all over the flowers.
The pond itself has 8 large goldfish that wintered over. Animals wander through and drink from the pond. There are dragonflies, butterflies, birds and a host of insects. It’s a nice place to decompress and to marvel at the complex beauty of the natural world.
I planted the willows 4 years ago and they are already taller than me. In a few more years there will be a willow grove at the end of the pond providing magic for us and no doubt for the next caretakers of this land.
Yup! It’s planting season again. I love the idea of it, growing our own food, but I am always surprised at the amount of work that’s involved.
Today I planted climbing beans, chard, spinach, lettuce, beets, leeks, carrots, edamame, bush beans and celery. Whew! I had previously planted broccoli, snow peas, zucchini and pumpkin.
The asparagus is producing and the redcurrant and raspberry canes are doing well. The garlic is tall and green.
Most years I’ve had to replant the zucchini up to 3 times as it got eaten down by who-knows-what. This year I grew little squash plants from seed first and I’m hoping that action will save me from having to replant.
I haven’t had much luck in the past with lettuce or spinach….it gets eaten by slugs or critters. I’m trying to out-smart the wildlife and we’ve been eating ‘premium’ salads out of the greenhouse for a few weeks now. Still, hope springs eternal and I planted seeds out in the garden today.
It seems crazy to be planting so late – June 4. But the season has arrived late this year. My peonys aren’t in bloom yet and the lupins just started to colour-up today. From photos of friends in Ontario, I see that we are 2 weeks behind.
We’ve had lots of rain and my two enormous water collectors (4′ x 4′ x 4′) are full…a good thing to have at the beginning of the season.
Tomorrow is the final push when 45 tomato plants go into the ground. Maybe this will be the year that I will finally grow enough of them to can for the entire year.
It is a lot of hard work and I am sore, but it also feels wonderful to be so close to the soil and to handle living plants, and to smell the fragrances of the lilac and to enjoy the chirping of birds.
On my hands and knees today planting my 6th garden here it occurred to me that the message of Spring is that we all get a fresh chance to get everything right or at least to tweak our approach.
Oh yeah, and then there are the plant sale flowers that are still patiently waiting for their turn.
A group of 8 enthusiastic artists have come together to open a gallery/mini arts space in Bear River.
We’ve rented a bright, interesting space for a year. We plunked our money down and celebrated last week with slices of lemon meringue pie. The very next day crowbars and plaster of paris came out and now our beautiful space is being polished and made ready.
A website is on its way; so are gorgeous signs and, of course, works of art from the heart.
We are working towards a mid April opening.
Little did Larry and I or any of the other members know a few months ago, that we would embark on such a venture together. But the timing is right, the enthusiasm is real and there is no time like the present for trying out something new. And there’s only one place we could possibly do this and that’s Bear River, Nova Scotia.
7 years ago our workmates in Toronto warned us about moving to Nova Scotia. We heard tales about terrific snowstorms and subzero temperatures. “You really should visit there in winter first to see if you can handle it”.
But like many people before us and after us who were considering the move, we were not dissuaded and obsessively checked daily Bear River weather reports. I looked at the webcam in nearby Annapolis Royal every single day. We looked up snow, temperature and rainfall stats from Environment Canada. It was an important part of shifting our point-of-view and imagining living here.
And the looking told us that the Bear River winter weather was milder than most of the rest of the country, except, of course, for Canada’s la-la land Vancouver and Victoria.
But this winter has been snowmageddon with most people saying they haven’t seen storms and snow depths like this in years..or ever.
If Mother Nature gives you lemons…..make lemonade. And making the most of this weather means getting out the snowshoes and tramping out pathways to the compost and to the bird feeders. It means filling the bathtub with water for when the power goes out and we can’t pull water from the well, It means having candles and flashlights at the ready. It means having friends like Gerry Chute who can come by in his nice shiny orange plow and clear the snow.
This weekend we are expecting a Nor’easter along with another 25cm dump. The snow-shovels are ready. We’ll all have well-developed biceps by the end of it all. (I was going to say ‘March’, but I don’t want to press my luck).
Meanwhile, there’s nowhere to go except the studio to paint.
And there’s nothing to do except to take part in the Annual Winter Carnival in Bear Riverwhere you can cross-country ski across 7 lakes for free. Myself, I think I’ll snowshoe over to the free yoga class.
But for tonight, before the next storm, we are going to join kindred spirits and hear our favorite local singer, David Chamberland.
This month, I’m going to post a daily photo using ‘prompts’ from Susannah Conway.Join me if you feel like it.
This year was….
15 Years Ago
On the Table
My Favorite Camera
My best photo of 2014. (Caleb Miles)
Painting in Acrylics: The Indispensable Guide, by Lorena Kloosterboer.
T is for Trees
Leaves by Flora
A Best Day in 2014
A Best Day in 2014
A Best Day in 2014
Susannah is a writer and photographer who has some great ideas about journaling, blogging and planning. Last year I used her (free) workbook to help organize my thoughts about my own art path and last night I looked at it again and know that it has helped me this year. In January I blogged about her workbook and other year end intention strategies.
Every season here is visually stunning. This morning I took these photos walking around through our garden in Bear River, Nova Scotia. Everywhere I turned I saw a gorgeous palette of rusts and greens and yellows and magentas. It is almost too much to take in.The beauty here is unending.
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither