Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stormy Weather....

It's been far to wet to be outside with the camera, though there are a lot of things happening in my own bit of earth. Yesterday was the strangest and most stormy day we've had in a really long time. Monday started off with heavy rain and gusty winds, but before noon, it looked as if the skies were going to clear and Jonathan made another attempt to get Sophie outside. I heard him calling me and went to see what he needed, and discovered that my garden umbrella was thrown into the garden and my swing was upside down! I could hardly believe that the wind was that strong, however no plants were damaged for which I'm really thankful. Actually, nothing in the yard seems any the worse for wear after the storms. Through the afternoon though, the weather reapeated the same pattern of clouding up, pouring rain, and then clearing off. Oh, I can't forget the thunder! Sophie doesn't like thunder on a good day, so I am thankfull that we don't get much, but yesterday! Oh, My! The claps of thunder were so loud and so sudden I was ready to jump out of my skin, added to the fact that a few minutes before the sky looked like it would clear off.

I've been emailing my brother and the reenacting bug has bitten once again. I think this year there is actually a possibility of getting to a couple of events. There are two that are being held this side of Bellingham, Washington so it's a pretty short drive and no overnight stays. Thinking about my wardrobe though, I need to put some time in on the sewing machine. I have fabric,
period correct this time, to make a new day dress. It has been sitting on my shelf for atleast a year and it's time to cut into it. Just waiting for the pattern to arrive. I need to shorten a petticoat for my smaller hoops and finish my new chemise as well. Plenty to keep me busy during these stormy days. Oh, can't forget the quilting and knitting as well.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Yes, we do get snow here in Vancouver, though not usually in March. I think we were getting too complacent at not having any this year. We will pay the price later though in lots of bugs. March's weather has been quite unsettled and very stormy with high winds "wuthering" around the eaves. (I just learned that word from reading The Secret Garden again. The wind wuthering on the moor is also how Wuthering Heights got its name.) This week is much more pleasant to be out of doors as the sun is shining and things are popping out of the ground everywhere I look. I do wish the wind would stop though. The re-planting of the garden is coming along and I think I've removed most of the plants from their temporary pots and placed them into the ground. I've also been able to divide several plants and bulbs, and I've found several new plants that have sprouted from seeds. It's great (sometimes) when plants spread themselves, though there are quite a few that I wish I'd never planted. I'm still pulling up Lamb's Ears seedlings everywhere and Foxgloves I will never be able to get rid of. Ok, maybe it's great that Columbine seeds itself, most of the others need to mind their manners and stay put!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"A Tesseract is like a wrinkle, A Wrinkle in Time..."

I feel a little like I have touched the past. Last night at Knit Night, one of the gals taught me the basics of spinning on a drop spindle. I started spinning with a bunch of flax roving (the pile of unspun fibers) and slowly created a small,very lumpy ball of yarn. Those of you that know me well have heard me wish to learn how to spin, well, I am hooked now. The drop spindle (not to be confused with the car part of the same name) is one of the most ancient forms of spinning fibers into yarn. I wonder if the Israelites used this method to spin the goat's hair (possibly cashmir goats) into yarn to create the hangings for the tabernacle? It certainly is quite portable. This definitely deserves more practice, and I have a source now for learning to spin on an actual spinning wheel. (Very cool!) The shawl above is my "Carol's Clever Little Shawl" that I just recently finished in a 'knit-a-long' with a Victorian group. It will definitely get a lot of use, and is perfect for reading in bed on those cool nights.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"A Field of Golden Daffodils..."

As we here in Vancouver brace for a "cold" snap this week, I thought I'd share a picture of my daffodils. These are "Ice King" and I think they are my absolute favorite of all the daffodil varieties. I just love the colors (there is a slight peach tone to the center as well) and the double centers. There has been lots of activity in the garden for a while now, but this week things will be put on hold for a few days as it is supposed to be cold and cloudy with a chance of flurries. (Will March go out like a lion?) This break will give me a chance to get into my sewing room and possible get a few things done in there. I'm sure it won't be long until I can get back outside into my garden.
The snow drops have pretty much finished blooming and the crocuses are finishing now. The lilac is just about ready to leaf out and several of the clematis have buds that are sure to open when the weather warms again. My roses were pruned last week as well. This was really hard to do this year as most of them had really begun to leaf out. But, as Brian Minter says, 'spare the shears and spoil the plant'. So, I pruned with abandon and will have to wait for new leaves to come. The roses will be much happier this way, I know. I got the official notice yesterday that Select Roses opens for the season this next weekend. Somehow this always seems like the start of spring to me. I am sure I will make a number of trips there before they close in July - even if it's just for a picnic lunch and a chance to watch the hummingbirds.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Vancouver Tour

Your roving reporter here sharing some scenes from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games. Our Thursday trip into Vancouver for the men's US/Norway hockey game started early in the morning, though not quite as early as the figure skating. I atleast rose with the sun instead of before it. Caffeine was still necessary, and I felt quite bleary eyed on sky train heading downtown.
We made it downtown with plenty of time to spare as there were none of the anticipated line-ups for sky train. After locating a McDonald's for breakfast, we couldn't find a Tim's, we decided that we could kill some time wandering through Chinatown. (The gates for the game wouldn't open for another hour.) We saw several small Chinese shops open for the day, and Jonathan decided we needed a picture of the narrowest building in the world. This is the Sam Kee building on the west edge of Chinatown not far from the Sun Yat Sen gardens. When it was originally built, it was the width of the grey paint you see in the picture. Extra space was created by adding on bow front windows. The building was later modified and made wider and is now one of the historical landmarks of Vancouver.

When the hockey game was finished, we decided that we would take advantage of being downtown and check out some of the Olympic sites. Unfortunately, this inexperienced tourist didn't look things up on the internet before we went and so missed some cool things. We did find Irish house (follow the loud music) as well as USA house. Irish house got kind of a bad name with its neighbors as they had loud parties into the wee sma's of the night.

USA house, which was across the street, was quite disappointing as they didn't allow people into anything other than the store. (What sticks in the mud.) All the other countries, including Canada, used this as a tourist information gimick and provided lots of neat things like free food. Irish house even provided the Stout - hence the loud parties. But USA house just wanted you to come in and spend your money.

This lovely lady was one of our fabulous Vancouver volunteers. She sat on this replica lifeguard chair and gave directions through her loud speaker. I wish I had a picture of the crowds as I have never seen anything like it. The only thing I could compare them to would be downtown New York City. It was wall to wall people. We did make it down to see the torch, and the picture at the start of the blog was taken through the chain link fence. (The fence was later modified so that pictures could be taken more easily.) Here is a picture of the rings, I am going to say they are golden here, but I really couldn't prove that very easily. The barge that they rested on was out in Coal Harbor and one of Vancouver's many sulfer mills is in the background.

This is your roving reporter signing of from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Watch for flying.....PUCKS?

On Thursday February 18 we went to the USA/Norway hockey game. This was my first hockey game here in Canada and boy was I in for some culture shock. I had always heard that hockey is the number one religion here in Canada, but I guess I had my doubts. I was wrong, it is definitely an obsession. A little Olympic hockey explanation for those of you that are still a little vague about the teams. The Olympic hockey teams are made up of NHL (National Hockey League) players, not amatuers. These players may play on an NHL team that is quite a distance from home. The Sedin twins are a perfect example; they play for the Vancouver Canucks during the NHL season even though they are from Sweden. Ryan Kessler is another Canuck that is from the US. Here is a picture of his Dad and brother-in-law, they sat 3 rows infront of us. (Very cool)
During the Olympics there is an official break from the NHL season, much too long in my book anyway, and all the players that have been drafted for their country's team make their way home, or to the Olympic site. So, in the audience here in Vancouver there were some die-hard US fans:

As well as some Canadian fans, many of whom were really Canucks and just wanted to watch favorite players; and then of course the Norwegians. This little guy sat right in front of us and you could tell through the game that he was quite tired - maybe some jet lag. He was also quite disappointed when Norway lost. I did feel bad for him too.

I don't think I have ever been in an environment where the enthusiasm was so electric. It was incredible, and I had a fantastic time. I can only imagine what the stadium was like during the gold medal men's hockey game. I know what I saw on tv, and believe me it's much more extreme in the building. I honestly expected to hear an explosion from downtown when Canada won the gold. (Yes, I was cheering for them. I have to live here after all, and referencing my previous comment about religion/obsession, and the economy would have taken a nose dive had they lost.)
One of the things that I found most amusing about the whole game was the anouncement that was repeated several times over the PA system. "Ladies and gentlemen, please use caution as pucks may leave the ice at any moment." Now, I know what they were referring to, pucks do get knocked out of the rink quite frequently and people have been injured by flying pucks. However, the way it was said almost had me watching for spontaneously flying pucks. I do think, during this game you were more likely to get hit by the guy next to you wildly waving his flag.