01 December 2014

Dec 1

After an almost agonizingly prolonged limbo between autumn and winter, December's arrival brought with it a real Canadian winter. Literally overnight, we had ourselves a blizzard-worth of snow and biting temperatures. It was somehow shocking; I think we had begun to imagine winter would never catch up with us.

But I love it. Three sweaters (minimum) at once, mittens, boots, slow-to-start car engines, more tea, cozier homes. There's just this feeling in winter that is unlike anything else. Our vulnerability to the raw elements increases the safe, warm feeling of being at home. And then Christmas comes. Despite the shortness of light and difficulty getting around, I kind of love winter.

These blizzard-like conditions have also seen me locked away at home all weekend, which gave me time to work on my long-neglected Butterfly Project. It's going great. I'll post pictures of my completed work.

Oh, and there are other plans for the rest of this winter. Did I mention I'm off to South America on New Year's Day...?

21 September 2014

a word on this spontaneous lovely day

The first day of autumn comes in two days. But for today, despite the yellowing leaves and subtle chill in the wind, the sun still thinks it's August. It's gorgeous outside.

Even with winter looming, I love this season. The field is harvested and open. The forest has the delicious spicy smell of rot. Geese scatter the skies in loose V-shapes. Mourning Cloaks can be seen fluttering among the falling leaves. This is autumn. A season of transitions.

This time of year reminds me that change can be good. Like the leaves, sometimes it's time to let things fall as they may. Like the harvest, sometimes it's time to purge what you've collected. Like the many creatures preparing for winter, sometimes it's time to prepare yourself.

Change is good. I choose to face mine. Like autumn, I run on toward winter.

14 September 2014

little cat

Have I ever introduced you to my little cat, Clarice? I love her--I've never loved a cat before. She even comes when called.

03 September 2014

after the last summer fire goes out

Hello friends. How was your summer? Here, in my part of the world, summer has begun its slow transition into fall. I've only just started saying my goodbyes.

Last week, on the last day of August, K and I decided to have one more summer fire. The sun was down by 9:30, so we stoked up with only the distant glow of the city to guide us. As we drank up the last of our hoppy IPAs, little streaks of aurora slid down the horizon behind the firelight. As it got darker, we could even make out the subtle stripe of the Milky Way. It was a gorgeous night--no mosquitos, no clouds, no distractions. Only the fire and the surrounding night.

All that day, we had hiked around Elk Island National Park. Not mountainous, not particularily special, but full of forested trails, untouched lakes and some of the only wild bison in Canada. Quite lovely, really. Our only goal was to walk until we could walk no more. We found a bison thigh bone, collected the fallen half of a wasp nest, and had satisfyingly sore feet by the end of it. That adventure, along with the fire that followed, was the best way we could think of to bid farewell to our summer.

Now, in this new season, they've begun the first stages of harvest.

Some important things took place over these months of warmth and sun. I turned 21. I ran my second triathlon ever. I summited my second mountain ever. I attempted a forest garden. I purged my room of everything I didn't need. I saved up a lot of money. I hatched some travel plans.

And now, with summer over, I am left to antisipate the many, many things growing on my horizon. Some are overdue and unexciting, like getting a credit card; some are new and even a little scary, like booking my first flight by myself. However, for once, I am ready to face all of them. I feel grown up; ready.

Lizzie wrote the other day about accepting leadership of your life; about being unapologetic and not ambivalent, about self-discipline, about looking at the "to-do" list as less important than the "accomplished" list. Having pondered a very similar train of ideas myself this summer, I really needed to read that post. And it came at just the right time.

The combines will be back to gather the rows of reaped canola soon. Hello, autumn. Let's get crackin'.

30 June 2014

the spreading board

I have already told you about my experimentation with the killing jar. It is only the first step in the very precise process of insect taxidermy, and now that I feel confident in my ability to use it, I have at last got up the courage to attempt using a "spreading board" -- the next, and highly necessary, insect-mounting step.

To be used while the insect is still soft and pliable--so preferably right after leaving the killing jar--the Spreading Board is for positioning insects so that they dry out the way you want them to. In the case of butterflies and moths, with their wings fully spread out to give an aesthetic shape and to reveal all the markings. My makeshift spread boards are nothing special: merely cardboard and sewing needles, with masking tape and little strips of paper to hold the limbs and wings in place. Not professional, but workable. I plan to invest in a proper one as soon as I can get it (this site has really cheap ones!)

By tomorrow, my specimens should be dry enough to be removed from the board. I'm excited to see how well they turned out! It's yet another step in this practice, and being a hobby that I value, I want to do it correctly. Mounted insects can be beautiful. I want mine to be.

27 June 2014

for this hot week :

these insects added to the ol' mounting board
Tiger Swallowtail
Mustard White
Summer Azure
Common Ringlet
Virginia Ctenucha
Northern Bluet

this new dress

 a first attempt at sun tea

a discovery that the forest beds have been nibbled down to nubs by some wild thing

these songs
"I've been hanging on your every word/Under blankets and covers." - Mounties
"When you wake what is it that you think of most?" - Tegan & Sara
"Soft hair and a velvet tongue/I wanna give you what you give to me." - The White Stripes
"I didn't know I was lonely 'til I saw your face." - Bleachers