Monday, December 11, 2017

My Messy Life

I have motion detectors activated lights on the west side of my house and they were going off and on last night. It could have been a deer, a racoon, an otter or an axe murderer. It’s so black here that I couldn’t see anything but I could hear whatever it was when I went outside. It’s comforting to know there are no nasties on the island.
I, Mister Bespoke-Suit, Mister I-Shop-at-Boboli, spent the day Sunday un-showered and in dirty sweat pants and clothes from the day before … because I could. I never ever did such a thing in Vancouver.
I was bummed because there was no juicy BBC drama on PBS last night: No Endeavour, no Grantchester, no Darrells in Corfu, nothing. I t hink I know why: They’re waiting for the holidays to end. Christmas Eve and NYE are both on a Sunday night this year.

It was lovely and sunny at times on Sunday but often foggy, dark and damp. After the Raven’s call and my walk (previous posts) I worked on the pinecones. I pick up every one, clean it of needles and moss and then I lay them flat on the table. Then I pick up the ones the cats knock onto the floor. Then I’d clean and lay out more … then recover more from the floor, etcetera ad infinitum.
There will be no cats in my studio. Yesterday I hacked all the legs of Fred and Ethel because they wouldn’t stop jumping into the cones and scattering them. Eight lucky kitty feet for sale: $5 each or all eight for thirty bucks. Of course I’m kidding but they are the most curious mischievous cats I’ve even known.
I really like the colour that emerges when the cones are dry and I like the design ideas that I’m mulling over in my mind.
The first cones I set out are almost ready for gluing so now I know that they take about three days to dry. In the photo above you can see the ones already dry in the front. I turn them regularly to help them dry. What you see in the photo above come from two of the three containers I’ve already collected so I’ve got about half more again and that’s all. But there’s millions more around on the ground.
Today’s essential task will take less than five minutes to execute but I’m dreading doing it. I have to climb up on my cistern and see where the water level is. If it’s low I’ll despair because it will mean more money out and more quirky old folks and more effort to master my water drawing, cleansing and delivery system. If it’s full, I eat pie.
In what level of Hell have I chosen to live?
Everyone who has been in my home knows about my passion for tidiness and beauty. Now there’s dog pee and poo, pinecones, millions of Fir needles, shredded paper, pieces of rawhide bones, shoes and shoe parts everywhere. It’s a constant battle to keep this place tidy.
So I wipe my pitchy hands on my sweat pants, shrug and head for the most important utensil in the house: The vacuum.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Walk at the End of my Street

These photos are from this mornings walk. Sheba came with me without being bated with treats. Also, on the way back she was running and playing like I'd expect of an off-leash dog in the woods. It was wonderful. (Click on the first image and use your right arrow to scroll through the rest of the mages in a larger format.)

This is the entrance to the trail. 
This is how many trees are covered at their base. There
are teeny mushrooms in the moss.
This is a beautiful fungus 
A typical portion of the trail. It's about an hour walk to
the beach below.
Another fungus.
Moss covers these large tree trunks.
Lichen on dead shrubs is delicate and beautiful
it's also a good dye for wool.
This is the wood I brought home to use on the fence.
Sheba is helping me sort it.

Raven's Call

This morning the Ravens were in the trees above me. I came in to get my camera and they had flown further distant but you can hear their call in this video. People here lose small pets to the Ravens. I had no idea how big they were until I moved  here and heard the wind in their wings as they flew over me. They are majestic intelligent birds. Turn up your speakers.


Look: It’s the star of Bethlehem over the little barn 
with the manger! Actually is sunlight streaming through 
the thin fog over my studio.

The first thing I look at when I wake up is Sheba. Her bed, hijacked now by Fred, is at the foot of mine where I can see it.  When I got up this morning I melted at the sight of Fred and Sheba all curled up together. They are the best of friends and their closeness moves my soul.
It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday. The morning was a challenge, however, because Miss Thing (Sheba) wouldn’t stop whining. So I took some treats in a bag in my pocket and set out with her to walk the trail at the end of the street. She does not like going for walks but she loves treats.
It was very successful. The walk was beautiful and, of course, there was no one else on the trail. For all the loss of blood on my part, for all the poop scooping, patience and understanding, all I want from Sheba is for her to enjoy walking with me. By summer, I’m sure I can get her to like our walks together; she’s still young and we can build up safe walking experiences together through the winter.
I notice the phrase, “here in Paradise,” has disappeared from my posts as I become acclimatized to this place.

I got my outdoor table out of the shed and set it up in my dining room to be a pinecone project workplace. I started cleaning them and laying them out to dry. I keep my house warm and the heat is dry so they should dry quite fairly quickly — but they are dense. It’s awesome to have so much space in my house in which to work.
There are three panels facing the entrance to Pinecone Park. I think I’ll do them all.  It’s wonderful being so excited about a project — especially one that is coming out of my experience here. There are a lot of fence panels so this project can go on as long as I want. But I think three or four will be enough.
Things did not go as I’d originally planned. I built up several shelves of wood and Styrofoam left over from the furniture I bought and I loaded the shelves with cones. But Fred and Ethel destroyed the shelves; an hour’s careful work wound up on the floor. Clearly, my studio has to be a cat-free zone. Now I’m just using the table (see above).
Today will be about turning the cones I put out to dry yesterday and laying out a large batch of new ones. I’ll keep doing this all week. I’m not going to do any work on the fence because the weather is supposed to suck. I’m going to wait for a sunny day and amass a lot of dry cones.
This week, while I mull over the cone design I want for the fence panels, I’ll be busy supporting Darrell during a busy week in the studio. The wood stove and chimney go in and the ceiling and walls get finished so I’ll be removing the offcuts and detritus each evening.
Dr. Shoja asked me if I was happy. She wanted a ‘deep’ answer and so I told her I’d have to get back to her. ‘Deep’ answers don’t come quickly and easily.
Did you know that “the pursuit of happiness” is a fundamental right of every American? It’s defined as such in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
I think the key word is “pursuit.” The great writers of the D of I recognized, I think, that we never achieve a happy state. They realized that as soon as we get what we want, we want more. These were the minds that created the policy infrastructure for exponential materialism. So we have the right to pursue happiness.
Am I happy? Are you happy?
What the Hell is happiness? Is it a worthy goal? Is it an achievable goal or is it the carrot in front of the horse?
Is the pursuit of happiness fundamental to our character as a way to drive us forward as individuals and as a society? Is it, perhaps, unobtainable — a false God? I’ve decided it is and that I needed a different objective. I chose ‘contentment.’
For me to be truly happy cats and dogs would shit Kibble into their food bowls and eat it again, it’d be sunny every day but not too hot and I’d have a swimming pool and staff. Would the staff be happy?
That seems to be the trouble with happiness — everyone is pursuing it but no one know what or where it is and the pursuit of it is driving many of us mad.
Contentment reeks, for me, of acceptance of what is. The right to the pursuit of happiness, with that emphasis on pursuit, says to me that great minds new it was not attainable. Contentment is attainable if, as it does for me, it connotes acceptance of what we have, who we are and what we are.
I can honestly tell Dr. S. that I’m content. I’m particularly content in my hot tub and when I’m with Fred, Ethel and Sheba. And come Spring I’ll also be particularly content in my hammock, studio and sunroom.