Sunday, December 31, 2017

Deer Me!

I’m just stinking excited. This morning a Deer came into the yard right outside my window. Their beauty captivates me; their big eyes and gentle rounded faces make them irresistibly cute. So I got some apples out of my fridge and threw a couple out and then another one came out of the woods. (I’m trembling with excitement typing about it.)
A golden radiant Thrush, the first I’ve ever seen here, came next and, at the same time, a Pileated Woodpecker. There were Jays, a Flicker and, of course, the usual Chickadees, Sparrows and Towhees. What a way to end the year and what an omen for the incoming one!
Yesterday, I met Jay for breakfast and did errands around the house and yard. Mostly I just frittered away time playing with the animals and husbanding the fire. It was a sunny but chilly day. The fire of bark snapped and popped and made this place as warm as a sauna inside. Outside, the unhindered sunshine reflected off the snow and made the day exceptionally bright.
In four more days I get the delivery date for the tiles — when they come, Darrell will return to work and this stage will complete the renovations. Then I get to move in. I’m very excited about that; I’ve never ever had a studio.
I melt even looking at her photo. My ideal companion.
My favourite sight is her butt ahead of me on the trail.
The Aspen grove is such a delight to encounter in the centre
of the forest. It is so bright in the grove.

The best part of the day, easily, was going for a walk. I was not into it. I did it to tire Her Highness. But, as usual, once I get on the trail and hear the water gurgling in the stream beside it and see the Aspen grove, I’m hooked. I get blissed out by Momma Nature.
Mission accomplished: Finally and completely. I can now read the water gauge; it’s working and paid for. Now and forever I can know the level of the water in my cistern. I’ll never run out of water again. I may have to top up my cistern with purchased water in the summer, but I will know in advance.
I just have to watch the gauge. I also have to learn when and how to change the filters which clean my water. All four have a limited life span and are on different cycles. Yes, between the water system, power failures and garbage management, Paradise comes at a price.  
Today: More tidying and cleaning.
I’m an obsessive and I can’t get to work on Mertz Manor (making a mess) until I get everything in order in the house and yard. I have to pick up the poop in the yard, clean the windows where Sheba scratches to get in and out and pick up all the animal detritus all over everything before I can go to work.
I vacuum the entire house after I load in the wood I need for the day, I feed the birds and fill all the indoor water containers for the pets, I wash all the dishes, make my bed and take Sheba for a walk before I can start and concentrate on what I’m doing.
I also have to write for at least an hour; ideally more than that before I get my hands dirty making things. I’m addicted to writing in the morning. And here, it’s better then anywhere I’ve ever had to work before. I see Deer here.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


It’s clear cold and bright outside. The stars are screaming bright and the snow makes everything glow in the dark. And the sound of the wind, high in the trees, is thrilling because it’s so a wild and natural a sound like the sound of pounding waves. The fresh air on my skin feels wonderful and I love the faint smell of my fire, smelling like my forest incense.
I’m meeting Jay for breakfast. The rest of the day will be as uneventful as the past few days. I may get some fence work done; I may work on Mertz Manor.
Friday, my only real accomplishment was going out to the cistern to look for the new gauge on it — and to read it — before I paid the invoice for its installation. It’s there, but I think it’s reading incorrectly so I need to talk to Al and I’d rather pull all my fingernails off than talk to Al.
At 1:30 in the afternoon, big white flakes of snow started falling amongst the raindrops. It was dark and gloomy. I loved it. I got comfy by the fire and sat and watched it fall. Soon it turned to exclusively heavy wet snow and I was out shaking it off my Rhododendron. I got just a dusting. Jay called from the other side of the island; he had three inches.
When I went out to get some wood I decided to try burning a few pieces of bark. I have a lot of it — big thick pieces from huge Fir trees. I’d avoided using it until yesterday but once I did I had to go around and open windows because it got so hot inside the house. Wow, just wow. Burning bark is like putting a jet engine in your woodstove.
I have neighbours. The place next door was evidently purchased; I knew it was up for sale. But damn. Their house is quite close to our shared property line. I am going to do some planting to obliterate my view of their house.
My goodness: How I have changed! When Steve and I were living on West 15th in Vancouver, when new neighbours moved in next door, I went over with flowers and baking to welcome them to the neighbourhood.
I think, on the plus side, they are only weekenders.

A saffron market in Afghanistan. Oh for one pile!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Once is Enough

I love this quote by Mae West: “You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”
I feel I’m doing it right, but I’ve nothing to tell you about yesterday. I got up, I did things, I went to bed and now it’s Friday morning and the same thing is going to happen today: Nothing. Nothing happens day after day here now and I couldn’t be happier.
Life at Pinecone Park has become routine and that’s a good thing — in fact, it’s wonderful! I feel adapted to this semi off-grid, animal-filled lifestyle.
I went to the hardware store yesterday. (I love hardware stores!) I got bellows for the fire and a purpose built wood carrier. Both are very welcome additions to the household. I also got a timer. It turns on the lights on the outside of my shed when it gets dark making it very easy to get wood at night. And it turns them off at ten pm.
The doing of all these little things, as is said, make a house a home. And it’s the capacity to be kept busy doing these kinds of things that brought me here — of course I can hardly wait to be doing them from 4:00 am to 10:00 pm in warm summer daylight.
I cannot believe, for example, the amount of arboreal detritus in the backyard again. I had things pretty tidy before the recent storms and now there are enough branches and pinecones out there to finish the fence. I’m having second thoughts about having eradicated the fire pit.
When I was checking out at the hardware store, the clerk asked me, “How’d it go with your generator during the blackout?” I explained that I’d not used it and why but I was chuffed by her remembering my purchase back in October. She made me feel part of the community here — and in a comfortable way. My condition prevents me from going to community gatherings so I appreciated her question very much.
Sadly, urine is still part of my routine; an “accident” this morning ruined a several-day-long stretch of no indoor accidents at all. This morning while Ethel and I were sitting on the chaise, she came into the living room and peed on the rug. The rug is doomed. It’s lovely but cheap. Both urine and cleaning fluid cause the colours to run.
It seems like she gets that she shouldn’t poop in the house, but she seems to think peeing is okay.
Mertz Manor (and the dingle balls inside it) are a monster hit! The Manor is a primary resource now for Fred and Ethel. It’s pretty much constantly in use and I’m really stoked about its success. It’s a place, like under the bed and the bookcase, where the cats can get away from Sheba.
I’ve lots more decorating to do and I may do some today. But the weekend is predicted to be sunny so I will do yard work and I may work on the fence.
I remember hating almost all my creative work during my adolescence and throughout early adulthood. I’d work all day on something, go to bed, get up and hate it the next morning. Happily for me, when the snow melted, I liked what I saw of my fence work.