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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The sweetest gift....

I was outside on this glorious spring day catching up on some weeding, 
listening to the radio on my phone
when I spotted this little Orange crowned warbler sitting in a plum
tree by the pond. He sat there for quite awhile so I approached with
slow movement and he just sat there...
He allowed me so close, within inches for several minutes...
I'm not sure why he was so unafraid...
I was even able to stroke his tiny olive back.
Georgia (my cat) was luckily unaware of this little visit as she plopped down at my feet.
The tiny bird had an eye on her though
A magic moment between myself and nature
What a precious gift I was given today!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A girl and her volcano...

Since the weather has been cool and rainy with skies full of pewter coloured clouds most of the day,
I thought I would take you on a visit to somewhere hot and steamy...
don't get ahead of me...it's all legal and age appropriate!
Lets go!
A 20 minute drive from Granada lies the market town of Masaya.
Another 10 minutes through this beautiful landscape...
...iguanas and all...
...and we are in the Masaya Volcano National Park.
Nicaragua is a land full of lakes and volcanoes, some of those lakes being
ancient craters, now full of the most lovely water for swimming.
The road travels through olive coloured cloaked hills, laced with the black fabric of dried lava...
You are reminded of what a fragile environment you stand in...
In fact at the time I'm writing this the park is closed due to recent volcanic activity 
and has been since the middle of February.
I can't begin to describe the feeling of standing at the edge of a bottomless
pit of rumbling fire, rocks, ash and one thousand degree molten lava...
The Spanish who came here in the 16th century baptized the volcano 
"La Boca del Inferno"
or
"The Mouth of Hell"
They planted a cross on the lip of the crater to exercise the devil.
The power of the vapours is felt immediately in your lungs ... 
...visitors sputter and cough as they take in the true nature of this beast...
In fact if you have any issues with your respiratory system, it's recommended that
you do not make this trip.
But like so many powerful, destructive forces of nature, it is beautiful...
...both rough and peaceful.
You see those small black specs in the mist?
Those are turkey vultures floating on the warm thermal currents.
How they can spend so much time there without it affecting them is a miracle.
In fact there's a species of parakeets who make their home on the inside of the crater,
living unaffected by the toxic gases.
It is a hot, hostile, volatile world...
Precious and spectacular...
...part of the fabric of the millenia of time that shapes this place...
...in the present as much as it has in the past and will do well into the future.
In the distance another volcano mirrors this one, just as capable of changing it's face...
...and the face of the land...
Just in case...there's always a reminder...

By the way, if you are in Granda, Nicaragua, you should hook up with Pablo Lorenzen S.
who is the manager of WTN Travel Day Tours.
He was super friendly and accommodating to us and we feel lucky to have got to know him.
Here is his website WTN Travel Day Tours

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Good bye to a blog friend...

Today I heard the sad news that a friend in the blog community has passed away.
Nancy from  http://highplainsfootprints.blogspot.ca/ lost a battle with cancer yesterday.
It is strange how I never met Nancy in person but felt I knew a little bit about her and the things that gave her joy...knitting (she was an amazing one at that!), nature, sunsets, 
riding in the mountains, her family. 
At one time she spent a week in Port Angeles and I could almost wave to her from across the ocean on Vancouver Island!
 I feel like the blogging community has made the world a smaller and more friendly place where kindred spirits can find one another and share their lives even though we have never met face to face. Nancy always had such kind compliments and comments on my blog.
A friend of hers took the time to go through Nancy's comments to find those who
followed her and to let us know about Nancy's illness and subsequent passing.
I want to thank this person for being so kind in her actions.
Sometimes I will see a blogger who hasn't posted in a long time
and I wonder what happened...in this case it was not the answer I had hoped for.
I know that Nancy posted photos of the mountains and sunsets in Wyoming 
where she lived and 
so these photos from my world are for Nancy...rest in peace.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

mis·take məˈstāk/...

So I was thinking about this word a lot lately and looked it up for a proper definition.
Here's what I found...
noun
  1. 1.
    an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.
    "coming here was a mistake"
    synonyms:errorfaultinaccuracyomissionslipblundermiscalculation,misunderstandingoversight, misinterpretation, gaffefaux pas,solecismMore
verb
  1. 1.
    be wrong about.
    "because I was inexperienced, I mistook the nature of our relationship"
    synonyms:misunderstandmisinterpret, get wrong, misconstruemisread More

  2. There are many times in life that we here the expression
  3. "I made a mistake"
  4. or 
  5. "that was a mistake"
  6. In my wanderings through a creative life I have found many times that I might make these same
  7. statements...until now, when I looked up the actual definition.
  8. Lets look at the first one, the noun.
  9. 'an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong'.
  10. Well I can strike that one off since I don't think artistic endeavours can be misguided or wrong.
  11. They are experiments.
  12. I have been experimenting a lot lately on the science of botanical alchemy or eco printing or 
  13. eco dying...whatever you want to call it.
  14. Printing on small swatches has given me much insight into the process, which
  15. is really what creativity is all about.
  16. Eucalyptus print, not so bold and defined as I had hope but lets make some
  17. lemonade out of lemons...
  18. I find that if something is not quite what I had hoped for, I will let it sit...
  19. Somewhere where I glance at it every once in a while until it speaks to me...
  20.  ...of what it can become...
    Like this other piece that became a wee pouch...

  21.  Incorporating an old zipper I had lying around for years that fit perfectly and
    then lined with some vintage velvet I had in my fabric stash...
  22. How about this... 
  23. A little arrowhead I found at the beach the other day, the tip broken off.
  24. Possibly it was done in the making and the maker tossed it thinking it to be a 'mistake'.
  25. Not so!
  26. I the fortunate one who found it all these years later!
  27. A delight indeed!
  28. The second definition could be discussed at length...
  29. we may leave that for another time though.
  30. Be happy in your experiments...they will always teach you something.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The 'easy' birds...

You here them everywhere...in the towns, on the beach, in the jungle but...
not all birds are easy to capture in pictures.
I have been taking photos of 'easy' birds for many years.
The hummingbirds who will allow you to be within a few feet of them,
water fowl when you have food, and some birds with a zoom lens but I'm
concluding that I need a much more powerful telephoto lens to capture
the more elusive birds in trees.
Of the many photos I tried to get of some birds in Nicaragua all
but a few turned out. 
These were the 'easy birds...
Seems like the Nicaraguan Grackle is everywhere...
Tom and I were calling it the 'alarm clock bird' since it was always the first one
up in the morning making all kinds of interesting sounds.
I think I counted at least 5 different calls and songs from this 
gorgeous jet black bird...
the female is a taupe brown colour but with the same striking eyes...
On a boat trip on Lake Nicaragua one day, we witnessed a not so easy bird to capture pictures of but 
it's nests were very easy to spot...
These are colonies of Montezuma Orpendolas...that's one with the bright yellow tail in the photo above. They also make some crazy sounds.
They nest in these grassy 2 foot long sock looking nests and there
 were probably a hundred in one tree.
Kind of like bird condos!
this is a short video of the call...pretty impressive when you here about 30 of them calling!
The white egrets were numerous too....along the shore line mostly...
 and near this cattle trough...
This little kiskadee was hanging out there as well...
I was lucky one morning while on a rocky shore on the beach to have this handsome fella
allow me to take some nice shots...
The one bird I could watch for hours are the brown pelicans.
Gliding in formation like an aviary air force, tipping their wings on the waves...
Diving like arrows at the last minute.
 Again a not so easy thing to capture without the right equipment.
They love to hang around the fishing boats too...
But the easiest birds to photograph on my trip were this pair of ducks that
lived at one of the hotels we stayed at...
 The male was super friendly and let you pick him up but the female was a bit more cautious...
So a nod to the ones who aren't so shy!!