Winter has arrived in our little world. How do I know this? Because my feet are perpetually cold. That, and we got our first snowfall of the season yesterday. It was hovering around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), which isn't bad, but the wind was what they call "breezy" here - gusts of 55 km/hr (34 mi/hr) and that makes it feel significant colder. I kept the girls inside all day, the first full day of confinement since they were mere balls of fluff. They managed to keep themselves occupied and it was a good test run for the harsh weather yet to come. Today, the weather is still hovering around 0 degrees Celsius, but there's no wind to speak of, which makes it an altogether different experience. Everyone was eager to get outside and get some fresh air. They didn't seem too fazed by the white stuff and proceeded to scratch and peck around, as usual. The temperatures are predicted to rise later this week, for which we will all be very grateful. I'm praying for a mild season.
I've committed to participating in an exhibition/sale on the weekend of November 15th, hosted by a new gallery in town. I have no idea what to expect, however the gallery owner described it to me as an "Open House/Craft Show/Tea and Cookie type day. Low key, meet the artists, buy holiday gifts, see the space" type of event. I feel completely out of my depth. Eeeeeek! And, I'm going to do it anyway. It's terribly short notice, so I'm scrambling to prepare. I've elected to work with a new printer/framer who lives two hours away from me - (everything is 2 hours away here, it seems, but that's a story for another day). I sincerely hope he lives up to my admittedly high standards. It's a freakishly steep learning curve I'm on, right now, and that's both exhilarating and terrifying. I'm doing my utmost to breathe and not succumb to panic. Unfortunately, I won't have a lot to display, however, I will have a portfolio on hand and, if nothing else, I'll have gained some experience and shown my work to a wider audience. It's also forcing me to address a few organizational details of my fledgling business that I put aside to deal with later. This past summer was all about chickens and gardening and my creative pursuits were placed on the back burner. Consequently, there's a lot to do between now and then and my checklist keeps growing instead of shrinking.
It has recently been brought to my attention that I have been pricing my artwork too low. Consequently, over the next few weeks, I will be re-pricing my original photography and watercolour illustrations at significantly higher prices. If you've been sitting on the fence, thinking about making a purchase, now would be the time to act to get it at current prices. I would be more than happy to produce prints from anything you've seen here on my blog, however, they will reflect the new pricing. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. My e-mail address is listed on the sidebar. Thanks for your support!
I'm going to go ahead and flatter myself into believing that anyone has noticed my absence here recently. Both my husband and I have been experiencing a general malaise lately, a lack of initiative and a great deal of lethargy. I think we're fighting off some kind of virulent disease that's being spread around. I've chosen to just go with it and enjoy a bit of down time to read and relax and nap, if I feel the urge to. Our hens, however, have been laying in earnest and one of them is laying Monster Eggs. This one weighed in at a whopping 2.8 oz. They're marvelous creatures, these birds. To hop back to my original thought, I just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, on the advice of friends. I found it to be thoroughly engaging and uniquely creative. The author's skill with word manipulation was a delight, as well. I will be reading it again, at some future date. I've turned to Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods for my entertainment pleasure next and am enjoying it immensely. I'm about half way through and I can already say with a great deal of confidence that I'm very glad he and his pal Katz elected to walk the Appalachian Trail, because there is no way in hell I will ever do it. If you have a favourite book(s) you'd like to recommend, please share it in the comments section. I'm always on the lookout for a good read and we have long winters. Just sayin'... I hope to be back in good health, full of vim and vigor, soon. In the meantime, for all my Canadian friends, Happy Thanksgiving. All others, have a great weekend wherever you are with whatever you're doing.
With autumn's undeniable arrival, I'm feeling a distinctive turning inward.
My creative interests, left to lay dormant during the warm summer months, are beginning to stretch and yawn their way into my daily life again.
I'm feeling a pull to sit quietly and write and illustrate and make things.
I'm very impressed with the hardy nature our chickens are already displaying. Even on the coldest, most blustery days, they're out in the run pecking and scratching and enjoying dust baths.
We're consistently getting a minimum of 4 eggs a day now and as many as six. They're still small, but it's unbelievably thrilling nonetheless. Pearl, for his part, is proving to be very protective of his girls. What personal shifts are you noticing as the seasons transition again?
Our Willow is 3 years old today. She had a rough start, what with the trauma surgery she underwent at 4 months of age that left her with a scar that stretches from her belly button to her chest. We're proud to say that she made a full recovery and has never yet had to wear the cone of shame. She's grown into a lovely young girl. Sweet natured and playful, gentle and intelligent, we love her more than she will ever know. Happy Birthday, Willow.
I'm happy to announce we got our first egg late yesterday afternoon. I don't know who the proud momma is, but I did hear her proclaim her accomplishment to the world at large. It's a pullet egg, so it's quite small, but I think it's perfect in every way.
It seems that I'm more motivated to cocoon when autumn begins than I am to spring clean. When the weather beckons, I'm more likely to head outdoors and visa versa. I've been busy with a paintbrush the last several days and I will have given nearly every wall a fresh coat of colour. We've used Benjamin Moore paint throughout.
Let's begin in the kitchen. The previous owners put a deep, warm yellow on these walls and we opted to keep it. Even though most of the kitchen is white, the rest of our decor would have to complement this choice. (Dijon CC-210)
We chose a pale shade of yellow for our living room, although the colour changes dramatically during the day and with different lighting. (Jicama AF-315) We also wanted to introduce a different colour and elected to pull a rich green out of our area rug for a feature wall. (Hancock Gray Kaki HC-97) (The artwork above the fireplace is a print by Northwest Coast artist, Susan Point.)
We wanted our bedroom to be cozy, so we brought the green into this room, as well, and combined it with the pale yellow we chose for the living room. The cheerful bedspread brightens it up, provides continuity with the rest of the house and adds a shot of poppy red accent. All in all, we're really pleased with the results.
Everything was going along swimmingly and then...Mother Nature had a hissy fit. I finally (!!) found the 'right' paint colours for the main floor of our house. What was supposed to be a winter project - last winter - morphed into an autumn project. I am presently in the midst of repainting and by "midst", I mean, furniture is helter skelter in the rooms, paint supplies occupy every available counter space, and normal routine has been effectively shelved for the foreseeable future. It was the perfect time to get this project underway, really. Until the weather suddenly went from hot and dry to cold and wet. Really wet. And, if that's not bad enough, there's snow in the forecast. My plans to winterize the chicken coop have been pushed forward by two months and, frankly, I'm not ready. Last week, a farmer friend 'gifted' us with 13 bales of barley straw. I packed it in the utility side of the coop and was feeling pretty smug about my winter stash of emergency bedding and nesting box material. That is, until I went to use some of it this morning only to discover that it's wet inside. He must have baled it while it was still damp and it may all be completely useless. I dragged the bales out into the wind and sunshine today and prayed a fervent prayer that they'll dry before the next downpour that's expected in a few days time. In the meantime, I'm going to have to get in my garden sooner than anticipated, to harvest what I can before it rots in the ground. Never a dull moment around here, folks.
What is it about the scent of wood smoke in the air that makes Autumn feel so close? I built a fire outside in our fire pit early this morning. The sun, shining in a cloudless sky did little to dispel the chill that compels me to hunt for sweaters in the back of my closet. Our furnace has come on in the house the last two mornings, luring us out from beneath the heavy quilts that we've burrowed under in bed. Autumn is typically the saddest season for me. It's the time of year when I experience a distinct, if intangible, sense of loss. In an effort to self-soothe, hot baths replace showers, candles are lit to lend a warm glow to rooms made prematurely dark by an early dusk. This morning was different. This morning, with the sweet scent of wood smoke in my nose and the crack and pop of the fire, I felt immensely blessed. The morning felt unhurried as I listened to the geese honk in the neighbouring fields, feasting on tailings from the farmer's recent harvest before seeking warmer climes. With my little flock contentedly scratching and pecking nearby, a fresh cup of coffee, and my dog and cat napping beside me in the morning sun, I felt little need to rush about my day. May your day be filled with moments of calm and may you find much to be thankful for.
I've been participating in Stacy Reck's Living a Goddess Year for the last couple of months where we explore what it means to live a goddess life. One of our recent assignments was to create a crown* for ourselves. This is mine and I have to admit, I'm quite fond of it. I've decided to put it on display in my studio where its playful magic will be near at hand. *If you'd like to create a crown of your own, you can download templates here.
We've been getting a lot of rain lately and it's all a little too familiar. After nearly 30 years of living on the west coast, I've had my fill of wet weather. Forecasters are predicting a week of sunshine and warmer temperatures this week. I hope they're right.
Today the weather is cold and dreary. It's windy and it's doing its best to rain. Everyone in the house is napping, except me. It's the perfect day to snuggle beside the fireplace and enjoy a hot cup of tea.
There's a working blacksmith shop that operates on Sunday afternoons during the summer months in our small town. It was great to see the work being done using ages old methods and century old equipment. The men were all more than happy to talk to The Frenchman about his desire to pursue this as a hobby and offered a few tips of the trade to him.
Raspberries aren't the only things I'm harvesting these days. These creatures seem to have invaded my garden overnight and I'm getting quite good at catching them. My little flock loves them and they're a tasty protein treat.
We can't ignore it any longer. Pearl is not a girl. After only a few short weeks, we knew there was something unusual about her, but thought she was simply a different breed, a leghorn slipped in with our brown hens by mistake.
It was Wendy Woo who first suggested that she might be a rooster and all evidence seems to point to this being the case. At first we thought we might have a transgendered bird. There have been cases of a hen assuming the characteristics of a rooster when none are present in a flock, with incidences occurring about 1 in 10,000. A quick review of our breed on-line, however, and it confirmed that the pullets, or hens, are red and the cockerels are white with brown markings.
He has begun to make tentative, albeit enthusiastic, attempts at crowing in the morning and I cringe at the thought of him disturbing our neighbours. Then I remember listening to their dog bark for hours without end and I get over it. He's also made a valiant effort to mount a hen or two. The hens in question give a startled squawk and run away. Initially, I was a little conflicted about having a rooster in our flock. I do love roosters and he does bring a certain ineffable quality to our little family. When the time comes and we want to increase our flock, we'll be able to raise our own. We've come to know him as Pearl, but I suppose that will have to change. We're still casting about, giving some thought to a suitable name befitting his station.
I think he's developing into quite the handsome fellow. So, what surprises has life had in store for you lately?
All content and photos are original to Carolynn Anctil and A Glowing Ember and are copyrighted, 2006 - 2014. Please do not copy, or download any content without express written consent. All content and photos remain the sole property of Carolynn Anctil and A Glowing Ember forever unto eternity. Don't take what doesn't belong to you. Karma will kick your ass. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I'm a Superficial Dabbler - I know a little bit about a lot of things and I'm an expert at none of them. I’m a city girl with a country soul, a curious nature, and a very short attention span. I believe that animals are angels wrapped in fur, come down from heaven to model unconditional love.
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