Sunday, November 29, 2015

Travelling. Landscaping. Quilting.

There is always a point in November when I completely lose my mind for an hour or so. 

The conflict between secular and faith values during Advent, between my current employment in newspaper advertising and my aversion to rampant consumerism ... let's just say that a week's vacation at the end of October was sorely needed in order to bolster my reserves and get me safely through to January 1.


The Husband and I spent a weekend with Friends Brian and Cheryl on the Naramata Bench. It's a great wine district as well as a beautiful place to visit almost any time of the year.

Don't you think this is an apt way to begin a week's vacation?
Touring the Naramata Bench vineyards.

Then we popped over to Vancouver Island for a few days. I love visiting the Island although I'm seldom tempted to live there. If I could find a spot along the coast, with a beach and a view to the ocean, then I'd be perfectly content. Strange for a prairie girl to say, but I suppose it's the wide open views that call to me.

I'd long been wanting to visit Butchart Gardens. The Husband was underwhelmed (the admission fee almost gave him a cardiac arrest) but I was glad we went.

Fall colours are impressive in their own right

Glorious Japanese maple

View through the hedge to Brentwood Bay

We visited Craigdarroch Castle, had dim sum at Don Mee's in Chinatown (I love Don Mee's - I dream of Don Mee's) and attended the play Loon at the Phoenix Theatre at the University of Victoria. Then it was time to bust out of town and go up-island for a day.

Thirty years ago, we spent four months of the winter living on the island on the Saanich Peninsula. Our son celebrated his first birthday there. So this little trip was a lot of "remember when's." One of them was a little place called Whippletree Junction south of Duncan. It was a trashy place in those days. Today it's collection of trendy shops and interesting venues. I of course was drawn to the weaving shop.

Weaving studio at Whippletree Junction, just south of Duncan

And when I walked in, I was consumed with longing to sit down at one of the looms and get straight to work. It has stirred the long-suppressed urge to sit at my own loom again. There never seems to be enough time in my life to do all the things I want to do, and retirement is within sight but still just beyond my reach.

The weaving shop

The Husband finds it difficult to walk for long distances and that determines our activities. I did get in a bit of beachcombing time, with him watching over me. On our last day, we went to the Royal BC Museum to take in the Gold Rush! exhibit and then one of the Imax shows. Then we went out to Fort Rodd Hill. I wanted to walk out to Fisgard Lighthouse but he was loath to make the effort. Just too much walking in one day. Another time perhaps.

It was almost exactly 30 years ago that I saw this lighthouse for the first time, from Ocean Boulevard along the Esquilmalt Lagoon. I have photos of our little son and his daddy feeding trumpeter swan youngsters and mother while the gander looked on anxiously.

Fisgard Lighthouse


The debris on the fire hall lot next to ours has been a sore point for a long time. It was unsightly, a constant source of weeds and a potential wildfire hazard (and wouldn't that be ironic - a fire ignited on municipal fire hall property due to their negligence).

The Husband and Friend Hal are both on the Fire Suppression Committee (provide oversight to the volunteer fire department), and after I brought the issue ... again ... to the regional district's attention, and nothing was done, the Dynamic Duo stated their intent to do the work themselves and bill the costs to the district. Approved.

The firehall lot before - if I'd thought about it, I would have taken
more extensive 'before' photos. This was an impulse shot from our deck.

Hal starting the long job of cleaning up an old construction dump site.

And the same - sort of - view a week later.
The work was done just as the autumn rains began.

FINALLY a neat, tidy lot - free of debris and weeds, easy to mow

This view was impossible a week before, due to the mess.

Looking north towards our house, top right-hand in the trees.
The first photos were taken from that position.
You can also see the gypsum mine and large Canada flag on the slope behind us.
Isn't this lovely?

Hal placing the drainage gravel around the pavement perimeter.
The soil will settle and compress over the winter and early spring. Then the guys will rework the surface before seeding it. And next summer we will be able to mow and generally tend the site completely, not just the fancy sodded grass out front that most people see.


This has been a long project, for no other reason than that other activities such as watercolour painting, gardening and that ever-present joy-killer called 'work' compete for my attention. It was almost finished last spring, and then summer with all its lovely diversions and company and, well, SUMMER came along.

So last Monday, which was a snowy, blowy, stay-inside kind of day came along. A perfect day to binge-quilt. I whipped through my morning chores, then brewed a pot of coffee, popped the first DVD of 'Justified' Season 3, and settled down to work.

Eight hours saw the last thread set and the quilt ready to be washed (to remove the marking chalk from the front and bloodstains from the back). 

Most recent completed quilt project - roughly 1.5m x 1m
This shows why the quilting takes time to complete
Happy boy Jaxson on HIS quilt.
Pieces for one of two new quilt projects. This one is a 'memory' quilt for a
co-worker whose parents have both passed. The other is for the youngest man
in my life, who will hopefully get his 'baby' quilt before his 2nd birthday!

Is quilting, and the time and detail I put into each quilt, worth the investment? Most assuredly. 

We are the current caretakers of a hand-pieced quilt that was made almost 90 years ago by one of my mother-in-law's aunts. At the young age of 28, she worked on the quilt while she slowly died from tuberculosis. It is a tangible link to the family, to their history, and a daily reminder that they were real people, not just stories. It says, "I was. I mattered to someone."

Jaxson will probably never remember me, but he'll have that quilt for most of his life and maybe sometimes wonder about the person who made it for him. And that's good enough for me.

1 comment:

  1. I have several old quilts, one of which is falling to bits and should be chucked. They are not family pieces, and I often wonder about the people who made them. I'd like to buy more; maybe I will.

    I have family in Vancouver.