Thursday, November 24, 2022


 In the spirit of a holiday that has come to be associated with feasting,

I threw handfuls of unsalted peanuts out in the wildlife area today.

"You threw what now?"


"Found one! Wow, this thing is huge!"

"I'd better eat it right here instead of trying to carry it back to my nest."


"Huge peanuts are all well and good,
but have you seen the state of this suet feeder?"

I hope if you celebrate Thanksgiving Day it is a happy one.


Saturday, November 19, 2022

good eggs

Two youngsters examining a rip in my trousers. I felt thoroughly judged.

There are currently seven hens here. Ethel the Elder was briefly alone until I could find six baby chooks in the Spring. Two of them have already started to lay, although not consistently; there are usually two eggs - one from Ethel - in the nest boxes every day, and occasionally three. The more the merrier from a practical standpoint, since they are all being fed expensive organic layer feed. But now that the Cold Times seem to be very much here, I did not expect anyone else to start laying until Spring.

However! This morning there were the usual two eggs in a nest box, but it was quite exciting because one of them was this (candlestick not included):

Which means another hen has begun to lay!

Here's how we can tell:

The little one on the bottom is the new arrival - the hen is wisely starting small.

In other news, last night I finally got the camera battery and the charger in the same place! I can take pictures again! Tell you what, there are some unexpected glitches created by trying to clean and organize the entire house. For two days I couldn't find the charger, and when it finally revealed itself, the battery was gone. Especially baffling since there was no reason for either to be anywhere other than where they are always kept. But they weren't. Something similar has happened with my new solar motion-sensor light, my supply of sketchbooks, and my Winter clothes. That last one needs to be addressed today, as it is Winter.

I hope everyone is planning a lovely weekend! And I hope you all know where your seasonal clothing was nicely folded and put away six months ago. Because it feels pretty silly when you can't find your own clothes, I can tell you.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

cold snaps

Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides

Snaps taken this morning, after chores.

Strawberries, flowering a week ago in our "second Spring"

I had to be quick, because the sun was almost up and the frost would soon disappear.


I put a de-icer in the wildlife basin a couple of days ago.

It's an experiment, as for the first time, the basin is thick glass.

I've put the underwater heating element between stones, not near the glass. 

Fingers crossed.


Wednesday, November 9, 2022


In the recent days of lovely weather, I've spent most of each day outdoors. Not just doing chores; also reading and eating and making notes about tasks that need doing before snowfall and ideas for next year's gardens. Moxie and I have often shared the chaise for a bit of knitting. Instead of knitting or reading or planning I could certainly have gone back into the house to continue my Autumn 2022 project of making the entire house more functional. It's a very slow process, working only an hour at a time, or two hours on a good day. I'm starting to see progress, and definitely don't want to lose momentum! But the clear air and blue sky and beautiful views have been too precious to waste. Especially as the daylight hours grow noticeably shorter.

Last night the temperate went down to at least 26F - that's where it was when I checked at about 2 AM. It had already dipped below freezing more than once recently, but this morning it was still below freezing during morning chores. Still...the sun came up and the sky was clear, and after chores I dragged a chaise into a sunny spot to enjoy breakfast.

When the sun was obscured by a conifer or the trunk of a hardwood, I felt cold and shifted the chaise to a sunny spot. The shade followed. It would only last a few minutes, but the difference between sunlit warmth and shade was an immediate chill. After some thought I did the sensible thing and went back into the house to put on wool socks and fetch my knitting.

By the time the chaise had been moved four times, I felt cold even in the sun. And when yesterday's knitting revealed a mysterious error in the very first section of stitches, an error that would require going back into the house for another set of needles, I surrendered, apologized to Moxie who had just gotten settled again, and went inside. Checked the forecast and lit the first fire in the woodstove.

It won't surprise me if the weather turns warm again, but tonight we'll have a fire.


Tuesday, November 8, 2022


Beginning of total lunar eclipse, this morning.

The next total lunar eclipse is expected on 14 March 2025.

 I wonder what kind of world we'll be living in then?



Friday, November 4, 2022

the rest of the (hap) story

Remember the Hap?

Here's where it started.

Below is a link to the rest of the story.

In case you ever wondered.

Better late than never?

I wrote a piece about it, and about knitting gifts, 

for the wonderful fiberfolk at MDK, here:

The Gift of Collaboration

I hope you like it.


100 years ago


Howard Carter's diary, 1922.

Saturday, 4 November: "First steps of tomb found."

A sketch from one of Harry Burton's photographs: 

Burton's photograph was taken on the spot where the sealed entrance doorway was uncovered on 5 November 1922. The view is looking up the 16-step staircase toward the top step recorded in Carter's diary on 4 November.

Harry Burton was the photographer solely responsible for documenting the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb. Mind-boggling. Such an unimaginably massive and complicated undertaking. Glass plates. Lighting challenges. Photographing the interior, the tomb contents in situ, the individual objects after removal, the people doing the excavating, and visitors to the site. On and on. And Burton's work is just so good, it's easy to forget the conditions he was working under. Inspiring!
I've made a dozen or more drawings and paintings from Harry Burton's photographs, and I'm so grateful that his work is available to view at the Griffith Institute website as part of "the definitive archaeological record of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun."

Here's a link in case you ever feel like poking around in an amazing archive:


Tuesday, November 1, 2022

such color


A couple of weeks ago I thought this might be the last zinnia of 2022. So I carried it, held over my head through a paddock full of interested goats, up to the house. Popped it into a little vase along with a handful of Galinsoga parviflora. Photographed it. Sketched it. Enjoyed a late-summer posy for many days before it gradually lowered it's head and faded. 

When I harvested the tomatoes last week, there was one more zinnia!

With color every bit as brilliant, but petals showing the challenges of blooming when nights are sometimes dipping below freezing.

There's beauty in the struggle.