The Homestone

Friday, December 31, 2010

A new year ~ let the bells ring out!

New Year's Eve on the Meadow. It been quiet and sunny although pretty cold ... but warm and cozy inside. We had friends over last night for dinner and a visit. A rare thing indeed when we live so far from most everyone we know. It was a great evening ~ full of laughter and good conversation and a rousing game of scrabble too; which I lost to our 7 year old visitor much to his delight. A rematch has been requested. Did you know ... that before midnight on New Year's Eve, temple bells across Japan begin to toll slowly 108 times. It's called joya-no-kane. According to Japanese custom, this symbolically welcomes the New Year and curbs the 108 bonno (mortal desires) which, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind. It is hoped that with each reverberation the bad experiences, wrong deeds, and ill luck of the past year will be wiped away. Thus, tolling heralds the start of a joyous, fresh New Year.

And so with that; let the bells ring out ~ and with the tolling of the bells we send our love and our very best wishes to all for a fulfilling, happy and healthy new year.

From all of us here on the meadow; two legged and four legged alike.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter has come to the meadow . . .

Sunday was bright and sunny and a walkabout with camera in hand was a must. All along the edges of the meadow, copper coloured willow branches hold up little balls of snow like Christmas tree ornaments. Snow sculptures everywhere! David spotted 'our' mink at the culvert (without his camera) and with that heads up, I approached as quietly as possible (difficult to be quiet with the crunching snow underfoot) and actually had a few minutes of conversation and some nice photo ops with a very relaxed mink. The pics aren't great but the encounter was a delight! Below is our rescued and treasured piece of meadow history, now under the cover of snow; Jenny Barlow's dairy cow shelter. This tiny cabin is a daily reminder of how good we have it ~ thanks in large part to those who came before us. Hopefully our children's children will be able to say the same of us. And with winter, come stacks of firewood We use our own Beetle killed pine for our firewood ~ the blue gray stain on the logs is courtesy of the Pine Beetle. We use our blow down and sustainably harvested pine for all sorts of things. It's really very pretty and we're especially grateful for the warmth it provides at this time of year. The kitchen wood stove is pressed into service all hours of the day now. A cozy place to gather. That's one of those great little Eco Fans on the stove top. Quiet and zero cost to run; it distributes the warmth of the wood stove right into the next room. Lee Valley describes them as having "a thermoelectric module that generates electricity based on a thermocouple, which exploits the difference in temperature between the stove top and the ambient air, a phenomenon known as the Seebeck effect. " So, yes, winter has most assuredly arrived on the meadow. The quiet blanket of white falls gently over us and we dig out our winter boots and our warmest slippers. Till next time ~ may your trails be all sparkly and full of wonder.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Fall turns to early Winter

As one season comes to an end there is the delightful anticipation of the next. I love fall and winter ~ the cool, the colours, and the crispness of the world in these seasons. Some photos from the last few weeks. . . David took these pretty Ruffed Grouse pics about mid October. Here's a typical misty morning on the meadow in late October. And a few days later, a golden sunrise on frosty branches. A flock of Sandhill Cranes heading off to gather for their mass migration . . . One of those so beautiful skies ... And our very first snowflakes of the year. We had a pretty good accumulation of heavy wet snow that day. It didn't stick...but soon! November's first few Sunrise's over the meadow. I am inspired to gather up my paint brushes and watercolours. Find a nice pen and some black ink. In the meantime, thank goodness for digital photography allowing us to capture as many of these moments as we like. Till later ...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanks Giving

We are so very thankful. For clean water and fresh air. For good soil and good food. For choice and plenty. For family and friends. And for bluebirds. We give thanks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Autumn. September on the Meadow

Fall on the meadow. Our favourite time of year here! After a very dry August and some rather exciting wild fire activity in the area this summer; it is especially beautiful right now. The Aspens and willows doing their end of summer dance and the wild roses displaying their ripe red rose hips. The first real poppy we've been able to bring to flower at this elevation. She came up in the greenhouse and put on a glorious show. and a few greenhouse sunflowers too. Just for fun. We hear the coyotes frequently in the evenings now. David spotted a coyote this morning at the near end of the field as the three of us (David, Vincent and I) were finishing breakfast. Here are a few of his pics. . . as she hunts for a vole ~ and squats quickly to relieve herself (letting us know he's a she :) and off she goes. David and I made a run into town yesterday. To visit the post office and to stock up on groceries for a pantry whose contents were looking particularly unexciting. We were down to visit our son and daughter-in-law recently (and of course our amazing and delightful grandson). Jill is a fabulous cook. Every time we visit I learn something new as I watch her whip up another gourmet meal. I spent some time yesterday poking through the Indian food section of my local grocery store and came home with things to literally spice up our dinners on the meadow. Thanks Jilly. It's about a 45 minute trip to town on a good day ~ not a trip we make very often and always a delight. We normally see a few deer on the drive, frequently see black bears and occasionally muskrats, owls and the odd lynx. In the winter we often see moose. Yesterday on our way home, coming down our driveway, David had his camera at the ready and got a couple of really sweet pics of one of our resident grouse. Ahhh yes, the fresh cool air and the glorious colours of fall. So enjoyable.