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Monday, January 18, 2010


while on holiday recently, i stayed with friends on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast.  one of these friends is a weaver, so i had the pleasure of helping her warp her loom for a batch of rugs she planned to make.  

she's the same friend who gave me the loom i have. the loom which i'm pleased to report is now assembled in its own little spare bedroom, surrounded by bookshelves and assorted boxes and bins of various bits of fiber and miscellany.  no picture till i get it warped.  

so, you see, to some of us, being warped is a good thing.  productive, even!

Monday, January 11, 2010

a January morning @ the ReStore

these days, the sun is just heating the horizon as i come to work @ 9 each morning.   for all the cold and snow and darkness in northern alberta, we DO have pretty incredible sunrises and sunsets.  and, unlike the tropics, they last a long time here.   there's time to pull up a comfy  chair, stretch out one's legs, sip a warm cuppa and take a gazillion pictures as the horizon warms, glows, bleeds all over the sky, and gently fades.  

this is the southeast corner of my ReStore yard.  the tree is a black poplar - considered by many a weed.  it's the tree that makes all that high quality pulp for paper for  your photocopiers and computer printers.   and that nice soft toilet paper with the quilted surface.  pulp and paper are second only to oil here.  very big business.  this is a tree that can be cut down to a stump, its roots mangled, and come back stronger than ever, with dozens of offshoots filling a circle with a diameter of sometimes close to 100 feet.  Or be completely denuded of leaves by tent caterpillars several summers running, and make a comeback. they're incredibly resilient. from their unopened leaf buds in the spring, oozes a sticky substance known to herbalists as 'balm of gilead'.  good for healing wounds, skin conditions, etc.  this one is somewhere between 30 and 40 feet high.  a good size for a northern tree, but not half the size they can grow to, given the right encouragement. she's still decked out for the festive season in glittering, frothy hoar frost.  in order to show the lace on the tree i had to expose the sky more, and the colors washed out.  so i opted for a silhouette of the tree and the full glory of the color on high.  the temperature was -32 F when i took this picture.

this is the tree my store mascot, the groundhog, likes to bask in the sun near.   i'm considering building a deck or a patio around it, with a big climbing toy for the kids in summer, and a picnic table where ReStore staff can have our lunch and coffee breaks when the weather's good.  maybe do some saturday classes for people to make mosaic flower pots and patio stones from broken tile etc. i also got wireless internet for the store when we set up, with doing paperwork, etc outside in the shade of the tree on summer days in mind.   

the chain link fence with the prison wire on top was installed by the city, who ran a recycling centre here pre ReStore.   the field beyond the fence is the edge of a park that follows the creek which cuts through the city.   the homeless people sleep amongst the trees along the creek when the weather warms.  the  city fathers didn't like homeless people coming in the yard after hours and taking things to build shacks along the river with, so they imprisoned the tree and everything west of it.  the deer crawl under low spots along the fence and wander the yard at night.  i often see their tracks as i open up in the morning.   no doubt the homeless people can do the same, if they have need to.  their tracks aren't as distinctive as those of the deer, being the same species as staff and customers. our feet are the same; homeless or not.  not that there's any need to track them. not that there'd be any crime in them taking some things if they needed them.   housing people is, after all, our reason for existence. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Green New Year

There's no snow on the Sunshine Coast.  I'm visiting friends there for the week after Christmas. It's been raining today, but compared to the -28C that they're having back home, this feels like spring.   The rhododendrons are covered with fat buds, about to pop, the grass is green, the moss is green, there's green all around me, and i can smell things growing.  It will be 3 or 4 months till things smell like that at home. We walked down to the lake yesterday. I had to peel off my jacket, down to a T-shirt - I was too warm.  Sigh.   It's going to be very hard to go home to the cold.  

HAPPY NEW YEAR.   My resolution is to find ways to be more environmentally responsible, and to take better care of myself.  The holiday has shown me how dangerously close I've come to a total burnout/meltdown/flameout.  

may you discover two thousand and 10 blessings in the coming year