Thursday, November 29, 2012


This morning when I opened Google for some reason, here's what I saw....
... and I thought, 'Oh, wow, maybe some important person has a birthday today, too ... I wonder who?' and then I went to type in whatever I was about to search for, and the mouse-over I created said, 'Happy Birthday, Marilyn!' Now, how cute and clever is that little 'app'??

So apparently it's my 60th birthday today .... how did THAT happen?? I feel like I must be experiencing a time warp or something because I sure don't *feel* sixty! But since I already celebrated with that train trip, it'll be pretty much a normal day for me... Esther and Maggie and Anita are coming over from Victoria to knit with me at the Rock Salt, so that'll be fun. I'm working on the BowTie Hat for the woman who commissioned it -- pictures maybe tomorrow.

Life is good and I *am* having a happy birthday!
Edited to add... :

(Photo thanks to Esther -- from left to right at our Rock Salt knitting circle this afternoon -- Geri, Anita, Pat, Esther, moi, Maxine, Carol and Maggie. Dona turned up at 3:30, too, but too late for the photo)!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I had a Welcome Wagon visit on the very northern tip of the Island today (the very northern tip of Salt Spring is called Southey Point -- I have no idea why...) and immediately after, went down a road I hadn't explored before. Here's what was at the end of that road...

Makes me want to win the lottery and buy a house right there! I hung out for quite awhile, in my van, knitting and breathing ... and knitting and breathing. Isn't it stunning? It's Trincomali Channel, stretching from Wallace Island to Nanaimo with the snow-capped mountains of the BC mainland in the background. It was hard to tear myself away!

Two more hats have joined the pile:
The yarn arrived for the commissioned hat that needs to be back in France for Christmas, so I'll start on that one in the morning!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Today was our Welcome Wagon Christmas brunch in Victoria, so away I went! I had to catch the 6:15 a.m. ferry to get there on time, so it wasn't even daylight yet.

So I got to see downtown Sidney all lit up for Christmas (when I stopped to treat myself to a Starbucks latte) ...

 ... and how cute is this fish market??
I was about 2 hours early (because of the way the ferries work) so I took my latte to one of my favorite beaches there and watched the sun come up:

I got some knitting done, of course.  :-)

Then I drove the rest of the way into Victoria (20 minutes) and went to the gathering ...

I'm exhausted now.  :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I've said it here before and I'm sure I'll say it again: I love Christmas. I love it all (well, except for shopping -- I'm not a shopper, and I'm proud to say I do very little of it, even at Christmas) -- I love the lights, and the music, and the peace and camaraderie, I love knitting gifts for everyone, the food and the festivities.

But I normally only love it after Dec. 1st. Any Christmas stuff that makes its way into my world before that is generally not welcome -- it feels too commercial, too much, too, too... well, you know.

So today when I was driving home from Ganges, you'd have thought I would have a negative reaction when I saw this....
... but I loved it! I came around a bend in the road and there it was... and I immediately looked for a place to pull over so I could stare at it a bit longer, and take a picture. And then, while I was admiring this tree, I looked to the left and saw this one...
Even though the tent caterpillars nearly wiped out the apple crops everywhere here on the Island, this tree obviously wasn't affected. The leaves are all gone, but there's still dozens of apples left. I would have had to trespass to pick some, though, so I didn't.  :)

I had coffee with Gillian, my FictionKnitsta author today, and she looked at and tried on several of my shawls. We've decided that I'll knit her an apple red shawl in the Faroese tradition - she'd like it to be fairly plain but with a beaded edging, and a 'house' on the back. I can do that... here's a couple of choices!

I'm excited about this project, but don't dare even think of starting it until after Christmas. Good thing I have to order the yarn for it!


There's frost on the sail covers this morning (only the second time this year) ... and this was my view out the window when I opened the curtains:
The log you see floating is typical of the water surface this time of year - the high tides pick up lots of debris that's been deposited along the shoreline, and re-floats it.
(And yes, I know I forgot to blog yesterday .... so I'll do two entries today to make up for it).  :-)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


(Note to Hailey: bet you can hardly wait to read this)  ;-)

Ever since I became Salt Spring's Welcome Wagon person, I have struggled with the 'stuff' I have to keep on hand to fill the newcomer's basket with. I live on a boat, after all, which means I don't have a lot of extra storage space. I do have room for everything, but it's in several different places, and not all that accessible. So ... some of the 'stuff' has lived in the master cabin (that would be our bedroom); some of the stuff has lived on a shelf in a little shed on the dock here; and most of it has simply lived in my van. At the end of a busy week of visits, the stuff in the van gets pretty disorganized -- and it is always difficult to keep any kind of inventory list because I can't see what I have, or what I'm getting low on, etc.

So I have been mulling storage/transportation options for a long time, but nothing I ever thought of would actually work: either it was too expensive, or it wouldn't fit in the van, or it would be too difficult to access... or whatever. So I just kept mulling...

... until this week, when I got the Mouat's Hardware flyer. In it was some plastic drawer thingies on sale... CHEAP. Check! I went in to have a look at them ... and to measure them. Then I measured the back of the van. Then I measured everything again just to be sure. They would fit perfectly in the spot I had in mind... check! They would be easy to access... when I swing up the big back door, the drawers would open straight out -- and I could fill my basket with a 'roof' over me in the rain, too. Check!

Here's a bit of the 'before' picture ....
So ... $80 later, here's the 'after' picture. The drawers are held in place by the two back seats and the back door when it's closed -- and if they bang around a bit, who cares? They're cheap plastic! I have *more* than enough room to store everything I need to carry with me ... and it's all in one place -- yay!!
(Note to Hailey: aren't you proud of me?)  ;-)

In other news... more hats.
Life is good.  :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


... I know because when I looked out the window this morning, this is what I saw for the first time this fall:
Yup, that's a 'dusting' of snow up there, across the bay from us! The sun came out and it was gone by noon, but still....

After it warmed up a bit, we did some more gardening for our elderly 'friend' here on the Island today -- she had been taken by a nurse to Duncan for cataract surgery, so we wanted to finish her back yard while she was away. Her daughter (our actual gardening 'client') arrived while we were there to help out her mom for a few days, and she was really happy with what we've done so far, so that was nice. Michael acquired a chain saw yesterday at a moving sale for $25, so we'll be able to put that to good use -- this woman's land is a 2-acre property and there are several trees down that we can buck up for firewood for her (and maybe us, too)!

Hat #11 on the needles .... I think I'll stop at 12 for now, and switch projects for a bit!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I think I'm on hat #10 now... here's a pic of the one I finished yesterday, and the one I will finish tonight...
I'm having lots of fun with these and using up single skeins and partial skeins and playing with stitch patterns.

And it's a good thing I'm not tired of hats, because I just got commissioned to make this one...  (picture from the designer's website):
Looks like fun, doesn't it? It's for a woman in FRANCE, believe it or not. I said to Michael this morning that, between commissions I've done and swaps I've participated in, my fibre-related biography could say, "As a knitter, Marilyn's pieces have made their way into private collections all over the world."

Sounds good, huh?  :-)

Monday, November 19, 2012


The rain continued unabated today, and the wind, too, only slightly less wicked than yesterday and the day before! Last night after we checked everyone else's boat lines to make sure all the boats were secure in the big wind, we heard a big 'thunk' on the dock. Michael went out to investigate and discovered that *our* stern line had come off the dock - or, more accurately, that the piece of dock 'frame' that we were tied to had broken off! He got us tied up safely again, but had to go out in the pitch dark and pouring rain to do it. The power flickered once, but miraculously stayed on. It was definitely a nerve-wracking night -- good thing we love this lifestyle!

On the way home from Ganges today, I spotted our 'local' swans and had to stop and take pictures... (click on them to see them bigger .... you can see our marina in the background, across the bay, in the first picture).

There are probably about five or six species of ducks and diving birds in the mix there, but it was pouring rain and I didn't feel like staying long enough to get close-ups of them.

Another hat finished today... more pics soon. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012


So the first big south-easter of the season has been blowing all day today -- pretty steady at 30 knots with gusts up to 40 now and then-- we're rockin' and rollin'! Here's what it looks like from Drummond Park across from us ... the waves are about 2' high, and those whitecaps really do 'gallop' into the bay.

And right in the middle of this, a pleasure boat came in looking for moorage ... so they could go for lunch at the Rock Salt, if you please! Here they are heading back out into the wind .... (if you click on the pic to make it bigger, you can see the whitecaps out in the harbour). Crazy people - and from here they were heading across the ferry lanes over to Sidney!
Lovely weather for hunkering down in front of the fireplace and knitting though... another hat finished, and a new one half-done on the needles.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Had a very long day today, starting when I couldn't get back to sleep this morning after the wind woke me up! It was blowing about 30 kts in Haro Strait, which funnels right into the bay here ... so we were 'rockin' and rollin' for the first time this winter!

It calmed down again around 10 a.m. for a few hours, and by that time I had to head into town for a few Welcome Wagon visits -- then shopping, and home again by about 4 pm... and the wind was up again. I did manage to finish another toque, but it was too late to get pictures of it by the time I got home. 

No interesting stories, no pictures, nothing to report.... here! I'll show you a lovely autumn picture instead....
Now I have two days off ... well, at least off going into town! So I can do filing, catching up on phone calls, sorting out the van, etc. . . and knitting, of course. I hope it's really stormy tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2012


I have a couple of garbage bags full of it!

We went back to the yard in Vesuvius where we've been working, and the home-owner had a request: cut back the rosemary 'tree!'

It was at least five feet tall and five feet wide, and choking out even the blackberries that were trying to grow through it. The 'trunk' was about 2" in diameter, and it was all very 'woody.'
It had to go. We got it cut down to about a foot high so now it can come back in the spring, discovered a foot-high hollyhock at its base trying to reach for the sun, and cut out a ton of blackberries, too. I've piled it up in her yard and we have a burn permit, but everything's too wet to burn right now. I brought a bit home to dry ...

... and I am, once again, exhausted and useless.  :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Gillian's book launch was tonight in Ganges, so I got to meet her and listen to her reading a bit from The Apple House. I purposely wore one of my shawls so she could feel confident in the knitter that's been chosen for her!

I still have to finish reading the book and then we're supposed to get together next week and brainstorm what I'll knit for her -- she's pretty tickled with the whole idea, and it's already so much fun to be part of this project! Here she is (and I have to tell you that this photo does neither of us justice)!
Earlier today, at knitting at the Rock Salt, Dona modeled hat #7 for me... 
 Isn't she lovely? :-) Oh and the hat is pretty cool, too... wanna see it closer up?
I've got #8 on the needles already, but tomorrow might be another leaf-raking, yard-cleanup day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


... and more knitting....
We spent about three hours outside today raking leaves and dumping them... this woman whose yard we're working in is 90 years old and lives alone on a huge property, so it's really nice to be helping her out. (And it's not hurting us to get our heart rates up either.... even though supper tonight will be a couple of cans of mushroom soup -- I'm exhausted!)

Five hats done, another on the needles! Christmas is 40 days away...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This time of year, I love the drive home from Ganges. (Well, actually I love it any time of year)!

It's about 12 miles of windy road, and of course, the fall colours are wonderful right now -- although every day, as the leaves fall, there are less of them! There is a point on the drive where you come around a corner at the crest of a hill -- there are two wineries on the right, but then the road heads down into the Burgoyne Valley. Straight ahead is Mount Bruce, and the road will wind around the base of it to the left.

Today, there were clouds hanging off the front of Mount Bruce, and it looked absolutely magical!

Never mind the description ... I'll just show you!  :)

 Fulford, where I live, is right at the 'V' between these two points of land:
There are power lines everywhere and it was cloudy today so the pics aren't great, but I just couldn't resist pulling over and taking them!

On a sad note, our old buddy 'old Mike' left for Winnipeg on the bus day before yesterday. He sold his boat back to our friend George (who sold it to *him* in the first place) and decided not only that he needs to live on land now (he's 79), but that he wanted to go 'home' to Winnipeg where he lived for many years before coming out to the coast. We're happy for him because he's doing what he wants to do.... but we probably won't see him again, and he's been part of our lives now for almost 10 years.

Tomorrow... more leaf-raking and yarn clean-up in Vesuvius.


Monday, November 12, 2012


... now in my living room!

On Salt Spring Island, the local dump is owned and operated by Blackburn Garbage Services. People often drop stuff off there that really isn't garbage, and that could be useful to someone else. To facilitate this sort of exchange, Blackburn set up what is affectionately known locally as the 'Blackburn Mall,' an area in the yard that people can wander through and make donations for items they want to take home.

At my computer, I have been sitting on this chair for the last probably eight or ten years...
It's a cheap student computer chair (Staples puts them on sale from time to time for $29.95) and it's been fine, really, but not very supportive of my not-exactly-petite bod.

Well. A few days ago we did our weekly trip to the dump with our garbage, and saw this one sitting at the 'Blackburn Mall'...
 It's the deluxe executive model. Adjustable in various ways. Brand new, not a mark on it. LEATHER. Shall we say it got my attention? So when I went inside to pay for our garbage ($3.50 a bag) I said I'd like to make a donation for that chair. I had a $10 bill in my hand to pay for the garbage, and the woman said, 'okay' ... and took my $10 bill. And didn't want any more money.

At, this chair is listed at $250. I just paid $6.50 for it. Brought it home and disinfected it (not that it even needed it, it must have only been there a few hours) and it's now at my desk.

And all I can say is 'Whoooooooooooohoooooooooooooooo!'

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Anyone who knows me knows that, on Remembrance Day, I have a bit of trouble with the focus on male veterans (with the occasional token 'nod' to women), and that the ceremonies -- and images -- often seem to glorify war rather than help prevent it. I have always made a point of not just remembering the vets -- everyone does that -- but of remembering and honouring the women who served, too. 

There were the nurses on the front lines, the women 'at home' who tirelessly knit thousands of pairs of warm socks and caps for the soldiers, the women who were left behind to run the factories and businesses and keep the country's economy going -- and the thousands of women who were impacted the most: the wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of all those men who died fighting in those far-away wars. This video is about some of them.... (and Patty Braun, the woman who is interviewed here, is a friend of my friend Esther).

I'll be spending a quiet day at home, again. It's raining today and I think I'll start a pot of home-made soup and -- surprise! -- do a little knitting. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I've had a fabulous day here today! I haven't gotten out of my jammies, but I've ....

1. Done yesterday's dishes.
2. Tucked in all the ends on the twin baby blankets -- they're ready to wash and block now.
3. Tucked in all the ends on the three hats I've knit in the last four days... here's a 'sneak preview'...
4. Hemmed a pair of pants for Michael.
5. Tidied up the whole boat.
6. Kept a fire going in the woodstove all day.
7. Swept and wiped the floor.
8. Sewed the I-cord initials on the wedding blanket that really HAS to get into the mail!
(It looks better in real life ... C and D are my niece and her hubby's first initials, and the S is for their last name)!

And now I'm about to make a wonderful supper...  feel great to accomplish all those 'loose ends' I've been intending to get to -- all while I had the country music cranked up and dancing around my living room. Fun!

Friday, November 9, 2012


I couldn't agree more, and the last 34 years of Michael's sobriety journey has been nothing short of amazing. He's still struggling to become a non-smoker but it's been 34 years today since he took a drink, and that's a miracle! And everything good in our lives today is a direct result of that decision he made on the morning of November 9th, 1978 ... so today at lunch we celebrated with new friends here on Salt Spring Island, and tonight, for only about the 4th time since we moved here, we're having burgers from the Rock Salt for supper!

(I'm knitting like a fiend and can't show you any of it because it's all Christmas knitting.... )

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MORE RAKING and aching :-)

Spent a few more hours raking leaves in this yard we take care of ... and I've got the aches and pains to prove it. Here's some of the raked area....
... and some of the yet-to-be-raked...
It's a pretty yard, though, and we have lots of fun working together!

On my way to knitting at the Rock Salt I spotted this...

Apparently they were taking the mast down to pull the catamaran out of the water for the winter.... but I didn't want to wait around long enough to get *those* pictures!

I've finished the lavendar-colored hat, and started a different one today. Pictures .... maybe ... tomorrow.