Friday, May 30, 2008

Lilac Season is here again

Hello again! Jai is off on another Halifax run today. This has been a very busy week, as I try to get ready to leave for two weeks. On Sunday, I am off to Maine to take a course with Michael Hosaluk - one of my very favourite woodworkers. As part of the business loan I took out last year, I received an education grant, which is going to cover the cost of the course, as well as the room and board. I'm bringing our shiny new laptop with me, so I'm hoping I will be able to update you on my progress as I play and learn. It's not very often that we take time to just play with wood, so I'm pretty excited.
Sadly, though, it looks like I will miss the peonies blooming, and most of the lilac season. Just yesterday as I was walking around town running errands, I caught the first whiff of lilac blossoms wafting through the air. Almost every yard in Bridgetown has at least one giant lilac bush, so it's an amazing time of year to walk around town.

I've been trying to get as much gardening done as possible before I leave, so Jai doesn't have too much extra to do while I'm gone. I put the tomatoes and the basil into the ground already, so I'm hoping they're wrong about the frost warning that's on for tonight! It's 17 degrees out there right now, and has 20+ forecast every day for the next week, so it should be all right (I hope!) I planted a ridiculous number of tomato plants and basil, and a ridiculous number of leeks and potatoes, so I can already guess what we'll be eating this winter! My two favourite soups... You know, there is something so neat about actually having four different seasons. In Victoria, it is so temperate that you pretty much only get spring and fall, with a little taste of those other two. But here, even though we've only been here for a year and a half, I can already feel the cyclical nature of the year, and I absolutely love how that affects our lives, from our activities to our diet and even our wardrobe - everything is transformed.

We're still busy getting all the beds ready for the rest of the veggies and flowers. Jai took a couple of hours yesterday to weed all the paths, and spread newspaper and straw over them, so hopefully there won't be any more path-weeding this year. And Sarah just told me she might have a lead on some free bark mulch, so that would be great.

And I've finished up all my custom orders that needed to get done before I leave. Including. . .
Aunty Janet's bench! I'm very happy with how it came out, and I received your card in the mail today. I will try and get it packaged up, so Jai can take it to the post office on Monday.

Also, a couple of new books, although I'm taking a bunch of paper and waxed linen and leather with me for my course, so I hope to get some new book styles created while I'm gone. It's a good thing I'm driving, I think the car will be stuffed to the gills!

Tomorrow Jai's band "Dayliner" is playing their second show ever. So we'll have a little party tomorrow night, and then I'm off on the Digby ferry, which leaves at 8 am. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hello! I bet you're surprised to hear from me so soon! Well, I had to download the pictures anyway to do up an Etsy listing, so I thought, since I'm sitting here on the computer, I may as well post some of these pictures!
We had a very activity-filled weekend. We both got quite a few jobs done in the shop, which is always nice. Jai has been turning tops all weekend, and I have been finishing up some of the custom orders that have been waiting.

Then yesterday we headed out to Carolyn and River's house.

We made pizza in their handmade clay oven, and it was Delicious!

I took a million photos of their properties, they are both so nice. I had to share a few - first one of Carolyn in her studio, with some of her newly finished pieces.

Then some more scenery.

It sure is a lot of work to keep up two giant properties like that, though. Plus Jai and I both had wood ticks on us when we got back to the house. Blech! This does nothing to sell me on forging a path through the woods. So you can enjoy the scenery, without the disgusting wood ticks crawling underneath your clothes. (you're welcome!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hello! I am just waiting for Jai to get home from his first day doing the Halifax Run. He is driving seniors from the area who have medical appointments in Halifax, and he left this morning at 7, so I expect he will be pretty exhausted when he gets home. He likes driving the seniors, though, and he always comes home with funny stories that they told him about growing up in the area, so that's pretty cool.
I've had a very full work week this week as well. It's hard to believe that it's Thursday already. Jai and I both ended up working the holiday Monday, but I still feel like I lost a day! Well, tonight I think we are both hoping to take it easy, and catch up on our American Idol watching. Every time the guys on the radio started talking about it today, I had to turn the nearest noisy power tool on, so that they wouldn't spoil the ending for me! So we have to watch it soon, or all the suspense will be gone.
I got some time on the CNC this week, and played around with a couple of ideas. I don't have any completed products cut yet, but I did get a better idea of what is possible. I think Jai kind of feels like it's cheating, or something, and I'm sure a lot of people might get that sense. I was kind of wondering how I felt about it, too, until I started to see it in action. The truth is that it is just another tool, just like the tablesaw or planer. Unless someone creative is using it to it's full capacity, it will just sit there and collect dust (which doesn't take long in a woodworking shop!) Stephen likens it to the printing press, which I think is a good analogy. In my head I think of it kind of like using molds in ceramics. You have to start with a very good original piece, but once you have put the work in, you can recreate it, much like a painter or photographer who makes and sells prints. Until now, that wasn't really a possibility with woodworking. What I'm hoping it will do is allow me to wholesale some of my more popular and time-consuming products, like the meditation benches. I still have to pick out the right piece of wood, and do all the hand sanding, fitting and finishing, but all the cuts that take time and multiple setups on the tablesaw can now be done on the CNC instead. It takes my time on the machines from 4 hours down to 20 minutes, and that (in my humble opinion) can only be good.
And just like any other new tool, it opens new possibilities for ways of working, which I'm just starting to discover. I'll post some pics soon. Anyway, that was a bit of a rant, but Jai just got home, so I guess I should get going. It sounds like his trip went pretty well, he's jumping around like a monkey :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hello Again! That photo is of my PEACH TREE in blossom!! I was a little bit worried about it all winter, but it is doing just fine, thank you very much. We may not get any peaches this year, but I think we will have many years of juicy, mouthwatering peaches ahead of us. I already plan on planting at least one more tree (or three!)

We've been using as much spare time as possible to work on the garden. This year, on top of all the food, I wanted to plant some perennial flowers, because last year I ended up buying all my cut flowers. So I got all sorts of beauties - hollyhocks, foxgloves, delphiniums, echinacea and soapwort, just to name a few. Plus I am feeling a little crazy in my mad passion for roses and peonies. Part of me is like a little kid - I just can't believe all that beautiful stuff comes from plain old dirt.

While I was planting today, I had a little garden visitor. He stuck around just long enough for me to run in and get my camera. I feel like our garden will be excellently protected by this little toad, so I hope he decides to stay. Later on I saw a hummingbird amongst the quince blossoms. I wasn't fast enough to get a shot of him (even with the camera hanging around my neck!) but I took some pictures of the blossoms anyway. They're so pretty, I had to cut some branches and bring them inside.

Our fancy new Dell laptop arrived yesterday. So now I can work on some programming for the CNC. There's a bunch of stuff I want to try out - like signmaking, and carving shells, and inlaying text. Jai, I think, is more excited about the prospect of watching movies in bed (ok, I admit, I am a little excited about that, too!) And, to top it all off, it's candy apple red.

In other work news, Jai has got several wholesale orders on the go with his spinning tops, so he'll be working like a madman to get them made by the end of the weekend. I have almost finished the portfolio I am making for a big American client. The book is so long, I couldn't get the pages cut in town - nobody had a cutter big enough. So I took the day today to drive three towns over to get my paper cut. (With minor detours at my favourite antique store, my favourite Frenchy's, and a couple of my favourite nurseries, plus a Pearle's Pit Stop ice cream on the way home. ) It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

I've also been playing with some new bindings. The photo (not the best photo) shows Coptic on the top and Secret Belgian on the bottom, which I am especially happy with. It's another one of those child-like reactions at the things you can do with string. I just got the book "Exposed Spine Sewings" by Keith Smith, so I am going to be experimenting a lot over the next little while.

And this week Sarah and I attended the first Bridgetown Farmer's Market. We both got some free range eggs, some homemade butter, and a couple of goodies for the garden. If the market continues to grow, it could be very exciting. I've never had homemade butter before! Sarah is trying to do the 100 mile diet, which I totally applaud her for. Jai and I make an effort - not buying stuff when it's not in season, and buying local as much as possible, but we still use things like olive oil, and paprika. Speaking of paprika - my paprika peppers are poking out! I am so excited about these peppers, I can't even tell you.
Anyway, it seems like there are a million more things I could write about, but I just don't have the patience. Next time, I will have to try not to leave it so long, so there's less news to catch up on!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

This week...

Hello Again! Hope you are all well. Today was really hot outside! I got some gardening done, and hung a couple of loads of wash out on the line, for the first time this year. Spring must really be here!
Jai and I took some time yesterday to build a mini greenhouse out of windows that we got from the curb at Spring Clean-Up. It turned out really well, I am totally in love with it! So today I started some seeds in there, and planted the stuff that you're supposed to put in the ground as soon as it can be worked (sweet peas, onions, and some lettuce.) Hopefully the sweet peas will grow this year, as I planted some last year, but they never grew at all.

In other news, the dining table I built was picked up today. I think the couple that bought it were really happy, so that's a very nice feeling. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to take some good pictures of it, so this is all you get.
I'm looking forward to this week coming up, although it will be crazy busy. I am teaching four yoga classes for Julie, the teacher in Annapolis Royal, who is off visiting family for the next two weeks. AND I'm teaching the second installment of the Yoga for Kids program at the Cornwallis elementary. We did the first one last week, and it was a bit of a crazy time! I think the kids had fun, but I'm still nervous about what I am going to do with them this week. Ten kids in one room can generate a lot of energy!
Speaking of kids, we spent a very nice evening yesterday with friends, helping Dereck celebrate his birthday. I tried to get a nice picture of Eve and Sophie, but couldn't do it. I tip my hat to people who can get good pictures of little kids, because I certainly can't! I thought I had a really nice one of Eve, all silhouetted in this beautiful light, but then when I looked at it later, I realized I had a perfect silhouette of her picking her nose.
Well, that's pretty much all of our news for this week. I'll leave you with a shot of Queen Street, since I realized that I've never shown a picture of our main street. This is downtown Bridgetown for you, in all it's glory. Isn't it cute?