I was working on some acetate stencil prints this past week or so (above) that I will bring to the residency at Pukaskwa National Park, for their gallery space. In other art news, I am going to be painting and collaging a 6′ lighthouse sculpture for Lighthouse 2014. The sculpture will hang out somewhere in the city of Summerside from June – October and then be auctioned off. I am pretty excited about this, and interested to see how the lighthouse fits into the cabin. The design I submitted is somewhat top-secret now, since the unveiling is a special event, but it has to do with literature and a giant squid. I am pretty sure I can say that much.
In gardening news, I laugh every time I look at the calendar and see “plant oats?” written at the end of this month. The snow is still deep on the ground, and I can’t imagine planting anything anytime soon. The unseasonably cold weather persists at least until the end of next week, and then we’ll see. I can’t wait for it to warm up, not least because one of the walls of the wood stove is falling off, and has a gap big enough to stick four fingers in, ha!
MM Brown (and anyone else interested): So… the 300 dumpstered t-shirts from a couple entries ago … I am trying to do something interesting with them, but I have to wait until the end of the month to see if it pans out. I will say what it is by then, either way. This is probably the most secretive blog entry so far.
There was a ridiculous amount of snow last week – 90 cm fell in 5 days or something. Snowshoes were essential for walking anywhere on the land and even then I would sometimes end up, up to my knee in dry, powdery snow. It was so much fun. But I don’t mind that it’s been melting a bit the last few days. The piles at the end of the driveway were around 6′ tall, and the driveway was starting to get very narrow. Narrow enough that, after seeing Travis and I shovelling our long driveway by hand, I think a road plow-er took pity on us and plowed some of the snow away, because the end of the driveway was suddenly wide enough to back the car in comfortably. The snow has been extra cool because I have been dog-sitting Ghost while Byron and Carina are in England, and it’s hilarious to watch the dog swim into the snow.
One of the things I have been busy doing lately is applying to a few parks to be their artist-in-residence, and applying for some local things too. I was really happy to hear last week that I was accepted at Pukaskwa National Park in northern Ontario. I am really excited about canoeing, caribou, and wearing a black turtle neck and beret, ha. It should be really fun.
It’s been wintry again for the past while, and I’ve been working on art projects, baking and snowshoeing. So wholesome! Above are some cookies I made a little while ago, the guest /artist in residence cottage (to be completed this spring!), and some of the 300 brand new shirts, backpacks, and shorts I dumpstered a little while ago. I have a summertime art project in mind for them, and am pretty excited by it.
I have a show of screen prints in July at Baba’s, so that’s something to look forward to, and a Byrnes Rd. show in August … funny that summer is already starting to take shape.
Despite all the thoughts about summer, winter is definitely always on my mind right now. It’s important to keep the wood stove going, and to plan to stay home when possible if it’s going to be too hard to get the car out of the driveway. Fortunately my first winter at the cabin is not nearly as hard as I thought it might be. I am usually pretty warm, the days are getting brighter, and I think I am putting my time to pretty good use. I don’t miss electricity too often, or even think about it much at home, though I am happy to visit the library and the watershed centre where I am doing some work. So, everything is good.
I was all set for winter to continue to settle in. At first it was very cold, especially in December where the temperatures dipped very low for PEI for a long stretch and all the old folks were talking about it being an old-fashioned winter. Now it’s been above freezing for a week, more or less, and the formerly knee-deep snow barely reaches above my ankles. Here are a couple of pictures of the cabin before the melt.
I am sorry that the snowshoeing isn’t so hot right now, but glad that it’s easy to keep a place warm. But there could still be a cold snap some time.
I am down to 9 winter squashes, which means I have eaten … over 20, almost single-handedly, since some time in September. Not bad. No surprise that I have a pot of squash soup waiting at home.
I have been wanting to screen print at the cabin, since I have more time for artistic things, etc. but wasn’t sure I would be able to expose screens in sunlight … or more accurately, I was unsure I could expose a screen in the usually-overcast, low-in-the-sky, short-day winter sun.
My first trial I overexposed the screen so badly that I couldn’t even see the image. Then I realized that maybe the strong light bulbs and light tables that people usually use for screen printing are much weaker than the sun.
This morning, I exposed the screen at dawn, and left it for about 2.5 hours in a south-facing window. Today is overcast and rainy, but that was almost too much exposure!
So, good news: it’s easy to screen print without electricity.
It’s mid-November already, somehow. I am still eating a lot of squash, and also Jerusalem artichokes, beets, chard, garlic, beans, and probably some other things from the garden. I pulled some ripening but anemic-looking tomatoes out of the box, wrapped in newspaper. Life is pretty good. It’s still pretty mild here, but starting to get colder. Fortunately I have a lot of firewood.
Pictures above are: Byron and Carina’s pigs (for Mom) – they are not mine. I fed them some dumpstered candy yesterday. A cross section of one of the warty Galeux d’Eysines squash, and 6-month-old miso. I tasted it for the first time today. It’s pretty good. We’ll see what it is like in another 6 months.
One thing that is exciting is that an organic farmer nearby plowed a huge, huge garden plot for us to plant next year. It will be so great not having to dig everything by hand. I want to grow so much food, especially things that can be stored a while, and extra-especially things that can be stored in the ground, like rutabagas. I never did build that root cellar, and next year I am doing no building projects. I figure if it’s here in writing then I have to stick to it.