I wrote this a few days ago, but didn’t have a chance to post it. Am now home.
My residency at Pukaskwa has been so enjoyable; sad to say it is almost over. In addition to more hiking around the park, I spent a day in the area going to ghost towns (I can’t resist them) – Jackfish and Coldwell. Coldwell had an old dredge in the water and a tiny old graveyard that had obviously been visited by bears recently and regularly. Jackfish was an adventure that required walking along the railroad tracks overlooking the Superior. The ghost town is inaccessible by road, except possibly an ATV but even then I think it would be treacherous. The walk was beautiful, though – large pebbly and sandy beaches and the smell of trains. There were remains of a cement silo and water tower, a cluster of abandoned houses and outbuildings, and lots of mossy foundations. There was also a strange little set-up of rusty metal bowls on a rusty table by an old wooden bench in front of the foundation of an old cabin. Everything seemed arranged as if it was for a painting, except for “Private Property” signs posted all over the place and a phone number for more info. There were a few empty but not abandoned cabins around as well, and a path through some woods that led between them, and up to the railroad.
I was also happy to find abundant and abandoned rhubarb patches at both ghost towns, and so have been making lots of stewed rhubarb over the fire.
I’m just starting day 3 as the artist-in-residence at Pukaskwa. It’s been a really amazing time, divided between hiking around giant lichen-encrusted boulders and forest, and meeting with people to talk about art and leading an workshop on making prints.
The workshop was yesterday, and actually the most enjoyable workshop I have ever led. Lots of different people came, and it was really interesting to see how artistic and different the prints they made came out. Parks Canada staff took a bunch of pics of it, so I will put those up soon. Here are pictures of two trails I have hiked on so far – Manito Miikana and Bimose Kinoomagewnan.
I am leaving for an artist residency at Pukaskwa National Park in 5 days, and am really looking forward to it!
I’ve also started working on the dumpstered-new-shirts give-away art project for Art in the Open … some pics of a couple of the different prints below. I hope a lot of people want free hot pink short-shorts this summer. 35 shirts and shorts down … about 275 to go.
Above is the lighthouse I collaged and painted for Summerside. It’s in its temporary home at Holland College, until Fall when it gets auctioned off. It’s a giant squid reading a book, with a collage of book pages below it. I am not wholly endorsing destroying just any book, though.
The garden is really starting to grow these days – lots of squash and parching corn are coming up, and everything else is getting bigger. As usual, lots of things aren’t really working as well, but whatever; there is a good reason to start with three or four times are much seed as you actually want to grow out. I am pretty excited about the things that are growing well, and can live without the tiny gourmet turnips that just didn’t seem to make it. The nettles continue to be reliable.
I am looking forward to my artist residency at Pukaskwa National Park, starting in less than two weeks, and then a visit from my brother David, and then just a little more time on PEI before I got back to northern Ontario for a residency including a canoe trip at Quetico Provincial Park. Then back to the island, and only a short period of time until Art in the Open. Art things are going pretty well, and I am happy to have shows in Charlottetown in August (Baba’s) and October (Vitrine Gallery), with a residency at Robert’s St. in Halifax in between.
The farmers’ market in Cardigan opened for the year on Saturday, and even though it was grey and rainy, it was really fun. Travis and I hung out under the awning with Story selling Townes stuff, and of course Byron and Carina’s veggies at SeaSpray. There are more farmers’ markets on PEI than anywhere else I have ever been, and I always enjoy them, but for some reason, the one in Cardigan last Saturday was particularly fun – it just seemed like a beginning of summer, despite the weather.
Travis and canoed out around a bunch of islands in Murray Harbour, and saw so many curious seals. They surrounded the canoe at one point, dove in the water, and followed us along some of the way. There was also an old shack on one of the islands.
Gardenwise, things are going well. We have a lot planted now, though most of it will not really be ready until late summer/early fall. My exciting finding was that the potato onions I planted last year to try to overwinter survived. Potato onions are shallots that taste like onions and multiply like garlic, though there are not quite as hardy as garlic. I thought I’d try heavily mulching them in fall, and see what happened. The ones I planted in fall are significantly taller than the ones I planted in spring. Not bad considering this isn’t really a suggested practice in colder areas.
I really want to write something called The Lazy and Unprepared Gardener. I think it could fill a gap in the gardening book market.
The weather got cold again, and I started taking pictures of all the perennial things around – sorrel, nettles, fruit trees (which won’t bear fruit for a long while), sunchokes, and lots of flowers – old-fashioned peonies that were passed down to my mother from her father, echinops, etc. Anyways, I imagined appreciating perennial things, but then the weather improved and yesterday was tilling day. In the picture above you can see that I am tiny and in the background, attached to a rototiller. In a few days it will finally be time to start planting squash and beans, and I am so excited. The annual things are so dramatic.