…like gladdening, greening, growing things…*

Easter approaches, and with it all the joy and gratitude for another spring season ushered in with resurrection, longer daylight, warmer temperatures, awakening scents, budding branches, green shoots pushing through warmed soil.

It is time to start checking the garden, to inquire if anything has lifted green, sleepy heads.  I am somewhat concerned, the winter was mild, with little snow.  We did experience a number of extremely cold days and I fear that some of the plants may not have survived without their white blanket to protect.  To this point there is no signs of return, although in the vegetable garden, I think I saw a suggestion of green where the sorrell lives.

John 12:24-25   24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

I’ve been dreaming of seed packets.  I been dreaming of hot houses.  This Sunday past I spoke to a woman in our congregation who has a greenhouse, she is very accommodating in remembering I indulge in purples, from mauve to royalty so dark as to appear almost black.  Last year she started some deep purple Morning Glory, I plan not to miss out this year.

It is a splendid time of the year, in more ways than one.

” Now the green blade rises from the buried grain, wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been: love is come again like wheat new-springing green.”**

* How Deep the Silence of the Soul – tune MacPherson’s Farwell – Book of Praise #750

** Now the Green Bladed Rises – tune French Carol – Book of Praise # 256

I Promised …

     It’s almost been a year since we had our 2nd Annual Country Cowboy Service.  I promised when I mentioned it in a blog last August that I would post the pictures.  The quilts were made by our soon to be famous Ladies Quilting Group.  At least, I am confident that they will soon be famous.  They accomplish some lovely work.   Almost exactly a year ago they sent 12 quilts to Japan in response to the earthquake/tsunami disaster of March 11.  The quilts seen in these pictures were donated to a family shelter in Grande Prairie at Christmas.

Decorating the church in preparation for Sunday worship was filled with laughs and good fellowship.  The narthex (ahem, foyer), took on an almost stable atmosphere, complete (briefly!) with a newspaper on the floor piled with evidence of some well digested hay.  (Thanks to our retired law enforcement officer…not pictured!)  He thought it was a huge joke, and it brought on many laughs.  Replacing the candles along the walls with cowboy hats worked quite well, next year we promised to keep in mind we need more hats.  The decor was very conducive to setting the mood for some old favourite hymns and good worship.  Five more months and it will be the 3rd Annual.  Praise God!

Sirach 39:14-15   14 Send out fragrance like incense, and put forth blossoms like a lily. Scatter the fragrance, and sing a hymn of praise; bless the Lord for all his works.  15 Ascribe majesty to his name and give thanks to him with praise, with songs on your lips, and with harps; this is what you shall say in thanksgiving:

~Let’s hear it for the Boy~

Once or twice upon a time, I have mentioned ‘the sheltie.’  When I found my now husband’s profile on a dating website, one of his criteria was – “Love me, love my dogs.”  He has been the proud dad of a number of dogs, almost all of them shelties.   When we met he had two, Tucker and Dusty.  Tucker was an aloof tricolour, mainly black.  I’ll save his story for another time, as I don’t have access to one of his pictures at the moment.

Dusty was a timid blue merle who only trusted his Dad.  He tolerated me for more than two years before he would even come to me.  Hubby always wanted a merle and found an ad for one on the net.  He bought the boy, sight unseen.   The ‘breeder’/owner put him on a plane to Winnipeg.  Hubby was living in Dryden at the time and drove the four+ hours to the airport to pick him up in early January.  The poor guy was filthy, hair matted, covered in feces, dehydrated, teeth misshapen from chewing on the wire of his cage since puppy hood. As a result he always had horrible breath.   We later learned he was kept in a travel kennel since he was weaned and used as a stud.  Being too big for the breed to show, he threw litters that inherited his ‘large’ genes, hence the reason for his sale.  He didn’t know how to bark, or play, or fetch and trusted no one.  It took hubby a year, and one scary escape for four days to finally earn Dusty’s trust.

Once we moved to the Lower Mainland he became a different dog.  We suspect it had much to do with his progressing cataracts.  A number of times when hubby walked the boys and stopped to talk to a neighbour, Dusty would get confused when the conversation ended and follow the neighbour as they parted.  He had the softest hair on his face and ears.  He would come to the couch when Dad was watching tv and rest his head in dad’s lap and let him stroke and gently pull on his cheeks and loose skin between and above his eyes.

The summer he was going on fourteen he got into something that gave him the trots.  The smell attracted flies that resulted in flystrike.  Even though we got him to the vet in good time, because of his age and health, the vet suggested that treating the condition probably would be extremely expensive and wouldn’t prolong his life much as he was also experiencing kidney failure.  We miss him very much.

Ordination Stole – finished!

Remember this mess?DSC_0048

Shortly after Christmas I had a number of projects in various stages of completion.  I crossed another off the list this past weekend.  March 10th the lay missionary at Chetwynd Shared Ministry was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  The Presbytery of Peace River decided to give her a stole as an ordination gift (at my suggestion).  I had the ‘top’ almost completed when I stumbled upon a blog that listed a block as ‘Fruits of the Spirit’, which coincided with much of the liturgy.  So I decided at almost the last-minute to use that block as the reverse for the stole.  Not surprisingly, this created a challenge to meet the deadline.  She was very pleased with the gift, having stated in the meeting prior to the service that she intended to petition the quilting group in her congregation to sew one for her.

This is the front of the stole.  It appears like an inordinate amount of work, but with a little thinking outside the box I managed to reduce the frustration of sewing countless little squares together.


This is the reverse.  In many ways it was a great project to use up scraps and pieces left over from other projects. It is the first project that I attempted free motion quilting on the entire piece.  It didn’t quite turn out as well as I would have liked.  The leaves were supposed to be palm branches.  Okay for the first time.  I’m confident I will improve.

Numbers 27: 15 Moses said to the LORD, 16 “May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”  18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him.

The Beauty of Wood

2 Timothy 2:20
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.

The flesh of trees captivates my imagination.  All my life the original farm-house has stood at the north end of the garden.  A half century later, I uncover details I never noticed before.  The last discovery was the shadow of paint on the window casements.  It changes the imagined memory of the building’s appearance, a house with lovely blue windows.

I am awed by the beauty of its whorls and knots and grain and colour gradations.  I love how weather bleaches and dims the fibres of growth rings as sure as time increases the number of grey hairs on mortal heads.

The textures and patterns appeal viscerally to my sense of order and beauty.  Even the gradual release of moisture results in splits and fissures that leave character, wisdom in the lines and wrinkles of a beloved elder.

I wonder about the hands that crafted the dove tailed corners.  They are engineered and crafted in such a way that when it rains the water always flows to the outside.

Who was the one that swung the awl or axe that made this.  It still stands, almost a century later, secure on a stone foundation of boulders, a huge flat stone acting as the stairs up to the entryway.

So beautiful!

The old lady has served many purposes. She began, of course as the family home, my great grandparents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, my father and his sister.  My dad has lived his whole life, 90 years, on the farm.  It is steeped in a memory that transcends experience.  My memories are my father’s stories, an oral tradition infused in my bones and sinew, that catches my breath in my chest and makes it hard to swallow.  I love this place of growing and leaving and returning and longing.

In the '70's as a cattle shed.

In a second life she was a barn, housing a milk cow, a pair of ponies, a few beef cattle.  Four puppies were born in the manger on Christmas Eve.  The closest we came to an irreverent name was Prince, and although no one said it out loud, I always added ‘of Peace‘ in my mind when I was reminded of his borning day.

The old girl back in the day.  (left to right) My great uncle Bill Kostick, ?, my great grandfather William Busco

The old girl back in the day. (left to right) My great uncle Bill Kostick, ?, my great grandfather William Busco.

These images are beyond expression, beyond the limit of words, burned permanently in dreams.

New Year’s Day revisited

Finally, in 2009, after living in the Lower Mainland for almost four years we decided to head up Grouse Mountain.  We chose to go New Year’s Day as a way of celebrating what we had planned to be our last few months in Metro Vancouver.  Graduation was coming up in May and in all likelihood we would be somewhere east within a year.

Up we go!  It was quite the experience to pass the snow line and ascend to a winter wonderland.  They had over 3 metres of snow at the top that year.  It was incredibly beautiful and serene, inspite of all the people.

Hubby stood in the very centre of the gondola to prevent the ability to look straight down.  He is only ‘slighty’ afraid of heights.  We had dinner at the restaurant.  Quite good.  Unfortunately we could not afford to eat in the dinning room.  Three women (myself and two step daughters) in university at the time was a strain on finances.  We stayed a couple hours and watch dusk fall on Vancouver and the lights blink on as the hectic pace of the big city continued well after dark.  It was a magical night.