Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What that song?

Warning: Picture heavy post coming up!

Oh yeah.

"The river's gonna rise, gonna rise, there'le be dancing in the streets if the river DON'T rise"

I think that I may have changed the words a bit.

The other name for this post could be "It began much like any other day".

I got to work shortly before 9. And seeing as I have been riding my bike to work for the past couple of weeks I figured that I had enough time to go and take a few pictures of how the water has progressed.

So here is how things stood at about 9:00 am. You can look at the pictures from a few days ago and see that things really haven't changed all that much. Those upside U shaped things are a bicycle stand.
In behind the library, red brick building to the right, there is a little water in the parking lot.

So I go to work and most of the morning is spent doing routine things. I take lunch and then start to clean the dye/felting kitchen (student's can be messy little things). After about 20 minutes of cleaning, I decide to call mom and let her know that Liam has some homework to do (he wouldn't tell her). Mom tells me that dad and Von have to evacuate the cows and that she will be staying the night with us. And while I was on the phone Joe (the marvelous maintenance man (and my immediate boss) that we are so fortunate to have) come looking for me with a rather frantic expression on his face. I quickly (and rather rudely) end my call and look expectantly at Joe. "you are needed in the basement" he says. "We need to get everything out" So away I go.
Some of the stuff in storage that needed to be moved up. Most of this made it.

Basement clay studio. All of the small portable thing made it out. The shelves and tables didn't.
There is also a couple of photography studios that are in the basement. Most everything made it out.

The store for the school is also in the basement. Here is most of the store supplies that are now on the first floor in a classroom. This is where I spent most of my time boxing and lugging.
At about 3:58 I remembered that I needed to get to the bank before it closed and sprinted over in my apron. After I was at the bank, I went to the causeway again to see how things were progressing. So here things are as of 4:00.

Then back to the school for more lifting and lugging. Thankfully there are two elevators that we could use to get things out of the basement. Here are a couple of students that are starting the monumental task of moving the clay mixing supplies.
The freight elevator was struggling to get this load up to the third floor. ( The guy in the gray shirt is Joe who left his office until most everything else was moved)
And then the power went out at about 4:45. Thankfully the only person on an elevator at the time had just arrived on the second floor and the doors had just opened.

Someone had ordered pizza and so we were able to have a small snack. Here are some of the students and staff that had helped in our frantic effort to get thing moved to higher ground.
There are things in all of the corridors.
Some of the equipment was brought up the stairs after the power was shut off. I will now say that we had no notice of the power being shut off. I will also mention that the powers that be may have tried to contact us but seeing as everyone that was able was lugging and moving, nobody was manning the phones. The courthouse next door was not informed of the flood problems until about 4:00. Hmmmm.

In any case, here are 4 guys struggling to get a pug mill up the stairs. If you want and explanation of what a pug mill is, just ask. Tomorrow.
They were also moving the rest of the powered clay supplies and I had to leave the building because of the dust that was being kicked up. I have asthma and am very sensitive to dust particles in the air. So I went to see how things were progressing on the cause way. Here is a quick shot of the parking lot behind the library.
And on the way home, I found that the way was blocked. I had to rethink my route home.
Bill took the kids down to see the water after supper tonight. SO come back later to see those photos. I need to get to bed!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hairy Scary Yarn

A couple of years ago, I inherited a bag of fiber from a former teacher. In it were a couple of hanks of jute. At the time, I didn't spin, but I thought that it looked pretty cool and I liked the colour and so I tucked it away for "later".

Later actually came. I have been working on a couple of felted vessels (here and here) and I decided to do some knotless netting on them as well as some beading. On the smaller, rounder blue one I used waxed linen and some glass beads. The shape reminded me of Anasazi pottery and so I stitched a few zig zag designs.

The larger one reminds me more of an amphora. Both of the vessels were felted over a flat pattern, and then once they were semi-felted, I threw them into my front loading washing machine. The small blue one, I checked frequently. It came out lovely and puffy. The larger one was forgotten in the chaos of the day and came out with a bit of a ridge where it had flattened out. I turned it inside out and put it through again and another ridge appeared. Sigh. Maybe not the best idea I ever had. I wanted to do some netting on it too but the waxed linen seemed too fine. While looking for something else in the shed, I discovered the bag of fiber that had been gifted to me. I decided to spin some of the jute to use with the larger vessel.

I have not spun anything like this before. The fibers are long and strong and every now and then I come across a clump of.... something. Not the easiest thing that I have ever spun, nor the tidiest. The stuff sheds like crazy and there are bits of fiber everywhere. It is something to be spun outside in the summer time. Unfortunately, it is spring and flood season and tomorrow I will update you with what effect today's rain has had.

In any case, Nicole came by and looked at the yarn that I was spinning and said "that scares me!" And she said it more than once. So here is the first bobbin of my hairy scary yarn that will be used for knotless netting on my large amphora like vessel.

And in roving form......

Here it is up close. I suppose that I should be spinning it wet, but I actually like the hairy part.

Tomorrow, I am back at work. It may prove to be an interesting day. The waters have risen quite a bit and with the rain that we had today the flood forecast is expected to reach the same level of the 2005 flood. Over 500 homes affected that year. And depending on the rainfall in the next couple of days, we may reach the same levels as the "Flood of '73" Here are a few images from the past few record floods. Most notably 1936 and 1973.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The view from where I stand

Thankfully doesn't include flooded out parents but it does include....

Except that in my case it is called a "blurbully belly"

I love my kids. No. Really! I do!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

river watch 2008

We live along the St. John river. We also live in the great white north. And in the spring, the sun comes out and the white stuff (snow) melts. All of the resulting water has to go somewhere so it heads down hill and ends up in the river.

In case any of you missed it, we had a lot of snow this winter. Which makes for a lot of melt water. Which makes the river level rise.
I had been pretty much ignoring the rising river this past weekend but upon hearing that people were predicting that this years flood would be as bad as the Flood of '73, I decided to hoof it down to the river after work and take a few pictures.
The blue thing above and below is a pedway that crosses above the busy road that leads to the bridge. It connects to the trail system that runs along The Green beside the river. Or as the case may be, under the river.
Today we are having rain and I'll try and get a few more photos after work again.
This is also an issue for my parents. The farm is on the flood plain and most springs, this isn't an issue. The fields get flooded (which is good) but the houses are pretty much ok. Most may get a little water but not a lot. This year may be different.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Box? What box?

And what was in the box? I thought that someone might ask. But seeing as you lack curiosity ( or are being extremely polite) I will just show you.

Welcome to "the trailer". It is one of those things that you can clip onto a bike, or use free as a stroller type affair. Here it is in stroller mode.

And here it is showing it's many passengers. It was hard to make sure that the giraffe was properly secured, but in the end, it was worth it.

And at this point I would like to thank the many talented Mamoo for "the trailer". My dad is a dairy farmer and Mamoo is an employee of the farm. All of the feed and whatnot for the cows get purchased on a credit card. That adds up to a lot of points in the run of a year. And seeing as the cows only need so much in the way of stuff that can be bought with the points (very little use for blenders and toaster ovens in the barn) , there are a few points left over in the run of a year. Mom offered us a trailer for the bikes and we accepted. Thanks Buttercup and Belle (and 80 other lovely ladies). We have yet to test it out on the trail system (snow is just gone this week) but soon we will be going for a family bike ride, I am sure.

In the mean time, go back up there and look at the lack of snow on the front median. It is almost gone. Mom says that the river is very close to flood stage though (they live right on the river) and if we get many more nice day like the past week has been full of, then my parents may end up living on an island for a few weeks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Random moment in my life

We got a new thing that came in a large box.
As often happens, the box is the wonderful thing.

Nicole (with extreme whining): MIRA! If your face is in the corner, I can't get in!


Nicole ( with extreme agitation): MIRA! Your face in the corner is scaring me!

Just in case you were wondering.... I'm having a glass of wine (without the "h")

I think that bedtime is a good thing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

G is for

Green Growing Things

I've waited a long time for this. The winter was very white with a longer and snowier year than we have had in a long time. When others were posting pictures of green things popping up in the garden, I was posting pictures of yet another snow storm. Finally, spring has arrived in the Maritimes.

First up, Mira's indoor garden. In the lower right is popcorn. Who knew if you planted popcorn, it would grow. But grow it did and space will have to be found for it in the garden. To the left of the popcorn is dragon fruit (see close up below). Behind the dragon fruit is the kiwi and everything else is part of the lychee forest.

Close up of the dragon fruit. These are a cacti. See a full sized plant here.
Lovely lychee leaves
Here are my freshly transplanted peppers and freshly thinned broccoli. (Yes Bill. Baby plants were harmed in the transplanting of the peppers.) Not shown are the freshly planted tomatoes because all you would be looking at right now would be dirt. Which is brown and not green.

And yesterday, on my way to work, I had to stop and admire this lovely crocus patch. Today we are scheduled for temperatures in the low 20's (C). Spring is sprung!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Am I behind the times?

Normally, I buy my eggs at the farmers market and at a small independent grocery store. The eggs are from a local producer and have the expiry date stamped on the carton. Occasionally, if I am there and in need of eggs, I will buy them at the big chain store down the street. This happens about twice a year and I was greatly amused (and slightly horrified) when the expiry date started to appear directly stamped on the egg itself.

But this is the first time that I have seen a website stamped on the egg! It takes you to a page advertising that jobs are available in the company. Think of the marketing potential of such an idea. People will advertised just about anywhere, so why not on the side of an egg?

What do your eggs have to say?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fruit experimentation

I had to go to the grocery store yesterday (big surprise, eh?) and Mira opted to come along and see what fruit she could find. Liam decided to tag along.

Mira didn't find anything new to tickle her fancy so she picked up a very ripe mango. And after doing some research peeled the seed out of the case so that she could try her hand at growing a mango tree. The seed is rather large as you can see. For scale, that is a quarter.

Liam found a granadilla. And a google search later, we found that it is a relative of the passion fruit. Yet another bag of frog spawn. Mira quite liked the little villi like things that held the seeds. I actually liked the flavour better than the regular passion fruit.

And today is planting day for tomatoes and a few other things. We will soon be over run with green things!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Mira came to me holding an avocado that I had picked up the other day....

Mira: Look! I think this is ready. But look at its skin. It's all nibbly.
Me: Oh, he just probably got damaged while he was growing.
Mira: He?
Me: He, she, it, I don't know.
Mira: We'll call him Bob

And off she goes to carve Bob up.

Monday, April 07, 2008

And What To My Wondering Eyes Did Appear....

But a liberated barbecue!

The Marvelous Mamoo took heaven knows what tools along with the shovel and the help of a couple of kids and freed the barbecue. Well, all but its feet, but seeing as it is not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, I think that is just fine.

Thanks Mamoo.And thank you for displaying your amazing talent at getting the kids to do things that I can't. I couldn't even get one of them to bring me the shovel yesterday. I don't know how she does it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Killing Snow

Or ice crystals, as the case may be.

Today was a beautiful day. The kind of day that makes me feel like spring is actually coming.
The temperature was well above freezing, the kids played outside in light sweaters, and I worked on melting some snow.

In our driveway, where it meets the sidewalk, there was a largish puddle. I looked upon this as a good thing because it means that things are finally melting. Happy Happy Day!
Being the snow hater that I am, I wanted to hasten the departure of the snow and ice by putting it where it would melt, and at the same time, getting rid of some of the large puddle that threatens my feet every time that I walk by it. This involved digging (or chipping) a channel in the snow and ice that lines the driveway. I also threw a bunch of snow on the street where it quickly melted! DEATH TO ALL SNOW BANKS!
The banks are still quite high, but they are slowly diminishing.
What I am really looking forward to is throwing a few things on the barbecue. I chipped away at the snow in front of it for about 15 minutes today and managed to unearth the knobs. Maybe by next weekend we will be able to use the darn thing. At some point during a snow storm this winter, part of the right side shelf was blown off and covered with snow. I was not amused. Yet I have great hopes of having it unearthed by the melting snow. Soon, my friend, soon.
And what is the preferred footwear for such going ons, one might ask? Why, my lovely rubbers, of course. I may not win any fashion awards, but at least my feet were dry.
And for those of you who stopped by to maybe catch a glimpse of fibery things, here is another vessel that I am working on. It is not quite finished (are they ever?) but I like the size of it, and I see potential for more like it.
The shoe was used for size comparison. Clever, aren't I?

I also have received a commission for a priest stole and while I have done some research on the Internet, if anyone has any information about traditional priest stoles, materials, and patterns, I would greatly appreciate some information. Thanks in advanced!