Smoke & Fire

Dear Vi,

A few people have written to ask if Mr. C and I are in any danger from the wildfires wreaking havoc in British Columbia, so I thought perhaps a blog post on the subject was in order.

122 fires are burning, with several communities evacuated, including entire towns. Here’s a map of what’s burning as of 5am this morning:I’ve marked the area we live in with a green star. To give you an idea of distance, it takes us about an hour to drive to Kamloops.

As of this morning, 40,000 people have been evacuated in the province. Our town is one of the evacuation centers, and people are even being sent as far away as Vancouver. Because really, where do you put 40,000 people?

We had an incredibly wet spring, including flooding and mudslides. All that rain made the grasses grow. And then it got hot hot hot and all those lush grasses dried out and turned into fuel.  They say this is only the beginning of what is predicted to be a Very Bad Fire Season.

Our visibility is about one mile in smoke, which is an improvement, actually. Two days ago we couldn’t even see to the bottom of our street, let alone across the lake. And yesterday, it was snowing ash.

Here’s the view from my deck this afternoon: And here’s what it usually looks like:Cough cough hack.

As of right now, we’re not in any danger here in the Shuswap, but keep your fingers crossed nobody throws a burning cigarette out the window.

My deepest appreciation to the firefighters, some who are coming from as far away as Australia. 

And to all the emergency organizations who are managing the refugee centers.

And to all the volunteers who are lending their hands and their hearts to those fleeing their homes, including those who are taking in displaced livestock and pets.

And to small businesses like Katja’s Quilt Shoppe in Kamloops, who is organizing social activity days for evacuees and locals to get together and work on sewing projects as a way of helping the time pass. Quilters looking after quilters.  Awesome.

Posted in Salmon Arm, Shuswap | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Socks and Rings and other Traded Things

Dear Vi,

I was knitting away in the shade of the back deck yesterday when I noticed that my sock yarn exactly matches my sun dress. Ha!  Too bad the socks aren’t for me! (though I can’t imagine wanting to wear wool socks on a day hot enough for a strapless cotton dress, lol.)No, these socks are for Kelly’s cousin, Gabrielle. She and I made a trade…I will knit her a pair of socks in exchange for these two silver rings:I am always knitting something, and she no longer wears the rings, so it seemed a fair bargain at the time. But between you and me, I think I’m getting the better part of the deal.

And speaking of trades, years ago I traded a necklace I never worn for a pair of earrings that my friend Peggy never wore. You’re not going to believe this, but take a look:How’s that for a match made in heaven? I wish I could remember the name of the stone…

Have you ever traded for anything?  Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Friendship, Knitting, Thrifty | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The view from my window

Dear Vi,

We arrived in the Yukon three weeks ago today. Goodness, how the time flies! Today, I thought you might like to see what I see when I look out my cabin windows!

The cabin is really just one big room, with a divider that sections off the “bedroom.” We have four windows, one each facing north, south, east and west.

Of course you’ll recognize this west-facing view, taken out my front window. Look close and you’ll see Mr. C putting in the dock. The ice pushed it up on shore and then dragged and twisted it a bit, finally leaving it high-centered on a large rock. Happens every year. 

Turn to your left and you’ll see this  view from above the kitchen counter, facing south:

Now another quarter turn to your left and you’ll be facing east. This is the lovely view I see every morning from my pillow. There is a screen on this window, so it looks pretty fuzzy. Sorry about that.Last but not least, one more turn to your left and you are now facing north. This is the window over the couch in the living room. I hope you enjoyed the little tour! If you want to see more, just click on the “Related Posts” links below.

What’s your happy place?

 

 

Posted in Cabin, Fox Lake, Yukon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Yukon HO!

Dear Vi,

I forgot to tell you that Mr C and I heading out for our annual spring sojourn to the Yukon. We arrived a week ago today. Two months off the grid are in our future. No phone, internet or television, no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing, except when we go to town.

Obviously, I went to town today, because here I am, writing to you from the Whitehorse Public Library.

Our departure date crept up on me like a kitten stalking my shoelaces. One minute I was blithely going about my business and the next I was tripped up by little needle claws in my ankles, causing me to run around making last minute lists and piles of things in doorways and on counter tops.

I did write a couple of blog posts along the way, which I’ll tack onto the end here in case you’re interested:

(May 9, 2017)  Yesterday we turned right off highway 16 onto highway 37, better known to northern locals as the the Stewart Cassiar Highway, and stayed the night at a rest stop just north of Kitwanga. It was a pretty place, and we stopped early enough to enjoy a nice supper and the rest of the evening. 

Have you ever been driving along and said to yourself, “I wonder what’s down there?” when you pass a road you’ve never been down?

Well, we did it today. We turned left at Meziadin Junction (highway 37A) and drove the 65 kilometres to almost-too-tiny-to-call-a-town Stewart, BC.

Stewart is a deep-sea port. It’s neighbour only a kilometre away is Hyder, Alaska. 

Our timing was off. It’s too early in the season, and most everything was closed down. The drive in and out was spectacular, though. Straight through the heart of the soaring Stikine mountains, through a narrow  valley, a narrower gulch, past a spectacular glacier and glacial lake. 

We decided we’ll come back on our return trip. Maybe catch the view when it isn’t shrouded in early spring cloud. When the town is awake and the visitor’s centre, museum, and coffee shops are open. 

(May 10, 2017) We’re pretty far north now, flirting with the Yukon border. It was snowing when we woke up this morning. We’d spent the night at a rest stop with the inauspicious name of Rabid Grizzly, a burbling creek beside us, the long expanse of Dease Lake frozen below.

Historically, Highway 37 has a poor reputation among Yukoners travelling south. It’s always been a pretty rough road, a sure bet for potholes, washboards and washouts, narrow one-lane bridges and never ending rain. 

The highway doesn’t deserve that old reputation anymore. I’m happy to report the highway is in fine shape and we made excellent time. 

It’s a pretty drive. Not jaw-dropping spectacular in the way driving though Muncho Park is, but when the sun decides to burn off the clouds, you’re treated to beautiful views of the Stikine mountains.

And bears. Lots and lots of bears.

I promise to post some pictures next time. I’m a bit limited here on the library computer. IMG_1552

Posted in Camping, Yukon | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Tunic Bible and an Orange Shift Dress

Hey, Vi… look what I got!

The Tunic Bible: One Pattern, Interchangeable Pieces, Ready-to-Wear Results. by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr

Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

The only tunic pattern you’ll ever need. Create chic, ready-to-wear tunics with a multi-length, graded pattern and expert construction tips. Choose your style–casual, preppy, boho, or glamorous – with interchangeable sleeves, neck plackets, and collars. Get advice on shopping for fabric and trims, guided by a huge gallery of inspiring tunics.

I can attest to the fact that everything they say in this blurb is true. The instructions are easy peasy to follow, and there are dozens and dozens of pictures of different tunics, along with a description and fabric used.

In the mood to sew, I rummaged around in my stash and came up with this orange stripe quilting cotton by Robert Kaufman.

I don’t know why I bought it, to be honest. What was I thinking?

I remember buying it on a dreary rainy winter day. I remember holding it up to myself and feeling happy. But really, an orange dress???

Well, as my mom said, I could always wear it on Halloween, lol!

Happily, it turned out great! I feel happy in this cheerful pumpkin and cream shift dress. I don’t feel like trick-or-treating at all!

For my first tunic, I chose the  “Outside Facing V-Neck Placket,” and made it a bit longer so I could wear it as a shift dress.

A shift dress is far from the most flattering garment. But it is my absolute favourite for comfort.  I could wear a shift dress every single day, especially during the summer when it gets so bloody hot.

You can MOVE in a shift dress.

With all the orange stripes, I was worried I’d look like an escaped prisoner, so I wanted to do something creative to break up all the vertical lines. Cutting the placket and the bottom band on the horizontal was an easy fix.

The best and most important thing I can say about The Tunic Bible is that this pattern fit me with no alterations. None. Zero. Zip. This is the dress straight off the pattern. I know! That never ever happens. Not to me, anyway.

The only change I would make next time is maybe to raise the bottom of the armscye as it’s a bit low on me. But not dangerously low…no fear of flashing or anything like that. And actually, when it’s really really hot in July and August, that extra ventilation might just be welcome.

I predict many tunics in my future. I want to make the maxi-dress version, and a hip-length one with fabulous trim around the neck. Oh! and the ruffled version! Yummy!

The Tunic Bible gets five stars!

Posted in Blog Categories, Book Review, Made by Me Clothing, me-made clothing, sewing | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Goodreads and a Book Review: Pines by Blake Crouch

Dear Vi,

I joined Goodreads. I mean to use it as a way of keeping track of the books I’ve read. I’m so terrible at remembering titles and authors … maybe this will help.

Or maybe it will just be another social media chore that I’ll neglect. Like Instagram, which I joined but never remember to check. Ditto Twitter. And FaceBook.

Anyway, I just finished reading Pines by Blake Crouch. This is a ZERO SPOILER review. You’re welcome.

Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.

What did I think?

I loved the premise and the mystery kept me turning the pages, so in that sense the book was a success. However, in the end, when I read the last line and closed the book, I felt vaguely disappointed. I had been unable to suspend my disbelief enough to truly get lost in the pages.

In my opinion, this could have been an outstanding work of science fiction – truly epic. Perhaps the sequels will fill in some of the blanks and go into the depth the topic begs for.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads (I liked it). I didn’t love it and it was better than just okay. Sadly, there isn’t a star option for “I liked it okay,” given with a shrug.  Lol.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Do you use Goodreads?

 

Posted in Book Review, Books | Tagged , , | 2 Comments