Bearly There

Thinking out loud…

It is time to put away the bird feeders.

Hello, Bear!
Our visitor yesterday afternoon—a young Black Bear.  We haven’t seen one in the yard for several years, though we know they are around, getting into neighborhood garbage cans, wandering through yards.  We had heard there was a mom with two cubs out and about last summer—this must be one of her cubs.  Big enough to take down the feeders!

After he finished with the suet cakes, he made the rounds and checked out our garbage cans with a good sniff at each.   I swear the bears know the garbage pickup schedule.  We’ve seen bear tracks near our cans on pick up day.  We learned several years ago to freeze all food scraps, bagged in bio-bags, and put them in with yard waste (compost) on pickup morning.  This works!  We call them bear popsicles.

A handsome young bear.  We wish him well, and know it is time to take down the feeders.  We do live on the edge of the forest, his country too.  When he was ready, he disappeared back into the woods…

The bear pictures were taken by my husband, who grabbed his camera, and stationed himself in the sun room where he got a good view.  Thank you, Jim!

Watching the Fade…

Thinking out loud…

This is very much like watching paint dry, only much slower.  And, to me anyway, fascinating.

In 2013 I was going through my stash of commercial fabrics, and came across a collection of Yukatas and Ikats that I had purchased from Kasuri Dyeworks in Berkeley, CA (closed long ago).  My little stash of precious fabrics  had languished for years.  I must have had some time on my hands because I decided to play with them to make hangings, and not quilted (very different from my “serious” work).  I had the idea to make something similar to the “curtains” that I’d seen hanging in doorways in some of my favorite  Japanese films.  I decided to use them pretty much as the pieces existed, and not cutting them up too much–even to leaving all the edges raw so I wouldn’t lose anything in unnecessary bindings.  I wanted to SEE these fabrics!  Every single inch of them.

So I started playing…

And arranging…

I used the Ikats up first, and made two hangings to go in our bedroom…both still there and enjoyed.

Then I started playing with the Yukatas…

This last one hangs above the tub in our bathroom where it gets light from the sky light, and therein lies the story.  So here it is in 2013…

And this is today…

I told you it was fascinating!  Black fades to the most wonderful surprises.  I should say, some black fabrics.  What fades and what doesn’t is always interesting and mysterious.

For years as a textile artist, fading was something to be avoided at all costs.  The very idea of fading fabrics was daunting.  I recall a conversation with an art consultant  (when I was just starting out), who told me that buyers are investing in something and they want their investment to LAST.  I recall that I called up the old DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, and was able to talk to a conservator there.  She told me “Every art work has a life span.  For some it is very long, and for some it is very short.”  I had chosen textiles, and I figured I would take whatever comes.

I remember my first loves of quilt making were faded scrap quilts, as well as the miraculous Amish quilts, transformed by fading.  But it has taken me years to finally get comfortable with fading in my own work.

I have places in my home where I hang quilts that I want to “watch” fade–to see how long it takes (rather swiftly with commercial fabrics).  I have to admit that the fabrics I dyed with Procion MX dyes have held up rather well. But there really is no escaping the fade, eventually.

Kinda like aging.  It is like aging, but what I see now is very different from what I saw and feared many years ago.  Now I see the softening, the patina of age, the experience of aging.  And I like what I see in my favorites surrounding me.  I like seeing the story.  I like knowing the story.

Yep, kinda like aging.

Pancake Morning!

Thinking out loud…who could resist?

This guy is a keeper!  He always has been a keeper.  I hate making breakfast.  Jim LOVES it!  The last thing I want to do of a morning is make a mess in the kitchen.  Over the years our breakfast routine has evolved to a mutually pleasing arrangement.  I stay out of the kitchen, he dives in.

Best darn breakfast place in town!

This morning’s batch has cranberries, apple and walnuts, served with warm maple syrup—the real deal.

Damn, they were good!

So far so good!

Thinking out loud…

This is me…hair is getting longer and, some days, quite rebellious.  I am doing more cooking and prudent meal planning.  We are scheduled to receive our first delivered groceries today.  Though yesterday I went out to our little veg mart with mask in place to resupply the veg and milk.  So all in all, we are doing quite well.  Staying in, staying safe is the best thing we can do.

And there are quite a few things that have helped!  One I can highly recommend is The Daily Respite by Clara Parkes.  Check out her website: and scroll down to her link.  I tried putting a link in this blog post, but it is beyond me at the moment to figure out how…sigh.   But go and check out The Daily Respite—who can resist “corgi butt buns”!

Samurai movies on Turner Classic Movies.  Yesterday we watched “The Hidden Fortress“, starring Toshiro Mifune, directed by the great Akira Kurosawa.  This movie is a classic, along with the “Seven Samurai“ which is on my menu today—I recorded several movies yesterday.  I think you can get these on Netflix.

Knitting, always near by!  I have socks in progress (I am not good at fitting socks—it’s a long story of getting two of anything to come out the same size.  But I am aiming for improvement).  I am also working on a sweater, and a very easy scarf.  Then I have a long list of things I want to knit!

Books!  “Vanishing Fleece” by Clara Parkes—Clara’s adventures with  a great white bale—of wool, from fleece to yarn.   And a British Cozy mystery called “The Country Inn Mystery”, by Faith Martin.  I ride my exercise bike while reading this one.

On my list to read :  The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson, about Churchill.  Jim could barely put it down!
The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel—the most recent of the Wolf Hall books, all of which have been fabulous reads.

In my yard, Spring is springing, albeit with subtlety, but it is there.  The birds are frequent visitors to the suet cake feeders, and we love greeting them every single time.

That’s a Red Shafted Flicker.  A poor picture through the screen and glass, but a gorgeous bird.

Do the things that fill you with good will and hope.  Take heart, and be kind to yourselves and one another.  I am cheering you on!