Spare

This scene is part of my morning commute. This beautiful Lunenburg Dory greets me in the morning and again in the afternoon. 

Now, I am not a morning person.  Slow to rise, and constantly underestimating the time it takes to get out the door generally makes for a rushed, and frazzled drive to work. I have always been that way. 

When I see scenes like this one, where the water is calmand the morning light is perfect, I regret not having the time for a photo. No time to stop. 

But on this particular morning (last Wednesday) I couldn’t resist.  I could not. I pulled over, hauled out my phone, quickly snapped the shot, then rushed off.  Not a second to spare to check the photo.

Later, however, when I caught my breath,  I was glad I stole the moment.  Maybe, tomorrow I’ll get up a bit earlier 😉 .

WPC – spare

This is “The May”

It’s a little difficult to believe.  For me, anyway.  But here we are … Looking the end of May in the eye.  I’m just not quite sure how that happened so quickly. The garden has been busy!  It seems to have gone from dormant, winter mode into full-on spring/summer growing season within days!  Okay, maybe weeks.

Let’s take a quick walk around and see what has been happening this month:

The primula and …

 The bluebells are showing off.

 The forsythia is almost finished, but the hardy kiwi is leafing out.

 In the kitchen garden, the garlic is well up,

 The parsley has returned – it doesn’t always make it through the winter – and …

 The asparagus looks like it’s dancing!  I covered the early sprouts with a cloche to protect them from pillaging chickens.  And it worked!  This meager offering is my best asparagus crop. Ever. But don’t they look funny?

 The apples are blossoming, and …


So are my darling haskaps.


We had the first bud break in the vineyard yesterday.  I think this is the Baco Noir. (Note to self – label vines!)


A family friend refers to this time of year – when the choke cherry trees blossom, the maple buds swell, and the tender young leaves start to emerge; when the landscape looks frothy – as “The May”.  A lovely, and promising description.

But!  Enough of this!  There is work to be done…

 By the looks of that rhubarb, I have some harvesting, chopping, freezing and preserving to do.  I’m off ……

A Variation On The Theme

This Thursday, I’m sharing a sketch (or two) of my humble chicken coop door.

  
I’m not sure which version I like best …

  
The chooks sure love the “open door policy”.  When I’m at home and can let them free range, they spend the day hunting for bugs and taking dust baths. Then at dusk, they march back in, and one by one hop up on the roost, muttering their good-nights to each other.  Very sweet.

  
But that rooster? Hmmmmm.  He and I are still working things out.

For Norm’s Thursday Doors

About Face

If you can sit still for 20 minutes at a time, for three or four sittings, you too can be a model for a portrait painting.  I had this privilege a few month ago when I was asked to sit for a local group.

  
Every 20 minutes (they use a timer) I was able to up and walk around and check their progress. Each artist works in their own medium – from pencil and charcoal to pastels, watercolour and acrylics.

  
I enjoyed the experience and the company of these talented people so much, I joined them.  We met each Tuesday morning.  

Portraiture is tricky and full of rules. So, the goal at these sessions is to get a little bit better at the craft.  Practice, practice, practice!

I’m getting better, but still feel compelled to apologize in advance to whoever is modelling. 

  
At the end of each session, the finished pieces are lined up and each one is critiqued in the most encouraging and nurturing way.  For me, this is when the real learning happens.

WPC – Face

Earthworks

The Earthworm plows the whole world with his tunnels, drains and aerates the earth …If you ever buy any land, be sure it has plenty of Earthworms toiling and moiling all day so that you can sit down and relax. – Will Cuppy

  
I disturbed this lovely fella while I was weeding around my emerging peonies.  We greeted earth other, them both went back to work.

Linked with WPC – Earth and iPhriday (with my iPhone 6S)

Doors of Otrobanda

Although it only contains a few blocks, Otrobanda, one of the historically significant quarters of Willemstad, Curacao is packed with a crazy variety of doors.

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From grand entrances…..

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…. to more modest portals.

 

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Some had very interesting architectural features……. (love those posts!)…

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and some funky business doorways.

IMG_5098From tiny abodes…….

IMG_5111to ornate estates.  Here is the Colombian Consulate.

It was so much fun to wander around this district. It was very, very hot and that might explain why it was so quiet.  But with so many interesting buildings, we were pulled along to discover what was around the next corner.

These Caribbean doors are linked to Norm’s Thursday Doors.

An Admirable Restoration Project

Okay.  So I admit we didn’t do all the research we probably should have done before heading off on a short holiday in Curacao a couple of weeks ago.  And, yes, we regret that lack of research. No doubt, we’d have seen some things, or taken in some events that would have even further enhanced our visit.

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Instead we just arrived on the island and followed our noses as tourists.  And that has some value, too.    One unexpected, unresearched surprise happened while we were wondering around the Otrobanda quarter of Willemsted.  We turned a corner and discovered the Kura Hulanda Museum complex.

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This complex is an exquisitely resorted group of 15 buildings and their accompanying streets, alleys and public squares.  It now houses a “village spa and hotel” (complete with the casino which almost seems to be a required feature in the major hotels of Curacao), coffee shops, restaurants, and a significant museum.

IMG_5131The credit for this interesting development goes Dutch businessman, Jacob Gelt Dekker.  If I have the story right, he acquired an abandoned, old building and set to renovating/restoring it.  In the process, he discovered it’s connection to the early Caribbean slave trade. It was the site of a former slave yard and merchant’s home. He was so moved, that he changed his plans and made turned the building into a museum: which now houses the largest African collection in the Caribbean. Unfortunately for us, the museum had closed just 5 minutes (!!!) before we discovered it. This is where a little prior research would have served us well.

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After just 10 months of construction, the museum opened in April 1999. He then worked to acquire the surrounding buildings to create the complex which now span more than 16,000 square feet of neighbourhood. The name Kura Hulanda translates from Papiamentu (the local dialect) to mean Dutch Courtyard.

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It was absolutely delightful to walk through the lanes and discover museum displays, murals and admire the beautiful architecture and imagine life in this area back during the colonial days of Curacao.  That said, I daresay what we experienced was a cleaner, even brighter version of the original.

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The mission of the Museum Kura Hulanda is to acquire and exhibit collections related to the cultural identity of the people of Curacao, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Rim. I was impressed by this excellent example of urban restoration which perfectly marries form with function. What a way to preserve built heritage! Admirable!!

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WPC – Admiration