Tuesday, July 31, 2012

spring all over again...


pink mountain heather

white rhododendron

jeffrey's shooting star


mountaintop flowers

up in the alpine, the snow stayed late again (and still lingers in many spots), which means spring flowers continue to mingle with summer ones. i've been up to the mountain several times recently, and found my camera pointed at the bright faces of many a bloom. on a recent walk in the alpine meadows my mother and i broke away from the group and meandered to admire all the plants there were to see. so many colours, sizes and shapes to be found. you can click on any of the images for more info about each plant.


is anyone else watching national geographic wild? i'm becoming seriously obsessed with that channel, wiling away the evenings with it on as i stitch my own wild creatures. i'm particularly enjoying untamed americas and america the wild, but i can be distracted by many a show. some of the footage is just unbelievable.

but enough of that free advertising. it's august tomorrow. when did that happen? there is a long weekend approaching, and A and i are planning to head out of town to a windswept remote spot. maybe we'll see some wild beasts for ourselves, rather than just on the tv screen. just gotta get through the work week first...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

sinister sisters...

Sinister sisters

more mushrooms taking shape around here, even as the rain stays away and the earth dries up in the forest. sometimes you gotta make your own, you know? another amanita muscaria, plus her two distinctly more deadly sisters, a. ocreata and a. phalloides (not that she's a slouch herself). also known as fly agaric, destroying angel, and death cap. stitched up in a variety of fabrics, mostly cottons, but also linen and silk, some natural dyed.

have you ever found any of these in the wild? i've definitely seen the fly agaric many times, but i'm less sure about the other two. but i've only been trying to identify fungi seriously for a couple seasons now; there's lots more learning to be done.

okay, off to the woods for an evening walk before dinner. hope your weekend has been good.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

these two...

these two



last night i think the garbage was rifled through, and this morning one of the table legs looked whittled down. this mischievous pair has been up to no good in the house. a wee raccoon and his beaver friend, seeing what trouble they can get into, as is their nature.

between this pair and the mushrooms, you have probably gathered that a little woodland collection is taking shape, slowly but surely. the forest is calling. i'm hoping to start putting things in the shop soon, but at least a couple more creatures need to take shape first. if you should be curious, you can get some insight into where my head is these days by checking out my stitch inspiration board on pinterest.


it's been ages since i've shared some things i'm loving right now:
>> i love this giant whale, white noise by hannah haworth.
>> some easy fridge pickles sounds like just the thing for a summer bbq.
>> this tutorial on embroidery stitches makes me want to decorate some clothing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

into the wind...



into the wind

big sky

a friday night paddle down at the spit. i sensed the weather was a little more inclement than expected as i watched the wind move up the river while driving home over the main bridge through downtown. we headed out to the beach anyway. our boards threatened to take off without us as i loosened the tie-down straps on the roof of the truck, and we set them up while watching a kite surfer catch air in the bay. we were on the lee side of the spit, but as soon as we paddled away from shore we were swept up in the waves, gliding downwind at a quick pace. we decided on a short route, knowing the return journey would take much longer. the mountains across the bay were hidden in temperamental weather, the sun streaking through above the deep blue clouds below. waves bumped us from behind, tempting us into an almost-surf every few strokes. once we turned around though, things slowed down as we suddenly fought against the wind. water washed across my deck, threatening to take my flip-flops into the sea. a pause in paddling meant quick loss of ground. the goal seemed incredibly far away, and forward progress seemed negligible. yet bit by bit the houses on the near shore slid behind us, and the beach ahead beckoned. at last i dipped my feet in shallow water and we found our way back up the sand.


come back tomorrow. there is not one but two mischievous little creatures i want to share with you.

Monday, July 23, 2012


amanita muscaria


we had some heavy rain showers yesterday. (i was even going to share a little video of the rain, but flickr is being extremely uncooperative with uploading.) in between the rain showers i ventured into the woods, and found that something had popped up through the moss. autumn's not even a whisper on the horizon, but the fungi are slowly but surely piling up around the house. they will be coming to the shop soon enough, just not yet. i haven't quite decided how to list them just yet. singles? little groupings? i am thinking the latter, maybe as edibles, and then those like the one above that are decidely not...edible. what do you think?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

bird nerd...

eatin' cherries

friendly fellow

fool's hen


well, i think we already knew that about me. let's just say my new lens (EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM for those who asked - yeah, that's a mouthful) is making me even more eager to snap a shot of any little birdie catching my eye. the first three here are a northern flicker eating my cherries, a whiskey jack showing no fear when bread is on offer, and a blue grouse wandering the roadside with her babies (not pictured) - you know, the safest place to take your babies.

i know i was just recently complaining about the incessant rain and cold that had typified much of spring and summer this year. the last couple weeks had seen hot and sun - summer had finally arrived! and yet i smiled to wake this morning to grey skies. i wouldn't trade the sunny days for anything, but i am a west coast girl to the core and a little grey and rain is often where i'm happiest. it wasn't until the afternoon that the rain released from the black clouds, but then it came down in a deluge. i stood outside under cover, listening to the sound of it rustling all the leaves. when it eased a bit, i took my chance and headed out for a walk, dancing between the raindrops with my camera in hand. a cottontail froze on the road ahead of me but disappeared when i thought about swapping out for the telephoto lens. oh well. when i was nearly through my loop a white crowned sparrow flitted through some branches. i spent far too long trying to get close to him as he easily darted farther away, and the rain thickened around me. silly girl and her birds.

the rain is coming down again. but i am tucked in safe at home eating a warm bowl of beans and smelling the bread fresh out of the oven. if you follow me on instagram (@fogandswell) or facebook, you might have seen that something else popped up during the rain today too. come back here tomorrow if you're curious...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

it never gets old...





catching fish

so many seals

one bear, two bear

there's rarely a day that i am not awed by the nature around me, and the creatures that share this island space with me. i feel very lucky to catch a glimpse of any of these beasts, whether it be a chickadee flitting through the treetops or a bear ambling along the shore. it never gets old.

these shots were all taken on a recent boat tour with my friend, so i'll grant that we were on the 'hunt' for wildlife. but i also think the lion's mane jellyfish i spotted while wandering down the dock was as cool as the 100+ dolphins we sat in the midst of in a remote inlet. you just never know when you might spot something, so i try to always be open to it. the other night i went for a walk through the woods and saw not a thing the entire way - which is perfectly fine. but when i walked up my driveway a flash of red caught my eye, and immediately i was entranced, watching a male pileated woodpecker work his way up a tree with his nearly full-grown youngster following along - and getting a meal from dad here and there. you just never know.

today in the alpine we looked for marmots unsuccessfully, but then were entertained by friendly (greedy?) whiskey jacks. on the drive back down the hill we spotted a couple deer grazing, and stopped while i snapped photos of a blue grouse. more on all that tomorrow. there's nature everywhere, if you let yourself see it.

we cleaned the house well in the middle of the week, and between last night and this morning i got a lot of putting by done in the kitchen. right now i'm putting the finishing touches on two custom whales. somewhere along the way sunday suddenly feels like a bonus day this weekend, like i somehow got ahead of myself for a brief little moment. hmmm, what should i get up to?

Friday, July 20, 2012

wild friday night...

Making stock

Tomato sauce



yup, that's me, always the party animal. but as the starks* say, 'winter is coming' and while i'm not ready for that season anytime soon, i am definitely up for putting by some food to enjoy in the midst of it.  anyway, A is away climbing a mountain and i decided to spend a good portion of this evening in the kitchen.

on my way home i took a detour out to a local farm and filled a basket full of veggies. most will be enjoyed now, but some carrots found their way in with leeks and garlic scapes and a couple of chicken carcasses (i keep them in the freezer until i'm ready) to brew up a savoury stock. i'll freeze it in batches to make soup this fall. in case you are looking for a vegetarian stock, i should also mention i usually keep a batch of this homemade veggie bouillon in the freezer too, for flavouring soups and just about anything else.

i also brought home a 20lb box of tomatoes, and got to chopping them up to make a simple sauce to jar and freeze. i could can them, but i don't have the proper equipment and i do have the freezer space, so laziness wins! my pot fit less than half of the tomatoes in the box, so i will do another batch tomorrow, and probably also make some soup that i will eat sooner. some fresh kale and garlic scapes found their way into the food processor with walnuts, lemon and oil to make some pesto. i freeze it in meal-sized portions that i'll add parmesan and more olive oil to later.

and the last shot shows something i won't be eating, although in theory i could. some grated beeswax melted in almond oil in a bain marie, which is then whipped into water to make body lotion. i think i've mentioned it before but i use this recipe. tonight i scented it with chai tea and vanilla oil - yum.

now what am i gonna do the rest of the weekend? and how about you?

*that is a complete tangent, but i'm well into the first book right now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012



>> summer days are long, but fly by so quickly. so much to pack into each moment. the days seem busy here, both with work and with life. and yet i've not much to say at the moment. i have quite a few photos to post, but i just don't feel like it, yet.

>> above are the continuing theme i'm playing around with, from here. so far these are all 'edible' mushrooms, but i suspect there will be others that are decidedly not.

>> i am working on a humpback for a custom order, and i thought i might as well make another at the same time. but that might be the last humpback for a little bit - i'm feeling the need to take a break from these fellas and focus on some other creatures. so that being said, if you were looking for a humpback anytime in the near future, send me a note (fogandswell [at] gmail [dot] com) if you would like dibs when it is done.

>> yesterday evening i went and visited the owlies for the first time in well over a week. i saw both adults although neither felt very photogenic. i thought i heard one of the owlets, but couldn't find them in the treetops. later than evening sitting in the living room, a noise tickled my ear through the open window, above the sound of the tv and the dog barking next door. stepping outside into the darkness, i heard that distinctive hiss up in one of the trees edging the yard. did somebody follow me home? their forest home is over four blocks from mine, although that is certainly not above their hunting range. i wonder too if it was one of the babes ranging a bit further from home as they test their wings. barred owls stay under the tutelage of their parents for about four months, longer than most owls, but they surely are starting to think about their own territory that they will generally set up within 10 miles of their original nest. anyway, nature nerd rambling, but it was cool to listen to an owl friend in the quiet of my own backyard, even if i couldn't see it in the dark.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

summer sunset

hazy day sunset


the pier



summer has definitely arrived around here, for over a week now. for about a week we had very hazy skies despite the sunshine, apparently due to wildfires all the way over in siberia. we have been affected by wildfire haze before on the coast, but usually this has been from fires in the interior of the province. it is crazy to think of smoke travelling that far, and yet an enlightening look at how we all affect each other. one upside of the haze though was that it gave some amazing sunsets. these shots are from one of those, taken at a local marina as i wandered amongst many others enjoying the serene end to the day.

last night we went up to the mountain for a beer and scotch festival with a couple friends (and 150+ other revelers). i don't generally drink much of either, but A went last year and really enjoyed it, so i thought i would tag along with my camera and capture some photos for work (you can see some of that here). it was a simply gorgeous evening overlooking the snowcapped peaks of strathcona park, with the skies clear and blue again as the sun set behind the hills.

today started with a trip to the farmers market to stock up on some fresh bounty, and a bit of garden weeding until the heat drove me into the cool house again. i seem to have acquired a large pile of tomatoes and so i'm trying to think of an easy summer meal with them for tonight. could be as simple as grilled pizza, but let me know if you have some good suggestions. hope you're having a good weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

grey summer?

grey summer toque

grey summer toque

just in time for summer's arrival, and the 30 degree heat, i finished up this wool toque. the pattern is golden autumn by lucy sweetland, but because of the dismal start to summer we had been having - not to mention the lovely grey merino - i named it my 'grey summer'. but since then, gorgeous sunny days have set in, with no immediate end in sight. this means that this toque will slip to the backburner for awhile, but i think it will be just the thing once the days start to crisp up a bit again come autumn. full details can be found on ravelry.


are you enjoying beautiful weather too, or having a few grey days here and there? the haze that was taking over the landscape (supposedly from wildfires in siberia!) has lifted a bit today and beautiful blue skies are back again in time for the weekend. i'm hoping to get myself up to my elbows in strawberries as the local organic farm, and get out for some paddling. what are your weekend plans?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

sunday night...

'false' morel?

trying new ideas... you might call this a 'false' morel. or maybe 'faux' morel is more accurate, since this one has a hollow stem just a morel (and not like an actual false morel). summer has finally arrived and i'm enjoying the sun, but apparently my mind is already thinking about autumn. (and yes, i know morels are really spring mushrooms...)


i'm just home from a full afternoon on the water, sitting cross-legged on the couch with a tray of grocery store sushi and old grey's anatomy on in the background. classy, i know. most of yesterday was spent with my niece and nephew, my mom and dad. we picked berries, visited with the alpacas, and dipped ourselves in the sea. just about this time last night my mom and i took a walk just the two of us (and Sam). we left the road and climbed up a moss-covered bluff over the water in time to see a neon red sun shimmering through the haze dip behind the trees on the far side of the harbour.

this afternoon after returning the kids home, i zipped back downtown in time to board a zodiac piloted by my dear friend. after pulling on red survival suits against all common sense in this heat, we headed out into the blue haze with a boatload full of visitors, grateful for the breeze created by twin engines pushing us forward at 30 knots. much like our trip last week, the whales continued to elude us (i think it's me - they seem to see whales every other day). but don't worry, my camera found many other targets. seabirds and seals, dolpins and bears, and so many swooping eagles i lost count. not to mention the breathtaking winding channels and maze of islands they all call home. i'm so lucky to have a friend who lets me tag along on boat tours in the summertime.

we returned to the dock in the evening light, late. my to-do list for this afternoon got forgotten, and i'm sure i'll be playing catch up all this week as usual. but how can i turn a last-minute invite like that? now it's time to get myself into bed in preparation for the workday tomorrow. nothing like a day full of sun and sea air to make one sleep well at night. i hope your weekend was full of summertime (or wintertime?) moments as well.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

the eagle show...

eagle totem

got it!


drying off

my fish

some more eagle shots from our boat trip last saturday. for a few weeks each year, the bald eagles flock to the churning tidal rapids near stuart island, where the strong late spring currents pull small white hake up from the depths below. the fish basically get the bends from coming up to the surface too quickly and die, leaving their poor little bloated bodies floating on the surface - an eagle (and gull, and seal) feast. the eagles congregate on the surrounding islands in the dozens, sometimes hundreds, soaring over  the water and swooping down to pick up an easy meal. it is a fantastic experience to sit in a boat in the midst of it with eagles and gulls all around, quiet but for the rush of the rapids and the occasional high-pitched call of an eagle. in between catches the eagles perch on the surrounding trees and try to dry out their wings from the rain showers moving through.

>>> in case you wondered, the eagles without white heads are juveniles - they can take up to six years to change their plumage to the distinctive black with white head and tail.


i am heading out shortly for an overnight trip to my parents' home on their island off my own big island. it will be a busy adventure, with my niece and nephew and their not-so-wee-anymore puppy in tow while my sister and husband attend a wedding. with this sunshine i'm sure an afternoon at the beach will be in order. maybe i'll even get out on my paddleboard. hope you are having a wonderful weekend!