Category Archives: Nature

Christmas Gifts

A rhododendron blooming out of season


A creek running through fern-lined banks


Chickens foraging in the sunshine


And enough roast beef to share with the doggies.  Who could ask for more?  Merry Christmas!!


Northwest Winter 2

Technically I live in northern California.  But it is really the Pacific Northwest, especially when the coast looks like this…….


…and this……


…and my dog watching the waves today looks like this…..


I am thankful for the blessings of the season, the companionship of friends and family, and the memories of special times and people past.
A joyous Christmas to all!

Northwest Winter

A couple of days ago I drove into the valley through the river canyon. After all the rain we’ve had the river was rushing through the canyon grey green and tumbling over rocks.  It was magnificent. The mists were rising above the treeline. The sky was full of steel grey clouds with the sun occasionally peeking through. I had Christmas music playing over the CD player. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The rain started late yesterday. It poured down all night and all day today and will continue through the night tonight and all day tomorrow. I just came back from feeding the chickens and listening to the rain pelting down on the roof of the coop. I had to clean out the drain in the backyard so the little lake that had formed could drain away.

Thank goodness for lots of projects to keep warm and cozy indoors and wait for a break in the rain.

Here is our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. This is a redwood tree grown in a pot that is ok two thirds of the way up. But the top portion has  foot of trunk between the last sets of leaves. So I just wound extra tinsel around to camouflage it a bit. The tree is standing in a pot and held up by a bunch of rocks and some wood wedges but it does lean to the left. I think that gives it a certain panache.


Hummingbirds Return

As usual we had a couple of Anna’s hummingbirds overwinter here and I kept the feeder out all winter to help them survive.


Spring started out great with our hummingbird population increasing a some Rufous hummingbirds also appeared.


We have the feeder hung so it is right in front of the front bay window.  There are tall trees in our front yard that give the birds plenty of shelter and nesting places.  The population was just starting to build up to what eventually becomes the annual show of hummingbirds dive bombing and crowding each other for time at the feeder.

Then a few weeks ago we had the hottest temperature for that day here in 22 years.  The temperature went from what had been low 70s to 92 degrees.  And the hummingbirds disappeared.  Gone.

The feeder sat idle in the window waiting.  Finally 3 day ago 2 Anna’s hummingbirds showed back up in the garden dive bombing and feeding from flowers like they never left.  They particularly like the penstemon and hover very close to the ground while they sip.


Once again it is Spring with hummingbirds!!


I truly love lilacs. Image  My love of lilacs goes back to my childhood.  I had an aunt and uncle who lived in a grand 2-story New England white colonial house on a hill.  The house was on several acres of land with a lot of grass, a huge vegetable garden and a small apple orchard.  Isn’t that a postcard image!  It didn’t get better than that for a kid who lived in an inner city, Polish ghetto, tenement house neighborhood.

To one side of the house was an old wooden well housing.  The camouflage for that well housing was the magic.  The housing was inside a hollow space surrounded by what must have been quite an old lilac bush.  The bush was so wide and so tall and so dense that I could keep company with the well housing and not be seen. It stayed cooler in there in the humid summer heat.   And of course the best part of the escape was being surrounded by the smell and sight of lilacs when they were in bloom.  Image

I do have lilac bushes now.  I don’t have a lilac bush big enough to escape into physically anymore.  However to this day when I smell lilacs I can close my eyes and go back to that kinder, gentler time.  I truly love lilacs.

Spring WOW!

It has been unseasonably hot here for the last few days.  I am not complaining!  I have gone through enough foggy, rainy spring and summer days here to appreciate the rare balmy breeze.  I washed some of my hand spun yarn today.  Sometimes it takes days to air dry here but today it took a couple of hours.  But what I really wanted to write about today is some treasured birds sounds I have been listening to lately.  We have a pair of doves that hang out in some redwoods trees behind our property. Image

I love to listen to them coo and watch them fly in and out of those trees.  Once in awhile one will perch above our chicken coop and hang out awhile.  They make me think of the time my husband was watering in the back yard.  He saw a dove in the tree near him that was a really sorry sight.  It must have been at the very very bottom of a sizable pecking order as it had very few body feathers.  He quickly went inside and went back out with a handful of birdseed.  That sweet bird came down and perched on his hand and started eating.  We had an empty closed dog run that the dove obligingly inhabited for awhile until it got its feathers back.  Even when we finally opened the run, it stayed in a nearby tree for several days before finally leaving to live its life in nature.  What a treat to have that up close and personal experience of being able to feed a wild dove and talk to it and share its space for awhile.

The other bird sound I have been hearing is from California Quails. Image  They seem to nest somewhere behind our property and each year we get to see the parents and parade of babies foraging along the lane and in our front yard.  It’s too early for the parade but the sounds from over the back fence are promising.


Your Fiber Arts Supplier Since 1981

Center for Conscious Eldering

support for realizing your potential in the elder third of life

Aaron knits...and spins, and weaves.

A blog about knitting, spinning, weaving, and the fiber arts scene in New York's Greater Capital District.

Once upon a Thread

Weaving, needlework and knitting


mainly quilting

Suzoo's Wool Works

Yarn, Fabric & Fiber Design Arts Studio

Geekette Palette

Crafting my way through life

Dramatic Lyric

A Soprano's view of life, music, and handcrafts

Weaving With Cats

I'm a longtime weaver who likes to weave fabric for clothing. More recently, I learned how to to knit, spin yarn, dye, felt, bead & more. My spiral motif rigid heddle Mermaid Scarf appeared on the cover of the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Handwoven magazine. I invented the freeform overshot weaving technique with which I wove my Mermaid Scarf. I sell weaving patterns and instructional booklets in my Etsy shop. Visit my Facebook page Lisa Rayner Handwovens. Join my Facebook group Weave Along With Lisa Rayner for weaving instruction and inspiration. You'll also find Lisa Rayner Handwovens on Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. I like complex patterns, hand dyed yarns, high quality fibers and customers who want me to make them something special. I am not a production weaver. All items are custom made.

Morrigan's Nest

A journey toward a nomadic life.

Lipstick and Laundry

Celebrating Imperfection One Pile at a Time

Cooking for the Sensitive Gut

Delicious soothing recipes the sensitive gut

Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

The ways of the whorl

wherever the spinning takes me