Archive for July, 2011

river scenes on July 23rd: heat waving!

i was out of the bunk and on the fields this morning at 6 and folks the mist was rolling every which way with the sun rising up behind it.  beauty!  and cool but by 8 a.m. it was already 20 C.  i hit the river before breakfast for a spot of cooling and snapped these photos along the way.

while i was out there, very much alone, (Shelley’s on the road and Jazzy Moon is at the Ranch sleeping over), i was thinking about this book i’ve seen at mom’s over the years:  Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, published way back in 1995 (my have times changed since then).  while they were playing music and singing songs i picked up that book once again and opened it to where the book mark was placed.  these words by Calvin Coolidge go like this:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more commonplace than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

let me tell you, the way the page was marked, i felt like someone was pointing a finger at me!  i guess you could say its time for me to pick up my guitar, pick up my paints and brushes, and my pen and paper…  3 of the biggies in my life i’ve left alone far too long…

on the upswing, mom let me take the book and so its here on the range for a few days.  and the river is running clear and cool, perfect for the mid summer heat wave and peace!  we have peace out here.  tons of it.  peace to spare.

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wow what a grand 80 hours!!!

aanii!  i’m here on the range and with the heat up past 39 C with the humidex, likely warmer, there is only one better place to be:  Providence Bay and on the shores of the great Lake Huron.  those waters are crystal clear and very cool…  perfect for a day like this!  mind you the river is a grand place at any hour, i walked it myself checking those special places and indeed, the river right now would be good!  but.  i have the good fortune of the company of my 8 year old, and she’s dreaming big!  she wants the big sands and the big water of Providence Bay.  so we’re off to the great lake right after lunch.

it has been a wild adventure with that trip to Ottawa over the weekend and in very particular, that show at the Babylon on Saturday night!  yes indeed a show it was with all the flashy trimmings!  i was so glad to get in there and see that.  and also had a very good time with some of the other patrons, beautiful scenes through out the evening.  but that crushing heat in Ottawa had me dreaming of my own scenes down along the grand Manitou River!  and so i split that city, 1 a.m., and rolled on down the highway very much alone, for 7 to 9 hours of peace and good will and the late night AM radio shows.

part of the Ottawa plan was to see Joe Satriani at the Bluesfest on Sunday night.  i wanted to see Soundgarden and missed, not happy about that!  so i put Joe on the agenda but while i was standing there on Bank Street at 1 a.m. with all the other party cats i thought dude in 9 hours where do you want to be?  bottom line:  in the river, floating down stream…

turns out it was a good choice as the Bluesfest had troubles of their own and i know you’ve likely seen it on the news or youtube or wherever.  but it seems Cheap Trick brought down the house!  those old rock and roll boys must still have the goods to pull.  so Joe never got to the main stage.

by that time we were settled in nicely down along the shallow part of the river.  the storm did arrive after midnight and wow!!!  we could hear a weird “hissing” sound before BOOM!!!  3 of them landed pretty close to our house.  wow what a night.  and what an 80 hours under the sun and the moon and the blazing street lights of the good city of Ottawa.

last night, Monday, July 18th, after a tasty bbq with family, we had the pleasure of watching a sunset perfect for the history books.  here is one of the photos of that beautiful scene.

the other Bear Clan sketch

aanii!  its Wednesday morning on the range, breezy and sunny and quite beautiful!  its peace out here at all hours excepting last night around ten when i was nearly shaking hands with a skunk on the east steps…  good ole Bob the Cat ran right past him when he was coming in for the night, didn’t see him or catch a whiff i suppose.  Jazzy and i definitely caught a whiff as that little black and white so and so was right under our noses.

here is the other Bear Clan sketch i’m liking very much, painted in the spring time when the water was running ultra high!  i guess you could say we’re getting close to something for the big canvas!

Bear Clan sketches in July

aanii, boozhoo and hello there!  its a beauty Tuesday morning out here on the range!  i just came in from the river and let me tell you that water is flowing crystal clear over the limestones and its warm and at peace!  loverly in all departments.  the sun is high and bright in a blue sky with no clouds.  the ravens are cackling in all directions and Shelley said the deer were over on the west side this morning.  i didn’t see them.  but i did see one with two fawns yesterday morning in the fields to the east.

last night was a beauty as well.  the moon, while not full, was high and bright in a sky with no clouds.  the mist was rolling in through the fields and at midnight it was still a balmy 20 degrees.  nights like that remind of those kook shinanigans of teenage years spent on this grand island, in the night, on those fields and lakes and over there on that island in Lake Mindemoya.

(here is a basic story that still makes me chuckle:  one full moon night on that lake, one of the lads and i were cruising across to the cabin on that island, cruising in two small boats.  i had this old cedar boat with a 5 horse and he had a 14 foot aluminum with a 5 or 6 or something, nothing bigger than 10 ponies.  anyway we were sailing across under this big old full moon and he pulled up along side my old wreck and i think he had the beers in his boat.  so i decided to pull my best Indiana Jones and jump over there and grab me some of those beers while our boats were under full sail.  my old crotchity boat with no load took off hell bent, going faster than never before!  i remember seeing it blazing off, empty, full throttle and on auto pilot with no pilot and no passengers, under that July full moon!  at the time i was panic stricken thinking my old cedar boat was going to blaze all the way across and crash land at the West Bay Indian Reserve!  so my buddy turned up the heat and we chased that old boat down, pulled up along side and i jumped back in, two beers in one hand and holding my dusty old grey fadora on the top of my melon with the other.  simple amusements for two teen aged chuckle heads in a summer long ago…  )

in the painting bizz:  i’ve been playing around with this Bear Clan idea for quite sometime.  the Bear Clan is one of the Ojibwe clans in a system that worked in the old days, in the old community many moons ago, and one of the things its known for is the medicine gathering.  i started making bear clan designs when i came crawling out of the Cabonga Reservoir on my hands and knees back in 2008 or there abouts.  in particular, a painting called “Ursa Major” depicted a bear working through the night.  that one was 40×48 inches and one of my personal faves from that time, in with another piece called “Moon Boy”, 36×48 inches.  both of them were sold at the Cube Gallery in Ottawa and i say a big Chi Miigwetch to Don for all his help!

but i’m still playing around with the bear clan idea, looking for another colour scheme, something a bit warmer and depicting the mysteries of good health in body, mind and spirit.

here is one i finished yesterday, a sketch on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  finished while waiting out that much needed afternoon rain.  this is one of a half dozen i have here on the operating table.  i’m looking for that colour scheme and playing with the composition so i can take to the 36×48 inch size.  you see i’m following what my instructors at art school told me to do:  make your sketches!

i recently emailed two of those instructors via facebook, thanking them for everything they taught me way back then, i haven’t seen either of them in 22 years at least!  and i’ve not heard diddly from either!  so if you’re out their lads, drop me a line when you get the chance.

here is the sketch from yesterday.

at the Cottage!

aanii!  folks summer out here on the range is an incredible experience.  we’re up with the birds and before the sun, down along the river and in the fields, soaking up the country sights, sounds and smells and the tastes in our kitchen: soon to be strawberries right out of the garden.

we were up before 5 this morning and saw 4 baby raccoon playing in the front yard!  not far away was their mother going to work on something in the tall grass under the willow tree.  now back in the city you can guaren dang tee those coons would have been into the garbage and had it all over the back deck but out here, we’ve only had that problem once.  i guess what’s in that river is enough to get them along.

and the river!!!  the water level has gone down hugely in the past 48 hours.  this past Tuesday it was a raging, thundering mass, Thursday safe, and today its a calm and slow moving crystal clear wonder.  i was sitting under falls yesterday around 4 p.m.  thinking about all the folks down there in Toronto or Ottawa, locked in traffic, trying to get out of the city, trying to get back to the cottage.  those folks blazing up the 400, hell bent on getting into Muskoka before the liquor store closes, i thought about them while i sat there in that bubbling pool of fresh water, and blazing sunshine.

our crib is a hundred year old farmhouse in the Ontario Gothic Cottage style.  we landed here in mid November 2009 and went to work on it for 7 months.  we moved into a brand new floor plan on May long weekend 2010 and it hasn’t been smooth sailing!  we had a serious bat problem but that’s been solved.  we moved in 2 young cats and they’ve cleaned out the mice.  and the yard, well lets just say it isn’t barefoot friendly…   (thistles abound).  but you can get along out here, we managed last summer wonderfully, autumn with its colour was paradise and winter is truly a winter wonderland with no shortage of snow.  spring was a bit spooky with the water rumbling by, over running the river banks and running at around 150% to the front and west of us.

we’re back in the fine climes of summer and like i said, i was sitting under the waterfalls yesterday remembering my own time spent in the city, the address downtown on Booth Street…  a fine address it was but packed in like sardines and a lawn as big as a postage stamp, it just doesn’t come anywhere near what we have out here.  out here, we’re always:  at the cottage!  and what a grand and fine way to be!

here is a photo i took last week of our old Ontario Gothic Cottage.

chi miigwetch!

July 3rd on the Range

whew its a hot one!  34 degrees at closing time at the Sheg Pow wow and folks that art project we were working on with the kids: in full view of the blazing sun!  had some fun with those pow wow kids and of course the big drum music blaring in the background, well its pretty tough not dancing no matter what you’re up to!

we’re back here on the range though for sunset and the wind is blowing through all the open windows keeping us cool.  the big drum pow wow style soundtrack has been replaced with the roar of the river and bird song.  not a bad way to wrap up that Canada Day long weekend, and with the clear skies up for grabs, the Milky Way is going to be a grand sight around midnight.  but first!!!  we are needed back at the ranch, you see the Mindemoya holiday weekend wraps up with a fire works display and mom’s place has the best seat in the house.  so we’re off to see that crash boom bangle and then it will be the Milky Way.

started the day before sunrise, walking along the river, the tree line and the trusty green and blue.  that deer living in the tall grass on the other side of the barn foundation, he/she is still hangin round and so far so good, staying out of my garden.  but one of them has trimmed my freshly planted maples…

we have flowers everywhere you look.  but down along the river, that wild iris is really something.  i’ll include a photo taken this morning.