Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


On the road to Kenai this morning.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009


Outside it is zero degrees (F) but Grendel and Lena are snug and warm on this side of the glass door.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I was settling in to watch the evening news and glanced at the camera that monitors our front door. A dark cat was on the porch, drinking from the heated water dish. It wasn't the fluffy red cat that regularly patrols our lot. Could it be Max? Could it?

I crept downstairs to peek out the window, trying not to make any sound lest I send the cat running off before I had a chance to get a good look at him. Leaning over the sink, I could see gray tabby stripes. The next thing I knew, I was throwing open the door and calling his name--"Max! Max! Kitty kitty..."

He made a move as if to jump off the porch until it sank in that I was calling his name, then he turned and came to me. I gathered him up in my arms and took a quick inventory--he was thin but not critically so, and his red collar had slipped to around his chest. It was tight--too tight to unfasten--and later when I had cut it off of him, I could see it had rubbed his fur into clumps around it and there was a patch of dried blood where it had cut into his skin at some point.

Oh my poor Max... I am sure it was a relief when I snipped it off of him, but by then I had transported him to the back room and he was so torn between confusion and joy that he probably didn't notice.

Anyway, I have him settled in the big cage in the shop--familiar to him from the days he spent there last year--with food and water and a bed and litter box all his own. He ate a can of Friskies and drank half the water, then settled in to appreciate warmth and safety.

I slept so well last night--without the half-waking and the worries about where Max was and if he was warm and fed. Finally I knew the answers to those worries.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November Night

Last night was a lovely night for a moon-dance.

Actually, it was a lovely night for a sauna. I enjoy taking a sauna in the warmer months but the contrast between hot and cold temperatures makes the winter saunas the best.

It was twenty degrees and the ground hard underfoot as we made our way out to our little bathhouse. The sun had just set and only the brightest stars were visible. Our sauna faces east so we had a great view of the full moon rising over Diamond Ridge. Heavy frost on the grasses and weeds reflected the light of the moon and turned the landscape into a crystal-rimed vision. We took breaks from the heat of the sauna by standing in the cold evening air, bodies steaming, cloaked in moonlight.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cold November

It's a gorgeous morning: full moon and heavy frost brightening the landscape. The thermometer stands at 10 degrees and the world is frozen solid this morning. We are glad for the lovely, radiant warmth of the wood stove.

November is here and still we haven't had a flake of snow yet. Normally by this time of year we have had snow fall and melt and fall again in a familiar end-of-season dance, but this year the autumn just went on and on...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Change in the Weather

Another killing frost last night. Clear skies and a million stars this morning. Orion dominated the southern sky when I got up. The moon--which has been a slender crescent paired with Venus in the eastern sky these past few mornings--has vanished for now.

A thick layer of frost coats the back deck and the alder leaves glisten, reflecting the sunrise from rimed surfaces. My sweet peas lie defeated on the deck. I had only a couple of blooms from them before this killing frost. I love the fragrance of sweet peas but my growing season is too short for them. The relationship always ends with disappointment.

There are cat-tracks on the deck. Max? Probably not. The red cat seems to patrol here regularly and I haven't had a clear sighting of Max for weeks. We will know more when the snow comes and we have a chance to read the story of what goes on around here when we aren't looking.

As the sun melts the frost, the leaves begin to fall. The landscape is changing into winter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Misty Morning

A misty fall morning on Diamond Cape.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October Dawn

Sunrise yesterday...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hidden Beauties

Most of the lush vegetation of summer has lain down now, wilted by the first frosts and beaten down by rain and wind. No longer overshadowed by native plants, little clusters of "volunteer" violas--grown from seeds escaped from my potted flowers--have shown up in the ditches and the margins of the yard.

The hardy blooms are among the last to succumb to the cold and may last into November in sheltered locations. I have found several pockets of color in the gravel of the french drain that curves along the alders behind the house.

I capture the transient cheer of the little blossoms with my camera, preserving them before their brightness fades.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

--Thomas Grey

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Last Flowers of Summer

Despite wind storms and the first few frosts, my potted garden still sports a few hardy flowers, but I know their time is limited now and one clear night can wilt them down to frost-burned shards. So today I cut most of the remaining blooms to bring inside and enjoy before they are gone for good.

Summer was good this year and I have been very pleased with how my garden turned out.

I suppose transience is part of the beauty.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wild Sky

The fall storms are coming and as we went about the yard making loose objects secure, the splendor of the storm-tossed sky caught my eye.

Friday, October 09, 2009

October Light

My new autumn candle in action...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Autumn Candle

The bright red leaves of the vine maple in our yard inspired me to make a seasonal candle.

I filled a vase with dried leaves and placed a smaller votive glass and tealight inside, on top of a glass spice jar (concealed by the leaves.) I like the way it turned out.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Year Ago

...we had our first snow on October 5th.

This year, it is sunny and warm (55F in the shade.)

I have a feeling our first snow isn't too far away. The peaks across the bay are snowing a snowline down to around two thousand feet, so another clear, cold night followed by a cold front may transform our autumn-bronzed landscape to white.

But for now, Denny is working outside in his shirt sleeves.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


October is a pivot month. At this latitude, October starts as Autumn and ends in Freeze-up--that gray, wet, cold period that lies between true Fall and Winter much as Break-up lies between Winter and Spring. So though it seems as though Summer has just left, I expect only another few weeks of Fall weather before another turn-of-season.

Seasons--the natural cycles--are important in pagan spirituality. The yearly but eternal cycle of birth, growing and fulfillment, followed by decline, death and regeneration, is a metaphor for the mysteries of life and death. My eclectic spirit draws energy from the dynamic pulses of the lunar cycle--ever-changing and yet eternal--but our yearly circuit around our star the Sun provides the slow,steady background beat to the lunar calendar.

So we mark out the circling year with sign-posts, pivot-points of time when our relationship to the sun changes. Solstices and Equinoxes; most cultures still find means to celebrate these turning points of seasonal change.

All of which is just a prelude to my saying that October--my birth month--is my favorite time of year. They say that wine tastes of its grapes, that the season of growth is forever captured in the vintner's product, which is why some years are better for wines than others. So I think October has marked me as her own. I love the sense of completeness, the faint air of melancholy that hangs in the autumn air. I love her frost-crisped mornings and glorious, sun-drenched afternoon before the rise of the Hunter's moon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Signs of Fall

Taken Tuesday afternoon at the Hope Junction of the Seward Highway...