Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Tonight I'm going to write this blog and then make pie crust. Mom's pie crust. My mom made the best apple pie west of the Mississippi and certainly the best pie crust in all of North America. At least in my book she did.
pie crust 014
When I was a young girl in Tacoma, Washington, we had fruit trees. The gravenstein apples trees were always our favorites and they provided my mom, Mary Comfort, with the wealth of resources  (apples, gravenstein apples) to perfect her apple pie. And that she did! Even after we moved from this place, she always seemed to find a source for gravensteins, and every August and September she became the human pie factory. There was nothing like my mom's hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream on the side. Nothing! She would make a whack  at a time (somewhere between 2 and 8), freeze them (unbaked) and provide for every festivity from then until Easter. Besides our family festivities, she was quite social, and always found an excuse to share her well-loved and reknowned apple pie.
pie crust 008
To me, summer is highlighted by apple pies, barbecue, garden goodies, fresh catch from the sea, berries, homemade wine (from the local u-brew, Good Libations!). That's exactly what it's all about here at Refuge Cove each summer. And right about now, the end of July, we are coming on the abundant season of wild edibles! Just today, we pulled our prawn traps (even snagged a crab in there), pulled some fresh beets from the garden, and got involved in a blueberry pie project with fresh berries picked yesterday in Bellingham, Washington. And that's just the delectable fare for today...tomorrow will be another food adventure, Refuge Cove style.
pie crust 011
My mom used Crisco. Here in Canada, many women use Tenderflake. I've been involved in a few Tenderflake vs. Crisco discussions. We all have our loyalties.
pie crust 009
 This small quilt was made 4 years ago for our guild's summer challenge. We were given a quarter meter of fabric with baking implements printed on it. We were to use it in a fabric piece with the theme of "Well behaved women never make history". This was my interpretation and entry. I figured that my mom, quite well behaved in her lifetime, never made history but did make a darn good apple pie. Now this piece graces my kitchen here at the Cove.
Now I'm off to make pie crust for 2 blueberry pies.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Summer is such a great time for putting the projects down, closing up shop, and heading out for some local fun. We piled a group of friends into our boat last Saturday and headed over to Cortes Island for their annual Cortes Day. The five-minute parade, games (they lasted much longer), events, fabulous food, dancing, music, costumes and the unexpected were all there, and we were too!
cortes day 003 
The honorary firetruck and ambulance opened up the parade, and then came all the rest. It was a quickie, but there was lots of ingenuity, plenty of candy showers, fern decor, colorful attire, and children.
cortes day 006
This 5-seater go-cart was a hit with the little ones. It was not only in the parade, but was zipping around throughout the day. You know those headrests that you take out of your car and either store or throw out? Each seat back was a discarded headrest. Now that's riding in style! There's a handle on the back for the pusher.
 cortes day 001
 These two boys were so proud of their fish costumes. A large cardboard box, a little paint, and they were good to go!
cortes day 021
On to the games. The saw pull was a popular one.

cortes day 030
 The "Nail Sail Bail" had six 2-person teams. They were given a few supplies, 2 hours for building, and then...
 cortes day 042
into the water, around the buoys and back again!  Only one team member needed to be in the boat (they built paddles too!) and the other was able to swim behind for a little exta oomph! Just one out of six capsized...not bad. Of course I was disappointed that the women didn't win.
cortes day 010
A tiny booth off to the side caught my attention. There was lots of groaning and grimacing coming from this stand. A well fabricated troll's face was on the board and there were two holes cut for nostrils. Pay your money, put your hand in and see if you get a prize or ??????...it's the "Booger Booth"! The attendant kept telling people to "just flick it over there" or "get way in there and see what you get". I thought it was pretty creative!
cortes day 028cortes day 050
Another fun event was the chicken poop contest. A large grid with 512 squares were available for a $2 per square. When all the squares were filled with names, it was set on the ground, surrounded with chicken wire, and the "official" chicken was set inside. The owner of the square where the O.C. happened to poop, was the winner of $512. Drat! I didn't win!
AND, on top of all the fun and gaiety and laughter, there was amazing food! Salmon, burgers, salad bar, pies, cakes, ice cream...only as Cortesians can produce! I grazed to my hearts content! Thanks to Cortes Islanders for a fantastic day!

Friday, July 9, 2010


desolation sound 008
On a day like today, it's hard to understand how this area where I spend my summers came to be known as Desolation Sound. It has such an ominous and lonely feel to the name. It must have been a stormy December day when Captain Vancouver first arrived in these waters and bestowed what he believed to be a fitting title to the area. This week, with our crystal clear, hot days,  it deserves a name like Island Heaven.
This is a boaters' mecca. Be it big or small, fancy or simple, sail or power, kayak or rowboat, this is the place to be. There are a wealth of lovely anchorages where you can imagine that you are the only one alive, communing with eagles and songbirds, the lapping tideline, the beach walks and the sunsets. Or you can visit one of the interesting coastal communities, (like mine at Refuge Cove), where there is always a colorful character or new friend to chat with, a washers game to observe (much like horseshoes), or groceries to stock up on. If you are the hunter/gatherer type, you may want to try your hand at fishing, setting a prawn trap, or harvesting clams or oysters. Or maybe just kicking back and doing a lot of nothing. And did I mention swimming...how could I forget swimming. We have the warmest waters north of Mexico. Summer water temps are often near 70.  (The large mass of Vancouver Island protects us from the cold Pacific waters.) There is nothing desolate about this area ... it is rich with nature and activities and experiences and true coastal beauty.
For my husband and I, we relish the getaway-ness of it all. No malls, no roads - just one small grocery store and hiking trails. I go for a major shopping trip about every 2 months, and then just sit back and bake, cook and eat! Our home is a five mninute walk up a rocky bluff - we call it our built in gymnasium. Our garden provides us with salads and veggies, and our daily prawn trap pull adds to the stash in our freezer. About twice a week, we feast on prawn kabobs, shrimp curry, or some other delectable feast. Good friends and good books (and my faithful sewing machine), along with never ending outdoor chores, keep us happy and healthy.
Island Heaven...that's where I live.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


journal quilts
These are some of my journal junkies, quilt journal junkies that is. Terry, on the left, and Barb to the right, are two of 13 in our online quilt journal group, Cyber Fibres. They are standing in front of a display of 40 of our quilts at the recent Quadra Island Quilt and Garden Tour. Both of these gals worked hard on the display, securing them (with small stories attached) and tidying them up for their DEBUT event. Close to 200 visitors checked out our quilts, our stories, and Phil Stone's lovely garden where they were housed. It was wonderful to be a part of it all.
I've been a part of this group since September of 2008. I joined simply because I liked the idea and I wanted to have an outlet for my work. I never imagined how connected I'd become to the other quilters, most whom I've never met in person. I never imagined how I'd cherish my little pieces of quilt and story that reflect my life. I never imagine I'd be touting the wonders of quilt journaling.
For now, I am stuck on June's theme of "All Tied Up". One of these days, soon I hope, it will all click and come together - the idea, the connection, the fabric, the image, the story - and I will proceed on another of my quilt journal adventures.