Category Archives: Nature

Spring Took A Leap

Spring Rhyme

What a beautiful day. Sunny here in the sub alpine, extremely warm in the grasslands,  and very sunny and 16 degrees in town. You could say too warm. I hate to complain.


I saw three red-wing blackbirds in the marsh just before the flats. I took a walk with the dogs on the river dike and I could hear the meadowlark. Too soon, too soon.

meadowlark-1These are last years and two years ago pictures: meadowlark from the end of March and blackbird from May.

This is climate change. This changes everything. Time for a LEAP!


Poor Clothing Choices

“This is a hard truth to be told: before spring becomes beautiful, it is plug ugly, nothing but mud and muck. I have walked in the early spring through fields that will suck your boots off, a world so wet and woeful it makes you yearn for the return of ice. But in that muddy mess, the conditions for rebirth are being created.”

…..Parker Palmer

muddy barn yard

I was so jealous when I read Omid Safi’s essay for On Being this week. It was about the rain in Vancouver. Wet coast,  where I spent 48 years of my life. Rain, rain and rain.  I miss it so much sometimes.  Today, we had rain, but it wasn’t west coast rain; it was icy, cold and sleaty. It melted snow and then it froze again creating a skating rink in my front yard. Gates were frozen and if you weren’t careful the car slid back down the driveway when you were trying to exit. Disgusting weather. Too early for this time of year. It’s the torment before spring, the melting of the 4 foot drifts of snow leaving behind rivers that run downhill carrying sand and dirt from the road. Animal and human feet become mud magnets dragging all the shit silt indoors. You can wash the floor three times a day but you will never get it clean. You just mush it around. Depressing. I just wanted to see the beautiful green rain forest rain  that washed everything clean. Even the animals are depressed.


The funniest part of the essay is when Omid came across a Canadian saying

There is no such thing as bad weather.
There are only poor clothing choices.”

I laughed so hard. Yes this is true. I change my clothes so many times a day. Barn in the morning, one set of clothes and boots. Go to feed my new horse, another set of clothes. Go to town, different clothes and a change for in the car in case I want to go feed Jenny, my horse on the way home. Driving out the driveway and opening and closing the gate myself, put on Bog boots with attached spikes. Hot Shot hand warmers in the car and at home. Remember to open a pair first thing in the  morning so they can warm up and go in my gloves.

IMG_9047Check the weather report for here, the local mountain and in town. Decide what coat and how many layers to wear.


To live happily we must be accepting of what comes our way. The weather, well it just is so make sure you make the right clothing choice and enjoy! So what if the wind ruffles your mane!


Angels In Your Head

“You wouldn’t believe what once or twice I have seen.  I’ll just tell you this: only if there are angels in your head will you ever, possibly, see one.”  – Mary Oliver


I consider eagles a spirit animal and I wear an aboriginal carved silver bracelet with an eagle on it always. I am very lucky to have the company of 46 eagles on my hikes with the dogs in January and into February. Wilderness is not a luxury.



Snow Report

Sunday December 27th
New Snow 35+ cm
Conditions Excellent
Temperature a balmy -9 C to a high of  -5 C
Elevation 1500m

Everything is a snowman today, and I can shovel again tomorrow!



“With luck, it might even snow for us.”

                                 Haruki Murakami,


Yes, luck prevailed. Dull, dirty, grey  autumn’s finale has come. No more naked branches, dried moldy leaves and melancholy  grass, we are  now covered in a fresh soft, winter sheet that feels like flannelette. Nature has covered the decay in sparkle and ice, lulling us with beauty before our winter sleep. Winter is exciting, everything has changed.


The dogs loved the snow. Grommet played so much that his legs were covered in snowballs. He looked like some had sewn ruffles on his legs. He also knows what to do when you have played hard in the snow. You find a nice warm bed to dry off in.


The barn was not impressed. No one wanted to come out. This is Lacey and Tilly’s first winter and snow fall. Lacey didn’t leave her nesting box all day.


Aflac always game for anything wandered down the path I shovelled to eat the last tomato of the season. It was what was left from our 200 pounds of home-grown bounty.








As is our nature, we relish in the new season only to grow tired of it and wish for what comes after. So for today we will enjoy the snow and sparkle. Not sure how we will feel when its -30 and not -3.


 Mary Oliver

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird
with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us
he wants to go to sleep,
    but he’s restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds
from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.
So, it’s over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he’s done all he can.
I don’t know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—
which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—
thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird
that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.

The Artist ~ Nature

“So far as seeing things is an art, it is the art of keeping your eyes and ears open. The art of nature is all in the direction of concealment. The birds, the animals, all the wild creatures, for the most part try to elude your observation. The art of the bird is to hide her nest; the art of the game you are in quest of is to make itself invisible,”

John Burroughs

IMG_2239[1]IMG_8793Black Cottonwood

A Mindful Moment

 This little guy resonates at the highest frequency for me. His boots, his sweater, his toque, his garden tool, his name “Scout”. What is not to love if you love kids, gardening, nature and mindfulness. I want him to come live in my garden, please?

Running Salmon

spawning salmon melodie-grabner-watercolour-5

Fish, especially salmon run in my blood.  My father was a fisherman. He moved from landlocked Manitoba, land of 1000 lakes to the west coast of BC in 1933; escaping the depression. My parents and my three older sisters lived on the ocean for 20 years, until I was born and my mom said that’s enough.


This weekend, we made our pilgrimage to Adams River to witness the annual salmon run. 2015  is a subdominant  year when you can see 100,000+ sockeye return to spawn in October (and maybe a bear or two).


The next big year will be in 2018, where you can see millions of salmon return.

spawning salmon-melodie-grabner-watercolour-1

I like to go every year as it is a pilgrimage to impermanence. The salmon come to spawn and die.


Sadly, this beautiful life cycle could also be dying. Hindered by global warming, urban encroachment and overfishing,  salmon numbers are dwindling. From the days of my dad when a 60 pound chinook was common place, today it would be a rarity for a sport fisherman, and you would have to go the Haida Gwaii to catch it.

Just as I now live on a riparian stream and do my best to keep it natural, I hate to think that only my paintings will be left for my great-grandchildren, when my father left me the ocean.

Bless All Creatures St. Francis

St. Francis

“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”

Today is the feast day of St. Francis, patron saint of animals and ecology, namesake of our Pope Francis. St. Francis believed that everything that the creator made was a work of art and sacred. This includes, earth, wind, fire and water. Is there any wonder that Pope Francis wrote his encyclical on the environment Laudato Si?

Today is the day to ask for blessings for all your animals and pets current and past.


Today is the day to make a commitment, however small, to protect our environment, Creators gift of a home for us.


Individuals must act. “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” he writes. We should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling.

Really it will change everything.



IMG_8677 copy

“Anne reveled in the world of color about her.

“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill–several thrills?”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


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