Sunday, December 18, 2011

Logs, shoots, cards, stones...


The amount of wood due for the rental of the field, which has always been rather a moot amount, plus a cord we paid for.  A cord also seems a moot amount, as we always understood it's three cubic metres, but in fact it turns out it should be a little more than that, strictly it doesn't exist in this metric country, and who gets out the tape measure when the wood tractor arrives anyway?  Whatever, it seemed like a lot when it came to stacking it, not that we're complaining, a well-stocked woodpile gives the same sense of riches, security and comfort that I imagine squirrels get when they make a good stash of filberts, only we're not likely to forget where we put the woodpile or to have it all eaten by field voles.  Dropped in front of the house mid-afternoon on Wednesday, we ferried it round  to the back and stacked it there until rain, darkness and exhaustion defeated us, but we got it all under cover anyway.  We've been thrifty with the fire until now, which with the mild and sunny autumn we've had hasn't been a hardship really, but now we feel we can be generous with ourselves for a bit.

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More evidence of the mild autumn and early winter, the narcissus bulbs poking their noses up to see what's going on.

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Christmas cards.  Oh I've moaned and cogitated about this plenty before, then last year I made really quite nice cards, then this year even though I should have been less busy I didn't really get properly organised with them, and there isn't really the possibility here of just nipping out to the charity shop and picking up a couple of packets.  So I ended up doodling some stuff with pastels ans scanning them.  This coincided with the arrival of a new Canon printer. 


 We got this because the old Dell one which came with the last computer seemed to have compatibilty issues with Windows 7.  As it turned out these could have been resolved by wiggling through the preferences dialogue boxes and finding 'fit to page'.  Still, the print quality even for black and white was becoming dreadful and there didn't seem to be an evident way to service it, and I was fed up with having to send away for exorbitantly priced ink in obscure cartridges which couldn't be flogged back for recycling.  The print quality on the Canon one is very good, and the cartridges are cheaper and available from the supermarket.


So, the doodles.  Not too keen to put my name on them really - the holly's all right but the baubles look like nothing so much as radishes and turnips.        
I made some from the contact sheet and lots of fiddly snipping and pasting, but ended up putting the better designs in collages and adding text; which is always quite fun as Picasa's choice of fonts seems to get larger by the day,

They still look like boring wrapping paper though. I'll try to do better next year.



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I've taken the plunge and put the small stones badge on my sidebar, thereby committing myself to daily blogging again in January.  Just one very brief item of observational writing every day seems like it might be a good idea, and I do admire Fiona and Kaspa for their energy and talent and consistency and all-round general good-eggness - click on the badge to find out more.  I still try to keep up Out with Mol form time to time, but the constraint, not of sticking to 30 words, which is good discipline and enjoyable, but of finding something new to observe in walking the same routes, and then remembering them, is often more than I manage.  So I'll try small stones for a month.     Then I'll probably slip back into irregular meandering posts again, but it won't do me any harm to change the pattern.

13 comments:

marja-leena said...

Fascinating title. Your cards are lovely, remind me of handmade quilts!

Narcissi peeking up already!? I've sometimes had snowdrops this early, not this year though. Enjoy the preparations this week.

zephyr said...

i love your card!...and am posting mine tomorrow...

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Just had my computer man in for an AV Snafu. I felt a real Gidiot asking him to handle something I've done without problems fifteen if not twenty times but as I eventually wrote out a cheque for £150 he paid me the barbed compliment of saying the problem I had was a first for him and his experience dates back to Dos. There was plenty of time to talk and he gave me a tip for the Canon printer which he recommended and which I found cartridge-hungry: leave the machine switched on (actually in sleep mode). Otherwise much ink is lost in recharging the cartridge-machine interface and making them ready for use again. The tiny amount spent on power consumption is recouped via longer lasting cartridges.

Now I must say something about your Christmas cards. Must they be Christmassy? I take it the answer's yes and I have to say they look completely professional. But what about a card that better represents you? I am thinking in particular of the interior of the church which formed the basis of a prose tour presentation you did for the site that begins with Q. By putting one of those pix on the card you'd be alluding to an inner tendance you have very occasionally mentioned, if not recently. And if you were able to include - as you did then - a vocal commentary you would leave your admirers with a delightful reconciliation exercise: a voice quite at odds with the way you write. Dangerous territory for me, no doubt, but music is proving to be a far too effective way of subjecting old BB and his tendances to a slow and painful suffocation and I have to travel elsewhere to exercise his puckishness.

Christmas cards? Me? Please ignore all of the above (except the printer tip).

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely card designs! Enjoy your blazing fires over Christmas and the New Year!

earlybird said...

Turnips and radishes? No! They look very 'christmassy'.

I totally identify with the whole woodpile thing. So satisfying. I buy mine from a rehabilitation centre for former alcoholics and people with problems - it costs a little more (not much) but they stack it beautifully. (A potential investment in the future?)

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

For some reason, I couldn't get the book title "Eats Shoots and Leaves" out of my head!

Lucy said...

Thanks people.

ML - we had a very mild, bright autumn, quite a lot of the flowers were rather confused! I hope they'll be all right when we do get cold weather. Sadly, snowdrops never thrive here.

Zephyr - thanks, the mediocrity of the drawing annoys me rather, done from my head not observation. Making a neat job with scans and software redeems them but feel a bit like cheating!

Lorenzo - the printer tip sounds a good one, the other thing about the Canon printer is it's almost unbearably slow, all the grinding and whirring before and after printing made me suspect it must be carving the woodblocks itself while we waited. Trouble is our printer use is fairly erratic, we might go weeks without using it at all, but will definitely put your advice into practice. I am quite tickled by the idea of an audio Christmas card. Except a friend with ghastly taste often sends musical birthday cards (that adjective there being heavily qualified...)

CGP - it is nice to have the fire for the season!

EB - thanks, gilded turnips perhaps! We have to barrow the wood through a lean-to garage at the side and stack it under cover at the back. Stacking space got a bit tight by the end. It was a good five solid person hours to do the job, and with the distance they'd have to come to us I can't imagine the rehab people would be viable, though it's a nice idea and I have heard of such things. Also,we get some of the wood from our farmer for the use of our field; his wood is good so it's worth getting the rest from him too. It's a heavy job but when it's done it's done and we don't have to worry about ordering more for the year.

Cat - I sort of thought of that too!

Setu said...

How can it be that Christmas is almost there and that "Sainte Lucie" has already gone? I have certainly been "le nez dans le guidon" during the last weeks as the French say... Please receive my belated but sincere best wishes for your brand new half century and for the following decades! When I was 20, 30 or even 40, I thought that at 50, I would have been wiser, a kind of Buddha less and less touched by the passions of life. Since I am over 50 now, I see I was quite wrong... May I wish you the same? To keep on being passionate in what passions you! Viva la vida!

Leslee said...

Oh, what lovely cards! You really should go into business. Well, enjoy the holidays, you and yours!

HKatz said...

Have a warm and happy holiday!

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

I've been touring my links list extending secular (but heartfelt) best wishes. It's a bit clinical, isn't it? But then one has to be careful about people living in France who may have gone native. My previous French teacher rapped me on the knuckles for sending a card to the Drefféac menuisier and followed it up with a long, long lecture about the separation of powers.

Let me dwell instead on Tom's greeting when we arrived late for lunch. "Oh I assumed you'd all gone down in flames as we'd sort of predicted. It's just me and Mol now, I told myself." (I paraphrase). A great improvement on "Hello, I'm Tom." and we all of us sniggered and got comfortable. One of 2011's highlights. My regards to you both.

marly youmans said...

Have a toasty Christmas--and I like these and agree with marja-leena's patchwork idea! Like the mistletoe best...

Met Kaspa and Robyn in Aberystwyth--great fun--and admire their energy...

Lucy said...

Thanks again, and happy Christmas.

Setu - I appreciate your sentiments very much, thank you!

HK - you too!

Lorenzo, I remember you saying. I think your French teacher was talking bolix. It's not such a big deal here, and people don't generally do Christmas cards, preferring to send a card in the New Year, but everyone celebrates Christmas and Père Noël is ubiquitous. Anyway, no fear of worrying us, we love Christmas. All good things to you both.

M - 'toasty', lovely Marly word!