Paint and Putter

We seem to have gone from winter to summer in an instant, completely bypassing spring.  Yesterday was the most beautiful day we have had all year; temperatures soared to over 15 degrees.  For those reading this from warmer climes, that may not seem warm.  For those of us that have had snow and ice on the ground for 6 months, it felt like a tropical paradise.

Two things happen with my painting life when the weather warms up.  First of all, I can work with the Birdsong Studio door open.  That feels so good after it being closed for so long.  Secondly, I am able to take breaks by puttering around the yard.  The last day has reminded me how much I enjoy puttering now that the snow is gone.

Shortly after the fire of 2016, just days after we were allowed to return home in June, we had a terrific wind storm.  Dylan, Ben and I were having lunch when we heard a huge CRACK, followed by a massive WOOSH.  A large maple tree at the corner of our yard had succumbed to the breeze and snapped, falling at an angle that could only be described as divine.  If it had gone down a half degree either way, there would have been damage, to either the neighbour's fence or garage.

Our friend Quintin did a brilliant job bucking it up into pieces, before spending a few more days on our property thinning out our other maples and bringing down a spruce that was a little too close for comfort to the house.  The maple all got burned in the fireplace during this epically cold winter.  I've spent the last few days refilling the firewood pile with the spruce.

The pile of remaining firewood from 2016 is on the opposite side of a fence that connected Birdsong Studio to a smaller utility shed in our yard.  On my breaks, I walk around back and toss the big chunks of firewood over the fence. 

Then I grab my yellow handled mauling axe, split them into smaller chunks, and add them to the pile.  A few more breaks today and our firewood lean-to will be fully stocked for the next winter.

Between our yard, and that of our neighbour, we have a lot of trees, large and small.  We love it.  However, in the crazy growing months of May and June, we have to keep on top of the growth.  The smaller branches don't really work with fireplace and are often laden with leaves.  I had a huge stack of them from last year that I'm slowly cutting down to small pieces and adding to our fire pit.  My goal is to be through the whole pile by the end of the weekend.

It's important to me to honour this area and keep it tidy.  There are four murals that face the public thoroughfare that separates Demers and Hill Drives.  It's also the spot where we hosted "Art in the Alley" last year.  This come and go art event was a great success and we plan on doing it a couple of times this spring and summer.  It's amazing how much debris and garbage accumulates over the winter.  I'm excited to get this area in shape for visitors.

If you want to visit in person, you have an excellent opportunity tomorrow.  We have a workshop in Birdsong Studio from 1 pm to 4 pm.  I've promised Olivia - a 10 year old Birdsong Studio veteran - that we'll be doing an ostrich portrait.  To get the details and sign up you can click here.


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