Monthly Archives: April 2018

Linda’s Garden

linda fairfield in the plantsMeet Linda Fairfield, artist and plant lover who set out to create an illustration of every single wildflower in Manitoba.  She didn’t achieve her goal before she died last June but she left a treasure trove of absolutely lovely and unique paintings of our province’s native flowers. She called her collection  ‘The Garden.”  An exhibit of work from “The Garden”  is now on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  It was curated by Nicole Fletcher. 

fairfield prarie crocusI was drawn to Linda’s beautiful and delicate depiction of Manitoba’s floral emblem.  I have learned that sadly the prairie crocus is dwindling in numbers in our province. 

saxifrageLinda traveled the province to discover wild flowers. She illustrated a book by Karen Johnson that catalogued the wildflowers of Churchill and the Hudson’ Bay Region.

fairfield wild parsnipSome of Linda’s illustrations highlight the parts of the plants- the leaves, blooms and roots.

fair field prairie cloverIn others Linda chooses to include a sketch of the habitat where the flower grows, perhaps where she discovered it.Quite a number of Linda’s illustrations are displayed alongsidespecimens of the flower from the University of Manitoba’s collection  The Plants of Manitoba. 

fairfield golden rodThere are three special displays in the exhibit.  fairfield prickly pear cactusOne features Manitoba flowers that are edible. 

fairfield wild cucumberAnother flowers that are toxic and poisonous. 

fairfield lady slipperAnd finally one that showcases the beauty of Manitoba’s more than forty native species of orchids. 

fairfield wild roseLinda’s obituary in the Toronto Globe and Mail says Linda worked at her wildflower project over a fifty year period.  The recent donation of 233 of her illustrations to the Winnipeg Art Gallery by her family insures that Linda’s work will be treasured and appreciated by Manitobans for decades to come. 

If you are longing to see the wild flowers of Manitoba bloom and spring just isn’t coming fast enough for you head over to the Winnipeg Art Gallery and get your flower fix in Linda’s Garden. 

Other posts…….

Moose Lake’s Wild Flowers

Portugal in Bloom

Flowers of Costa Rica

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Filed under Art, Nature, WInnipeg Art Gallery

A Fine Balance

 

Giving folks from Siloam Mission a tour at the art gallery

Death closes all: but something ere the end,

Some work of noble note, may yet be done…..

Come, my friends,

T’is not too late to seek a newer world….    –  Alfred Lloyd Tennyson

walking in iceland

Walking in Iceland

 

Earth’s crammed with heaven, 

And every common bush afire with God

But only those who see take off their shoes;

The rest sit around and pluck blackberries. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Those two quotes represent two different aspects of retirement, not necessarily in opposition to one another but requiring a fine balance.  

Beverly McLachlin

I read the first quote by Tennyson in a Macleans Op Ed written by recently retired Canadian Supreme Court Justice Beverly McLachlin.   McLachlin who is some ten years older than I am, is certainly taking Tennyson’s words to heart.  She just retired in December but has already completed writing a novel that will soon be published and has accepted a part-time post as a foreign judge on the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. She is finding ‘work of noble note’ even as she approaches the last decades of her life. 

mom and dad in their flower garden

My parents in their flower garden

I read the second quote by Browning on the Facebook page of a chaplain in a retirement facility.  Retirement offers us an opportunity to take a break from constant work and really notice all the beauty around us here on earth, to ‘take off our shoes’ and soak up the wonders of nature, the kindness of strangers and the excellence of a good book.  Browning warns that if we are so busy working we won’t have time to notice that beauty around us. 

The challenge lies in achieving a balance.  Doing some noble work so we have a purpose, so we still feel like we are making some small contribution to a ‘newer world’,  but also making sure we have time to revel in the beauty of the natural world, spend time with family and friends and enjoy literature, music, theatre, physical exercise, travel and art. 

It’s a fine balance. I often am tilted too far to one side or the other, but I know how lucky I am to have the opportunity to try to continue to balance my life before ‘death closes all.’ 

Other posts…………

Self Care

Start and End Happy

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Filed under Poetry, Reflections, Retirement

Where Was It Made?

Where was it made?  Not in Canada!  I was visiting a highschool class where they were learning about Canada’s place in the global community.  In order to get the kids thinking about Canada’s economic relationship to other countries the teacher had them examine each item of their clothing and look at the tags to see where they came from.  Not a single kid in the class was wearing something made in Canada.  All their clothes came from Asian countries.  That got me curious.  I went home and checked out my closet.  Guess what?  My closet is full of stuff from Asia too.  My bathing suit was made in India.  My shorts in Vietnam.  I have shoes from Thailand.  Most of my T- shirts come from Cambodia.  The majority of my clothes were manufactured in China, even my winter faux fur coat. My winter boots were made in Vietnam.  I could find only one thing in my closet that was made in Canada.  A pair of moccasins I inherited from my mother.  I love to wear them around the house because they remind me of her.  But they appear to be the only thing I own that was made in Canada or even North America.  I decided to do a little research. I read it is more likely your clothes were made ethically if they were made in North America and from what I read about clothing workers in a variety of Asian countries they make disgracefully low wages and many work in awful conditions.  I am going to try to be more conscious when I shop to look for things made in Canada. I wonder how many I will be able to find and how much more expensive they will be.

Other posts……..

Wash Day Tragedies

Obsolete Things

Almost Touching Justin Bieber’s Shoes

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Filed under Canada

Doing Something

I am so dismayed at what is going in the United States.  A man seemingly without a moral compass in his personal, business or political life is leading the country and………… nearly half of its citizens have no problem with that. The members of his party follow their immoral leader like fearful sheep anxious that not doing so might cost them their own political jobs.  An American speaker in our church on Sunday said it is hard to have hope in a time like this, hard to believe that God’s love will triumph when vulnerable people are being placed in ever greater jeopardy and racism of many kinds flourishes in a way many Americans thought was relegated to the past.  

As a Canadian who wants to help people like our speaker have hope, and as someone who could have my own life effected by the president’s actions on climate change, free trade, immigration, and military action I feel helpless.  What can I do?  I decided one little thing I could do was to buy subscriptions to a couple American periodicals that seem to report with integrity. 

I decided to subscribe to The Atlantic and The Washington Post since both I believe offer a fairly measured and honest view of what is happening in America.  I admit I was attracted to The Washington Post by the recent movie about it and also by the fact they just won a Pulitzer Prize for their story about defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.   I figure by supporting the efforts of the free American press with my subscription money I can encourage  journalists to keep reporting the news in an honest way even when their country’s president is constantly calling them ‘fakes.’  

Purchasing a couple of news subscriptions isn’t doing a whole lot.  But it’s doing something. 

Other posts………..

Seeing The Post in Lisbon With People Who Truly Understand What Freedom of the Press Is

A Prayer for Journalists

Her Worship

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Filed under Media, Politics

What a Sash!

Shooting the Rapids 1879 by Frances Anne Hopkins

I learned so much about voyageur sashes when the Winnipeg Art Gallery education guides toured the St. Boniface Museum recently.  Voyageurs were French workers employed to transport furs for the Hudsons Bay Company. 

sash fringe st. boniface musuemOur guide Bailey told us the sashes could be up to three meters long and were used for many purposes including providing support to prevent voyageurs from getting hernias when they lifted the one hundred pound bales of furs Bailey is standing beside in the photo. 

sashes st. boniface musuemThe sashes made of brightly colored wool could also be used……. for carrying belongings, lashing a canoe to your head during portages, tucking objects like a knife behind when the sash was around your waist.  It could serve as…….. a torniquet for broken bones, a belt, a scarf, a wash cloth, a towel, a saddle blanket or as a tumpline worn on the head to help carry heavy objects.  The fringes on the end might have important keys tied to them or be used for mending clothes.  

louis riel's sash

Louis Riel’s sash

The Metis, a people with both a French and aboriginal heritage, adopted these sashes from the voyageurs and called them ‘un ceinture fleche’ or ‘arrowed belts.’  Nowadays the sash is worn by members of the Metis nation as a symbol of pride.  The sash in the photo above belonged to the founder of Manitoba Louis Riel, a Metis man who was certainly proud of his heritage and his people. In this statue of Louis Riel on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature you can clearly see his sash tied around his waist. 

Other posts……..

An Award Winner Inspires Teens

Eating Bannock Voyageur Style

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Filed under Canada, History, Winnipeg

Bucket List

“She lived to be 75.  A good long life.”  I was talking to a young woman the other day and that was how she described someone who had died recently.   “Yikes!”  I thought.  I am only a decade away from that mark.  I’m hoping, if my health is good to perhaps be around for another decade after 75.  Our conversation got me thinking about some of the things I’d still like to attempt before I’m 75.  Here they are!

Other posts………

Bucket List For Marriage

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A Study in Contrasts

winnipeg window.jpgThis is me walking home after work yesterday on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg.  I’m taking a photo of a snowflake artwork featuring the Provencher Bridge on the windows of the Portage Place Shopping Center.  If you look at my reflection I’m wearing my winter coat.  I needed to because the temperature was -7 degrees. dave-driedger-on-bike

This is my husband Dave yesterday riding his bike and golfing in Gold Canyon Arizona where he’s on a little holiday with his friend Rudy. Notice he is wearing shorts and sandals and the flowers are blooming and the grass and trees are green. The temperature is 24 degrees. 

A study in contrasts. 

Other posts……..

Widow For a Week

Streets of Gold Canyon Arizona

Gold Canyon Days

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Filed under Arizona, Family, Winnipeg