During this month, I have not been idle.
The last job my final volunteer of the year did before he left was to bring the masses of stuff stored in the attic of the cabin down into the living area so I could sort it out.
It was a daunting job as some of it has been in storage for years, and has been moved three times with no regard as to what was in the boxes. Also, a great deal of it was flown out from Nuk Tessli over the years; because everything had to fit into a small plane, I could not afford to have spaces in boxes and all sorts of odd items were jammed together irrespective of what they were. As well, I had to fly out the garbage. Most of this – rags and paper – was used as wrapping material. Then there were things people had given me and I did not like to throw them away in case they might be useful some time. When you live so far from a store, all sorts of bits might be needed down the road.
Anyway, I already took half a van load to the dump, and now have an immense amount of recyclables, all of which must be stored until I next go to Williams Lake as there is nowhere closer to deal with them. I have scads of old printers and computers (mostly presents that were out of date when I was given them); dozens of unwanted books and book tapes (almost all presents as well); clothing and bedding that was given to me and which I will never use – they are going to the Sally Ann; then there are old manuscripts, unwanted metal and glass, and finally the dozens of cartons all this stuff came in, some of which will be saved (JUST in case!) but most of which will go to the bins. I will be going to Williams Lake at the end of this month to attend a small craft fair (at 108 Mile) and do my winter’s shopping, but for the first time, I will likely be taking more to town than I will be bringing back!
Before I could do anything with my possessions, I first had to finish the storage space in my living area. I built a cupboard between the bed and the door onto the deck.
The two bins on the right are for work clothes and better clothes (my really good clothes will stay upstairs), and the one on the left holds bird food. Above is one of two smaller totes for socks and underwear. Behind is a large flat box tied with string. It contains matt board. It is very heavy so although I won’t use much for a while, I do not want to keep it upstairs as getting it up and down will be a chore. To the right of the translucent tote is a thin, horizontal flat box. This holds art paper. I have made several shelves for the different kinds.
On top of the cupboard is a marvellous sculpture of a lizard, a turtle, a plate, and a pot, all made by Corry Lunn, my sculpture friend at Union Bay on Vancouver Island. Behind is one of my paintings of a group of lakeside vegetation at Nuk Tessli (I dragged the papers over the ice on a toboggan to make the initial sketch.) Hanging from the beam is a cowbell given to me by a Swiss farmer when I was 19. I spent the summer helping the family on the farm, and every day I hand-milked 3 cows. I could not have been more thrilled when the farmer unbuckled the bell from Orsa’s neck and gave it to me.
Here is the table area.
To the right of my painting of flowers in a mountain creek are more works by Corry Lunn, a plate of a loon and a fish, and an enamel of a crow. The two large pots to the left below the painting are made by Rick Tanaka of Salmon Arm ; the 3 pots on the right I collected on my travels: the one with a loopy design is actually a gourd from Uganda (where I worked for a year 45 years ago!); next is a 2-handled pot fired on a floating island in the middle of Lake Titicaca in the Andes; and the tall one on the far right (half-hidden by a pile of stuff for the Sally Ann) cost me 1/1000th of a dollar in Afghanistan when I travelled through in 1971. The heron is an etching by Alistair Bell. He was the father of the couple I almost always stay with in Vancouver. The only other item of note is the trunk under the table – it is full of art supplies although most of them are so old they may not be useful any more.
To the left of this photo is my “office”.
The triptych is the first large painting I did; it is based on a view on the hike into Nuk Tessli. The river that runs below my property has its headwaters in the high valley on the left. The somewhat incongruous clock was made by my dad – he was very proud of it and I love it, but I will never wind it up as I hate ticking noises. The calendar was made by my brother; the bowl was made by me in Corry Lunn’s studio. Part of my skull collection is on the shelf; from the left: a record-sized black bear, a harbour seal (from Union Bay); a beaver; and the road-kill wolf mentioned a few posts back.
The remaining wall holds the Boundary Goose.
And this is after I weeded out a lot of extraneous stuff! But at last, after many, many years, my living space is more or less the way I want it.
But the attic, the bathroom, the basement, the new cabin, and the old cabin, are all disaster areas that still have to be dealt with. Some of that I can tackle this fall – it will be so great to be able to find documents and books again – but much of the work can wait until the spring.
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