Monday, 31 March 2014

T-Shirt Day!

Well, not quite 'day', but at least T-shirt Ski! The climb was long enough that the layers came off, and it was the first real spring ski of the year for us...
Part-way up to access the ridge line on the This-Side-of-the-Creek trails.

Getting too hot, must have a cool-down bath... both Buddies indulged in these quite a bit... spring must really be here!

Top-of-the-Ridge ponds. Saw a very sweet cabin tucked in the woods on the edge of one the ponds; I wonder if there are trout... must be a great spot in the summers too!

The flat light made it very hard to see any undulations in the snow-- everything looked the same... interesting to ski on.
And today it is snowing... back to a jacket and hat, I guess.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

This Weekend

I was dreaming of a get-away..

...and ogling the outside of my window...
...but instead, stayed the course and dealt with this.

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Estonia 'May Be Next.' It Was Also First (5)
Kristopher Rikken
Category: Opinion
The more alarmist headlines say Estonia may be the next target for Russian aggression and land grabs. Sure, we've heard this before, and as a friend half-jokingly says, when you live in this part of the north, you keep a bag packed and a good pair of running shoes at the ready. But I have a question: along with being the next, wasn't Estonia first - just last month?
The current Russian border adjustment didn't technically start with Russia taking possession of Crimea's 26,000 square kilometres. It started with the Russian Federation successfully sealing the deal on its 1944 land grab of 2,600 square kilometres of Estonian soil. If this de jure enlargement didn't embolden Russia, it certainly couldn't have deterred it, either.
On August 23, 1944 - the fifth anniversary of its secret pact with Hitler, incidentally - the Soviets annexed those areas just as surely as Crimea was taken now, incorporating half of the Seto region into Russia proper. The following January, it annexed Estonia's western Ingrian region in the northeast.
No one knows exactly why Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet went to Moscow in February of this year and signed away those 2,600 square kilometres of Estonian territory in the form of a new border treaty. There's no statute of limitations on major violations of international law, so that couldn't have been it.
No one knows exactly why Estonia, 70 years later, in the midst of a security crisis, is saying, 'OK, sure, have it your way, Russia.' No one knows why the national conservative party IRL, which you'd expect to oppose legitimizing a Soviet land grab on general principle, is in favor of it. The most specific reason heard was that, "Ultimately we need Russia."
I don't have any illusions that Estonia should expend major effort to get these areas back in real life. Though it will probably break the old Setos' and Ingrians' hearts to hear it, the territory - ancient Finno-Ugric tribal land though it may be - just isn't that pragmatically important.
But to let it go now without an argument must qualify as the one of the most hideously ill-timed olive branches ever proffered.
The message to Russia: if you wait long enough, people will forget. Because you're big and influential, we will let you get away with theft and murder.
Although we're currently inundated by analogies to Nazi Germany and blitzkriegs, Russia (or Hitler in the mid-1930s) is happy to play the waiting game.
The waiting logic is built into their actions. They perpetrate an audacious maneuver, wait for the smoke to clear (or outrage on Facebook to die down). The situation hardens and cools (heard anything lately about getting South Ossetia back? Didn't think so), then they move again. Wait long enough and with luck, the very demographics of the territory will have changed in the interim, perhaps vast bedroom communities of Russian workers will materialize. It has been known to happen. At that point, it's time for Russia to start nibbling at the next piece.
Because of the message sent by legitimizing a past land grab, the cancellation of the new Estonian-Russian border treaty should be high among other no-brainer sanctions.
Some criticize the EU for not punishing Russia and lambaste NATO for "pondering" and "assessing" too long. They have a point. It's dispiriting, and part of the reason Ukraine surrendered in Crimea is perceived lack of support.
But it's also worth taking a hard look at the Estonian government. As always, there are areas in which Estonia can lead and set an example. This is one of them.
If Parliament ratifies the new treaty, offering a concession when punitive measures are called for, that strikes me as a worrisome clue as to Estonia's stance in a real conflict.
Will Estonia resist at all? Or will it go gently, like in 1939, or like 2014 in Crimea, with troops ordered to stand down and disarm? Armed conflict is never a popular option, but it's depressing to see politicians mocked or seen as a ilability because they harp too much on national defense issues. Defense, and the motto "never again," is exactly what we need to consider right now, alongside social justice, ethnic integration and peace-building.
As much as I like E-stonia as a buzzword for online public services, we're not ready to upload the entire nation into a cyberdiaspora just yet. The physical state is still the only guarantee for the survival of Estonia as a nation and culture, and Estonia continues to be the only place in the world that supports the growth of the Estonian language and people in its native environment. That's why I, and a number of others, count postwar resistance fighters among our various heroes, and won't stand for a single inch of the homeland to be given away.
Kristopher Rikken works for ERR News.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Scoop-Luging in Newfoundland

It's a famous activity.
I would post the actual clip, but for some reason I can't get it to recognise this as a famous movie.
Go figure. Just when I'm on the cusp of the NEXT BIG THING.
Cutting edge, so to speak.

There is a BIG Difference Between Yesterday and Today

Yesterday, it was sunny and cold... kind of like winter...
... and in celebration of winter, we did a bit of shovelling...

Happily, it is a gorgeous view from the studio roof...

... although the close-up is not quite so enticing (that is the snow pack on the roof). Keep in mind, this is the SECOND time this winter that we got to enjoy the view from this vantage point. We are LUCKY like that.

World's most famous snow catcher.

Today, however, is a different story. Ice/snow/rain pellets are coming down. It's not decided just yet... they say it will reach +9 degrees today! Craziness.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Everyone Welcome!

I will be chatting somewhat informally about working with glass this evening in  AS 2026 at Grenfell Campus, 7:30pm. There will lots of photos. Please feel free to attend, bring the whole gang!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

In Progress

I am in the process of making work for a group exhibition, Elemental Nexus at the Craft Council Gallery  in St. John's this May (coming up so very soon!!) with Heather Mills, Colette Samson, Susan Lee Stephens, and myself. Inroads are finally being made... materials are starting to trickle onto the island.

I am happy to say that a more concrete direction has finally made itself apparent.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

It's Such A Big Day, I'm Blogging Twice

Look what happened at 11:47am this morning!!! Woo-hoo!! Gone are the images of traipsing all over creation for showers, drinking water, working water, laundry, and dishwashing. No more lugging Blue Jugs. Ahhh, the luxury of flushing in the Water Closet!
In case I miss it, though, I may keep on melting a bit of snow on the woodstove just for the halibut.

Big Red I Miss You!

I miss Big Red and all the fun she brings, and the weather in which she reigns supreme, and also I miss running water.
Yep, you heard it here first, my water ran aground, deep into the bowels of the earth. So now, instead of hauling logs up the mountain, I haul jugs of water... quite possibly until spring. Short of building a fire on top of the ground in the crawl space, I don't think I'll get it back until the permafrost gets sucked out of the land.
More good times.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

No, I Said

A few days ago, I decided to take a stand: I decided that I wouldn't do anymore shovelling until next winter. Unfortunately, unless I want to toboggan down to the car and remain there for the rest of the season, I'm going to have to revoke this ineffective stance.
Some people whistle while they work... WE will be shovelling.