New Year’s Eve 2016


The Christmas snows have melted away. Now on New Year’s Eve Day the world is whitening again. We are safe at home, playing very old games, some so old that we are having to relearn them to teach the younger family members. All good fun! Eldest daughter has had to stay longer for the highways are not safe, especially through the mountain passes.

May your celebrations be safe and joyful! Happy New Year, everyone! May it be a better year than 2016 has been for so many.

Season’s Greetings


Jack Frost’s art on the skylights December 6th, 2016


Sunrise through the wreath, December 6th


the back garden on Snow Day, December 18th, 2016


O Christmas Tree…. December 2016

After a very wet October and November with long dark days, the three snow storms of December cheered us greatly with brightness and beauty, even at night with the Supermoon and Christmas lights coming up in the neighbourhood. Most of it has melted or washed away by some rain except for patches here and there. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve which we Finns and Germans traditionally celebrate with a feast and gift exchanges.

My dear readers may be as delighted as I am by this: Doe, A Deer, A Female Deer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas. Thanks to daughter Erika for passing it on.

I send my warmest wishes of the season to all my readers with a huge thank you for your friendship.

hand with Easter eggs


Hauskaa Pääsiäistä, Joyeuses Pâques, Frohes Ostern, Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

This year I’ve decided to repost one of my favourite images of hand coloured eggs as held in my hand, from my series of scans of hands with objects. Should you be interested, you may view other Easter posts via this search.

We will be having a quiet weekend with our youngest daughter. We are looking forward to a FaceTime visit with the other daughters and our granddaughters on Sunday! How about you?

for Women’s Day


a fallen phal flower (phalaenopsis orchid)
captured in a scan of course, as I love to do
timely as a gift to all my women friends
and to the women of the world
on this International Women’s Day
thanking those women of the past who forged ahead
and those still fighting for a better world

Related posts: 2007 and 2009

Added later, this excellent article:
Trudeau On Gender Parity: There’s A Lot Of Work Still To Do

this February


Oh my, we are already entering the last week of February. This is a month of anniversaries and birthdays at Chez Rathje. First of the month saw the 12th anniversary of this blog, now limping along in its old age. Then there was one of those Big 0 birthdays for yours truly (also limping along, heh), alongside Valentine’s/Friendship Day, for which I received a big beautiful bouquet of deep red roses from my sweetheart. His birthday by the way is coming up soon as well. Here are the first of the roses to wither, still too gorgeous to discard and thus captured into memory.

In the garden, the snowdrops finished a while ago, the crocuses came out early, one pot of hellebores is in bloom and the mini daffodils and pale pink camellia are opening up. We have had a mild winter with no snow at sea level though lots on the mountains. Having grown up in Winnipeg, I still marvel at this early spring on the westcoast!

Related: see some photos from February 2013

Solstice and Jule wishes


time to nod to Midwinter and the pagan traditions of Yule, Yulefest, Jul, Joulu….
time to rejoice that the North’s longest night (tomorrow in Vancouver) will soon be over
the days will lengthen as light returns

a good time to wish all of you, my dear friends and readers,
a happy Solstice, 
Joyful Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua,
Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël, Happy Holidays, or whatever you celebrate.

Love and light, peace and joy,
and a big thank you to all of you for your friendship.

(a note of apology that I have not sent out Christmas cards or letters this year as I have been unwell, but hope to be recovered by Christmas)

frost flowers




This rare sunny morning, while I was sleeping in, my husband took several photos of the rare gorgeous frost fractals on the sloping skylights in our solarium. What a lovely gift to ring in the holiday season after weeks of extreme rain and windstorms. Even the mountain tops are capped with white icing. We are to expect more of these storms in this El Niño year.

Fortunately so far our neighbourhood has not had the severe flooding nor power outages that are sadly happening in many areas of the Pacific Northwest, despite a warning flicker now and then. The storms are of course stronger over open coastal regions often forcing cancellations of ferries and small plane flights. This happened to dear friends from Victoria visiting us last weekend which meant they had to spend the night with us, and a pleasure it was.

I wish all friends and readers a happy and safe pre-holiday period! We hope that no storms affect your holiday plans. More later….



a withered and crisply dried phalaenopsis orchid flower, still so beautiful

Can you believe it is almost the end of August? The days are noticeably shorter. Our record breaking hot and smoky summer is finally cooling a bit especially at night and with rain forecast for the coming weekend, we all hope our gardens will get a much-needed deep drink. Last fall’s new plantings did not survive this drought which means replacing them later on.

It’s been a summer of celebrations too: a nephew’s marriage in a beautiful wedding in a lovely setting, and a dear friend’s 75th birthday garden party on lovely Bowen Island with many artist friends present…both heartwarming occasions of reunions with family and friends.

waving a feather


still here, still hot, though we recently enjoyed three days of some rain
have had one family member visit
will have our daughters and granddaughters here soon
to attend the wedding of my nephew, their cousin
what a summer!

magnolia seedpods


Numerous seedpods like this appear under the magnolia trees every year after the gorgeous flowers finish. I’m used to seeing them underfoot on the lawn but haven’t looked at them REALLY closely, until the other day when we were sitting under the backyard tree, seeking some shade from the hot sun. I picked up a few of these underfoot and felt curious and inspired to scan them, as I often do with intriguing things I pick up.



What a wondrous surprise – the furry bases, the pattern of circles and the scale-like shapes that remind me of some ancient classical architectural features!


I am sorry to have been so silent on these pages for so long; I can’t believe I wrote only one post in June. This long-lasting heat wave has made me very sluggish, it takes all my energy keeping our garden watered. Thoughts of California-like droughts and forest fires are on our minds here in BC after our mild snowless winter and exceptionally warm and dry spring. We had something like 3 mm. rain in May and about the same in June and the long range forecast continues the same.

I have missed posting about the summer solstice as I usually do and now, today is Canada Day! Happy 148th Birthday, Canada!