Marja-Leena Rathje
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labours of love


There's not been much art busy-ness happening here since I wrote this art and garden busy-ness post last April. I've been busy with garden, family, a few little trips away but lots of laziness too, sometimes due to hot weather, often just downright slothfulness on my part.

This is a Labour Day long weekend here in Canada, and the only labour we managed was yesterday's day of pruning shrubs in the garden, work that should have been done in the spring. I'm back-and-knees sore from hours of picking up the prunings from the plants beneath. The fall gardening season is almost as busy as the spring one for I need to start bringing in many of my non-hardy plants that spend the summer outdoors as well as take cuttings for next summer's garden. We harvested the last of the cucumbers and composted the plants. We're still enjoying the tomatoes though now they are ripening more slowly. The peppers are in full abundance right now so last night we brought the pots into the solarium to assure they'd keep reddening in spite of the cool rainy week just started. We've had many delicious and healthy Greek salads this summer. Time to use up the basil for pesto too.


As you can see autumnal thoughts are much with me with the changes in the light, the longer shadows and the shorter days, and a few rainy days like today that have us putting on socks and long-sleeved shirts, along with the annual feelings of a new beginning with the traditional back-to-school right after Labour Day. Years of being a student, a teacher and a parent must have left a permanent imprint on me. Maybe that was what gave me the sudden impetus to sign up again for the fall in the printmaking studio even though I'd originally planned not to go back until January. So now, I'm feeling some anxiety about getting myself back in the art making mode after the lazy summer, as if I were still a student. Tomorrow is my 'first day' back!

If you read the above linked post, you'll know that I had many good intentions to get my small home studio in order over the summer. It did not happen. I'm still looking for used flat files too. Maybe with a more structured routine this fall I'll get to it. I feel guilty that I have not yet put up my past year's work on this blog, which requires first scanning the smaller works and taking good photographs of the larger ones.

Oh, and speaking of smaller works, one or more of my prints was accepted into the BIMPE VI exhibition! The opening is on Saturday September 11th, but that's a subject for the next post.

Marja-Leena | 06/09/2010 | 9 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Home


I got some wonderful small sweet red peppers at the market and made a salsa out of them of olive oil, garlic, and almonds. Very good it is, too.
You remind me to take the basil I got at the market and make pesto out of it before it wilts.
I'll bet your husband knows that Rilke poem that begins:

Herr es ist Zeit.
Der Sommer war sehr gross.

It's the perfect Autumn poem

I had to go to my husband Leo to ask what does pruning mean. Of course I know what the work is, done it so many times. Mostly in my grandmother's garden, when she was starting to get old and the oldest daughter fell in with rheuma.

As I am the oldest grandchild, it was natural that I help them out. I do remember stiff back and streched muscles very well, still.

Growing season is of course longer there, but I often remember pruning the currants with some frost on the ground already - or still: it can be done also in Spring. Plants behave differently in that respect.

The good intentions inspired by new seasons are always filled with the blessings of new things we'll learn.. about ourselves even if not particular skills.

Congratulations for your acceptance into the show.

Hattie, I've never had salsa with almonds, mmm. And Fred thanks you for the Rilke poem and yes, he remembered it.

Ripsa, I wish I could ask my husband about Finnish words that I don't know but I have to use an online dictionary. Gardening for your grandmother must have been very gratifying for both of you.

Susan, well said and thank you! I noticed your comment came a few hours earlier than usual when you were living in the same time zone. Waving hi from the other side of Canada!

Those peppers must be under glass, or has global warming taken over in Halifax? Here, every day at the moment I pick tomatoes grown in the open, even though the heatwave of early summer seems to be over.

Joe, maybe that was a slip on your part but I'm in Vancouver not Halifax! They had been outdoors since June and this year's hot summer was good for them. Now that the weather turned cool and wet we thought they could use the extra cover now to keep on turning that delicious sweet red.

It was a slip. Of course I know you live in Vancouver. Halifax was on my mind because some neighbours are due to visit Halifax next month. Thanks for pointing out my error. For some reason I have always thought of Vancouver as being much further north than the south of England. Therein lies my chief error. I now see that it is about the same distance from the equator as London, as indeed is Halifax. Best wishes to you both.

Enjoy the harvest, Marja-Leena, and I hope your "first day back at school" went well! In corporate America, it's all the same season, alas, so I don't feel that "let's get back to work" feeling. But we had beautiful clear skies and dry air over the weekend and it was welcome after a steamy summer. Now if I can only evade the dreaded ragweed...

Joe, I thought so. Canada is thought of as such a cold northern country, but it is a big country and the climate varies quite a lot across it. The east and west coast are the wettest and the southwest coast where we are is the mildest, as you know.

Leslee, that ragweed allergy of yours is a miserable one! I've had a touch of something flu like for a while now and actually didn't make it to my 'first day'... hopefully tomorrow! I know I'm one of those lucky ones that can choose work and play times being free of an employer, with my life revolving around the schedules of family. Even now that they're grown, I still feel that rhythm, that call to get back to school or studio work. Will I feel it still at 70, 80...?