painting the 1940’s beds

Having left our children’s beds behind in England, I was very pleased to stumble on a pair of twin 1940’s beds for sale not far from the lake. They were in pieces, but they showed great character and possibility, and even bore a plate stating that they were English themselves, by appointment to the King. Well then!


Such a charming shape. I confess to desaturating this picture, you didn’t want to see orange wood either, I’m sure. In summer weather I chalk painted them.

painting the 1940s beds

I sanded them a bit.

painted headboards

I gave them a coat of beeswax polish, and buffed them a little.

painted headboards

The children slept through the summer on the box spring and mattresses, stacked in their room. They slept through the autumn on the box spring and mattresses, stacked in their room.

Then I had a moment to assemble the beds, and here I got a bit of a surprise. More about this surprise, and to see the finished pieces, here.

tree graffiti

Carved into the bark of a tall tree by the lake, now so overgrown that we cannot make it out, there is an aged message.

carved initial tree graffiti

Unmistakably, a heart; perhaps, some letters, that old declaration, one plus the other. Did a young lover cut initials into the tree? Was it the old botanist, great-grandfather of the lake, who built our cottage, and the great-grandmother who designed the place? Such a sweet old fashioned sculptural proclamation of love.


Over at the autumn Highland Heritage Fair, not so far from our little cottage, they held a tug-o-war.


Such an entertaining bit of fun, suspenseful, silly, everyone pulling together. The tug of war dates back at least to ancient Egypt and China, and was made popular in Britain in the 1600’s by an enthusiastic Lord Simpson. It is at once Olympic and yet requires little skill to thoroughly enjoy.


My girls prefer to sit in a tree and watch this sort of thing, but somehow it wrapped up a day at the fair (of fiddling, a hay-toss, pottery, the opening of a new local museum, and of course, fabulous tables from the likes of a local stonecarver, an old-time photographer, jam preservers and bakers, a fuller & beader, and yours, appleturnover) just perfectly.

sprouting celery

At this moment, we’re in a cottage on a tiny lake in the woods, at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This cottage was in our family one way or another for twenty years, through fascinating circumstances, and I have vivid memories of it. It is exquisitely beautiful here, the sort of place one never wants to leave. But it isn’t the lake I wanted to tell you about, just yet. I have a project for you. Our neighbours are wonderful, and took us through their beautiful vegetable garden. One of their projects is so utterly astonishing and inspiring, I can hardly choose whether to sit down and show you or rush off to do it myself, right this minute.

celery rooting

It isn’t pretty like a lake, I know, but bear with me. My friend found this idea by way of another friend, by way of Pinterest, by way of a lovely site. I pass it enthusiastically along to you, like a fine recipe. Sprouting celery! Simply cut off the base of the celery, and sit it in water for a couple of days.

celery plants

Then plant it. The new celery will spring up from the old plant, rooting down like a cutting, sprouting up like cut-and-come-again lettuce. Goodness, how pleasing is that? I declare I shall set my children to sprouting a row of them, immediately. There are many other plants you can try this with. I think so. Edible science projects, my favourite.

I’m feeling like Monet about his lilies, when it comes to making images of the lake, if you’d like to see – and more about its stories here soon.

little miller

Now, if you’ve been following closely for a while, you might recall an antique grinder I acquired at a village shop near the cottage we once lived in. I have great affection for the mill, and for cooking with my family in that old kitchen, so I made a little something with some images I came across the other day.

Simple pleasures.


p>(If you’re fond of short appleturnover movies like the little miller, you might like to nose around the old schoolhouse. Along the lefthand side of the page, you’ll find it.)