Tag Archives: Moments

Eel Ground Powwow

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio I took a day trip yesterday to visit the Eel Ground First Nation Powwow. It was (ashamedly) my first time there – and my only regret is not having gone sooner.

It was quite a stunning event, from the music to the clothing to the general atmosphere (which was a mixture of welcoming, celebration and respect).Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioEel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

I stayed for the Grand Entry, in which members of the Aboriginal community marched in, followed by a prayer and lots of dancing in bright regalia. Apparently several dancers and drummers were from different First Nations communities, many outside of New Brunswick.

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioThere were also quite a few vendors there, set up in a large circle surrounding the dance arena. They were selling everything from jewelry to rolls of deer hide to musical instruments. It was also the first time I had seen a triangle-shaped hand drum. Not sure how it may affect the sound, but it definitely was eye-catching.

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioEel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


The only downside was the weather – the Grand Entry began at 1pm, which meant the sun was rather scorching, with beads of sweat rolling down all sides. I can only imagine how hot it must have been for the dancers! Though I came to terms with the heat by choosing to see it as a free outdoor sauna. Mind over matter…it works sometimes.


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioEel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioOverall, it was a really great experience, and I will definitely be back next year…maybe even for the sunrise ceremony (if I ever find the willpower to rise at 4:30am). 

Note: For those who have never been to a powwow, they do announce during which songs you are allowed to take photographs, so just make sure to pay attention to the MC. 


You know you’re in rural Canada when…

Since I don’t have a lot of new paintings to show (I’ve been waiting for a shipment of canvases), thought I’d share a little moose saga that took place this week.

You know you live in the country when you have to make sure feeding time is over when you invite friends for coffee.

We had a pet moose. It stayed in our driveway for most of the day, nibbling on branches along the way. It’s all fascinating to observe, until you actually have to leave or enter said driveway in your car. In which case, it’s a giant 7 foot high pain in the ass, which also happens to be a wild animal that could easily trample your car (try explaining that one to the insurance company…….)


The unusually high snowbanks are causing moose and deer to stay on roads (and driveways) because it’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to wade through 2-3 feet of snow. This particular moose is also a teenager at 2 years of age (you can tell by the size and fur), which explains some of the ‘risky’ behaviour of staying so close to humans.


This moose was in no rush – he just kept on eating….and eating….and would not budge. So I tried to inch closer with my own car (a Toyota Echo)…. Here I want to add a little disclaimer that you should never try to make a moose move faster by honking at it with your car – especially if you’re sitting in a particularly tiny car. Pure fear. Instead of shooing it away, the moose started charging towards the car, and let’s just say, this atheist kept repeating oh god oh god oh god, and put the car in reverse as fast as it would go. The moose stopped after a few meters, car was at a safe distance, no damage done, but lesson (quickly) learned. And the moose went back to its supper of branches.


Meanwhile, by the main road at the other end of the driveway (where you see the Mini Cooper), a crowd of neighbours was forming, roaring with laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation. These are the kind of phone calls you can expect when you stupidly aggravate a moose in your driveway while your neighbours are watching: “Have you seen my pet moose? I’m really worried about him, you know, it’s feeding time, and I can’t find him.”

One helpful neighbour then came over in his tiny tractor to try to scare the moose enough so it would enter the woods…the tractor itself was the size of a golf cart. (He later said this is probably the craziest thing he’s ever done).


It was possibly the strangest, s l o w e s t  tractor/vehicle chase I’ve ever seen. The moose was moving along at the same pace as the tractor, which was more or less tortoise speed. Plenty of time to take photographs, even with cortisol still flowing through my veins.

Eventually, it walked into the forest, but then, in typical Canadian fashion, got stuck in a snowbank.


You know you have way too much snow when a moose walks into a snowbank and its legs completely disappear (…you know you’re in rural Canada when….). Thankfully it managed to get free without harm, by wiggling back and forth, and disappeared between the trees.

Rural Canada Moose Adventures| Saltwater Birch Studio

It was quite an odd, though entertaining, ordeal. The moose seems to have moved on to another part of the forest, probably sick of us crazy humans.


A Bobcat, Icicles, and Clumsiness


This weekend was quite a beautiful one – with the freezing rain and sunshine, the forest sparkled. A brief, but lovely, sight.


Though with this weekend came a visitor: a wandering bobcat. They’re not dangerous, at least not to humans…pet cats are another story. I just find them unsettling, mainly because their bark sounds exactly like a baby crying. Which is very creepy when that sound is coming from the forest at midnight.

It’s only the second time in my life that I’ve heard a bobcat, and both instances were at night (though the first was while sleeping in a tent, which was definitely more frightening). But bobcats don’t tend to stay in one place, so it may be another 8+ years before hearing another one. (And just on the news tonight, was a photo of one in someone’s backyard. Apparently February-March is a common time to spot them in residential areas, as food sources are dwindling).


In other news, while working on a landscape painting, I made the mistake of placing my palette a little too close to the edge of my painting perch….. I tried to catch it — bad idea. I ended up with cadmium red and orange, with a touch of indian red, on one hand and cadmium yellow on the other (of course, cadmiums being the expensive, and slightly toxic, colors…). It seemed like such a waste of paint, so I swirled some onto the canvas before trying to scrub it off my hands. 

Painting in Progress | Saltwater Birch Studio

It was quite a mess. I didn’t end up catching the palette either, which meant paint was all over my socks, the floor etc. My face (the only part that escaped paint-free), was caught somewhere in the middle of a laugh and a grimace. It was like dropping toast, butter side on the ground. It really couldn’t have been any worse.

Unfortunately it was not a rare occurrence, but at least I had on designated painting clothes (when clumsiness is inherited, you have to take some precautions). And through necessity have discovered that oil paint comes off wooden floors quite easily, so no harm, no foul.

Painting in Progress | Saltwater Birch Studio

Though I do wonder about all those bright white and pristine studio spaces you see floating around on Pinterest – people don’t actually work in them, right? From my clumsy point of view, where paint gets on everything from light switches to doorknobs, I can’t imagine working so neatly lasts for very long.