Author Archives: kellys

Lori Mairs & Sandra Lynn Lynxleg

P1190862     P1190863 On July 2, the Woodshed Reading series featured Woodhaven’s own Lori Mairs and Sandra Lynn Lynxleg from Vernon. Sandra read from Glass Beads, her recently-published first volume of poems. We tried out a new reading space — with grassy seating area and covered stage, behind the little studio building — which might be the best location yet except on this particular evening it started to rain. So we moved inside.P1190865The rainfall itself didn’t last long but the weather was intense. Dark as night early. Lightning close by, loud thunder, and high winds; text messages “Are you okay? Storm is serious” and then “There’s a tree down across the driveway”! We might have been stranded, and the residents of the house unable to get home, but fortunately someone had a saw in their vehicle.

P1190869               P1190883P1190880The readings themselves were wonderful: two gentle and powerful storytelling voices that harmonized with the explosions and lightning-flashes going on above and all around us. Thank you to everyone who braved the elements to make this memorable evening possible. And thank you Lori and Sandra for your poetry!

Summer Solstice

Woodhaven Summer Solstice

Music in the forest. Metis fiddle and the lake-country blues. On Saturday June 21, thirty or forty people came to celebrate the Solstice with us outside in the Woodhaven circle of trees. Karen Donaldson Shepherd began the evening with singing, fiddle and guitar. Herald Nix sang and played guitar, old blues full of energy and sadness as the sun went down, and the place was transformed. The music was a campfire and we, in our chairs in the grass, orbited around it.

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I wanted to mention this (a great piece by the musician and Georgia Straight writer Alexander Varty) in the musicians’ intro that evening but never had a chance; I’ll use it as a substitute for photographs of Herald Nix here.

“One hundred years from now, when the musicologists of the future are attempting to trace the origins of British Columbia’s lake-country blues, there’s one salient moment they’ll be able to point to: the day Herald Nix loaded his battered amplifier, his equally well-worn guitars, and a few dusty suits into the back of his old panel truck and headed east from Vancouver, back to Salmon Arm . . . ”

I’d like to acknowledge and give a big THANK YOU to the musicians, and to everyone who came out to enjoy the show! Thank you to Megan Hunter for running the front gate, and Nancy Holmes for introducing the evening. And Julie Prudhomme, for the evocative event poster. Thank you to Emily MacMillen and Shimshon Obadia for taking pictures of the event (including those you see here). Finally, special thanks to Lorna Skelton who has been so helpful and generous with her time, both in preparing the liquor license and serving drinks at the event.

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Summer Solstice

A review by S. Megan Hunter

This summer solstice evening was
intimate; those that came were drawn
to the calm. Singer-songwriter Karen
Donaldson Shepherd sang songs to us
about the moon, told sweet stories
with her delightful penetrating
laughter. Then ‘The Janet’s’ Amy
Modahl’s man Herald Nix played the
sweetest down home old-timey blues
ya ever did hear. Stripped down, no
effects, just a voice and a guitar as
reminders of simplicity. Perhaps, this
is how life was meant to be.

Gentle artists, such as award-winning
printmaker Laura Widmer and others
seeking solace from a busy world
came. Some said they felt like they
were in on a “secret”. And they were.

This was a most mellow retreat-
honouring the longest days of the year
to usher in the warmth, the light and a
celebration of the Sun’s return.

But thank the Sun God for the wine
bar and the bottle of bug spray being
passed around.

Beat Salad

BEAT salad


On Wednesday June 18 poets and gourmets and listeners and musicians from Kelowna, Vernon, Lake Country, Armstrong, Salmon Arm, Nelson and Calgary converged. The Woodhaven forest sprouted an outdoor banquet hall, and the Eco Culture Centre house a poetry stage glossy as a peacock’s tail. Beat Salad!

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If a tree falls in the forest, yes ali and clay and julia hear it.
– a review of Beat Salad by Megan Hunter

An evening of 100 mile-ish feastings,
potlucked beneath the forest canopy,
sprinkled with delicate rain and falling
trees looming in on us; we moved the
feast in case of further trees crashing.
To the upper deck all decked out we
became seated upon the outdoor
awesome living room styling with
lamps, rugs, comfy pillows, throws for
warmth and hidden libations of mint
tea and other warming things. With a
backdrop of peacocks local poets read
their lines and those of Ginsberg,
Burroughs, Whitman, Snyder and
Sakaki. Woodhaven resident artist
Ali Riley reads the ‘fur as metaphor
for love’ series from her third book
of poems, 33 Million Solitudes
(Frontenac House, 2012).

The creek sings on in the sidelines,
as Rhoneil makes music to the woods,
a perfect backdrop for her ethereal
musings. Trees dance in the wind; a
rainbow fades in the distance. Yes, we
will read Ginsberg and di Prima, we
will play Simone and Baker, we will
dance in the forest, we will build
something special out of the remains.

We played at life as beatniks, all of us
too young to remember the real thing,
but not too old to play at it. The
reliving of an alternative culture:
celebrating literary freedom, feasts,
stripes and other things. And garlic
scapes. Lots and lotsa garlic scapes.

“To hole up and practice your art
(particularly jazz), exclusive to
everything else.”

P1190844          P1190841
Clayton McCann                                           Rhoneil

P1190845          P1190855
Ali Riley                                                         Janet(s) aka Amy Modahl and Julia Prudhomme

D. Soul the Soulsamurai


* All those who traveled from far and near, with words and tunes and umbrellas
* Everyone who shared their wholesome delicious food
* Marilyn, representing Okanagan Garlic, for the very generous and yummy donation (with my apologies: none of my garlic photos turned out very well)
* Karen Donaldson Shepherd for the sound system and technical expertise
* UBCO Facilities for the use and delivery of tables and chairs
* Jessica Bonney, for the early Beat reading conversations that ultimately led to this
* Julia Prudhomme and Clayton McCann, for organizing, sign-painting, innovating, MCing, website- and poster-creating, networking, thrift-store shopping and decorating . . .
* And anyone else who helped out, who I may have forgotten here

Unfortunately not every performer could be featured in these photos; please see the Beat Salad website for more images of the evening.

Living Wild

P1050267          IMG_0088

Daniella Roze’s June 12 “Living Wild in the Stone Age” presentation was the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in a long time. The slideshow photos were stunning, and the talk itself held the listeners’ attention with a combination of adventure stories, practical survival skills, and poetry. It was also interesting to hear about the spiritual insights gained from such a close personal connection to the land, to a small community of people, and to the immediate sources of one’s food and water.

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After several months of advance preparation — studying traditional hunting and gathering skills, learning to make Paleolithic tools & clothing — Roze’s group lived for one month in the mountains of northern Washington, with no modern technology.

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With ten years of experience as an environmental educator and naturalist, Daniella Roze offers nature based educational programs and workshops for children and adults. She is a graduate of the Anake Outdoor School through Wilderness Awareness School and holds a diploma in Applied Psychology and Counselling. Drawing from nature as a medium for deepening connections to community and family while empowering a greater sense of caretaking of the earth, she encourages a journey of personal discovery and growth. Daniella is committed to supporting people in becoming their brightest selves. The natural world has been one of Daniella’s greatest teachers.Daniella Living Wild


Daniella will be offering two full-day workshops — “Wild Plants: Healing and Nourishment” and “Cedar Bark Basket Weaving” — at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre on August 16 and August 17, 2014.

Jake Kennedy and John Lent


Wednesday June 4. We were honoured with the presence of Okanagan College’s Jake Kennedy and John Lent, as they led a discussion about writing, teaching, music and literary forms. Wind in the trees and strings by Karen Donaldson Shepherd: sublime. Thank you to everyone who came out to listen and participate!






The Woodshed Readings!

Summer programming has officially begun at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre.  Last night’s inaugural Woodshed Reading (May 21) was small but successful.  What a great place to read and listen to poetry, surrounded by green, accompanied by the music of Bellevue Creek.  Thank you to everyone (including the Whitetail deer) who attended!

P1190780UBCO Creative Writing student Jessica Bonney

We hope to make the most of the summer weather, and the wonderful Woodhaven facility,  with many more readings, presentations, concerts and workshops.  Upcoming events will be listed on this blog, and on the Woodshed Readings facebook page.  And on posters!  And tell your friends!

P1190786Award-winning children’s book author and UBCO MA student Nicola Campbell

(photos by Kelly Shepherd)