Category Archives: Uncategorized

Woodhaven Fantasies

April 25th, 2020 

Woodhaven fairy tale

“7 deer and a self-isolated girl… The quarantine made us Disney princesses haha–Snow White and Rapunzel. ” My friend said.


April 17th, 2020

It was like a fire of hope, burning me from inside out.

See? Sometimes hope hurts.

Woodhaven Encounters

Alison Trim is a visual artist from Ireland, and MFA student at UBCO. During her residency at Woodhaven from September 2018 until May 2019 she regularly posted images, encounters and experiences from this particular patch of land. She has now returned for a second year at Woodhaven, continuing her record of sharing this space with nature.  

02/14/2020 Candy colours

As the days lengthen last years berry crop is still full of colours

17/01/2020 The Cold Continues

and curtains of icicles festoon the house.

31/12/2019 Happy New Year

Seeing out the old year at Woodhaven with a healthy dollop of snow

01/12/2019 Baby it’s cold outside

27/11/2019 November update 


November has been a busy month with not much time for blog posts. This beautiful deer that posed so picturesquely, and a squirrel keeping himself fed outside my window are a couple of the highlights to share.

29/10/2019 Forest floor fungi

Keep your eyes down low…

14/10/2019 Each has its own story to tell


02/10/2019 Day of the Triffids


Remember that book (or the movie)? Well that’s what the armies of dead, or dying mullein on the creek bank made me think of when I walked among them today.

25/09/2019 Round 2

A year from when I first arrived and I’m back at Woodhaven. It’s been a busy first few weeks, both on campus and amongst the wildlife here. I’ve only been back three weeks and we’ve already had a bear and a coyote pass through, the usual deer of course, and lots of birdlife. Here is the Great Horned Owl who has been around a lot, and turkey vultures who were making the most of a deer carcass left behind by someone else.

28/05/2019 Growing and Leaving

In two days time my residency here comes to an end, I’d like to thank Nancy, Wendy and UBCO for allowing me to spend time here, and leave you with some pictures of the amazing growth taking place right now, fungi sprouting, babies being born and the creek in full flow. Good to know it will all continue to do it’s thing quite well without me. On to the next adventure……

(PS. if you want to see photos of the next adventure then you can follow me on Instagram)

15/05/2019 The Greening of May

After two weeks away, coming back to Woodhaven the intensity of green is only matched by the fresh smell of the trees and the grass, which unfortunately photos cannot convey.

21/04/2019 Overhead

Spotted this hawk flying over Woodhaven yesterday, it seems to have an antennae attached, visible on the larger file, presumably for radio tracking of some kind.

12/04/2019 Spring is in flow 


The smaller creek bed, dry all winter, has slowly filled and the water level has crept its way down past the house, to ease the flow of the main Bellevue creek alongside it. This renewed flow of water represents spring as much as the green grass, the buds on trees and the flowers starting to appear.

03/04/2019 Critical studies comes to Woodhaven

I was delighted to have my Graduate Colloquium class come down to Woodhaven this past Monday, where members of the class, including myself, gave presentations on our thesis research to our classmates and some other faculty members who made it along too. I had dragged everyone out so far from campus to talk about my work in the setting that inspires it.

30/03/2019 Waking up 

This yellow bellied marmot has decided its warm enough now to stop hibernating and start in on his hectic schedule of sunbathing on the rocks every morning.

24/03/2019 Bush detective

This morning I followed a line of fur on the ground. Which led me to a pile of fur beneath a tree. Someone’s buried leftover breakfast. As they may be coming back to finish off this meal,  I think we’d better stay cautious.

21/03/2019 A casualty of winter

So, you remember this beautiful hornets nest from last autumn?


It didn’t make it through the winter so well….

06/03/2019 Morning Visitors

The wonderful thing about living at Woodhaven is that you never know who’s going to wander past the window when you’re washing up the breakfast things. Last week it was a raccoon without a tail (no photos I’m afraid) this week its these two very pretty looking coyotes.

25/02/2019 Woodhaven artwork at UBCO campus


So far. And yet, so very nearly…. bark rubbing and pencil on cut paper, is the work resulting from the rubbing of a ponderosa here at Woodhaven that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. It’s currently on show in the Fina gallery at the CCS building up at UBCO campus in an exhibition called Making Senses, until 1 March.

06/02/2019 It’s chilly out there

05/02/2019 More collaborating with the ponderosa pine tree

Developing rubbing/collaborative drawings further, with one of my favourite Ponderosas on the land here at Woodhaven. Thanks to Paul Barnes for the photographs.

16/01/2019 New Year, New Semester

Trying out some collaborative drawing practices with a lovely big obliging Ponderosa


23/12/2018 Happy Christmas from Woodhaven

Finding traces of the Raccoon family who pass by the creek unseen.

09/12/2018 As the slowing and freezing begins

The creek is still running for now, but the icy shards are growing each night, and the shapes changing and evolving.

05/12/2018 Standing on the shoulders of…

29/11/2018 More school visitors 

Lines everywhere, in all directions, more children at play.

11/11/2018 School visitors

Last week, in absolutely pouring rain, a group of school children came on a visit to Woodhaven. I stayed inside in the dry and warm. A few days later I found traces of their visit among the trees. I don’t know which school they came from but I have to admire their persistence, and their refusal to let the rain ruin their day out.

03/11/2018 November

The path of the seasons is turning a corner and, with the rain, almost all the leaves are now fallen and the creek flows faster and louder.

24/10/2018 Seedheads

The beautiful October sunshine picks out every fine hair on its head.

21/10/18 The gold is gathering 

And everywhere I looked it was all yellow.

14/10/18 When things are looking up


With blue skies and on bright days the trees seem to stand a little taller. Their lines stretch up towards the sun, and draw us up along with them.

06/10/18 Home

Suspended amongst the yellowing leaves, the cloudlike form of a wasps nest creates swirling lines around the dark hole that serves as their doorway.

29/09/18 Tracing lines in the sky

I could watch, mesmerised, for hours while a hawk traces out his route, around and around in the blue clearing above. But he has other places to be.

26/09/18 A moment

A moment of focus and a moment of belonging. When all your senses are alert, your awareness is heightened and everything is suspended in that gaze. For just a moment.

23/09/18 Hieroglyphics?

Getting very excited by some carpenter ant trails found in an old bench. What are the ants trying to say? This is exactly what being an artist is for me sometimes.

21/09/18 A Richness of Surface

19/09/18 Looking down from the deck

She’s looking right back up at me.

12/09/18 First Explorations

Past the bike shed and the garden shed, follow the trail to the woodshed,
past the plank crossing the dry creek bed, and round to the left.
The trail gets less clear, under the shrub, the remains of something on the ground.
On through the brush keeping right of the bendy tree, back onto a clearer path.
Then left, past the dripping tree and round to the back of the studio.
Onto the driveway where I meet momma deer and her spotty young one.
Carry on to the right of the house and follow the dry creek past curtains of dead branches.
Turn left at the fallen tree and stop to talk to a squirrel.
Climb across stony ground to the bank of the creek and follow it upstream, to home.

Alison Trim is a visual artist from Ireland, and MFA student at UBCO. During her residency at Woodhaven from September 2018 until April 2019 she will be regularly posting images, encounters and experiences from this particular patch of land.

Beat Salad, 2015—The Perfect Poetry Apotheosis!


Clay McCann hosting Beat Salad, 2015

Clay McCann hosting Beat Salad, 2015

What is Beat Salad? This seemingly straightforward question has seen the best minds of our generations destroyed by madness— raddled, discombobulated, naked and bedazzled—  run hooting into the Woodhaven forest, looking for their mad quail brothers. Beat Salad,  a confluence of performance poetry, prose, music, excellent company, Clay McCann, and The Beats. It’s Woodhaven’s most scrumptious event of the summer, and it simply can’t be beat, beautified, bounced, or hard-boiled, it’s the one and only Beat Salad!


Michael V. Smith reading at our second Beat Salad event, a night of poetry and music at Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre!

Michael V. Smith reading at our second Beat Salad event, a night of poetry and music at Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre!

This year’s event featured an astonishing marquee of talented performers, including: Joan Crate, W. Mark Giles, Matt Rader, Laisha Rosnau, Paul E. Nelson, Michael V. Smith, and more! These bonafide Beatrices performed original works and covers of their favourite Beat writing. The Beats and the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre go together like bongos and barrettes, promoting an ethos of sharing, embracing eco-arts, polyvocality, community and adventure.

Setting up for Beat Salad 2015

Setting up for Beat Salad 2015


The stage was set for a night to remember. Half a dozen talented writers, musicians, and over a hundred attendees along with wine from our sponsor St. Hubertus all combined to make this Beat Salad a most excellent occasion. As our Host Clay McCann said, “I think this may be my favourite night.”

Dustin McGifford

Dustin McGifford

After a last minute cancellation from our musician, Dustin McGrifford heroically saved the day by laying down some melody and scotch-smooth vocals.

The shuttle bus to Beat Salad 2015

The shuttle bus to Beat Salad 2015

The big yellow school bus shuttled Beat Salad attendees from Downtown to Woodhaven and back.


Poetry aficionados arriving in droves.


Our gracious host, Clay McCann

Our gracious host, Clay McCann

Clay McCann

Clay McCann

Our gracious and well groomed host, Clay McCann.

“The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way–a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word ‘beat’ spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America–beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction” — Jack Kerouac.


Matt Rader

Matt Rader

Mark Giles

Mark Giles

Joan Crate

Joan Crate

Some of our illustrious poets. We took breaks to sip wine from St. Hubertus.

Wine from St. Hubertus

Wine from St. Hubertus

Harold Rhenisch

Harold Rhenisch

Paul E Nelson reading US America

Paul E Nelson reading US America



America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.


Laisha Rosnau

Laisha Rosnau

Beat Salad 2015

Beat Salad 2015

Michael V. Smith is glowing

Michael V. Smith is glowing

Eventually it grew dark, and as you can see the wonderful Michael V. Smith began to phosphoresce.


Then, it was time for music by the Syren + The Waves, who will be releasing their new EP the fall of 2015.


The Waves

The Waves

Syren + The Waves putting on a show at Beat Salad

Syren + The Waves putting on a show at Beat Salad

The end of a great night at Beat Salad, 2015

The end of a great night at Beat Salad, 2015

“Follow your inner moonlight, don’t hide the madness.”
― Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems 

Thank you


I guess this is my last post on the WH blog! Working on this summer program has been such a great experience. Here’s the short version of the list of people I’d like to thank for all the help and inspiration throughout the spring and summer. THANKS TO:

Nancy Holmes! Poet & project overseer, professor & mentor.  Lori Mairs, for the advice & groundedness & all the behind-the-scenes work.  Karen Donaldson Shepherd, virtuoso Woodhaven soundscape artist.  Megan Hunter, for assistance with the earliest Woodshed Readings & for the hand-painted signs.  Emily MacMillen for the photo & video documentation.  Marlene Creates for her inspirational early residency & community eco-art workshops.  Jeannette Angel, for the initial idea of the old woodshed itself as a performance space.  Sharon Thesen for pointing out the verb “to woodshed” i.e. to do a retreat or a residency, in order to work on one’s art, music, or writing.

HS 9          HS 10          HS 14

Thank you to all of the many readers & listeners in the summer 2014 Woodshed Reading series! May this become an ongoing tradition.

Thank you to all of the visiting artists, scholars, teachers, musicians, performers, & volunteers who have made the woods & streambeds of Woodhaven hum like a tuning fork. May this energy keep flowing!

Thank you to the woods & streambeds of Woodhaven.


(Who took this picture?)



The Cliffhanger Ending

August 27: the Woodshed Readings season finale. A full house! A hot summer evening heavy with words & leaves about to change their colours.

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Kelly Shepherd, Laisha Rosnau


Darian Soulsamurai Saunders

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Michael V. Smith & Matt Rader



Laurie MacFayden

Friday August 22. The Woodshed Readings were proud to host Edmonton poet and visual artist Laurie MacFayden, who gave a reading from her second collection, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat. The book doesn’t officially launch until September, so we were fortunate enough to have a sneak preview. See Laurie’s website for more information, and for images of her paintings and photography.

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“Swinging and searing verses, meditative narratives, honky-tonk tunes and catalogues of favoured things (including what lovers bring — or leave behind), all merge to make Kissing Keeps Us Afloat a book for tongues and lips to sing. MacFayden knows painting and music, and she loves words and women. The result is art without limit, craft without regret, and poetry that faces trauma and embraces the erotic. MacFayden’s poetry is both red-hot and cool-blue, white lies and film noir, memory and truth. In the supposed mundane, she shows us, transcendence awaits.” – George Elliott Clarke

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Musical guest Karen Donaldson Shepherd, who has served as the unofficial — but absolutely fantastic, and very much appreciated — “Woodhaven house band” throughout the summer, played sets on the gayageum (a traditional Korean stringed instrument), guitar and vocals, and fiddle.

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A big thank you to Laurie, and Karen, and everyone who made the trip out to Woodhaven to enjoy this evening with us.


Daniella Roze workshops

August 16 at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre. A small but enthusiastic group joined us for Daniella’s “Wild Plants: Healing and Nourishment” workshop.

(Current events.)

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We’re so fortunate to have had another visit from Daniella, whose deep knowledge and passion about the natural world — and plant life in particular — is impressive and infectious.

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Asking the right kinds of questions. Don’t worry about coming up with an answer too quickly.  Elusiveness is not a bad thing: at one point in the morning we followed in the tracks of a mother deer and fawn, who kept flitting out of sight on the winding trail . . .

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Getting grounded . . . sitting still and listening . . .

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Food and medicine, without irrigation systems or waiting rooms!



Daniella Roze at the EECO

Environmental educator Daniella Roze’s “Living Wild in the Stone Age” slideshow presentation. August 15 at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO), Mission Creek Park.

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Here is the page that describes Daniella’s talk at Woodhaven in June, with more images from the slideshow.

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Paleolithic technology meets present-day scholarship . . .

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“It is not necessary to ‘go back’ in time to be the kind of creature you are. The genes from the past have come forward to us. I am asking that people change not their genes but their society, in order to harmonize with the inheritance they already have.” Paul Shepard, The Only World We’ve Got

“All around us, aspects of the modern world – diet, exercise, medicine, art, work, family, philosophy, economics, ecology, psychology – have begun a long circle back toward their former coherence. Whether they can arrive before the natural world is damaged beyond repair and madness destroys humanity, we cannot tell.” Paul Shepard, The Others

Five Alive 2014 Tour!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014: an evening set awhirl and abuzz with inspiring words and images and insect nocturnes. And with musical guest Natalie Ingram on acoustic guitar, we had ourselves a one-night Woodhaven arts festival! Not the first, and hopefully not the last.

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It was just by the luck of the crickets’ draw that poets Nancy Holmes and Natalie Rice (not pictured) read in the first half of the evening, and Brianna Ferguson and Megan Hunter read in the second; based on tone and subject matter these were perfect pairings.

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Salmon, rivers, and blossoming-goddess trees, wasps and musical mosquitoes and osteopoetics;* inebriation, customer-service employment, and the embodied memories of childhood; love and languages, sex and earth and walking pilgrimage. All on a hot August evening, with William Carlos Williams plums to eat. A night for poets!

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(Photographs by Karen Donaldson Shepherd)

* “poetry about bones”; neologism credit Cassandre Campeau-Bouthillier

Indigenous Activist Art at Woodhaven

This summer UBC’s Okanagan campus offered the Intensive Summer Indigenous Program, designed to provide students cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses that enhance their understanding of Indigenous artistic and theoretical practices.  For more information see the Art + Reconciliation / Indigenous Activist Art website.

The Summer Intensive finale was a tipi made of light and smoke at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre – orchestrated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle – which was a truly incredible sight. It was a powerful experience to stand under the poles, which were beams of light in the night sky, in a fragrant cloud of sage smoke. I feel blessed that I was able to see this, and participate in it. Thank you Cheryl!

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Thank you also to Sherry Farrell Racette, one of the Summer Intensive participants, who provided this writing (and an excerpt from facebook) about her time spent at Woodhaven:

We made such good use of the Woodhaven space – five artists, with a couple of visitors sleeping on couches. We had two evening gatherings, and I held a beading circle with students around the big kitchen table. Amy Malbeuf taught me how to tuft caribou hair at the patio table. We lived in the kitchen and on the patio, and had so many great conversations around those two big tables. I expect the trees are still buzzing. I, for one, hope to return to write and make art in that wonderful space. I grew up in a big log cabin, and it was like coming home. I have no writing per se, but I think someone might have pictures of us beading, and there is breathtaking documentation of the light tipi on our final night. All I have for you is this Facebook post, but it gives you a tiny peek into my experience. Please feel free to share. Thank you all for preserving and caring for Woodhaven and sharing it with artists.
SFR FB Post:
    • The creek sings constantly. Yesterday five eagles circled overhead. This morning a horse is whinnying. I love Woodhaven. [29 likes]
    • FB Friend:  Where is woodhaven?
    • Sherry Farrell Racette A big log cabin in the Woodhaven Eco park on the edge of Kelowna where five artists have been staying at UBC Okanagan
    • FB Friend: Ah! beautiful. have a wonderful time!
    • Sherry Farrell Racette A deer with spotted fawn this morning.

(Photos by Emily MacMillen)