Friday, January 30, 2009

Another walk in the woods..

We got 25 cm of new snow on Wednesday. I went snowshoeing in the woods yesterday, late in the afternoon. Very pretty!

Sophie waits for me.

I can't remember what these thorny bushes are called, but they're all over the farm. Yes, they're SHARP.

The winter sun slowly setting.

Sumac tree providing a bit of colour.

Sophie in deeper snow, waiting for me again. Tristan goes off without a backwards glance, checking in occasionally, but Sophie mostly stays close to me when we walk.

You can see how deep the snow is when my snowshoe is completely covered by it!

And lift off!

I love her snowy nose. She likes to eat snow as she runs along. She reminds me of a baleine whale eating krill.

Mr. Icebeard wishing I'd hurry the hell up and take the photo already!

Snow buntings line the granary roof.

Self-portrait in the woodlot. My nose and cheeks are red because of the cold, not excessive vodka.

I found a small nest in a tree, filled with snow.

Sophie running, ears flying...

The creek is under all the softly undulating snow.

Snow buntings and the bird bath. Check Wednesday's post and you'll see how much higher the snow is around the birdbath now!

Looking over at our neighbours' fields. The sky was such a nice shade of blue.

And inside, we have Julius getting his belly rub. He has lost some fur on his belly and hind legs. The vet says it's fine, a normal thing in aging neutered cats. Apparently it's hormonal. Time to get him some Rogaine!

Naomi snoozing on the lovely crocheted blanket her Auntie Mary made for me!

Alex doing his best to leave cat fur on our couch.

He is SO mellow. I can't imagine him spending hours, maybe days, in a leghold trap, suffering. Maybe nothing seems bad in comparison to that, which is why he's such a happy, laid-back boy now. I love his long whiskers. He's a total food addict, though. If his dish is empty, he'll start by knocking it back and forth against the wall. If you ignore that, he pushes it off the chest of drawers it's on and onto the floor. If you ignore that, he tosses the water bowl onto the floor! (I have, after two broken dishes, learned to use metal ones.) He'll also start pushing everything and anything off the kitchen table. He loves doing that.

And lastly, the dogs. Sophie walked in, plonked herself down next to Tristan, and proceeded to growl at him, as if he had invaded HER bed. She's such a b*tch!!

PS: Today is my very special day, the day my Mum had me many moons ago! :) Somebody (Gordon) got me a video camera as a gift, so I may add a few videos to the blog in the future. Somebody (Gordon) made me blintzes for brunch, and tonight we are off to dinner at what I consider the one decent upscale restaurant in Cornwall. I love birthdays!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snowy snow buntings in snow...

I tell you, I am kicking myself daily for not cleaning my windows before it got too damn cold to do so! Taking photos through filthy windows? Not so great. And no, I am not going out into the storm today to take pictures. There's a heavy snowfall warning on and we are supposed to get a foot of snow and it's windy and nasty outside right now

The pics may not be great, but voila: the resident snow buntings! They have discovered my feeders and like to eat the spilled seed. I love these birds. These guys go to the high Arctic to nest and procreate; hard to believe something would consider this area their balmy winter retreat, eh?

Two snow buntings on a grey snowy day...

Then four of them settled down on the garage roof!

The pole thingy in the background is one of the lightning rods on our barn.

Nothing like having a good old clean-up in a snow storm!

The snow buntings mingle around the heated bird bath.

And remember the turkey from the other day who sits in the birdfeeder? We named her "Hillary", after the "American woman who wants it all", as my friend's Mom suggested. Well, Hillary has a new trick. She has decided it's too much effort to haul her carcass up into the birdfeeder, so now when she wants seed, she pulls on the platform until seed spills on the ground!

Note the copious amount of seed on snow around Hillary. My dogs are very pleased, as they love to eat birdseed (which I do NOT encourage!) Hillary is very kind to make it more accessible for them.

And after Hillary drained the feeder the other day, this mourning dove found a new use for it:

A cosy bed! Zzzzzzzz....

PS: I'm pretty sure Hillary is a girl, but if I need to change her name to "Bill," someone please let me know! She's the pariah turkey, always her by herself. The other turkeys never let poor Hillary join in any turkey games.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Evil Are You?

You Are 24% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.

In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

How Evil Are You?

I need to work on my badness.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'd like extra anchovies on that!

So I ate lunch in front of my Mac today (if you must know, I was going to catch up on my missed Coronation Street episodes.)

Suddenly, Julius made an appearance...

"Are you not bedazzled by my fluffacious handsomosity? I believe you have something I want."

What would that be, O Cat Master of the Universe?

"Allow me to give you a not-so-subtle hint."

"Yes. The pizza."
(There she goes, putting potatoes on pizza again!)

Being the cruel catmother that I am, I did not share anything but the crust:

"Mmmm...nummynummynummy...nargh nargh nargh snurfle chomp chomp mmmmmmm!!!"

"I assure you, pathetic human, cats find nothing strange about licking a pizza crust."

"MmmmmMMMMMmmmmm... I'm diggin the carbohydrate coma, man. Look at all the pretty pretty PRETTY colours! And swirly things. I think I can fly! And wow, is that Jimmy Hoffa? Grooooovy!"

(Note the placement of paws on plate, denoting ownership.)

Sated, and having used his fluffaciousness to serve his own vile purposes (stealing my pizza crust), Julius left.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen...


Sophie patiently waits as Gordon prepares her dinner, with the amazing SHOULDER KITTY surveying her domain.

The SHOULDER KITTY routine is extremely cute, unless you are wearing a thin shirt. Or no shirt. In which case, it is excruciating to have a five-pound mite scamper up your body, gaining purchase with her sharp little razors, I mean, claws. I think the SHOULDER KITTY routine will have to be broken before summer. Otherwise, Gordon and I will be SCARRED for life. "No, I don't self-harm. It's my kitten. Really." Plus Naomi has started trying this "leap silently onto the shoulder" trick out on visitors. Oops.

The other day when I was, pardon the graphic image, sitting on the toilette, Naomi leapt from the bathroom counter to land squarely on my back, which was a little surprising to say the least.

Meanwhile, Mr. Subtle emerges from under my desk:

"Can we go for our walk NOW? NOW?!! NOW!!!??!!"

I am ruled by my animals. Obviously.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

That ain't no warbler...

One lone turkey (a girl, I think) has been hanging around our feeders every day lately. This morning I looked out my office window, and there she was, feasting on seed that had dropped on the ground. A few minutes later, I looked again, and saw this:

That platform feeder is about three feet off the ground. I'm amazed Miz Turkey-Lurkey was nimble enough to jump up there and squeeze in. The pole is now tilting quite a bit; I guess there's a BIT of a weight difference between a blue jay and a wild turkey!! Just a bit.

Then my fluffy orange guy Julius hopped up to the window. At first he was completely oblivious and proceeded to give himself a thorough bath:

But when the turkey hopped down, Julius snapped to attention.

Miz Turkey Lurkey was not perturbed by the cat's presence, no doubt in part because the turkey weighs at least double what the cat does!

I'm glad my dogs don't go after the turkeys. My neighbours' dog, a lovely GSD-mix named King, is quite fond of bagging turkeys. The other day he brought home HALF a wild turkey to my friend. We are not speculating on what happened to the other half.

ADDENDUM: My (American) friend's Mom just came up with THE BEST name for the turkey: Hillary. This is because "In America, Hillary has become known as a woman who wants it all!" Hee hee heeeeee!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Birthday noshin'

Because I love food, I feel compelled to share my meals with you. For Gordon's birthday, I made stuffed pork tenderloin (prosciutto, basil leaves, smoked gouda and sundried tomato pesto), green beans, and roasted potatoes (red, Yukon gold and purple, all from my garden last year. I am starting to run out now, wah.) He was quite enthused:

I may be an artist in life, but I am no artist when it comes to arranging food on a plate. Too impatient, too eager to eat. Gordon, by contrast, is quite careful to make food look picture-perfect. Not me!

And then the cake: banana cake with marscapone icing. I got the recipe from a bloggy friend in BC. The only change I made was to add about 1/3 (or was it 1/2?) cup milk chocolate chips to the cake, along with the nuts. If you'd like the recipe, go here. The recipe calls for a square pan, but I made it in a round cake pan.

Gordon has a real sweet tooth so he was a very happy man. That said, the cake wasn't too sweet (I DON'T have a sweet tooth; I have a FAT tooth!) And the marscapone icing was TO DIE FOR.

As you can see, my frosting skills are about as impressive as my food-styling ones, but hey, it tasted yummy!

Love the recipe, Time to Spend. Thanks!


Here's the pork recipe for Steph and anyone else:

A pork tenderloin is just the right size for two – and this lovely stuffed version is ideal for sharing with someone special. Serve with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes for Two and Pine Nut Pilaf For Two.

Servings: 2

1 pork tenderloin (about 12 oz/375 g)
2 tbsp (25 mL) sun-dried tomato pesto
2 oz (60 g) prosciutto, thinly sliced
4 large leaves fresh basil
3 tbsp (50 mL) shredded smoked gouda or mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

Cut pork lengthwise in half almost but not all the way through; open like book. Spread pesto down centre of 1 side. Lay prosciutto on pesto; top with overlapping basil leaves. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold pork over filling; secure with toothpicks or kitchen string.

In large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown pork. Transfer skillet to 400°F (200°C) oven; roast until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside, about 18 minutes. Transfer to cutting board; tent with foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks and slice.


Canadian Living Magazine: March 2007


Why, when I flicked on the light in the downstairs bathroom this morning, were three cats sitting in there? Seance in the dark??

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oooh, I'm Kreativ!

Monika at Smoking Hot Needles is not only a gifted knitter with gorgeous dogs, she has given me a Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you, Monika!

The Definition: “for those who bring unique and creative elements to their blogs. For those who incorporate art, music, creative writing, photos, and other beautiful visual effects into their website. For those who put a unique spin on things and come up with new ideas. This award is for the artsy, the funky, the inventor, and even the rebel. This award is for those creative individuals who stand out from the crowd.”

The rules are:
1. The winner must copy this Award to their own blog.
2. Link to the blog from whence you received the Award
3. Nominate a minimum of 7 other bloggers
4. Link to the nominated on your blog
5. Leave comment about the award on the nominated blogs.

So here are the people I am passing the award along to:

1) Shelley at Birding in Michigan. The photos on her blog are spectacular, her writing is a joy to read (I dare you not to smile) and her website is beautiful. Go visit now! She has a few other lovely blogs as well, so check them out. The links to them are on the Birding in Michigan site. She'll be famous soon, if she isn't already.

2) Freshisle Fibers: Not only does she have a full-time teaching job, she's a knittin' and dyein' machine. She also runs a yarn shop on beautiful Manitoulin Island. I enjoy reading about her creative projects, and hearing about her dog, and of course, the lovely Island.

3) Laura-Jane (and Cameron) at Whimfield: Well, they're already famous after appearing on Definitely Not the Opera on CBC radio! They drove across the country from BC to PEI, moved into a rather rustic (but lovely) old farmhouse on 60 acres, and have been restoring it while throwing themselves into their new rural lifestyle. I wish I'd been half as confident and adventurous as them when I was their age! I am absolutely in awe of the work they have done on their home, by themselves. (I think I'm Go check it out. You'll learn something about Canada's smallest province (Prince Edward Island) as well.

4) The Mad Cat Woman at Hissyfits. She's a gifted writer (she works in the advertising industry) in Sri Lanka, and damn funny. REALLY damn funny. She is also kind to animals and involved in animal rescue in and around Colombo. Did I mention she is damn funny? Her humour is wicked and smart. Go check her out now.

5) Dephal. She's always making something, whether knitted or out of clay or whatever's going. She once gave me a knitted uterus, complete with ovaries (I treasure it!) She's smart and funny with a way-cool car. Also she made the university she teaches at buy my husband's book for their law library. Yessssss!

6) Sunnyside Dr.® - because, my friends, a picture is worth a thousand words. And today may be the happiest day of his life, because Bush is out and Obama is in.

7) Knit With Snot For You - Because her blog has the best name EVER. Because she has three little boys and still manages to knit tons of great stuff (all these knitters who blog put my output to shame! ) Because she's hilarious. Because she loved Ricardo Montalban. Because she's an artist. Just BECAUSE.

Thanks for all the great reading!

PS: I typed this entire post with a kitten lying in front of my computer screen, and a fluffy orange cat getting his nipples massaged as he stood on my keyboard tray (Hey, it's his kink, not mine!!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy birthday, young man!

Because it's my blog, and I can do what I want, I cannot resist publicly wishing my sweet husband a very

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y !!

LOVE that 70's shirt, dear! If Gordon hadn't grown a beard 20 years ago, he would still look like this, and I would be arrested for being married to a gradeschooler. I don't know why G doesn't grow wrinkles, but I want to know his secret. We could market it and could get rich.

Sweetie, I hope you have a wonderful day, a wonderful year, and a wonderful life!

And now I must go bake a birthday cake.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Working off the Eggs Benedict

We went to our favourite local place for brunch yesterday and as per usual, I was unable to resist the Eggs Benedict. Gordon was unable to resist the comics section of the Montreal Gazette:

So we came home and went cross-country skiing, since it has warmed up considerably from that -37 C we were enduring the other day. The dogs love it when we go skiing because we move faster.

Knatolee Nanook of the North and her Arctic wolf friends.

Tristan sports a snow beard.

Sophie gets lazy and finds it easier to walk in Gordon's ski tracks, rather than make her own path in the snow!

Gordon takes a break while Sophie runs to Mummy!

Spot the skier!

I think these two love winter more than summer! The snow seems to energize them. Or maybe they just need to keep running to stay warm.

It's difficult to tell from this photo, but Gordon is at the top of a very large hill on our property. The dogs are waiting for him to get going so that they can run down alongside him. The hill is GREAT for sledding.

And at the end of skiing, the dogs go into the frozen creek, no doubt to look for muskrats. There is a corrugated metal tunnel down there that runs under a dirt "bridge." The dogs love running in and out of the tunnel.

One dog goes in...

Two dogs come out!

Sophie hauls herself through the deep snow on the bank.

And they both listen a little too intently to something moving around under the ice, in the creek. "Leave the muskrats alone, you two!!!"

Back home, Sophie waits for Daddy to emerge from the garage after taking off his skis..

And inside, we all get toasty warm...

Sophie loves to get her butt scratched. Try not to notice the appalling amount of pet hair on G's ski pants.

The old homestead in winter, a classic turn-of-the-century Ontario farmhouse design. We need to get that old TV aerial antenna taken down, as bits of it have been blowing off in windstorms and landing on the roof. I am waiting to be impaled one day.

Oh, and...

There was a big ole flock of wild turkeys near our house when we drove up the laneway yesterday. I leaned over Gordon and took this photo.

Happy January!