Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A walk in the smoke

I woke up early yesterday morning to the strong smell of smoke. At first I wondered if there was a giant grass fire nearby. It has been extremely dry lately (our lawn is brown and crispy!) and I'm surprised things haven't been spontaneously bursting into flames. As it turned out, the smoke was from fires in and around La Tuque, Quebec, about four hours northeast of here.

It was too smoky to go out earlier in the day, but by late afternoon it had cleared enough for me to walk the dogs. It was still hazy, though:

And on our walk we saw...


Milkweed flower buds.

A muddy dog, longing to go in the creek.

New boards studded with nails, sharp side up, to stop skunks from walking up to the hives and eating the bees!

A beautiful butterfly.

A beautiful flower.

Prisoner chickens!

Old bottles on the old stone fence.

Another lovely butterfly on clover.

Honeybees on the flowers of my kale, which overwintered this year!

Today it's rainy and smoke-free. I'm glad we are finally getting some showers. It has been incredibly dry, especially for this time of year.


  1. We woke up around 1am. and it felt like there was a fire next door.
    Mark even went outside to check the nearby buildings. Scary. I am glad it is raining today!
    Thanks for the lovely pictures around your farm.

  2. Ah so much for winter for a few months! Utterly delightful

  3. Beautiful closeups as always. I smelled the smoke too but just faintly. Strange, because we're closer to La Tuque than you are.

  4. Lovely photos, Knatolee!

    And? Did you come to know what kind of fire caused such a smoke in quite a distance?

  5. Sean, there are 50 forest fires burning in Quebec, eight of them out of control. 109,000 hectares of forest have burned in Quebec this year along! Fortunately we are all getting some rain today. I live in Ontario but am about ten minutes from the Quebec border. Apparently the smoke drifted into the US yesterday, all the way down to Cape Cod.

  6. Fran, maybe it's because it's so flat and open here that the smoke drifted in more? My eyes were burning!

  7. Jams, we should be safe from winter until at least October!

    Elisabeth, it was a bit scary until we figured out what the smoke was!

    GLad everyone is enjoying the photos.

  8. Phew, heat, drought and forest fire(s) so early in the year?!
    Seems we've got much of the rain you need. If I could, I'd send you some. Good luck!
    ... Thanks for telling, Knatolee.

  9. Laughed at your prisoner chickens - I'm assuming there's no parole in their future! Didn't know that skunks ate bees!

  10. I heard all about the Quebec forest fires from my family. Such a disaster...So little can be done...

    Great photos, Knatolee.

    The magnificent book Katie of the Sonoran Desert just arrived for my grandson, Ethan. Your illustrations, and the story, are splendid. Plus all the descriptions and drawings of Animals, Plants and Herpetology. Congratulations again! I might decide to buy another one for myself, and learn Spanish!

    Will be away for a month. All the best!

  11. Claude, we did get some rain this morning. Let's hope it was enough to help. And thanks for the compliments. Ethan's sticker is in the mail!

  12. Sean, it has been an abnormally hot, dry spring. The shape of things to come, I fear.

    Shelley, they usually get parole at least once a week, when we can be out in the garden with them!

    As for skunks, they come up to hives at night and tap on the front. When a bee or two comes out to investigate, it eats them. Then it repeats the process! They can really decimate a hive this way. And given how many times Tristan has been sprayed, I know we have lots of skunks around the yard!! :)

  13. Thank you, Knatolee. With the book, I'm adding your photo with Gordon, et toute la ménagerie. I'm telling the parents about your hubby's legal expertise, in case they want to sue me when Ethan requests a leopard gecko as a pet!

  14. love the skunk protectors!
    do skunks do much damage?

  15. Love that top picture!

  16. John, the skunks can do a lot of damage to hive over the course of a few nights. They can eat a lot of bees. they knock on the hive, some bees come out to investigate, get eaten, then the skunk knocks again! Clever, aren't they?

  17. Kirigalpoththa, the farm looks good at this time of year! Getting greener every day.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!