Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hen Haiku Contest until June 30th!

 HEN HAIKU CONTEST
Keep those entries coming! Click here to enter.

Not long now!

Ladies and gentlemen, hens and roosters, the HEN HAIKU CONTEST is in its dying hours. Enter now before it's too late! We're going to have a judging party soon, so it might take a few weeks before you get the final results, but it will be SO worth the wait! 

In the meantime, here's a photo of one of my other girls on a rock just outside her hive entrance:



Hmmm, maybe next we need a HONEYBEE HAIKU contest!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today's fabulous finds!

I am not a big shopper, but we've been driving by these for a couple of months now, and finally remembered to write down the phone number and call the local guy who's making them. We got a bench and a picnic table and they were delivered tonight! They are built like brick sh*thouses, as a certain relative of mine used to say.



We put the bench on our deck (which needs staining! It's on the to-do list.)



It's on a welded frame that uses antique farm machinery wheels! It's not only strong, it's surprisingly comfy to sit on. The pictures don't show how solidly this stuff is built. I love handmade things like this, built by someone who takes pride in what he does.



Tristan approves! Cost of this handmade, metal-framed, welded bench? 

$200!!

The picnic table is a beast...


Just ignore my weedy garden (I've finally thrown in the towel and hired someone to help me whip it into shape.) Look at this table. Again, it's all on a welded, painted frame with antique wheels. Gordon thinks it weighs a couple of hundred pounds. The two of us can barely move it.



I love the historic aspect with the beautiful old wheels!



Price of this handmade, hand-welded picnic table with antique components, also built like a brick sh*thouse? 

$300!!

Me, I think he's not charging enough but I see a lot of that around here in the countryside. In Toronto, they'd charge $2,000 for that table in some chi-chi poo-poo fancy-schmancy outdoor shop. And while you were inside the shop, some guy in a Lexus would have backed into your car and done a runner while you were shopping (sorry, still bitter from my weekend in Toronto, and to be honest, that actually happened to me in Abbotsford, BC, not Toronto, and the vehicle was a pick-up truck... but I digress.)

If you're local and want some of this stuff, let me know and I'll tell you how to get in touch with Kevin, who makes this stuff. He offered to make us a bigger picnic table, but this one was plenty huge for us!

And free delivery to our farm on top of all that.. We are very impressed. Kevin's got to factor in the materials on top of his labour... these were a deal! So much better than crap from China. You want some, let me know and I'll hook you up with Kev. ;)



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Evening walk

We took the dogs for a walk yesterday evening, and apart from the annoying deerflies, it was great.


Gordon striking a pose with the blade of tall grass he was using to beat back the deerflies!



Tristan had a nice swim in the creek.



It is impossible to keep that dog out of the water!

 

Gordon striking a more serious pose!


And back at the house, we have this handsome toad living on our back deck...


I presume it's an American Toad; if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me! I thought it had the prettiest markings of any toad I've ever seen around here.


He likes hanging around potted plants, too. In previous summers, I have often found toads burrowed into the dirt of the plants pots on our deck.

Hope you are having a lovely summer evening!

PS: Two days left in the HEN HAIKU CONTEST! Don't forget to enter!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Growing, growing... almost grown!

The chicks are growing like weeds. They turn two weeks old on Wednesday and are already getting cute little feathers! I love their fluffy tails.



Little sweetie!




"Please may I peck out your eyeball?"




Future egg producers!


Their wings are all feathered out now.



Growin' like a weed.

Another lovely cake!

Last Thursday night, while I was avoiding murderous motorcycling maniacs in Toronto, Gordon was at home hosting the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Stewardship Council's monthly meeting. Gordon is on the Council, and offered to have everyone over this month for a barbecue. I was supposed to be there but then my Uncle died, so I made all the salads before I left, and poor wee Gordon was responsible for making sure his guests were fed and entertained.

For dessert, we commissioned our friend Ronna to make a special cake for dessert. She put the Stewardship Council's logo on a delicious vanilla and chocolate layer cake!




Here's the actual logo:

Didn't she do an amazing job with the fondant? 

Gordon kindly saved a small piece for me, which I devoured upon my return. The rest of the cake was hoovered up by the Council in seconds!

To see photos of more of Ronna's incredible cakes, visit her Facebook page (and click "Like", because we're pushing for 300!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Home again

Well, I got home in one piece, but I think I dropped the F-bomb approximately 109 times while driving in Toronto!

Funerals suck. There's no two ways about that. But the one good thing I can say is that's great to see your family again, especially since some of us are pretty far-flung. The Rowes are an affectionate, funny, loving bunch and we stick together at these times. I especially appreciate seeing my aunts and uncles and cousins now that my parents are both gone (and I'm an only child.)  I miss having family around me.


My cousin Graham flew in from Winnipeg for his Dad's funeral, and my Uncle Kevin was here visiting from England when my Uncle Gerry passed.  Kevin is my Dad's youngest sibling. My Dad was one of six; now they're down to three.  :(



Graham's a big strapping guy and I thought he looked very handsome in his suit.




My uncle's four boys and their mother (Gerry's ex.)



Me and a few of my many cousins! Tim (white shirt) and I are the same age and were really close as kids. We had a lot of fun together. I wish we lived closer to each other now.



My uncle Kevin, Aunt Bernie (Dad's sis) Aunt Sylvia (Gerry's ex) and Auntie Anne (Dad's sis.) And Jesus. ;) It was a Catholic funeral.



Me and Uncle Kevin having a laugh.



He's also my godfather.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Feline relaxation and a sad day

Sorry for the radio silence! Unfortunately my uncle Gerry (one of my Dad's siblings; he was one of six)  died on Tuesday, and so yesterday I drove to Toronto to attend the funeral, which is today. I'm going home tomorrow. Gordon is at home looking after the menagerie. A whirlwind trip with no time to visit any of my Toronto friends, although I'm staying with my mother-in-law, so she's getting some quality time! :)

It's too bad there's a funeral, but it is nice seeing all my cousins again. I have many. 

Anyway, before I left, I caught Julius in a typical relaxation pose...



As you can see, he's not particularly inhibited!



He actually enjoys slow, deep belly rubs. I oblige him but I have to watch for signs of irritation, because when he's had enough, he tells me by wrapping his paws around my arm and digging in. Ow!




He'd definitely had enough of the photo session!

See ya after I get home tomorrow. The 401 in Toronto is a deathtrap. Honestly, I think they are the worst, most dangerous drivers in the country. I grew up here and lived here for over 30 years, and I've lived all over the country, and nobody matches Toronto for sheer insanity of drivers, especially on the 401. Yesterday in rush hour, with bumper-to-bumper traffic all going over 100 kmph, two motorcyclists on bullet bikes were weaving all over the highway, driving BETWEEN cars (between lanes!) I noticed them in the rearview mirror, which is fortunate because one of them drove up between me and the car next to me, pulled in front of me and cut me off, then took off (I saw that coming and braked in advance of it.) It was so frightening that for the first time in my life, I called 911 and gave the police a description of the pair of them.
I'm not a nervous driver and I'm competent and have a great driving record, but I told Gordon last night that I am never driving here by myself again, because after this weekend I never want to drive in Toronto again. I learned to drive here and I used to drive here all the time, commuting in this traffic every day, but I'm at a stage in my life where I just have no time for a population with such a blatant disregard for human life. The motorcyclists were but one example (the worst) of the insane driving I saw yesterday. I think when you live here, you just shut out the madness and accustom yourself to it, but when you move away for a few years .... holy sh*t!! Honestly, I was shaking when I pulled off the highway to call the cops and that's never happened to me. For a second I thought I'd be IN a funeral, not attending one. Those idiots are lucky that one of us learned defensive driving and saw what was coming.

Traffic should be better tomorrow (Saturday) when I drive home. Hopefully the funeral will go okay today. I am mainly here because I am close to my uncle's son, my cousin Steve, and he needs the support.

Wish me luck for the drive home! I always breathe a sigh of relief when I'm out of Toronto proper.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Foreign Note and Kitty Pool

Two little tidbits...


I found this note on a bench in the Rideau Shopping Centre in Ottawa a few weeks back. I have been wondering every since what it says! Is it Russian? Can anyone translate it? And I love the little anchor drawing. Perhaps a passing Russian sailor left it there!


And in our basement, a new kitty litter "box" for the cats:


I got this brilliant idea from Katnip Lounge, where cats live in an earthly paradise on their Katio in the southwestern US (at least I think it's the US Southwest! Katnip Lounge can correct me if I'm wrong.)

We had three small litterboxes in our basement for our three poopfully-prolific cats. But three-legged Alex has always had issues with his aim in these regular-sized boxes. Apparently NO MORE, not with this marvellous kiddy-pool turned KITTY-POOL litterbox! It's about three feet wide and the cats appear to love it. THey still have one regular box down there, but I don't think it compares to this wondrous feline toilet. And best of all, when the basement floods in spring, the kitty-pool will float.

And that, my friends, is what's new around Knatolee's World!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bonding with chicks

We spent some time in the garage last night, bonding with the chicks. For me, "bonding with the chicks" = letting the walk all over me, followed by me laundering my clothes. Usually I have the sense to drape myself in an old towel, but that slipped my mind last night.

 

Little bundles of yellow fluff! And yes, the garage is a sty. For some reason, it seems to descend into chaos every summer (probably because if we let it descend into chaos in winter, we'd have to park our cars outside and scrape snow off them on a regular basis!) The boxes are from a new patio set, and on the other side of the garage, we've been assembling beehives and frames.


These three seemed quite content to perch on my arm.



 Gordon cuddled another little cutie.



"Peek-a-boo!"



I threw a cushion on the floor and stretched out. We both thought it was funny that the chicks didn't want to jump off and run away. Maybe they think I'm the big mother hen!




Cute little bums, but they generate a lot of poop!




And video of the event. I threw my clothes in the washing machine right afterwards.


video


I figure 70% of the population will think I'm nuts for letting chicks crawl all over me, and the other 30% will totally get it. :) Or maybe it's more like 99 - 1! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm a little bit batty...

Gordon is on our local Stewardship Council and has spearheaded a bat programme. The Council is going to place bat boxes around our area, but first they need to determine where the bats are. No point placing a bat box in a bat-free zone!

So Gordon and I have been going out at night one of these:


It's a Pettersson D100 Ultrasound Detector, on loan from the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources. Very fun to use!

The first night we took it out in our garden and immediately found bats, mostly hoary bats. (We have a large stand of coniferous trees right next to our house. Hoary bats love coniferous forest. 

You identify the bats by the frequency at which you hear them. Hoary bats are around 20 kHz.  We also heard Little Brown bats and maybe a Big Brown bat.

I tried to blind Gordon by taking his photo in the pitch dark:

 


Then I tried to blind myself!



Gordon quickly learned to shut his eyes when I aimed the camera at him.



And here's a video of our adentures, featuring my long-suffering husband.  Near the very beginning, at about 0:06, you can hear the ultrasound  "clicking" or "plopping" noise (caught by the Pettersson detector)  of a bat flying by.  I think it was a Little Brown bat. They like to hunt insects near bodies of water.  This video was taken at Loch Garry near Alexandria.

video
You can also hear lots of frogs on the video, especially Bullfrogs and Green frogs. Here's a good website with recordings of Ontario frog calls.

We're having fun with this, although we've yet to find any really good spots for the bat boxes. Hoary bats don't use boxes. Little Brown bats would be the best for that. The search continues!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wel, it used to be a hummingbird feeder!

So, this is what happens when you have three beehives, and you put up a hummingbird feeder that doesn't have bee guards (my other three feeders do have them!):


I don't mind them stealing a little, but these girls are going to drain this at the rate they are going. That sugar mixture won't kill them, but neither will it make for good honey! So I've moved the feeder and we'll see if they find it. If so, I'll just have to take it down.



This was a quiet moment; there was quite the feeding frenzy going on at one point! Gordon was unperturbed.

Amazing how bees will find sugar, then go back and tell everyone else in the hive where it is.


Of course, now that I've moved it, I've got a bunch of confused bees flying around the patio door! "Where'd it go? Where'd it go??!"

Here's a video of the action:

video

Meanwhile, the chicks are still adorable.



I cleaned out their waterer right after I took this. They sure do make a mess!

Hope you're having a happy weekend.