Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nummy

Yesterday our Toronto friends Kevin and Greg dropped by and  we all went up to Vankleek Hill to the Vert Fourchette (which used to be Mary's Kitchen.) I LOVE the food here.

Gordon and I had both the Buffalo chicken sandwich with rosemary garlic frites and aioli mayo...


 Chicken with "Buffalo wings" barbecue sauce, blue cheese and onion. SO GOOD!! All warm and melty and yummy. Please don't tell the hens what I had for lunch. I really need to go vegetarian.



Kevin had a chicken mango wrap with salad, and Greg had a crunchy chicken walnut wrap with the divine frites.



As well as being a restaurant, they sell lots of gourmet goodies and take-home foods. We bought a Mediterranean chicken pie to bring home with us.



Gordon looks like he's not in the mood for photos, ha ha!



The restaurant moved here from smaller quarters this year. They did a fine job of renovating an old house and turning it into an eatery. I love the atmosphere.



 Vert Fourchette and Mary's Fine Foods in Vankleek Hill. Be sure to stop in if you're in the area!

117 Main Street East - 613-678-3984

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pariah Chicken


Poor Charlotte (my favourite and most cuddly chicken!) Ever since her recent stay on the "front porch chicken hospital", she has been the coop pariah. Her health is improved after her course of antibiotics and she is laying great eggs, but her comb is still floppy. Her head is bald because of all the nasty chickens and amorous roosters!

Cupcake, who is now apparently channelling her inner rooster, jumps on poor Charlotte as much as the boys do! I may have to change Cupcake's name to "Butch." Even Chicky the runt has been picking on Charlotte. Fortunately Charlotte is smarter than your average chicken and has found refuge on one of the ceiling beams in the coop. She hangs out up there with her friend Ellie. When I let the chickens out for a little while this evening, poor Charlotte headed for the woodshed and got up high where the others couldn't find her...


She always wants to jump up on my shoulder these days. She seems to know that I'll protect her from the others. I sat out behind the barn for half an hour with her tonight, giving her the cuddles she seems to enjoy...

No clue what Sophie was looking at in the background! Probably a rooster gang-bang that was going on around the corner.

My velcro-dog Tristan was close at hand.

The rest of the feathered crew was sauntering around enjoying the fresh air.

Poor Charlotte, I wish they'd quit picking on her. Next I'll be buying her a diaper and making her a house chicken! I do feel a bit like a falconer these days. When I go into the coop, Charlotte will look desperately up at me, pondering how best to get to my shoulder. I've taken to holding out my forearm like a perch, and now she just jumps or flies right up onto it!


I am hoping that when we introduce the chicks (I know, I haven't posted pics for ages. They are getting big!) to the rest of the flock, they'll be a distraction and will shake up the pecking order so this nonsense stops.

Meanwhile, I am getting prepared for ducklings in a couple of weeks. We need to sort out another duck shelter and segregation for mama and babies. Here's Eugenia giving me the evil eye. She's so protective of her eggs. What a little sweetie!


And I have not mailed out Hen Haiku contest prizes yet, but I PROMISE I will soon!! I have just been swamped with work, beekeeping stuff, gardening stuff, chicken and duck stuff, helping my mother-in-law-buy-a-bungalow-near-us stuff, and a bunch of other things. I haven't even gotten out in my kayak this summer, something I hope to rectify by Monday! 

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Things are just ducky here, ar ar ar.



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Urns 'R' us!


This place is near my friend Eugene, and it always cracks me up. "Funeral Friends"... just what sort of friends are they? Do they always wear black?  And every time I drive by, the sign never changes. Caskets are perpetually up to 60% off! 

It's a tidy little place and were I in the market for a casket, I'd drop in! I'm sure they don't rip you off the way funeral homes usually do.

Reminds me of my Dad and his cemetery jokes. Whenever we drove by one, he'd say "Dead centre of town!" and I'd say "People are dying to get in there!" Ar ar ar.

And the #1 search keyword for my blog remains... PRICKLY CUCUMBER!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beekeeping with my buddy


I nipped over to my friend Eugene's today to drop off a chain (don't ask) and some Guinness, and while I was there, we went to inspect his beehives.

The man knows how to light a smoker!


Eugene uses deep boxes for his honey supers. A deep full of honey can weigh 100 lbs or more! Needless to say, I used shallows, which are more in the 30 - 35-lb range.


Like me, Eugene has three hives.



Here he is removing the inner cover of one of the hives.



Eugene removing one of the top honey supers.
 

A view of Eu's fields over the top of the hive!


The girls are putting nectar in this frame but aren't too far along yet.



 The girls on the right look like they're having a little chat on the top bars of the hive frames. 
"Let's sting the old guy! Leave the girl alone!"
Actually the bees were very good today and didn't bother either of us.





Eugene has a nice fenced-in set-up that keeps skunks and other annoyances out. Sorry, Eugene, the fence didn't keep ME out. Opposable thumbs!



Guess who?
Eugene has a good work table near his hives, with some nice shady trees.


Tools of a beekeeper!
I had a very nice visit with Eugene, and afterwards he enjoyed his Guinness. I'm planning on taking honey off my own hives in August.




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birdy visitors

This morning, I heard lots of sweet birdy noises outside our bedroom window. I peeked through the blinds to see a gathering of barn swallows!


Peek-a-boo!



They were hanging about on the power lines that lead up to our house.



I went outside to get another photo...



...and they flew off to sit on the main power lines!

Barn swallows are some of my favourite birds. A few weeks back, there were a few of them swooping all around us as we walked down to the barn to see the chickens. They were catching insects (probably mosquitoes, as it was evening) and were flying quite low to the ground (and VERY close to us!)

I am behind on blogging and blog reading, but I intend to catch up soon. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just ducky!

Okay, so, I haven't even mailed out the Hen Haiku contest prizes yet, and already I am getting fabulous submissions for the "Not-even-announced-yet-so-what-are-you-a -bunch-of-keeners?" Duck Limerick Contest, like this gem from the Cognitive Dissenter:


There once was a duck named Charlie
His libido revved like a Harley
Spying Natalie's arm
He put on the charm
And she launched him right into the barley





Try beating THAT, people! No, wait, not until I announce the contest!!!




And from Katnip Lounge, a sweet little duck haiku:


Muscovy ducklings
in the egg waiting to hatch
Charlie Sheen offspring


(FOURTEEN eggs now!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

What to do when it's stinking hot...

If it's 39C (102F) with a humidex (a uniquely Canadian term) of 46C (115F), there's lots you can do besides melting into a puddle of grease. That's what happened to my poor friend Eugene in yesterday's blast furnace temps. He is the cheesemaker at Upper Canada Village, and was sweltering over vats of milk-being-turned-into-cheese. Apparently that was not pleasant.

As an alternative to melting into a puddle of grease like my poor friend Eu, here's what you can do to endure a July heatwave in Canada:


1) Go out and look at a bungalow with your mother-in-law. Help her put an offer in it. Go to real estate agent's waterfront home to sign papers after offer is accepted. Cuddle agent's adorable pug! (And yes, my mother-in-law is moving here from Toronto this fall.)



2) Celebrate by drinking VERY COLD BEER: Guinness, breakfast of champions! My mother claimed they used to tell pregnant and breastfeeding women to drink it because it was good for you. I often wonder if my mother drank it while pregnant with me. It would explain a lot!




3) Eat supper at a local pub because it's TOO DAMN HOT to cook in your own kitchen. Try out the local specialty, the Lancaster Perch Roll.  Perch, soft white bun, fried onions, and special perch sauce. I have never tried one and probably never will. Perch is not my favourite; I grew up fishing it on beautiful Georgian Bay, where we moored our boat, and I have had eaten enough perch to last me until the end of time.

Gordon and his Mom were braver:



They gave the perch roll two thumbs up!

Me, I preferred the flatbread chicken with chipotle chicken and a bunch of other gooey stuff:


So,  if the weather is wretchedly, revoltingly hot (or bitterly cold, or anything in between), you can..


4) Visit Jack's Pub in Williamstown, Ontario. Cool off with a beer and let someone else cook for you. Jack's is about the closest thing I've seen yet to a real English pub, a tradition which has sadly not caught on in this country.



Still hot? You can...

5) Check out the scarecrow dioramas popping up all over Glengarry in advance of the 200th annual Williamstown Fair, August 5 - 7th. I particularly liked this straw-bale tractor!


Still hot? Go bath in a tub full of ice cubes while drinking sangria. And have a great weekend!


YUCK!


Yesterday was the hottest day I can ever remembering experiencing in a place I actually live. Our car said it was 39C (102.2F) in the shade in Cornwall yesterday, and the humidex was up at about 46C (115F.) It was disgusting! ANd in the midst of all that, we helped my mother-in-law put an offer in on a bungalow.  The offer was accepted and she is moving here (25 minutes from our place) from Toronto in September!

It was so gross yesterday that I was hosing down the chickens (gently.) Today is no picnic but it's less humid and the temperature is around 30C right now. No, this is not normal, and most people around here don't have air-coniditioned homes (we have central air, THANK GOD!)

Off to sweat at yoga...

And my friend Ronna did almost the same post as me today! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mr. Handsome

This is Charlie Sheen, who came so named because of his, ahem, piggish sexual habits with the girl ducks. But really, he is much, much nicer than his drugged-out movie-star namesake, not to mention way cuter!


"Get my best side!"


"Wait, this is my best side!"



"Nope, every side is my best side!"


Charlie and I have deepened our relationship. I fear Gordon may be jealous. The other day, while I was sitting in a chair in the duck run, Charlie slowly approached me. At first I thought he was just checking me out, but then he began to quiver. Next, he pressed his beak against my arm and nibbled gently. Then he thrust his substantial chest again my forearm and tried to... mount it. I laughed so hard, I think it knocked him off.

But that didn't stop him. Next he took aim at my leg, with the same routine: quiver, nibble, hump. Slid off again, and walked away looking sad.

I thought he'd figured out that I wasn't the duck for him. After all, what man wants a woman who laughs outright at his amorous attentions? 

But no. Yesterday, while filling the duck pool, I was once again approached by Mr. Frisky. Quiver. Nibble. Hump (the arm again!) Sly look followed by tail waggle.

You'd think he could at least have taken me out for a drink first!
Meanwhile, Eugenia is now sitting on TWELVE eggs and pecks at my Birkenstock-clad feet every time I dare to go in the duckhouse. It's stinking hot here (supposed to hit 35C tomorrow with the humidex making it feel like upwards of 45 C, YUCK!) so we have a fan in the duck house and I'm trying to find other ways to keep it from overheating, like a milkcrate full of ice packs.

Never a dull moment around here. And in Charlie's eyes, I apparently still have it, middle-aged or not.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mama duck!

Uh oh. Eugenia laid eleven eggs and is now sitting on them every day!  Prepare for ducklings!



Now I have to go learn all about Muscovy duck husbandry. Fortunately I have friends with duck knowledge. And I know I have to get Eugenia and her eggs cordoned off from the drakes before the eggs hatch!



Eugenia giving me the stinkeye. She pecked my toes when I went in there tonight with straw.



Meanwhile, Gordon and Charlie Sheen hang out and drink beers. Okay, no beers. 

What am I going to do with eleven ducklings? Although someone already requested two, and I don't even have a successful hatching yet...



Deck resident

Every summer, I have a resident on my deck. Can you see him here, amongst the perennials I bought to plant in my garden? Look closely!







There he is!



Mr. Toad. Or maybe Mrs. or Ms or Miss! I seem to end up with a toad snoozing in the flowerpots on my deck every summer. This is quite a big fat specimen.


Speaking of specimens (but this one is fluffy, not fat...)


Julius does not make it easy to work sometimes!