Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And now for something completely different...

Two years ago this month, we were on vacation in beautiful Sri Lanka, which sadly has fallen into civil war since we left. But on a brighter note, we had a wonderful time a the Millennium Elephant Foundation, where we each had a short ride on an elephant, and gave another one a bath.

Since we are currently having our bazillioneth snowfall of the season (the local farmers say they haven't seen a winter like this since the 1970s), I am cheering myself up with these photos. As you can see, the mahout was always there to keep us safe, not that the elephants were anything but mellow and beautiful that day.

Bathing beauty

Mmm, that feels good!

Getting ready to scrub.

Gordon gets caught in the rinse cycle.

As do I!

And now I need to go get into my winter coat, boots, hat, scarf and mittens and slog through the SNOW with my dogs. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008


Pre-defilement... defilation? Virginal? Whatever! Only snowshoe and dog tracks.

I am ticked. Someone is defiling my beautiful walk. At least two people are driving their freakin' snowmobiles through the gap in our fence (which is going to be fixed this spring), down the length of our property and THROUGH our woodlot, over the snowy path that is usually pristine and beautiful. Might I add that this is all OUR PRIVATE PROPERTY and no one has asked permission to snowmobile there? Might I further add that there are PLENTY of groomed snowmobile trails in this area that said trespassers could be using? Might I also add that I'm 99% sure it's our almost next-door neighbour and his kid doing this?

You might think I am over-reacting; however I HATE snowmobiles. So does G. That said, I would never complain about them being driving on people's own property, or on proper trails. I know that in the far north, Ski-doos are actually an essential means of transport and I certainly have no problem with that. However, in this age of climate change and environmental desecration, I can't say I am enthralled with this sport of driving around (often drunk) at high speeds, burning fossil fuels for no apparent reason. (And my, they do fall through the ice a lot in this province!) Nonetheless, you are quite entitled to snowmobile. I certainly haven't given up my automobile. Just don't freaking snowmobile on OUR FARM, and ESPECIALLY when you haven't even asked permission. We don't need you sueing us when you hit a barbed wire fence and break your damn neck.

I walk/snowshoe/ski around the farm and through the woodlot on almost every day with my dogs. One of my favourite parts of the walk involves tromping through the pristine snow in the woods, looking at animal tracks But no more! Somebody else has decided he has the right to drive there on his snowmobile, wiping out my ski tracks among other things. Today I spent half an hour dragging huge branches all over the trail to try to impede the moron who thinks he has the right to trespass on our land. It was a good way to burn off my anger. I don't take invasions of my privacy well.

We're going to find out who is doing this and have a polite little chat with him. The thing I find interesting is this: D, the farmer who owns the field next to us (and lives across the street), always calls us to ask permission to cross the top of our laneway with his combine harvester, to access his crops. We have told him he can do that anytime and he never has to call, but he does call, every single time! Bill, the former owner of this farm, calls us every time he wants to set foot on our property (he now lives on the lot behind us), despite us having repeatedly told him he is welcome here any time, at any hour! Bill could come into our kitchen unannounced and fix himself a sandwich and I wouldn't mind.

Finally, we have the responsible hunters. Bill has allowed these two men to hunt here every spring. They showed up last week to talk to us in advance of spring and see if we would allow it this year. They were incredibly polite and respectful. We said we would rather they didn't hunt on our land BUT when they asked politely if they could walk across it to get to the vacant lot next door, where they have permission to hunt, we said but of course, and told them that they can park their truck behind our barn as they have done in the past. They are obviously very responsible hunters, and very respectful. (Btw, we have nothing against responsible hunting; we eat meat, after all! For various reasons, we just prefer not to have hunting on our farm.)

But then, by contrast, we have Mr. Snowmobiler, who we think is another neighbour. Let's call him Ugly Troll.

Ugly Troll apparently doesn't feel compelled to ask permission for anything. And Ugly Troll makes FUN of our polite farmer neighbour, D, even going so far as to mock his speech impediment. I could go on, but you get the idea. Fortunately, karma is biting Ugly Troll on the butt. He got screwed buying land awhile back and is still trying to sort it out in court. He has managed to hire himself an incredibly crooked lawyer who is milking him dry, but he still thinks this guy is great. However, my hubster, a lawyer himself, knows otherwise.

But I digress. Mainly I had a need to spew. Above all, I think it's incredibly RUDE for people to trespass on our land with their loud and stinky vehicles. It's no way to befriend your neighbours. Manners are SO dead in 2008. Ugly Troll, I mean, Mystery Snowmobiler, is lucky I'm against landmines, otherwise I'd be settin' a few in the woods, ready to detonate at Skidoo weight.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Yup, it's new!

New design, same old content. Somehow I figured out how to get that banner to fit perfectly across the top!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Carcass of the day

The lovely Miss Sophie.

Our 98% yellow Lab Sophie loves me. Or so I tell myself. Lately she has been surprising me with .... gifts. Frozen gifts. Little trinkets discovered in our walks through the fields and woods.

First it was the furred head and spine of what I feared was a cat (dear God, no!) but what I soon realized was a lagomorph (when I finally remembered that rabbits and hares aren't rodents. Duh!) I think it was a snowshoe hare, to be exact. I don't know what killed and ate most of it (coyote? raptor? lagomorph-loving sasquatch?), but Sophie felt compelled to dig the frozen prize out of the snow and bring it to me. I took it from her and praised her for her generosity, then tried to re-bury it in the snow beneath a nearby bush. Whereupon Sophie took it upon herself to excavate the treasure yet again. Whereupon I said, "Let's just continue our walk without the bonus head, shall we?"

Life went on. Later that week, we were playing fetch up near the house. Sophie came trotting up to me with a ball in her mouth. Wait a minute. Tristan had the ball, and it was bigger than whatever Sophie had in her mouth, which I could now see was NOT the ball.

"Ptuie!" Again, she dropped her prize at my feet. My little retriever girl.

It was blue. Blue? Oh dear. Blue is not good. It was the frozen, severed head of a bluejay. Glimpses of brain matter. Don't. Want. To. Know! (What IS it with heads around here?!)

"Why thank you, Sophie darling. So generous. Eeeyuw." Whereupon I did my best to bury poor bluejay in the snow under our pretty blue spruce. I never learn.

The next day, Mr. Bluejay makes a repeat appearance. He's not looking any better. This time I kicked the head back under the spruce and ran away. Poor little bird. I politely asked Sophie to refrain from further excavations.

Apparently I didn't ask loudly enough. Another day, another walk, and at the end of it, another carcass. When I saw Sophie running across the field to me with a rather large item in her mouth, I knew it wasn't going to be that diamond tennis bracelet I was hoping for:

I'm pretty sure it used to be a duck. Now it's just a frozen ribcage with a few feathers. It's not so gross if you just picture a post-feast Christmas turkey.

I don't know what Sophie has in store for me next, but I do know one thing. This game is going to be a LOT less fun in spring, when the carcasses are thawed and considerably more odiferous.

And here are gratuitous photos of Tristan, who never brings me stinky icky things, just tiny cat toys he shouldn't be playing with:

I love our dogs.

Muffin cookbook, anyone?

Anyone out there know of a good muffin cookbook (preferably not involving carcasses)? I don't need any lagomorph head muffins...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hat's off to me!

For Christmas, I gave Hubster a box with three skeins of wool, two knitting needles, and a knitted swatch, with a promise to finish knitting him a hat before the end of winter. And I have succeeded:

Can I just say that I am not responsible for that wallpaper border behind me? We have much wallpaper-stripping to do in this house.

Here's a better view:

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting’s Caps & Hats Two. I knit it with Knitpicks Elegance (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) in "Grass" and "Redwood." And it's the first hat I have ever made since I finally got the hang of knitting at age 16.

Hubster has a big noggin, but so do I, so I think it will it him fine.

Now I need to finish the socks I started knitting during our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of 2004. Oh my. Procrastinate much?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It takes talent...

On a sunny day, with a straight, dry sunny road with a speed limit of 80 kmph, how on earth does one manage to do this?

(The minivan behind the car is actually across the road. My zoom lens distorts the perspective.)

Buried up past the tops of the wheels, in our front field...

After a hour or two, a flatbed tow-truck finally came along and pulled the car out. It had narrowly missed slamming sideways into our neighbour's mailbox.

Talking on ye olde cell phone? Swerving to avoid another inattentive driver? Who knows? It takes talent. DUH!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Of Bugs and Cake

Spelled the French way, with the "h"!

Not quite Of Mice and Men, but anyway...

First, the cake. It was my birthday last week. I turned 39 again. My husband brought me some absolutely fantastic sushi from Genji Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa, oh YUM! And my, what a great seaweed salad.

Gordie-goo (not his real pet name; his real pet name is a closely-guarded secret that I will reveal only in exchange for large quantities of chocolate-covered nuts) also picked up a divine birthday cake from my favourite bakery, Fidélice. If they have a website, I have yet to find it. But there are two locations in Gatineau, Québec. This will give you a clue. Then the Gordmeister took my birthday off work and we hung out, mostly at home because of a snowstorm. I killed him at Scrabble. Killed. Him. Scored almost 400. Cry like a girl, Gordon, cry like a girl.

Back to dessert. I LOVE this cake. I am not a big layer-cake kinda girl; in fact, I don't really have the world's biggest sweet tooth. Cheese and potatoes are my things (not necessarily together. But together can be good!) But this cake is too, too good: chocolate (!) puff pastry, a thin layer of chocolate, chocolate cream, glazed fruit-o-rama, and chocolate curls. I died and went to Heaven, or wherever it is girls who lie about their age on their blogs go to.

It didn't last long.

And now, to gross out all you squirmy girls (and the odd boy): for Christmas this year, I got a microscope from my husband (He's amazing and I love him even when he loads the dishwasher with three spoons stuck together with oatmeal and expects them to come clean. It's our 15th anniversary this spring! We've been an item for almost 19 years. I feel older than 39. Probably because I AM older than 39. Oops. Did I say that in my out-loud voice? )

As well as a microscope, I have a helluva lot of ladybugs. This is a rural/century home thing. We get cluster flies (disgusting) in the warmer months as well, but for some reason the ladybugs have hung on through the winter, although in smaller quantities than in summer. Now we have maybe a dozen ladybugs here and there, instead of hundreds dying on the windowsills, the floors... one even fell in my soup pot last fall! The cats think they are fun little toys (the ladybugs, not the soup pots.) I keep squashing them under my slippers by accident (the ladybugs, not the cats.) Now before you get totally disgusted, there aren't THAT many (ladybugs, not cats) around, and as my friends will tell you, I am a bit of a neat freak, so don't worry, my house is not carpeted with squashed bug carcasses. Okay? Okay.

But even though we don't have a lot of ladybugs right now, I continue to find them here and there, dying slow, lingering, upsidedown deaths on my windowsills. And no matter how many times I helpfully flip them onto their feet, they always end up on their backs again (sort of like some of the more notorious girls in my high school.) I used to think ladybugs were cute. Now I tend to vacuum them up to that Great Ladybug Paradise in the sky. Well, I still think they're cute, so long as they are outside eating aphids, not inside drowning in my soup. Or tea. Or toilet.

ANYHOO, I decided to look at one through my microscope. I found a ladybug corpse on my desk, which I thought was truly dead until I put it under the lamp and it began to move its legs. EEEEEYUW! Those who know me know I am not squeamish, but I make a lot of embarrassingly girlish noises when I look at bugs under a microscope. Gordon finds that highly amusing. He finds much about me highly amusing. I am his own personal comedy show.

You'll notice that despite my girlish squealing and squirming, I continue to look at bugs under the microscope, and even take photos (I won't disgust you with a photo of a magnified, dessicated cluster fly. That's how much I care about the sensibilities of you, my audience of 10, 574 fans, or my five fans who have visited 2114.98 times), mainly for the enjoyment of my viewing public. And Happy Wombat Boy, who has by far the best name of any of my commenters and to whom I present the Special Blog Commenter Award.

And so I give to you...

Ladybug in Throes of Death Under Really Hot Microscope Lamp, With Small Amount of Cat Hair Stuck to its Ladybug Butt:

I hope no one was eating cake when they looked at that. It sort of reminds me of when I was a horrible kid and used to bake bugs in my Easy Bake Oven (geez, now it has a real element and not just a stupid light bulb!) because my Mum was too cheap to buy me the cake mix after the ones that came with oven ran out! I didn't leave this ladybug under the light for too long, but rather swept it onto the floor for the cat to play with.

How sad. I am only marginally younger than the Easy Bake Oven. The things you learn on the web.

That's enough for today! Tomorrow: Carcass of the Day!