Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pet pairings

Like fine wines, some go together better than others....

You might think, "How sweet! Tristan and Sophie are sharing a bed." Except what really happened was that Tristan was happily lying on his bed with his red ball when Sophie came in, inserted herself between him and the ball, and started growling to let him know whose ball it really was. Par for the course -- Sophie is the boss of Tristan, and he accepts it.

And then last night, Gordon flicked on the guest room light to find this:

Naomi has spurned Alex for the older orange man. Julius is becoming steadily more tolerant of the young one, although he does not adore her the way Alex does. He did allow her to wash the back of his head the other night, as I rubbed his belly. But when she got up and stepped on him, he left in a huff.

I should add the cats aren't supposed to be in the guest room, period. I try to keep it somewhat pet-free for visitors (unless the guests request a cat or two), and the last time Julius got in there, he threw up all over the duvet, which NATURALLY has a white cover. It has all since been professionally cleaned, if any of our guests are reading and worrying!

Friday, February 27, 2009

How does chocolate know so much?

The Chocolate Oracle Says You're Mellow

You are sweet, mellow, and easily satisfied.

You don't like anything too intense and dramatic.

Deep down, you're a kid at heart... and you're nostalgic for the past.

You are mellow, spiritual, and philosophical.

You are a true humanitarian. You enjoy helping people.

Your heart can be too open at times. You sometimes over-extend yourself.

You love being by yourself and thinking. Developing your own theories and ideas is fun.

You feel lost when you're forced to be social. Being with other people can be lonely for you.

The Chocolate Oracle

Uh... how does a piece of chocolate know so much??

Thursday, February 26, 2009

You know it's a bad day when...

...your stoopid boy dog (Tristan) gets skunked. TWICE. Within six hours.

The only consolation is that I had two bottles of hydrogen peroxide on hand, so I could make deskunking formula:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 baking soda
1 tsp dish soap

Mix well. Apply to dog carefully, avoiding eyes. Leave on for ten minutes if possible. Rinse well.

Works like a charm, but I do wish they'd leave the damn skunks alone! It's only FEBRUARY, for crying out loud.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rug kitty

My cat Zoë, who died in 2007, used to love to crawl inside my rug hooking lap frame. It was very cute and I have missed that. Well, apparently Naomi is channelling Zoë in more ways than one, because on Friday, while I was working on my new "funky chicken" rug, guess who curled up inside the frame?

"Oooh! I like it in here but could I maybe have a pillow?"

Note the tail hanging out the side and dangling down!

Monday, February 23, 2009

And a good time was had by all!

(Or so I hope. I suppose I should only speak for myself!)

Happy Wombat Boy and his friend (who needs a nickname...for now I'll call him "Nature Boy") came to visit on the weekend from Toronto. I think they mostly came because they wanted to meet Sock Monkey. Okay, it is conceivable that HWB wanted to visit with Gordon, who is his friend of many, many years. But I bet the highlight of the weekend was Sock Monkey. I mean really, do the comparison: Sock Monkey, or Gordon? Sock Monkey, or Knatolee? SOCK MONKEY rules, baby!!

We got a few very nice photos, but I try to be respectful and not post photos of people on my blog without their permission (except for Spongegurl, whose friendship I abuse on a regular basis by putting Photoshop-altered pictures of her all over my damn blog. Sorry, Spongette. But I love you!) ANYHOO, to protect the identity of those involved in yesterday's fantastic 2-1/2 hour walk in the woods (we fruitlessly looked for snoozing owls, but I did bravely lead the men across a frozen river and back), I have altered their identities. I think, however, you will still recognize Gordon:

Nice hat, Gordon. Gee, WHO KNIT IT FOR YOU? Your lovely WIFE?

Too bad the monkey alterations hide facial hair. I was in a house with three bearded men all weekend, and I have to tell you, I am really fond of (neatly-trimmed, not Grizzly Adams or Joaquin Phoenix) male facial hair. I completely blame this on my mother, who was also fond of male facial hair, and would often sigh at the sight of a hairy male face and coo "Ooooh! I love beards." I heard this a lot growing up and it infected me. Anyway...

The two sock monkeys, I mean, our guests, are both really interesting people and Nature Boy shares my sense of humour and love of double entendres (although I can't say for sure that his humour is quite as twisted as mine, as the following photos may indicate.) HWB has a very sophisticated and dry sense of humour. Gordon could keep up with none of us, bless his little cotton socks (another thing I got from my mother, cute little English expressions.)

Not only did we have a fantabulous visit, Nature Boy is a cat fan, so all the kitties got a lot of attention, especially that slut Naomi who threw herself at Nature Boy like the cheap tart she is. I believe there may be a permanent rift between her and Alex (tripod kitty) as a result! And I had to check backpacks before HWB and Nature Boy left to make sure the slut, I mean, Naomi, wasn't smuggled back to Toronto, because apparently the attraction was mutual. (Alex, your beloved Naomi was just this minute throwing herself at Julius, trilling girly little purrs. Are we going to have a ménage à trois in this household?! And don't forget how willing she was to dump you for that Michigonian feline looker, Marvin! Nature Boy, Julius and Marvin, all in the same month. Holy kitty litter, catman!)

And not only did we have a fantabulous visit and lots of good kitty lovin' and owl huntin', Happy Wombat Boy had remembered our desperate kitchen knife situation and brought as gifts not one but TWO knives!! Just as I was about to cut Saturday's baguette with some old dull blade, we were presented with this:

It's a bread knife. A beautiful bread knife. And it's SHARP!

But wait, there's more. We also got THIS lovely blade:

(Why the hood? Bad hair day. And I was channelling the grim reaper. Yes, the grim reaper has in fact been known to wear a blue OSPCA hoodie!)

Alas, HWB had not been previously informed of my tendency to have accidents involving sharp objects (such as cutting my thumb with an Xacto knife while a young graphic designer doing paste-up, necessitating an ER visit, or trimming my finger with a hedge trimmer, and God help me, I use a hatchet almost every day in winter to split kindling for the wood/oil furnace, and you all know it's just a matter of time before the blood spurts! At least I wear gloves and eye-protection when I chop.)

I am going to have to be veryveryvery careful with our new toys, to avoid this:

Oooh! I almost forgot! We also got the most adorable set of teeny measuring spoons:

"Dash, pinch, smidgen, nip"

Thanks so much, HWB and Nature Boy! (See, I can look relatively normal in a photo. Oh shut up, yes I can!)

Oh, I almost forgot the best bit. Nature Boy has a really cool job that, among other things, involves collecting vetebrate skeletons (is that redundant? Vetebrate skeletons?) So from now on, I get to save any dead vetebrates I find (I find a lot on the farm, and of course the ever-helpful Sophie loves to bring me corpses) and pop them in the freezer for NB to skeletonize at a later date.


Yes, dead things like the star-nosed mole Tristan brought me the other day. He didn't kill it, since it was frozen, but he did slobber all over it:


I'm thinking perhaps a specific freezer dedicated to this purpose might be reassuring to future dinner guests.

Okay, the dogs are demanding a walk and it's time to go. HWB and NB, come back soon! I'm off to look for owls.

PS: to HWB and NB: I'm waiting for the Ultramar oil guy to show up with HIS very long hose.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Naomi is pushing boundaries!

This is what I found in my office yesterday:

Naomi really likes the dogs. Tristan wags his tail at the kitten, but Sophie will growl at Naomi occasionally let her know who's boss. But really she's very tolerant of the kitty. Sophie had a litter of puppies before we got her (backyard breeding, no I don't approve, but it happened before we adopted the dogs), so I figure she's just being maternal. That said, I think you can tell from these photos who is REALLY the boss!!

"Blondie-doggy, what are you doing there? Are you washing your paw?"

"I think I will wash my paw too!"

"Bathing is exhausting. Let's all go back to sleep."

Sophie is such a good girl!

And for my bird-lovin' friends...

This one is from a couple of weeks back: three lovely snow buntings hanging out near the bird feeder:

And a not-so-hot photo, through my filthy office window, of a male pine grosbeak. He is much more attractive than this photo shows, and way more beautiful than the Norway rats who have set up shop in and under my hanging platform feeder. I saw one send a red squirrel flying off the feeder the other day. He literally turned around and pushed him off.

We have to deal with the rat issue NOW. Gordon is getting me a squirrel/rat-proof feeder tonight and I will have to start cleaning up the fallen seed religiously. Apparently once you get rid of the seed, the rats will leave, being country rats who are seeking a seed/grain source. I thought one rat was cute (see a previous post somewhere on this blog!) Several rats, not so much. Well, I still think they are cute but they have now got tunnels going under our foundation and all through the snow under the feeder. The alternative would be to stop feeding the birds until the rodents move on, but I really don't want to do that in the dead of winter. Plus I love watching the birds. So we'll try a new feeder, a squirrel baffle for the other pole-mounted feeder, and a new housekeeping regime. Augh!

We have succeeded, however, in excluding the squirrels from our house walls/ceiling/under our family room that has no basement. This is due to Gordon's diligence at finding their entry point and sealing it up. We don't need the rats taking the squirrels' place!

And then it froze...

Very photo-heavy today!

After the thaw last week, we had the freeze, which turned the fields into ice rinks. It was all very picturesque. Here is a view from by the creek. Once the water levels had receded, the ice layer on top collapsed downwards...

Spot the Tristan!

The dogs walked gingerly on the smoothest of the ice. Sophie decides to come towards me...

...and speeds up just a bit, wagging her tail. The claws must give good traction, since neither dog has wiped out. I like it when Sophie smiles at me like this.

Tristan on his own personal skating rink (which needs a going-over with the Zamboni!)

Off wandering again.

The hardwood lot "next door" was completely flooded when the river broke its banks.

Now you can skate amongst the trees! I have not done this. My skating abilities are such that I would more likely skate face-first INTO a tree.

Weird wood formation from a tree that has shuffled off this mortal coil.

This is the woodlot path on the east side of our property. On the left is the neighbours' (who live on a farm way across the street) hardwood forest, on the right is our softwood (white spruce, white pine, cedar) woodlot. The river flooded so far up that the whole path has turned to ice.

The creek, with the icy top falling in on itself after the water level dropped down a couple of feet.

Sun on ice. So pretty!

My feet, glad in their cheap knock-off Yak Trax!

The dogs decide to head home. They were breakng through the ice, making crunching noises as they walked.

I do believe these buds are pussywillows! Either the thing is confused, or spring really is coming. Eventually.

We did this when we walked on the ice the first day after it formed, when there was still some water underneath and it wasn't so solidly frozen as it is now.

Another "skating" rink in the back corner of the fields.

And here are four pictures to show you how attractive and unique ice can look!

Sorry, no Sock Monkeys today. Happy February!

Friday, February 13, 2009

February Thaw

Apparently this area normally gets a January thaw, and this year was only the third since something like 1946 that there was no thaw. Instead, we got a February thaw (and a ton of rain!) The temps are back down below freezing today, but yesterday was warm and rainy and I couldn't even take the dogs on their usual walk because the fields were such a mess. They were not amused.

The creek that runs through our property (it is actually a municipal drain that leads to the Beaudette River, which empties into the St. Lawrence) completely burst its banks:

Normally the creek forms an "L" here (halfway up picture, on the left), but when things burst, it takes the path of least resistance right across the corner of the field. Remember my photo of the sumac bush from the end of January?:

Okay, so not the best comparison because in the January photo, you can't see the snow-filled frozen creek on the right. But this is how it looked yesterday.

If I had kids, I wouldn't have let them near the creek, but the dogs can swim and the current wasn't dangerous for them. Not that they showed any interest in going into the frigid water!

Remember earlier this winter when they were walking in and out of the corrugated metal tunnel through which the creek flows?

Yesterday the water was at the top of that tunnel (which is the dark metal thing in this photo.)

You can see it here, too.

And lots of ice!

And this is what the previous scene looks like in spring/summer (slightly different camera angle.)

I haven't been out yet today to see what state things are in now that the temps have dropped, but I am hoping I can take the bored dogs for their usual tiring walk today. And that's your walk around the farm for this week.