Friday, September 30, 2011

Duckling freedom day!

Yep, today for the first time, the entire duckling family went out into the big duckyard and all the adults mingled with the babies, not to mention the humans...

That's little Squishy I'm stroking!

The ducklings had a great time exploring the run and nibbling on grass.

Sweet little Squishy, who will eventually get a prettier name.

Relaxation and grooming!

Gordon was keeping an eye on things. Charlie Sheen eyed one of ducklings rather lustfully, but was quite the gentleman and restrained himself.

Time to go back into the penitentiary!

Sophie was keeping a watchful eye on the other side of the electric netting fence, as always.

Another outing tomorrow! One more step towards total duck integration. :) 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Yep, the ducklings are still growing! Yesterday they had a Swiss chard feeding frenzy...

Note the feathers coming in on this guy's wings and tail!

 I like the cutie on the right with one dark wing and one light one, and corresponding tail feathers!

Somebody was gently sampling my thumb!

Nom nom nommy nom!

And you'll just have to accept the fact that every time I talk to the ducklings, I sound demented...

Swiss Chard "FREEDING FRENZY!" says she who can't speak clearly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


On Sunday, I did a little photo shoot for Gordon, who wanted some pictures for his law blog, Facebook page and website (I am working on updating his web page!) We figured we'd work in the rural angle, so I took him to the wheat field next to us. They harvested the wheat last week, then baled the stalks and remains into hay.

Here he is looking very serious! In Canada, lawyers have to "gown up" when appearing in superior courts. In lower courts, they just wear business attire. Luckily they don't have to wear wigs like British lawyers do!

 Nice shot by the barn.

The dogs wanted to be involved too. Sophie looks really fat in this photo, but she's actually very lean and muscular. What a weird camera trick.  Tristan is lean too but he has a very deep chest.

They follow Daddy everywhere!

Hay is in short supply this year, and this large bales are apparently going for $75 each. My farmer friend said the normal price is more like $25. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The new kids on the block

Well! With all this obsessing over the ducklings going on, the chickens have been feeling very neglected on the blog. And in fact, I haven't even introduced the four newest kids, who arrived a couple of weeks ago! 

Here are...


The English Muffs! Note the marvellous multi-coloured legs. Now, before your mind goes down some gutter, the Wikipedia definition of "muff" is as follows:

"A muff or beard is a mutation found in several chicken breeds which causes extra feathering under the chicken's face, giving the appearance of a beard."

These four cuties were given to me by a local breeder who has an extensive rooster/hen breeding programme. He is dedicated to preserving various rooster bloodlines (he doesn't use them for cockfighting, which last time I checked is illegal here.) His birds are the healthiest, most beautiful chicken specimens I have ever seen!

Jacques, a friend of my friend (who obviously vouched for me as a chicken-keeper) saw how much I admired his birds, and gave me these four hens for free! He told me if I ever want a rooster to match them, he'll give me one of those too. He called them English Muffs, but I think he may have meant they are Old English game hens (with muffs!), since I can't find an "English Muff" breed online. 

These girls have beautiful upright tails that aren't shown off in these photos, but you can see Old English game hens here.

You know, it's crazy enough that I am getting extra hits on my blog because of an English dominatrix (who knocked me well out of my second-place Google ranking, damn her!) Now I'll be getting pervs looking for English booty... geez. My #1 search keyword is "Natalie Rowe." How long until it becomes "English muff"? Oh, prickly cucumber, how I miss you!

Well, she went through an explosive moult and has grown back most of her feathers. She's looking quite nice, floppy comb aside, and has been acting like her normal self. She is often found roosting with the new kids...

But she's definitely above them in the pecking order, and lets them know it!

it's good to see her getting back to normal with her pretty new feathers.
And that's it from the coop. More ducklings soon!

Poutine-eating contest

Okay, if you think poutine looks inedible, how about a poutine-eating contest where the winner devoured 9.75 lbs of the stuff?!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


When our friends Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick were here yesterday, asking us to be godparents to their baby, we went down and visited the ducklings. I know Marie-Emmanuelle is great with animals; she fostered our two dogs before they came to live here in 2007. But take a good look at this photo: 

Notice anything unusual? Yes, that's right, Mama Duck is EATING FROM Marie-Emmanuelle's hand. Not trying to kill her or "sit in her lap" or peck out her eyeballs. M-E is truly the Duck Whisperer.

And I swear the babies are doubling in size every day. That said, the one on the cement block isn't quite as large as he looks compared to Mama. Just a weird camera angle. But they are getting to be humungous. That bath is really too small for them now.

Note Sophie in the background. She is a little too obsessed. She is fine with ducks and chickens but something about peeping babies seems to fire up her salivary glands!

And here we are with Amy Winehouse duck!

Her beak, while not attractive, is healing very well (lower right) and she's growing like a weed.

I wonder what that one in the middle is saying to the others?

Time for a little post-swim grooming!

Got a favourite couthouse?

Check out Gordon's blog post on courthouses. Do you have a favourite?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hey baby!

Our recently-married friends Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick stopped by for a visit today, along with their three-month-old German Shepherd pup and one of their two Nova Scotia Duck-tolling Retrievers...

Their dogs (they have another Duck Toller and a Border Collie) are always a pleasure to have around as they are friendly and very well-trained and well-adjusted!

But best of all, today we were honoured when Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick asked us to be godparents to their son, due at the end of December. Marie-Emmanuelle kicked back and let us feel the baby kicking!

And a good time was had by all! We were invited to lay hands on the tummy. I would never walk up to a pregnant woman and start groping without an invitation! :) It took Gordon a long time to feel the kicking but he was pretty pleased when he finally did!

We also enjoyed meeting Jack, their new GSD. What a lovely dog!

And full of beans, like any puppy!

He's gonna be huge!

Sharing a drink!

The noble Duck Toller, allowed nowhere near our ducks! :)) More duckling photos tomorrow.

 We are so happy and honoured that Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick want us to be involved in their son's life in this way.  It's especially nice for us since we are two only children without our own children, and we'll never have nieces or nephews.

Happy weekend!

His Furry Lordship

Julius does not want me to work; this is very clear.

He gets very annoyed when I try to remove his paw from my (filthy) keyboard!

Maybe he was offended by the dog in the calendar I am working on. (It's a calendar for the Ottawa chapter of Osteoporosis Canada. My friend Ronna did the great bone cartoon illustrations!)

I dare not disturb His Furry Lordship while he is at rest!

PS: If you've come here looking for the prostitute/dominatrix Natalie Rowe, you've got the wrong blog. But hey, welcome!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rodeo anyone?

An addendum to my previous post. Yesterday Gordon went to the IPM and he shot this exciting rodeo video from his iPhone!

No amount of money would convince me to get on a bull...

Plow/plough me, baby!

On Wednesday, my friend Ronna and I went to the International Plowing Match in Chute-à-Blondeau, Ontario. We had a blast, starting with the exciting tractor-pulled haywagon ride from the parking lot:


Ronna has more pics and a post on her blog!

I was impressed by the vast array of porta-potties!


The Super Dogs were there in all their glory.


But first we needed lunch: POUTINE! Good fries, tasty gravy, NOT ENOUGH CURDS!


We gave it three out of five curds on Ronna's Poutine Chronicles blog. For $6.50, I expect AMPLE CHEESE, people.

After our unhealthy but yummy lunch, we walked around the site.

Adorable goats!

Signs that made me laugh out loud, probably because I'm not a farmer.

A handsome ram!

Lovely cows.

Not their best side, perhaps!

 A maple syrup evaporator that would make my friend Eugene swoon!

A tour we did NOT take.

Lots of huge, manly farm machines!

It's all looking kind of... ahem... phallic.

The day before, many politicians had attended the event to troll for support. As we lined up for ice-cream, I SWORE I saw Bob Rae, leader of the federal Liberal Party. "Wow!" I thought, "He's really dressed-down and at one with the people, snarfling down that ice cream cone!"  I had Ronna and the people behind us in line excited for all of five seconds, before Ronna pointed out that Bob's got a daintier mid-section. Then the Bob Rae imposter turned towards us and I realized he looked nothing like the original Bob from the front! Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

There was a tent full of antique stuff including this red phone. I grew up with a phone like this in our house. It worries me to think I'm so old now, things I grew up with are ANTIQUES! Kids these days wouldn't even know how to dial a phone.

Ronna inspects a chip wagon and dreams of more poutine!

This is the amazing Quilt of Belonging. You can read more about it here. Here's how the website describes it:

"Quilt of Belonging is 120 foot (36 metres) long collaborative textile art project, a richly hued portrait of the human family. Its 263 blocks portray the rich cultural legacies of all the First Peoples in Canada and every nation of the world at the dawn of the new Millennium. "

It is a thing of great beauty.

Or you could go look at antique tractor toys...

An antique knitting machine!

An antique tractor and thingamabob (too early in the morning for me to remember the names of farm equipment!)

I loved this. Some guys in a covered wagon with reins attached to the tractor nearest the wagon, driving the team of tractors like they were draught horses! A scarecrow was apparently steering the first tractor.

Ronna's picture of me being a dork and showing off a massive wood-splitter thing.

At the end of the day, we had to board the cattle truck hay wagon again for the ride back to the parking lot. We spied our friends Carolyn and Steve on the left, giving us a wave and a smile. The guy in the green shirt, who was in charge of loading, also looks amused.

Tractor-guy spent a lot of time looking backwards while he was driving us back to the parking lot. I guess farmers are used to that!

A good time was had by all.