Monday, April 30, 2012

What cats really say to each other....

"What in the name of Bastet* is that rank odour coming off you, Alex?"

"Pffft. I smell like a daisy!"

"Yeah, a daisy that was removed from the maggot-infested stomach of a rotting, liquified skunk corpse!"

 "Pffft! My breath and I are minty-fresh. See? SMELL!"

 "Mother of Mackerel!"

"What? What now, Emily? Can't you see I'm trying to nap here?"

"I detect undertones of dog!"

"What? You most assuredly do not! I am utterly insulted."



*Feline cat goddess

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bee poop, duck outing and something small and green

Yesterday was sunny, but cold and windy. I think it's finally supposed to warm up this week. Yesterday's high was around 7C. I spent a couple of hours cleaning up my vegetable garden and communing with Sophie, the ducks and the chickens.

Despite the cold, I saw a lot of honeybees out foraging on dandelions. Here are the girls backs at the hive:

The orange blob in the centre is pollen stuffed in a bee's "pollen basket" or corbicula. They have one on each hind leg. The crap all over the hive is... crap. They had quite the poo-fest this spring. Bees will not defecate in their hive, so when the winter ends, they go out and have a big dump-o-rama. Honey bees are susceptible to nosema, which can give them bee diarrhea. I do treat my bees in the fall (and sometimes spring) for nosema, but it looks to me like they may have gotten it anyway. Yellow stripes of poop =  the bee runs. But I've looked in that hive and everything seems fine. In fact, it's booming and I've added a third brood box with plans to split the hive soon.

I am always happy to see the girls out foraging on a sunny day.

The Muscovy ducks were out enjoying the sunshine too, while I kept an eye on them from the veggie patch:

Here's Oedipus. He got his name because, well, he humps his Mama.

Sophie was hanging out with me the whole time, but Tristan stayed up by the house, sleeping in the sun.

Oedipus is my only all-whit male Muscovy.  He thinks he's pretty hot stuff.

He had a long bath and preening session yesterday.

"I need to look good for the ladies. And my Mama!" His Mama is Eugenia, the duck who was attacked by a fox last month, and had her leg broken. She's doing really well now! My splint worked wonders and she's pretty much back to normal. I remain amazed that I didn't cripple her for life.

Sophie likes to hang with me and the ducks.

And look what's coming up:

I weeded and mulched the asparagus patch yesterday and am hoping to have some to harvest soon. I put this pic on my Facebook and immediately received a couple of lewd comments from some male friends! :)

Hope you are all having a happy weekend.

PS: Tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway on Gordon's law blog. Check it out.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Guest kitties

Our friends Willie and Sue have two cats, Herman and Dutch. Dutch was adopted from the Lanark Animals Welfare Society after being there for an entire year. He weighs 18 pounds and is one big happy cat. Here he is in the sink, staring up at his buddy Herman...

Aren't they a pair of cuties?

Willie admired our "Super Catnip Crazy Cat Tunnel Pants" (remember the "Fun in Pants" video?), so I had a pair sent to them as a surprise.

Apparently the pants were a hit with Herman and Dutch!

Although Dutch (right) looks like he might be stuck in that pant leg!

I think Sue may have had to perform an extraction!

And yes, after two years I designed a new header. It's still Knatolee's World, not to worry.

Have a groovy weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cats, art, a mattress and a kite

Naomi has been spending a lot of time on my shoulder lately!

She likes to help me draw. I was working on a coloured-pencil drawing for our Art Fayre show June 23 & 24th. I was drawing with a reference photo to look at, but it was a photo taken by me in our garden. I can hear my high school art teacher telling me "Draw from life!" A bit hard to draw from life when it's April and you're working on  an Autumn Beauty sunflower complete with bumble bee. However, I spend a lot of time observing bees, so that helps me.

Finished this one. Next I want to do a honeybee drawing.

And onto other things...

Driving by Casselman last week, we saw some kids flying a HUGE kite! I mean, really huge. One of those ten-feet-across jobs with two people holding two sets of strings.

 And we are fixing up our upstairs, so the gest bed is in the piano room. All the cats are taking turns perching atop it...

Of course, Julius is also very fond of my printer...

That looks says it all. DO NOT DISTURB!

He's a pretty happy old guy. Loves that toasty-warm Xerox.

In other news, one of my two beehives went belly-up after the cold snap this week. It was weak anyway but I thought I might be able to build it up. But there weren't enough bees to cluster and keep warm when it snowed Monday. Sigh. The other hive is exploding. I added a third brood box to keep them from swarming before I can split the hive. I also ordered three nucs (starter hives) so that I can try to get my bee empire up past two hives this year! I keep going backwards and it's a little frustrating.

And Ronna the mama-duck is doing very well. I steeled myself to take away one of the marked eggs today, so I've got her down to nine. That means we'll have 24 ducks if all those hatch. Still too many! :)

When I went down to put the ducks and chickens away tonight, I took a bowl of water and food over to Ronna-duck so that she could have a snack and drink from the comfort of her own nest. Muscovy ducks sit on their eggs for up to about 36 days, leaving perhaps once or twice a day to perform their ablutions, so I try to take her a snack at least once a day. I didn't do that for Eugenia when she was on the nest last year and she managed just fine! 

I had a spectacular wipe-out in the duck run this evening. I was wearing my rubber boots and slipped on the wet wood planks at the doorway. Fell on on my knee and wrist but didn't break anything. Just ouchy. I'm glad I still bounce!
That's all the news that's fit to print for today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chipmunk aspiring to be cat food

The other week, I found Naomi on the windowsill looking very interested in something. She was making that chattering noise cats make when they see a choice tidbit they want to slaughter and eat...

...which in this case...

...was a chipmunk!

It was digging in the flowerpots, seemingly oblivious to impending Catmageddon.

Then it boldly checked us both out...

...turned its back on us..

...and went back to torturing poor Naomi! A good time was had by all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cutie patootie

Tonight our friends Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick were driving by on the highway, so they pulled off and met up with us at Bourdeau's Restaurant (excellent poutine!) in Lancaster. And they brought....

...the world's cutest godson! I haven't seen Ben since January. He is growing like the proverbial weed.

Auntie Natalie is a little whacky sometimes, Ben.

Proud papa, proud godpapa and the happiest baby I have ever known!

Ben sampled my finger but was dinstinctly unimpressed!

He was a big hit with the staff at Bourdeau's. I really like them down there. They are so friendly and welcoming.

I think Marie-Emmanuelle is the most relaxed Maman I have ever met.




Ben is so relaxed and happy every time we see him. You just know his parents are doing a fantastic job with him. It was so nice to get to spend a couple of hours with him this evening.

And on the drive home, the crescent moon and Venus were very pretty in the evening sky!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not funny, Mother Nature!

This is what we woke up to this morning....

Snow, ice pellets, and cold strong winds. I am singularly unimpressed! The ducks looked shocked when Gordon opened their door this morning. The chickens just take it all in stride.

Yesterday I made blueberry buttermilk muffins...

Recipe is here.

And when I went down to give the ducks a treat of Swiss chard yesterday, Ronna was off her nest, outside on a coffee break...

But when she saw me go in the duck coop, she waddled back in pretty quick!

Checked out her eggs and hopped back on. There are eleven eggs there and I made vague promises to Gordon that I would cull them a bit today. We don't really need 26 ducks... do we?

It was chilly and grey yesterday but I took the dogs for a walk anyway. If you click on this to enlarge, you'll see the green field at the back. That's the spring wheat coming up. Our tenant farmer planted our front fields in wheat. I think he's doing the back fields in corn but I'm not positive. We've had five years of soybeans, which is two years too many, so I'm glad we're getting something different this year. 

The field next door was planted in wheat last year and it was so pretty.

Tristan enjoyed his walk but he is really slowing down, poor guy. He's nine years old now. We've noticed a big change him over the past six months or so. He is on medication for his arthritis, which helps but he plods on walks now instead of running. But he still loves his outings! Sophie is also nine, but she has not slowed down one iota.

Have a happy Monday. I'm off to enjoy a muffin and tea, to try to ease the pain of seeing snow outside my window.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Duckies with a dash of feline

I think I have found a solution for Ronna the duck's disintegrating nest problem...

An old shallow beehive box contains Mama and eggs quite nicely! Ronna's eggs were rolling all over the place and getting walked on by the lughead drakes. She had also made her nest right near one of the feeders, a high-traffic area. So I moved the feeder, and put the box around her nest, shoring it up with some clean wood shavings. She seems quite pleased with it all and the eggs have stayed put since I put this together yesterday.

Of course, there are now ELEVEN eggs, which is something I have to deal with. We don't need 11 more ducks! I have marked all the eggs with a Sharpie marker (as per my crusty farmer friend's instructions) so I will know if anyone is laying new ones in there.

It was a rainy day here but the ducks didn't seem to mind. I took a picture of some of them preening their sodden selves under the lamp this evening:

And a little kitty fix...

Here's Gordon enjoying the company of Alex and Naomi! Now, Alex used to be overweight but he isn't now, and the photo is very unflattering to him. So I took another pic of him sitting up yesterday, with his new svelte physique:

Since I put him on a raw diet, he has lost about four pounds and weighs about ten, where he should be (he's a big cat but he only has three legs!) Now I want him to maintain this weight. Not surprisingly, he is MUCH happier and more active these days. I just could not get him to lose weight while he was on kibble, but the raw diet I've got them all on has worked wonders for Alex. He was very resistant to switching from kibble at first, but he's doing great now.

And Emily is just a little sweetie who needs to grow into her ears! This is her in a rare moment of repose.

Enjoy your weekend!