Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Manly men of the farm

Animal men, that is!

The ever-adorable Tristan, enjoying the fall sun.

Errol Flynn, rooster-crowing champion!

Cock-a-doodle-doo, baby!

McGuinty the dashing Chantecler gentleman.

Watson, showing his stuff to a drake. Watson has crowed, thus I was safely able to name him (after Barbara Lardon's cat, Watson. If you haven't checked out her beautiful art quilts, visit her blog and Etsy shop. We are amassing a collection of her work and may have to add a special wing to our house for her quilts!)

Watson is one beautiful roo!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wholly inappropriate

Wholly inappropriate cat behaviour, that is. Emily is not supposed to be lounging on the kitchen counter, practically mocking the dogs' treat box!

She did have the grace to take her head off her tomato pillow before I shot this.

And turning around, we find ...

...Alex, not only on the table but on my purse! Two strikes!

Somehow, I don't think Emily gives a damn.

And neither does Alex.

Far too much catitude in this household!

We did fine in last night's storm. The power stayed on. My mini-pumpkins blew off the porch, and that was it. My thoughts are with those in the US who suffered true devastation from Hurricane Sandy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A full moon and strong winds

Hurricane Sandy is whapping the east coast of the US tonight, and this isn't helping...

A full moon! Full moon, high tides, and hurricanes: not a good combo. This storm is clearly huge. We are already getting alarmingly high wind gusts just as the storm is hitting land down around Maryland and DC and NJ. It's also very strange to have the wind blowing from the south - southeast instead of the north. The wind usually blows from the north around here.

A flock of Canada geese flew over me as I was taking photos. They had a hard time flying straight! My friend Ronna watched geese being buffeted by the wind over at her place too.

We're hoping the power doesn't go out tonight, but I filled the bathtub with water just in case. We still don't have a generator (it's on the shopping list), so when the electricity fails, so does our well pump. No water, no toilet flushing, no nothin'. Still, we'll have it a lot easier than those down in the US bearing the brunt of Sandy. Stay safe, everyone!

Such a beautiful moon, though. Ronna told me it's a Hunter's Moon.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A transformation

Our friend Tammy has been doing an amazing job of stripping our 100+-year-old staircase...

Thw wainscoting is new and yet to be painted, and we're getting rid of that old white piece of moulding above it.

What idiot thought it was a good idea to paint this beautiful wood?

We don't know what kind of wood it is, but it's a warm, gorgeous colour with beautiful grain. Around here we have maple, birch, pine, spruce, some oak... anyone have a clue? It's not a softwood like pine.

I can't wait to see this when it's done.

The wood on the stairs is pretty crappy (and that's carpet glue across the risers) so we are going to paint them but I have no idea what colour!

Alex approves! I will post more pics of the progress as it goes along. Tammy is so damn fast. She thinks she's slow, but she's amazing.

Sketching day

If you want to see some great pics of my dogs, and the day I spent sketching on the farm with my friends Ronna and Barb, go check out Ronna's blog, here!

Ronna got one of the nicest photos I've ever seen of Sophie, who usually hates having her pic taken.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The bees get revenge

Today I went over to help my friend Pierre remove his mite treatment strips from his beehives. Honeybees can be cranky at this time of year; they know winter's coming, and they don't want anyone invading their hives and stealing their honey. Still, they are pretty tolerant. But Pierre warned me that two of his hives were nasty.  Sure enough, they were! I got stung three times on my right hand, the one I was using to remove the Apistan strips (I don't wear gloves when beekeeping.)

My hands are in desperate need of handcream, and not looking all that great to begin with, but I think you can see the difference between my left and hand and my right!

Oddly enough, being stung three times makes me feel like I'm a real beekeeper. Kind of a badge of honour. I said many naughty words, scraped out the stingers, and kept going. And poor Pierre was savaged. He got stung about 20 times, including on the ear by a bee who followed away from the hives and got revenge after we took off our bee veils. I unhelpfully backed away laughing while they were attacking him.

Yes, laughing. For some reason, we were both laughing, even as we swore and called the girls "b*tches!" We did look kind of funny, dancing around, swatting at ourselves. And you can't really fault the bees for defending their homes at this time of year.

I hardly ever get stung, and hardly ever at my hives (usually I do something like step on a bee in my garden, or pick up a hive tool with a bee on it.) Today was the first time I've seen a hive get all feisty and mean like that. And after four years of beekeeping, it's about time I got a few stings at once!

Fortunately I don't have an allergy, but it's always possible (if unlikely) to develop one, so I do monitor myself after I'm stung. Tonight I have an itchy, achy hand that looks a bit like a baseball mitt. :)

And for those who are wondering, I don't wear gloves (with occasional exceptions, depending on what beekeeping task I'm performing) because I find they really hamper my dexterity, and make it more likely that I'll squish a bee (and enrage her hivemates) or drop something. Gloves are just a personal choice. Gordon always wears gloves; he swells up a lot when he gets stung and finds it more uncomfortable than I do.

Before I left, Pierre and I sat down for a drink and a chat. He gave me a container of his delicious cinnamon creamed honey. He asked me if I'm going to wear gloves now. "No way!" I said. I could tell he was pleased.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aging with dignity

Tristan is slowing down a lot at the age of 10. A couple of weeks ago, he had x-rays done. We knew he had arthritis (for which he was on various medications) but not tto what extent. His back hips are grinding bone on bone, and his front elbows are just as bad. So our vet came up with a new drug cocktail for him. And I give him a cartrophen shot every week. I feel like Nurse Ratched!

He still loves to go for a walk, but he's much slower than he used to be. That's okay! The vet said to keep exercising him as much as he wants, so he doesn't seize up. We had a nice walk the other day, and afterwardsTristan sacked out under the black walnut trees.

He is a handsome boy, with just a touch of slobber on his lower lip!

It's harder to get Sophie to sit still for a photograph. She's always a dog on a mission. And by contrast, she has not slowed down one iota, even though she's also 10. Next month will mark five years since the dogs arrived here.  They've now been with us as long as they were with their previous owners. Time sure flies.

Something smelled good on the autumn breeze. Probably the manure spreader next door!

Tristan is aging with dignity.

Sort of.



Okay, so he's channelling his inner pup!

Today he and Sophie came out with me and my friends Ronna and Barb. We went to the back of the farm to sketch and had a great time. The dogs got lots of goodies from Auntie Ronna and Auntie Barb and had a wonderful time!

It's tough seeing the dogs age; they just never live long enough! But there's something quite lovely about a grey-muzzled old dog. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When good cats go bad

But before I begin, please explain to me how it got to be WEDNESDAY already? I swear I'd posted just the day before yesterday, but no, it was Sunday. Where the hell did Monday and Tuesday go?

Oh well, on to the felines...

Emily was snoozing on my table the other day when Naomi decided that the potatoes in those ears needed cleaning out...

Naomi is a little obsessed with earwax. More than once, I have woken up to find her tongue in my ear. Now THAT'S an alarm clock! Anyway, Emily seemed to be enjoying Naomi's motherly albutions.

She was in fact so appreciative, she grabbed Naomi's noggin and began to return the favour.

Licky lick lick lickety lick lick!

Uh oh...

When Naomi attempted to regain control of Emily's wax situation, something changed.

"Noooooooo!! You may NOT stick your tongue in my ear again! Get thee gone, Satan!"

Whap whap whap whap! My goodness, cats DO fight like girls, don't they? So slappy!

Naomi manages to maintain her dignity while Emily goes all flat-ear misery-guts on her.

Naomi pretends not to give a damn... Emily's ears relax ever-so-slightly.

...but she's clearly pissed off. And check out the sideways glance Emily is giving Naomi. "Don't even think about touching my ear potatoes again!"

Believe it or not, these two are good buddies and are always playing together. Or play-attacking each other. At least, I think it's play-attacking...

(Note: I have hopes that that FUGLY book border will be stripped out of my office sometime in the next few months. House renos have now been going on since $@#!@&#!! April, with a change of personnel. And soon I will share photos of the miraculous transformation of our century staircase, courtesy of the ever-talented Tammy!)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Splashing around

Oh dear, the ducks have wanderlust! See this field? It's a little wet. The track marks are from the combine harvester that got a bit stuck last week while harvesting soybeans.

Can you see anything unusual?

Oh look, it's Charlie Sheen and three of the girl ducks. And in the far background is a flock of Canada geese!!!

These guys wandered down there and had a ball splashing around!

Charlie enjoyed rooting around in the mud (you can see soybeans that the combine missed on the upper right and left.)

The water was pretty deep in spots. The tile drainage in the this area isn't working particularly well!

Lots of snorkelling and flapping!

Ducks loooooove mud.

They also love water.

Bianca (white duck) had a good scratch. When I went out to check on everyone this afternoon, I looked down in the field and saw Bianca by herself in the midst of a HUGE flock of Canada geese!! I don't really want them mixing with wild birds; that's just an invitation to spread disease. But she seemed quite content and the geese were pretty much ignoring her.

I went down to round her up and all the geese freaked out and flew off in a panicked, honking mass. Bianca stood there calmly and watched them go. I herded up back towards the barn, where Oedipus and Karène came out to greet her. I can only imagine what they had to say to each other:

"Hussy! Hanging with the geese!"

"They're bigger than YOU, Oedipus!"







Okay, maybe it was more along the lines of "Quack quack quack!" What can I say? I have a vivid imagination.

Heaven for ducks.

I can't say he was particularly clean after splashing around in the muck, but he was awfully happy.

Hannibal looked pleased with himself too.

See? Wanderlust!