Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yep, they talk!

Apologies to my Facebook buddies who have already had to endure these, but they still crack me up (I am easily amused!)

I got the "My Talking Pet" app for my iPhone. Best 99 cents I ever spent!!!

Yep, Tristan speaks French!

Louise has opinions on everything!

And Gordon enjoyed an Oreo milkshake at the Cheesecake Factory in Baltimore this month!

Hope these will keep you amused until I get my act together and resume my regular quality blogging schedule! :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm here, I'm here!!

Okay, I know it's been too long since I've blogged when two friends, on the same day, want to know if I'm okay because I haven't done a blog post for, oops, over a week. 

I'm good! I've just been insanely busy. On the bright side, my honey processing is done, except for one bucket (about 45 lbs) that is going to become creamed honey once my friend Pierre shows me how to do that. My grand total of honey this year? 820 pounds!!! I added it all up yesterday. Astounding. I have already unloaded 300 lbs of the stuff!

This morning it was darn cold, -8C or 17F. So of course Gordon and I chose this morning to start our program of running in the early morning, instead of weekday evenings. We bought a bunch of cold-weather running gear on the weekend, just in time!

We left the house a bit after 7 am for a 5K run and although I was afraid it would be torture, it was in fact completely awesome. We are both hooked. It's a beautiful time of day with the sun rising over farmers' fields. There was frost on everything this morning, so it all sparkled. We both had a light breakfast before we left. I was worried I'd be hungry, or feel sick, or be comatose but instead I felt great, and because of proper clothing and layering, I was very comfortable. And by 8:30, Gordon was showered and off to work. Now he doesn't have to worry about rushing home from work to make sure we get our run in before it's too late. I'm sold! Plus we have a 5K race this Saturday morning, so it's good practice running early.

Now, some ducks...

The duck with the grey back on the right is mama Karène, who had seven ducklings this summer. The two ducks with her are her daughters! Two of the seven "babies" have gone to live with my friend Pierre and his wife Kathy, as well as the ten chicks Emma hatched out this summer. Pierre and Kathy are spoiling their birds more than we do ours, so I'm pretty sure there will be a revolt here soon!

Karène and an as-yet-unnamed daughter.

We've had a really warm fall (up until today!) so the hayfields and grass are very green, even though there are no leaves left on the trees, and the corn and native grasslands are all brown... 

I do love this time of year!

It is not normal to find dandelions blooming and bugs flying around here so late in October...

I took lots of photos of this one. A hover fly maybe?

And in the woodlot, a sugar maple has self-seeded and is pushing up at the edge of all the white pine and white spruce trees...

Meanwhile, inside the house, Emily is not being helpful...

"I'm not in your way, am I?"

All is well in kitty-land. Louise has fit in very well, although she loves to hog my office chair, so I am left sitting on the very edge of it, like I am now!

And if you're in the area, Gordon's having an open house at his law firm in Lancaster next week and all are welcome. Refreshments will be served! Our friend Ronna is making a cake! And our friend Dave did this hilarious adaption of a Peanuts cartoon for Gordon....

Someone pointed out that the price would be more like 5,000,000 cents. HAHAHAHA! Lawyer humour!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Aaaaand I'm home again!

Okay, Ahab and Mitchell both won the guessing game. The aquarium in the last post IS in Baltimore, and that IS a crabcake on my plate, although I ate it near Columbia, Maryland. :)

Cro Magnon gets the prize for funniest guess with "North Korea." While I have spent a couple of hours in the Seoul airport, alas, I have not been to North Korea!

We were down in the DC area again for my friends' daughter's bat mitzvah. We had a great time and the bat mitzvah girl Sarah did an amazing job. A beautiful young woman, inside and out. Her interpretation of her Torah reading was wonderful. This is the third bat/bar mitzvah I've ever been to, and I am finally getting the gist of things. There was a supper and party in the evening and a good time was had by all.

Instead of driving, we flew down this time and it was MUCH more relaxing. We had time to do a little sightseeing for a change. I love the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

We flew home on Porter Airlines yesterday and had to change planes at the Billy Bishop (Toronto Island) airport for the last leg to Ottawa On the way into Toronto, we had a spectacular view of Niagara Falls, which I attempted to capture on my iPhone:

The Horseshoe Falls are the bigger ones underneath the American Falls and Bridal Falls. We got the Horseshoe Falls, the Yanks got the other two! Growing up, we Toronto kids had QUITE the superiority complex about having the better falls! :) Neener neener neener!

I used to go to Niagara Falls twice every summer, once with my Mum and once with my Dad (they were divorced so I scored a trip from each of them.) I loved the Falls, and every tacky inch of the surrounding city. 

The Falls on both sides are awe-inspiring. You can get a little blasé about them if you live nearby, but seeing them from above, you realize how spectacular they truly are.

It's much more built-up around there than when I was a kid.

We had a great trip but were happy to get home. Our farm/pet-sitter did a great job. Louise cuddled up to her every night. Miss Kitty loves to snuggle, and be carried around....

A very tolerant kitten! And fearless. She likes to lie around on the floor with the dogs. Today she was walking back and forth under Tristan and he stood in the kitchen waiting for his supper.

Louise was still snuggling hours later, not to mention drooling all over the pair of us. She's now sleeping on my chest as I lie in bed typing this on my laptop.

All the cats seem to have adjusted quite well to the new arrival. Emily's nose is still a little out of joint, but nothing major. A little hissing and growling! Em is back to sleeping on the bed and won't take any guff from Louise. Louise isn't aggressive and is super-sweet. She has figured out the cat flap in the basement window and has started venturing out into the big kitty cage. She's quite cautious and hasn't gone far, but the likes sitting out there. One step at a time!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Any guesses?

Anyone know where I've been for the past few days? There's some regional food on this plate...

And apparently you aren't allowed to show your naughties to the sea life:

A beautiful octopus she was, and very active!

We saw quite a few of these, too...


Saturday, October 19, 2013

All set for winter!

Last weekend, our amazing young friend Sam and Jake (who are also twins!) came to help us move all our firewood inside for the winter. I think they moved about eight cords but I'm not sure. This involved using the tractor to ferry bucketloads of wood from the granary to the basement window. One person then tossed all the wood through the window while the other stacked it inside. Gordon, Sam and Jake worked on this for about three hours while I was inside making lasagne for supper!

When it was all done, it was a thing of beauty....

The ramp leads up to the window where the cat door to the outside cage is.

Emily sauntered by to do an inspection.

That wood is three rows deep to the back wall. Amazing! This year, I won't be nagging Gordon to bring in more wood in the middle of January! :)

Those two "boys" are a great help to us!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Miss Louise is doing fine!

My friend Deb over at Just Cats has what I call "centrepiece cats." Now we do too!

Hello, Louise!

Is that banana bed comfortable?

I guess so!

Louise is fitting in really well. Emily's nose has been a little out of joint, but she seems to have recovered. We now have four cats sleeping on our bed every night! (Julius always sleeps in the family room.) Good thing we have a king-size mattress.

We lolled around a bit on Saturday morning and Louise joined us. As my friends said, Louise is a real "iCat"!

She loved her iPad tent!

She didn't seem to mind one bit that Gordon was using it to surf the web.

Isn't Louise a beauty? Her fur is so soft!

She's a sweet little thing but she will be the boss of the house, if she isn't already. Naomi occasionally slaps some manners into her, but she's pretty fearless. She has the funniest little scratchy meow. Maybe it's a grey cat thing. Our old cat Mashka, who was grey, also had a funny meow!

Louise purrs a LOT. She seems quite content.

I think she wants her own iPhone!

Louise, no one would EVER know you were under there!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Give the gift of life! You'll get cookies. :)

I meant to post sooner but it ended up being a crazy week... anyhoo!

On Thursday, I went to donate blood for the first time in a decade. I used to give regularly but had to stop for several years for various health issues. But I am just fine to donate now, so I made an appointment for the mobile clinic in our nearby town of Alexandria.

When I got to the Glengarry Sports Palace (no, I have no idea why it's called a palace, because it's anything but!), I saw two very shiny "bloodmobiles" in the parking lot!

This donation was particularly meaningful for me, because our friend Gary is currently receiving life-saving blood and platelet transfusions on a daily basis. Whenever Gary gets a transfusion, he and our friend Brian, along with Gary's nurse, always say a word of thanks to the anonymous donor who has given the gift of life. I'm not sure how it works in Canada (as I've never received a transfusion, although my mother did on a few occasions) but in the USA, where Gary is, the state the blood came from is indicated on the bag. Gary gets bags o' blood from all over the USA. I think there was one from Oklahoma last week. That's pretty cool!

Not everyone can give blood, but if you can, I'm here to reassure you that it's really a piece of cake. The staff are always super-nice to their victims, I mean, patients. You are treated like royalty, and get free cookies and juice when you are done, not to mention various stickers and pins.

And they are very good at sticking needles in veins at these clinics. I barely notice when the needle goes in; the staff are very experienced with this! I always breathe in as the needle goes in my vein, as I find it helps me to relax into it.

If you've never donated before, this is how it works in Canada. You go in and give your info, then a nurse takes a tiny sample of blood from your finger to test your hemoglobin levels. If your levels are good, you then fill out a questionnaire. Then another nurse takes you aside to a private spot and goes over the questions with you, to make sure you are eligible to donate. The nurse will also take your temperature and blood pressure, and ask you general questions about your health. She will also check your arms to make sure you're not an I.V. drug user.

Once that's all done, it's off to the comfy lounge chair! Usually you can pick which arm you want to use. The kind nurse in charge of you will make you squeeze a little ball, so she can find a nice juicy vein for the needle. Once the needle is in, the donation starts. You pump that ball a bit every once in a while, just to help keep things flowing...

There goes my blood!

When I first started donating in my 20s, I was incredibly slow to fill a bag. It would take me an hour or more to get through a donation. The staff were always remarking on my turtle-like pace. For some reason, I can now fill a bag in eight minutes. I noticed that changed years back when I started doing a lot of aerobic exercise, so I wonder if the fact that I now run regularly has anything to do with my speedy blood flow?

After the bag is full, the nurse gently removes the needle. You must apply pressure to the spot for five minutes, then you get a teeny-weenie round Band-aid. Once the nurse has established that you're not feeling dizzy or ill, you walk over to the "recovery" area where volunteers serve you drinks and cookies. After about ten minutes, you are usually good to go!

You should take it easy for about 24 hours, drink lots of fluids, and eat well. Not a good time to run a marathon. But I always feel fine after a donation.

See my teeny-weenie bandage?

I was surprised to discover that Thursday marked my 25th blood donation. It had been so long since I was last there, I'd lost count. So I got a lovely little "25" pin...

I feel lucky that I am on the giving rather than the receiving end of this process right now. I am also aware that life is fragile and that such things can change in an instant. So it makes me very happy to give this little gift of life, not only because it will help someone like our friend Gary, but also because I never know when I or someone I love might need blood. Imagine what it would be like if your loved one couldn't get the blood needed to save his/her life? 

Plus those cookies are really very tasty! So let me reassure you if you're nervous about giving for the first time: it's really not hard, and the staff are always super-kind to you when you're at a clinic. And when you walk out of the building with your little Band-aid and a tummy full of cookies, you can't help but feel good that you helped somebody, somewhere, and maybe even saved a life.

In Canada it is really easy to find clinics and even book appointments online. Just go to Canada Blood Services and you'll find everything you need.

And here's a little blast from the past...

This was taken back in 1989, when I went to a clinic at a local mall when I was living in Pickering. I was still married to my ex at the time, if you're wondering about the surname. (And two days after this picture was taken, I dumped him. Which I think explains why I look so serene in this photo. Best decision EVER! :))

My 25th and all my future donations will be in honour of Gary.

As Canadian Blood Services says, "Blood: It's in you to give!"

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Warm sheets = cat infestation

Okay, first off: our cats are not allowed on the table.


I slay myself. Anyway, Gordon brought our bedsheets and my bathrobe up from the dryer the other night, and put them on the kitchen table while he tended something else.

This was clearly a mistake...

Emily and Naomi immediately took full advantage of the clean, toasty warm sheets and fuzzy bathrobe.

I think they were a little irked at my flash photography.

Meanwhile, Louise made herself at home on the bed...

As you can see, she's not fitting in at all... hahahaha!

She's with Alex and Naomi here, in case you are losing track of which cat is which. I know I am!

And we definitely need more cat shelves on the front porch...

Naomi, Alex and Julius. How they suffer!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

A boy and his tractor... and a girl and her tractor.

Gordon finally tried out the new tractor tis weekend. And read the manual!

He had turned it off while working on moving some dirt. Sophie figured she'd come walk under the thing while I was taking a photo. Fortunately the hydraulics didn't fail at that point! :)

I read that manual too. Doesn't really do much to tell a city slicker how to drive a tractor, but we're getting the hang of it. I got a little instruction last week from my 22-year-old friend Jake. :)

Seat belt on, roll bar in place. I am dying to try out the tiller.

Tristan loves to lie down next to and behind the tires, so we always clear the dogs out before we start moving.

Gordon got several loads of garden soil moved!

Riding off into the fields!

Hope you all had a great weekend.