Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy last hours of 2013!

While waiting for supper to cook I thought I'd take a few selfies with the cats.

Julius was not amused.

Still not amused!

Emily was at first curious...

...then uncooperative...

...then dissociative!

And Naomi just thought I was nuts!

Off to eat seafood casserole, then chocolate fondue. I think I may have to run tomorrow!

Have a safe and happy New Year's eve! Thank you for reading my blog, oh excellent people.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Exotic wildlife, not... and a few other things!

So, my hubby got me a wonderful wildlife cam for Christmas! I set it right up near the fox den by our laneway.

The first shot was...

...a semi-trailer truck whizzing by in the early morning. 


...a lunatic wearing a parka over her pajamas, getting a lift up the laneway to retrieve said camera.


...Gordon coming home from work later that same day. So today I snowshoed to the woodlot and set up the camera near where I saw turkey, rabbit, snowshoe hare and other tracks. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, things are staying relatively toasty in the coops, if a tad white-trash:

We got these awesome Sweeter Heaters that draw a tiny amount of electricity, and aren't a fire hazard the way heat lamps are.

And my friend Pierre made me that great new chicken feeder out of PVC piping (or whatever it's called!) They spill way less feed. He is making us one for the duck coop, too. He even filed down all the edges of the holes so that the plastic wouldn't be rough on the birds. 

Here's the heater set-up in the duck coop. The heaters are supposed to be about 18" from the birds, and you can hang them or wall-mount them, so we have both!

Today the temps have warmed up to just above freezing. I put out water for the ducks to bathe in and they had a great old time! Then the dogs and I went snowshoeing back to the woodlot.

Tristan likes to take a breather every now and then.

My intrepid old dog! Slow and plodding, but he gets it done!

And here's Sophie and my snowshoe, with some ear weirdness going on.

She is anything but slow and plodding. Although she and Tristan are the same age (11), she doesn't suffer from arthritis the way he does, and is still a speedy muscular machine!

And she still likes to eat snow.

And is always alert! I think she heard the neighing of the horses next door.

We've had quite a lot of snow, as you can see!

Meanwhile, Louise stayed inside and kept my chair warm.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

My beekeeping buddy Eugene made me the bestest tree ornament EVER:

He used his router to do that. I love it! My own bee skep!

Here was the tree on Christmas eve...

...with Gordon's usual frenzied garland-strewing. There's no order to that whatsoever! Plus I think it's about time we bought some new garland, rather than using my tawdry collection of mardi gras beads and 80s-era fluffy crap.

This baby is a perfect balsam fir. For a couple of years, we cut down butt-ugly Charlie Brown trees, as you can witness for yourself in this 2010 video. But now I make Gordon buy a perfectly-pruned tree brought up specifically to die for the cause.

I've been shocked to discover that not ONE of the cats has shown an iota of interest in the tree this year, not even that hellion Louise, who is breaking one cherished household item per week lately. I still don't understand it. Nary an ornament on the floor! Maybe they are plotting a New Year's eve takedown.

Instead, Naomi snoozes on my printer and...

..Emily snoozes on my couch and...

...Julius hangs out on the "bird" chair! Louise was off somewhere else, getting into trouble.

Last night, Christmas eve, we had our traditional cheese fondue.

Mushroomy goodness!

Nothing like a little beer with your wine-infused cheese.

When we got up this morning, it was a tad nippy outside...

This poor little Mourning Dove got trapped in our front porch too, but found a comfy place to snuggle up:

The cat shelf! If we leave the door open, birds sometimes fly or wander in. If they can't figure out how to leave, I rescue them. We've had no casualties yet! I caught this one in my hands and let her go outside.

I got lots of lovely gifts this Christmas morning, including a wildlife camera/videocam which will no doubt soon be providing me with blog fodder, and an amazing spotting scope that I can attach my SLR camera to.

And my friend Denise got me these GREAT bee earrings!

Hope all of you who celebrate it had a very Merry Christmas! :)

Monday, December 23, 2013


First off, a reject concept for this year's Christmas card (I design our card every year!)...

So, a whopping great big storm passed through southern and eastern Ontario over the weekend. Toronto and the surrounding area are a big mess of power outages and fallen trees, as those of you living there know!

We were really worried we'd lost power, as we still don't have a generator. Without power, we have no water. We can run the furnace on wood but without the blower, it won't get the house comfortably warm. But we were lucky. We got some snow and a lot of ice pellets, and just a bit of freezing rain, so the power lines stayed up!

And it's very pretty...

Needless to say, the chickens and ducks and guinea fowl were decidedly uninterested in being outside.

I took the dogs snowshoeing and it was damn hard work. Deep snow with a thick crust of ice that I kept breaking through. But  we made it out to the beehives and back.

The trees are thinly coated in ice. That big tree on the right seems to have lost a large branch but otherwise our trees seem fine.

The ice-encrusted sumac was so pretty!

Sophie was waiting for me up ahead. Tristan lagged behind the whole way, wisely following in my snowshoe tracks. Every so often, Sophie would break through the crust and have to struggle out.

This big old tree was particularly pretty.

Iced prickly cucumber!

And a dog on a mission. She loves her walkies.

Cedar with prickly cucumber vines, all encrusted in ice. It was like a big messy spider's web.

Looks like some poor songbird got nailed from above. I've seen a Coopers or Sharp-shinned hawk hanging around our feeders (I can never tell them apart!)

And there are my poor beehives in the field!

But the bees are okay. I put my ear next to the top entrances and I could hear buzzing in all of my hives.

My little wooden bench is about to disappear!

Sophie helped out with bee inspection!

All the bees behind the garage were buzzing too.

Ya think it's gonna be a white Christmas?