Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday's Hunt v. 2.22

Friday rolls around every week, and here's my post for Eden Hills' Friday's Hunt.

This week's prompts are:  Starts with V, Week's Favourite, and Thankful.

Starts with V
Last week, you might remember that I shared a picture of a shrew that was gathering seed under my bird feeder.  This week, as if it knew that I needed a letter V picture, a vole showed up in the same place (at least, I'm fairly sure it's a vole, since it definitely isn't a shrew or a mouse).  I was so excited to actually see the vole and be able to photograph it through the window.  The pictures aren't great because they are through window glass, and also because the vole is very fast.  I tried to do some research on vole species that live here in New Brunswick and I think the only one it can be is the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus).

I think he (or she) is just the cutest little critter!  I love that golden brown fur and those sweet little ears.

Voles do look somewhat similar to mice, but they have a more rounded nose.

You can also see that the tail is relatively short, at least compared to a mouse tail.

If anyone thinks it's not a vole - please let me know!  I'm not a vole expert - its just my best, semi-educated guess.

Week's Favourite
My favourite shot this week was something I haven't seen before - at least not quite like this.  We had our first snow on Thursday morning, and when I went outside to fill the bird feeders and look for picture opportunities, I saw this unusual sight.

It's a strand of spider web hanging from the gutter all the way down to the steps, and snowflakes had adhered along the entire length of the strand, making a glittering string of snowflakes in front of the door.

I have seen snowflakes on spider webs before, but never on a single long strand like this.

It was Thanksgiving in the USA this week.  In Canada, we have Thanksgiving in October.  This year, it was on October 10th.  Even though it isn't Thanksgiving time here, I often count my blessings, and think about the many things I have to be thankful for.  Among the many things I am thankful for every day (in no particular order) are:
  • my wonderful husband, Marc
  • my dear parents, who have always been there for me through thick and thin
  • my spinning and knitting friends, with whom I spend happy hours pursuing my hobbies and sharing their good company
  • friends in many parts of the world - some in places I have lived, some that I have never actually met, but all of whom are special to me and whose friendships I value dearly
  • the ability to work for myself doing something that I enjoy
  • the opportunities I have had in life for a good education, a multi-faceted career, and broad experience in travel, arts, culture and history
  • my furry and fleecy friends who make me smile every day
I'm especially thankful for the home where I now live and its beautiful surroundings.  I feel very lucky to have found this home and to be able to share it with Marc, and to have a yard where I can walk around and see the magic of nature each and every day.  Here are a few photos of the surroundings for which I am always thankful.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday's Hunt v 2.21

Friday has come around once again and we are starting to get close to the end of the alphabet!

Today's prompts from Eden Hills are: Starts with "U," week's favourite, and nature.

Starts with U
I recently installed a suet feeder in my bird feeding area.  I love to watch the chickadees using it because they often eat upside down or at least underneath the feeder!  It's fun to see their different poses and positions.  I'm getting a number of woodpecker visitors as well, which are also great to watch.

Week's Favourite
I was excited this week to have the opportunity to photograph a shrew in my yard.  I was watching the chickadees through my office window when I saw the movement under the bird feeder.  At first, I thought it was a mole, but upon closer inspection, I realized it was a shrew.  It's fairly rare to see shrews, at least for me, unless they are ones that my cat has dispatched.  I believe this one is a short-tailed shrew, which is the most common species in my area.  It has a little tunnel under some leaves and it comes out to get seeds and takes them back inside.  The fur looks so velvety-soft, and although I'm sure many would disagree with me, I think this shrew is really cute!

These are not great photographs in a technical sense, especially since they were taken through a window, but the subject matter was the exciting part for me!

You can see how tiny the eyes are - like little pin-heads!  Shrews can eat up to twice their body weight each day.  Remarkable little creatures.

I think the majority of the photographs I put on this blog are nature shots!  All of today's pictures are nature photographs.  Here's another one I took that I like - a fall leaf on the grass covered in water droplets.  Nature has so much beauty for us if we slow down and look for it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Guinea Pigs!

I said I would write a blog about the guinea pigs that we adopted, so here it is!  We adopted these two male guinea pigs from the Moncton SPCA, along with Pippin the bunny.  They had been left on a downtown Moncton street in a cardboard box, where somebody found them and took them to the SPCA.  They had been named Rollo and Squishy.  We liked Rolo (with one L) because he looked like chocolate and caramel - like the Rolo candy.  We thought Squishy was a possibly bad omen of a name, so we decided to name him Toffee instead.

Since they were found abandoned, we don't know exactly how old they are, but they are not quite fully grown yet, so probably about 6 months or so.

We got a new cage for them that is on wheels, so it's easy to move them when we need to clean under the cage.  Marc made a super little hut for them out of pallet wood.

 This is Rolo - he is the more nervous one, and hides more often.  I think his fur is going to be quite long.  It is much longer than the average short-haired guinea pig.  I've looked up information on different varieties of guinea pigs and there is a breed called a "silkie" (like the chickens!) that has long hair that isn't curly or tufty, so I think he might be one of those.

Marc enjoys the guinea pigs as well - here he is holding Toffee.  Toffee's fur is whorled and always pointing in all directions, which is rather amusing.  I think he is an Abyssinian type of guinea pig.

Toffee likes exploring Marc's desk, and sometimes squeaks with apparent delight when he's up there!

Here I am with Rolo, trying to get him used to being handled.  They are both quite skittish.

We regularly let them run around in a larger box for play and exercise.

We have another smaller box within it that they use for "hiding" in, if they feel nervous.

Toffee likes to try to escape, and is sometimes successful!

He keeps whispering to Rolo his plans to take over the world, but Rolo is very quiet about it.  Look at that crazy fur!

Rolo is more interested in exploring paper tubes.

 But he might try escaping one day as well!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Spinning Retreat Project Pantheon

I have been trying to catch up on blog topics and this is one that I missed, so I am covering it today!  I went to the Maritime Spinners' Retreat in October and enjoyed a wonderful weekend of spinning and friendship with spinners from Canada and the US.  One of the options when signing up for the retreat was buying 4 oz of a specially dyed retreat fibre that we would all work with to create a project.  We were required to spin the fibre (using whatever method we liked) and could combine it with up to 4 oz of another fibre (whether in the spinning process or the project-making process).  Everybody was supposed to make a final project with their spun fibre.  60 lots of fibre were sent out and 39 projects were submitted, including mine.

It was absolutely amazing to see the breadth of project ideas and spinning styles across the 39 participants.  I think the fibre enthusiasts who read my blog will enjoy viewing some of the different projects that were presented.  I don't have a picture of the fibre we all started with, but the felted scarf below was made form the fibre and was one of the prizes, along with the book.  From looking at the scarf, you can see the colours of the original fibre we all had to work with.  The locks on the fringe of the scarf were not part of the original fibre, nor the white spots on the scarf.

This picture shows some of the range of projects.  My woven coil-spun scarf is in the lower right of the picture.  The hat is a colourwork project that added white yarn as part of the additional fibre.

This is a cleverly constructed hat that made a wonderful use of the colours in the fibre and great use of i-cord as well.

The basket-work pillow cover is beautiful, as is the woven scarf next to it.

There were many weaving projects - more than might be expected.  This beautiful scarf was one of the winning projects.

Most of us did a little "write-up" about our project to accompany it.

 I absolutely adored this scarf - it was one of my favourite projects.

Two more beautiful woven scarves showing the amazing diversity of projects despite the same starting material.

This project is the one I voted for.  We all had to vote for our favourite.  I love houndstooth weaving, and this project really stood out to me in the way it showcased the fibre colours in a simple, but very effective way.

There were some whimsical projects.

This purse was another winner!  Such creative thinking!

There were some beautiful shawls.  This one won a prize, and deservedly so!

A beautiful woven shawl next to a lovely knitted stole.

A knitted shawl with a beaded edge.

More beautiful shawl knitting!

This shawl was from someone new to spinning!  Wow!

There were hats and mittens as well!

The entries were rounded out by an assortment of scarves and cowls.

This one has an interesting shape.

One of the few crocheted entries.

This cowl was made by someone who carefully separated the colours and made a cowl with a graduated colour scheme.

This gorgeous cowl was made by a friend of mine who took the bold step of combining her fibre with a rainbow fibre to create a luxurious woolen-spun yarn.

This entry combines the fibre with sparkle, and then into a project with a sparkly purple fibre.  Wow!

Beautifully coordinated sets featuring lovely buttons!

It was really wonderful to look at each project, the spinning styles, the project ideas, the fibres that were used in combination with our provided fibre, and the tremendous show of diversity and skill from all the participants.