Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

Do you know what time it is?

Of course you do.  That's why you're here.  It's time for today's Bunday blog!

Somebody asked me recently about the importance of ear cleaning.  This is a very important task for rabbits.  One reason is because we get extra vitamin D that way!  I bet you didn't know that.  Our ears have a special oil on the surface of the skin that makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.  Rabbits get some of this vitamin D when they clean their ears.

Lady Épinette Nutkin is especially good at ear cleaning.  You can see that in the picture below.  She is just pulling down her left ear.

She uses a paw to pull her ear down, and then she holds it in both paws as you see in this next picture. She is licking the inside of her right ear in this picture.

Hoomin beans cannot lick their own ears.  This is a very serious design flaw.  I feel sorry for you.  We also keep our ears clean to avoid having problems with mites.  I bet your hoomin ears are all full of mites because you can't lick them properly.

Sometimes we help each other with ear cleaning.  I think that's what you hoomin beans ought to do.

It wouldn't take you very long to do this, because your ears are small and insignificant compared to ours.  Sometimes, I don't even know how you manage to get along in this world, with such pitiful ears.  We can rotate our ears 270 degrees to listen to things.  Your ears are stationary.  What were you thinking when you had those ears ordered?  I suppose opposable thumbs might make up for the defect of your ears, just a bit.

So do clean your ears, or have a friend do it, on a regular basis.  Take it from me...I'm an ear expert!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.17

Here we are....I have no idea where the week went, but it's Friday again!  This has certainly been a busy one.  I hadn't thought about the blog all week so I had to do a bit of quick thinking this evening to get my ducks in a row.  Our prompts from Eden Hills are:  Starts with Q, Week's Favourite, and Evening.

Starts with Q:
Q is a tricky letter, but I decided to talk about quilts.  I have made a few quilts over time, although I haven't made any lately.  I made a quilted wall hanging many years ago that I recently found when I was unpacking some boxes of things that had remained packed for many years of moves.  I'd like to put it up on the wall again somewhere.  It needs to be washed and ironed since it is all wrinkled from its storage time.  I like the colours in it and the shapes.  It was a sort of random quilt hanging that I put together in a short time frame, just for fun, so it isn't perfect.

Last year (2016) I decided to do a block-of-the-month quilt project.  I decided it would be good to make a quilt block each month and give myself a craft project to look forward to each month.  I bought all my fabrics and I was really excited about proceeding.  In January of 2016, I made the first two of 6 pieced triangles required for the January block.  I realized that I made a mistake and that the two orange small triangles in the left triangle panel should have been overlapping, like they are in the triangle on the right.  I decided I needed to fix that before continuing.  That's as far as I got on my project.  The rest of the year, I was unable to continue due to us trying to sell Marc's house, having things in storage, and then not having the space yet set up in the new house.  I thought I'd start again this January.  It's April.  I haven't gotten to it yet.  Someday...

Week's Favourite:
I managed to get some really cute shots of the red squirrel last weekend.  I think that it might be a nursing or pregnant female.  In this shot, you can really see her teats, which I don't think I've really noticed on a squirrel before.

I also noticed something else that I hadn't noticed before - she appears to be shedding a winter coat.  I didn't know squirrels did that, or at least not as noticeably as this.  You can really see the line where the winter "fluffy" coat is shedding, just behind the foreleg.

Here are a couple more of my favourite shots from my squirrel photography session!

I had to think quickly for this one.  I don't often take evening pictures.  But let me tell you a little story about a few evenings ago.  I heard a fearsome growly-squealy noise outside, and I went to peer out the window with the aid of the standing lamp in the home office.  A raccoon was hanging off the bottom of my bird feeder and swinging on it.  This was the culprit who has been bending my feeder pole over time.

A couple of mornings later, I came downstairs to the home office to enjoy my morning coffee.  I looked out the window.  "Hmmm," I said to myself, "that's interesting.  I'm quite sure there used to be a bird feeder there."  That was when I realized that raccoons not only have an interest in the contents of bird feeders, but apparently they have a desire to take them to their little raccoon homes and possibly use them as decor items, because clearly, my raccoon had carried it off somewhere.  I have wandered through the woods looking for it, but to no avail.  He left the lid, which we had replaced after he chewed through the plastic one.  The tube that held the seeds has entirely disappeared.

He has also displaced the screening from the tray feeder, which you can see hanging down in this picture that I took this evening.

I need a taller pole, not to mention adding a raccoon baffle to it.  In other news this evening, the bunnies are resting comfortably.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

Hello everybody, it's Pippin here!  The female hoomin bean (FHB) finally let me use the computer. She has been really busy, or so she says.  Today she and the male hoomin bean (MHB) went out for a long time and came back complaining about hard work.  Something about scraping wallpaper off walls in another house.  I think it is a house the FHB used to live in.  They are "fixing it up" I think. I don't know why they are so slow.  I fix my house up all the time just by chewing on a cardboard box and leaving the pieces in an artful display.

Anyway, I'm sure you are wondering about my new companion, the Lady Épinette Nutkin of Dazzlewood Hill.  The FHB and MHB certainly made some very significant efforts to ensure we would be friends.

First, we began with the bathtub sessions.

No, we didn't get washed.  It was just a "confined area" for us to get to know each other.  The thing is, we rabbits are a bit fussy about our companions, and we tend to either ignore potential companions, or attack them.  The hoomin beans have determined that by putting us in the bathtub (not with water or rubber ducks), they can monitor us closely and separate us if necessary, but it also sort of forces us to pay attention to one another.  I admit, they might be right about this.

Then, we graduated to the "small bathroom" sessions, when we went from the bathtub time to the small confined room time.  During this time, we were still monitored, but not as constantly as we were while we were in the tub.  It turns out that the Lady Épinette Nutkin is rather nice, and most of the time, I'm quite happy to have her around.

The hoomin beans made a lot of cooing noises when they caught us grooming each other.  Honestly, you'd think they had never seen how to properly lick your partner's ears before.

Finally, the hoomin beans put us into a shared cage, once we were regularly grooming each other and not chasing or biting (which I may have done a few times in the first few sessions, because I was agitated, you know, at the disturbance to my routine!)  We now share one crate and the litter box in the crate and most of the time, everything is just lovely.  The hoomin beans haven't had time to put the other crate away yet, but we just stay in one of them.

They did try allowing us to have shared time in the home office, but that space is too large for us at this point, and I totally forget what she is doing there and sometimes I chase her and try to bite her because I forget that I'm supposed to be nice.  When they put us back into the confined space, I remember, and I calm down again.  It is still going to take a little time and getting used to this whole "being a couple" thing, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

The FHB says we are "successfully bonded" whatever that means.  I don't see any glue.  Anyway, until next time, keep your ears clean.  Or have your partner help you with it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.16

Another busy week for me, but I managed to get myself organized for Friday's Hunt with Eden Hills. This week the prompts are:  Starts with P, Week's Favourite, and Feet (or foot).  

Starts with P
P is for pink!  This is the first non-crocus flower that has begun to appear in my garden.  It is the flower of Daphne mezereum, which has a common name in some places of February Daphne.  It would be really nice if we had flowers in February here, but we don't.  So it's April Daphne to me!  Also, the flowers are in a format that is called a panicle.  A panicle is a group or cluster of flowers, rather than a single flower form. You often see panicles on grass crops like oats.

Daphne mezereum is native to all of Europe, as well as the Caucasus, Turkey, northern Iran, and parts of Siberia.  It is very hardy, which is why it does well here. The flowers come out first and the leaves will follow later in the spring. Unfortunately, all parts of this plant are very toxic, so I need to be sure the goats and sheep never get to it!

P is also for purple.  The purple crocuses are really spectacular now - in large groups and sporting their lovely orange stigma - the bees love them at this time of year.

Week's Favourite
So, I was very excited today because I finally (FINALLY!) got a picture of an owl.  I had it in my head that today was the letter O, and I thought it was just perfect.  Then when I went to check the prompts, I realized that today was letter P.  So, my owl picture has become my week's favourite.  I have been trying for many weeks to take a picture of an owl.  I keep hearing them in my woods and even wrote a separate blog post about the owls thwarting my efforts.  Today, my effort finally paid off.  I was actually helped by some crows who were mobbing this poor owl, so they tipped me off to its location.  I had been hearing a barred owl in the woods, but this one is actually a great horned owl. It was very high in the tree, and there were a lot of intervening branches, so it was a difficult shot, but at least it's recognizable.  I hope to get a better picture in the future.  The owl was watching me and I knew it was already upset by the crows, so I didn't want to stress it out even more.  I took my picture from a distance and thanked the universe for such a wonderful gift.

Today I took a picture of Marc's feet.  He was up on the ladder working in the garage, so his feet were at my eye level.  That made them a convenient photo subject!

He is continuing his work on the outbuilding that will become his workshop.  Today he was installing two lamps that will be over a workbench.  They are vintage lamps that he purchased at an antique shop.

Hopefully they will be just what he needs for proper illumination.  Bulbs will help, I'm sure!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

Well, I am just flabbergasted this week.  I don't even know where to begin with telling you everything.  It is such a crazy story!  I guess I will begin at the beginning.

Last weekend, like I told you, the female hoomin bean (FHB) went on an unauthorized leave of absence to a "fibre arts retreat" which was totally not cleared by my department before she left.  I will not go into great detail but I will say that I peed on the footstool by her desk while she was gone to express my displeasure.  I do not normally do this.  I was very annoyed.

While the FHB was gone, the male hoomin bean (MHB) took me on an outing.  This outing was also unauthorized by my department, but he did not give me any say in the matter. He took me to a place that had a smell I kind of recognized, but I had forgotten exactly what it was about.  Then, all of a sudden, I was in this room, with another rabbit. Seriously.  What the heck?  I was completely out of my zone.  The other rabbit was sniffing me and following me around and I was kind of freaked out about it.  Then, just as quickly, the MHB took me back home again, after having had some discussions with somebody at a desk.  I figured maybe he was missing the FHB so he wanted to go hang out with me and another rabbit to feel better.

So then the FHB came home and it was a day called her birfday.  I don't know much about what a birfday is, but there was a bit of commotion about it.  I can tell you that a birfday doesn't happen all the time.  In fact, this was the first birfday I remember experiencing. 

On her birfday, the FHB went to be with her people who play with sticks and string and make stuff with the string.  While she was there, the MHB went out again.  And you are not going to believe this, but he came home with that very same rabbit that we hung out with on the weekend when the FHB was away.  And there I was thinking that she was only going to hang out with the string people and she would be back soon so why did we need to hang out with the other rabbit again?

And then, the FHB came home. Oh. My. Goodness.  You should have heard the squeals and squeaks that came out of the FHB when she came home to see that other rabbit.  I'm just sitting there, as usual, awaiting her complete attention, and she does not even notice me because "squeeeeeeeeeeeeee" and on and on it goes....because the MHB was hiding the other rabbit and this is what she saw when she came into the home office with her camera ready because he told her there would be something special and she thought he was making her a new bird house or something.  He turned around and there was THIS!

So now, here I am, a few days later, and this other rabbit is STILL here.  And now they have named her.  Her name is Lady Épinette Nutkin of Dazzlewood Hill, and I am now told that she is my "companion" and that we are to be friends.  Who asked ME??  I did NOT authorize this.  However, she is rather pretty, so I am considering my options.

You may know that rabbits can be a bit fussy about their companions and so the FHB and the MHB have done "research" about this and they are now subjecting me to the "introduction process" as they call it, and supposedly this is going to make me more inclined to accept this interloper rabbit who is possibly trying to usurp my position.  

And so we have side by side accommodation, to allow us time to "get to know each other" they said.  Hmpf.

Well. We shall see.  Indeed.  We shall see!  At least she cleans her ears.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.15

Today has been a vacation day for me - I decided not to work today, so I have enjoyed a somewhat relaxing day so far.  I was also able to think about my Friday's Hunt post a bit more than usual these days!  What a treat to have a day that I didn't do any work at all!

Our prompts from Eden Hills this week are:  Starts with O, Week's Favourite, and Blossom.

Starts with O
Last weekend I spent the weekend at the Maritime Fibre Arts Retreat, as I mentioned in my last blog. It was held at a hotel that looks out over the ocean.  I live near the ocean but we don't often make a special trip to see it.  There are not very many beaches here - it is a very rocky coast.  Here you can see that the ocean was very calm by the hotel grounds, but it is not always that way.

Sometimes, the ocean is very rough - here you can see that a lot of rocks have been thrown onto the land as a result of heavy surf in the winter storms.  These are along the front of the cabins at the hotel, which are separate from the main part of the hotel.  The groundskeepers will probably clear all the rocks and throw them back into the ocean because it will be hard to mow the grass with all those rocks there!

The hotel looks out over to Oak Island.  This island has many famous legends associated with it, mostly pertaining to buried treasure.  This is a picture of the island, just off the coast.  On the right side of the picture, you can see it is connected to the mainland with a small causeway.  You can also see it in the first picture I posted.  There is a recent television series - The Curse of Oak Island - created by the two brothers who now own the island.  I haven't seen it - I don't watch TV.  It is privately owned but there are tours on occasion in the summer.  I doubt there's any hidden treasure there, but I suppose you never know.  They have found some interesting artifacts there.

Week's Favourite
My favourite picture this week is my little chipmunk friend!  I haven't seen him (or her) since last fall, so I was ever so happy to see those stripes again this week.  I saw the squirrels all winter, but not a sign of the chipmunk.  Hooray for spring!

Finally, the snow has melted away from one of my garden beds.  That was just this past week because we had quite a few days that were warmer than usual for this time of year.

I was thrilled to see my first actual blossoms in my yard today!  Here are some crocuses that have opened today.  I didn't plant these - they were already here.

We moved into the house last June, so by then, the crocuses were already finished for the year.  I wasn't sure what spring bulbs might already be in place, so my mom and I planted a whole load of tulip and daffodil bulbs last fall.  We didn't plant any crocus though.

I am so glad to see their happy little blossoms brightening my spring garden bed.  Soon the tulips will be pushing their way higher.  I can see a few emerging already.  I also saw these little green spikes emerging today.  I'm not sure what they are, but I thought it was interesting that the shoots have gone straight through the brown leaves from last year that had fallen into the bed.  They are very determined little shoots!

The bed on the other side of the house is still partially under snow.  I'll be looking forward to more blossoms in the coming weeks as the rest of the snow melts and things begin to grow in earnest.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

The female hoomin bean (FHB) was away this weekend - seriously, almost all of it.  She was at someplace called a fibre retreat and she took the wheel thing and the yarn things and the sticks for playing with yarn and she just left, without me, and didn't come back for two and a half days.  I do NOT approve of this sort of thing.  Of course, the male hoomin bean (MHB) fed me and took care of me and gave me proper attention, but it is the duty of the FHB to wait upon my needs at all times, and I did not give her any authorization to go away for any length of time.  I swear, I get no respect around here.

Fortunately, the MHB eats a lot of bananas, and that is a very good thing, because I am a big fan of all parts of the banana.  When the MHB eats his banana, I invariably get treats, which is as it should be.  He does have the bad habit of making me stand up for my banana treats, and really I should get them when I'm lying down, because I deserve to be waited upon, but I get so excited about the banana that I can't help it.

I am also very helpful with the FHB when she has crackers and cheese, or toast, and she leaves crumbs on her plate.  I assist with the washing up, by ensuring that there are no remaining crumbs.

For some reason, she has called me "over anxious" about getting to the crumbs.  I am not over anxious.  I am dedicated.

Of course, with the FHB away, and the MHB being my main source of interaction, I had to seek out back-up sources.  This means....yes, that silly looking furball in the picture below (no, I'm not talking about the wooden duck), was the target of my affections this weekend.  I'm sure glad that the FHB is home again, because Mitten was not my idea of a good companion.

Next weekend things should be back to normal, thank goodness.  Disruptions in my routine are definitely not welcome.  I almost forgot to keep my ears clean.  I hope you haven't forgotten...

Friday's Hunt v 3.14

It's Friday's Hunt on a Sunday.  This is because I have been at the Maritime Fibre Arts Retreat all weekend and have not had a chance to write a blog post.  Today's post will be a little shorter because I'm a bit time crunched - just returned late this afternoon and there's this post and Pippin's post to do, not to mention getting ready for a regular work day tomorrow.

So, this week our prompts from Eden Hills are:  Starts with N, Week's Favourite, and Blue.

Starts with N
I'm a bit stuck for N-words, but this picture I took of the ocean at the retreat hotel makes me think of the word "nautical" because it has the floating buoys and the breakwater wall, and the little bit of pier off to the left.  Bonus points on this one for the blue sky and the blue reflected on the water!

The event took place at the Atlantica Hotel at Oak Island.  Some of you may have heard of Oak Island because of its long-standing stories of being a potential location of buried treasure, and more recently there has apparently been a television series made about it.  I wasn't aware of that program, but I heard about it this past weekend from other participants.

Week's Favourite
My favourite picture this week is this little song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) that I snapped on a walk around the grounds at the hotel where the retreat took place.  It was singing a wonderful little song of spring and it made my heart happy to see and hear it, knowing that spring really is coming soon.

In other signs of spring this past week, I have finally seen some American robins, and also the first dark-eyed junco since late last fall.  I also saw these beautiful croci in someone's front yard, also near the retreat hotel - so that's a bonus favourite picture for the week!

Things can get a little silly at the fibre arts retreat.  Last night, when I was trying to decide what to spin next, I put a batt of blue fibre on my head, and pondered what I might look like if I dyed my hair blue.  My friend and retreat roommate Tammy took this picture of me with blue "hair" which I think works quite well for this week's prompt!  By the way....yes...pajama wearing in the evenings is entirely encouraged!

Bonus blue shot - this common loon (Gavia immer) with the sky reflected in the water makes a lovely blue composition.  You can see that it is in the plumage transition from non-breeding season to its breeding plumage.  The black and white patterning on the back will become more distinct and the head will lose the brownish tones.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

It's me, Pippin!  Today, we are going to talk about an important subject.  Well, I only ever talk about important subjects, but today the subject is sharing.  We have to talk about this because I need my fellow rabbits to understand that sometimes, sharing is the route of least resistance.

Buns and Bunettes, I'm talking about your potential roommate, the cat.  Do you have one?  Here is a little flow chart I made to help you figure out if you have a cat.  There may be exceptions to these rules, but this is a general approach.

I'm still doing a little research on the squirrel part of the chart.  But basically, you should be able to figure out if you have a cat.  If it's not a cat, more research may be needed.

So if you have a cat, as I do (and really, what were the hoomin beans thinking when they got that thing?), you have to deal with the potential matter of sharing.  First of all, there may be fun toys laying around the house.  Some of them might be full of little bits of green stuff that smells nice and herbal.  I'm telling you, the cat gets really weird around the herbal stuff.  Only play with the toys when the cat is not in the vicinity.  I think they might hallucinate a bit with that green stuff.  But it tastes good and it won't make you hallucinate, so no worries there.

Some cats, like mine, think they need your hay.  I know, I're going to tell me that cats don't eat hay and they're not ruminants and all that, which is totally correct.  But here's the thing. Cats are kind of stupid.  If you have something, they think they want it, whether they really want it or not.

So here I am, all comfy in my hay feeder, chowing down on the latest batch of fresh hay.  And who's sitting there staring at me?  Yep, the cat.  He freaks me out, but I just go about my business, because I'm all about the business of eating hay.

So then you see how he's leaning in there?  All kind of nonchalant, like he thinks I don't see him ogling my hay.

I turn around for one second!  One second, to check my tail is still attached, as you do, and then he's into it.  He's taking my hay.

Then look at him!  He's totally giving me the hairy eyeball.  I see the look on his face...what the heck am I doing in his hay feeder?  The nerve!  It's MY hay feeder.  So I leave a few poops in the litter box, and go watch from across the room.

He's not deterred by poops....see him licking his chops?

And there you have it folks, the hay-eating cat.  Look at those fangs!

The point is, my fellow just have to let it be.  It's better to let the stupid cat have a few pieces of hay, which he just chews on like it's a piece of rawhide or something, and later he spits it out and plays with it on the floor.  Share the hay and you'll avoid getting a swat.  Besides, maybe the cat won't be watching so you can go eat the green stuff in his cat toy.

Don't sweat the small stuff.  Lay on your rug, chill out, and know that you, my furry friend, will get the majority of that hay, and the cat will probably throw it up in a hairball later.  Then who gets the lovin' from the hoomin beans?  Yep, all yours.  See you next week, and keep cleaning those ears!