Sunday, May 28, 2017

Brief Bunday Blog Business

This week's Bunday Blog is, unfortunately, brief.  

The female hoomin bean (FHB) says there is just no time for blogging.  Doesn't she know how important it is?   

She says she is way behind on her work commitments and is going into panic mode.  We don't like it when she gets that way. 

Also, she has a very funny voice at the moment because she has some kind of respiratory illness and she sounds like a cross between a mouse and a frog.  Maybe some donkey noises thrown in for good measure.  We still love her because she picks dandelions for us, even when she is busy.  

Here you can see that Lady Épinette Nutkin's fur is growing back following her spaying operation. She likes to lie down on her side.  I just stay upright, to protect her in case of intruders.  The FHB says there won't be any intruders, but one cannot be too careful, especially when the FHB might be too busy to notice.

We hope that the FHB will give us more computer time next Bunday.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Friday's Hunt, v 3.21

Here I am doing Friday's Hunt on a Saturday.  I have a good excuse this time.  I have been away all week and only returned late yesterday from Ottawa, Ontario.  I had about a 9-hour drive yesterday, most of which was made in the pouring rain - that kind of rain that is so heavy that your car's windshield wipers simply can't keep up, even when they're on the crazy fast setting.  There were numerous accidents along the way, mostly from hydroplaning.  When I stopped for gas, I was warned at both gas stations that there had been reports of hydroplaning accidents in the direction I was headed.  It was an unpleasant drive, and when one must be extra-vigilant about one's speed and also other vehicles, it is particularly draining.

Added to that, I am really quite ill.  I have been harbouring some kind of respiratory-virus-of-doom all week, which has resulted in incessant coughing, sneezing, and the usual unpleasant cotton-wool-filled-head syndrome that goes with such symptoms.  In addition, I have been gradually losing my voice, until today, when it entirely gave up and now all I can do is whisper, or croak in a really harsh way.  Nevertheless, I have a boatload of work to get done, so I worked most of today.

All this is to say, I'm not quite up to my usual standards.  But at least I'm here!

The prompts from Eden Hills for this week are:  Starts with U, Week's Favourite, and Kids

Starts with U
U is for unexpected.  When I got to my Ottawa hotel room, I noticed a pretty artwork on the wall.  It was about 12 inches square.

I thought it looked similar to the artwork on my living room wall, which is about 2.5 or 3 feet square. The colours in this shot aren't very good - I had to take it in the evening light with my phone - but you get the idea.

Sure enough, upon close inspection, I saw that the artist is the same.  It was nice to have an unexpected connection to home in my hotel room while I was away.

Week's Favourite
Due to being on the road this week, and working some crazy hours, I really didn't take many photos. I did visit two on-farm fromageries (cheese-making facilities) in Quebec on my drive home.  They make small batches of artisanal cheese that are extremely good, and I sure wish I had a fromagerie close to where I live!  In one of the very brief periods of respite from the rain, I took this picture of the sheep at Fromagerie Le Mouton Blanc.  It was lovely to see the sheep grazing outside, and today I tasted some of the cheese made with their rich milk.  Absolutely heavenly!

This is probably the hardest prompt I've had from Eden Hills.  Quite a few years ago, I had a big flock of sheep and goats and I would have had cute kid pictures, but not any more.  I have no human kids, and I don't spend time around human kids either, since I am not very fond of them.  Thus, I don't take pictures of them!  We'll just have to make do with this old picture from April 10, 2010.  This is me with two of the kids from my former Iowa farm.

I sure do miss having a farm with enough land to have goat kids.  On the other hand, the difficult thing about having goat kids is that you either have to keep them all, or find good homes for them, and that was a very difficult thing to do.  I felt increasingly uncomfortable with breeding my animals when I had them, and I think if I still had breeding animals, I probably wouldn't keep breeding them. I just can't handle taking them to the auction to be sold for meat, and unless I know the home that they are going to really well, I'm not happy with selling them.  It's a predicament that I don't want to face again.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

Well, today is quite exciting.  I am bringing you my report from the great outdoors!

The Lady Épinette Nutkin and I are enjoying some time in the sun!  The female hoomin bean (FHB) set up the exercise pen for us outside in the yard.  We are helping her by mowing the lawn.  Do not worry about us - she is monitoring us and there is netting over the top of the pen, so the hawks will not decide that we look tasty.

The FHB even picked some extra dandelions for us and we are snacking on those.

She gave us a water dish because it is warm and sunny, and we might get thirsty.  She also gave us a box for some shade, or to hide in if we get scared.

My recommendation is that all you buns reading the blog should encourage your hoomin bean to get you an exercise pen so you can go out in the sunshine too.  The air is full of interesting smells and the grass is really soft under your feet, and you can eat the dandelions and grass and feel like you are on a holiday.  Don't go on the grass if your hoomin bean sprays it with nasty chemicals.  Our hoomin beans do not spray at all, and they think that is best, so we don't have to worry about that problem here.

Sometimes we hear the goat - her name is Lucky Nickel.  She is always complaining about something.  Right now, her fleece is coming off.  The FHB didn't have time to shear her yet, and it's still cold at night.  The FHB says that Lucky Nickel looks like the wreck of the Hesperus.  We don't know anything about the Hesperus, but she is a funny looking goat.  We think she is interesting, but we are keeping our distance.

Have a dandelion-filled week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.20

It's Friday again, and another busy week has passed by.  We've had loads of rain over the past few weeks here in eastern Canada, and there's more rain on the way.  It might result in some heavy mosquito populations this year, which doesn't make me very happy, but at least I have the screened-in porch to sit in (if I ever get the time) where I won't be eaten by bugs!

Today's prompts from Eden Hills are:  Starts with T, Week's Favourite, and Food.

Starts with T:
Silly me - I did a big post all about my tulips yesterday.  Do check it out if you like flowers and have the time to take a peek.  I guess I can't do tulips again.  This week I took some photographs of a pair of mourning doves who came to eat the seeds under my bird feeder.  The name for mourning doves in French is Tourterelle Triste.

The word tourterelle means "turtle dove" (such as the 3 turtle doves in the Christmas carol).  The word triste means sad.  So the literal translation is sad turtle dove.  This is approximately the same as our English name, mourning dove.

I had not really noticed before, but the tourterelle triste has a patch of iridescent feathers on the side of its neck.  They were glistening in the sun yesterday, and it was quite noticeable.

Bonus tulip, just for fun.  My favourite one.

Week's Favourite:
I really like this picture I took of a blue jay in my yard - they are very skittish and not always easy to photograph.  I was really happy to get this clear shot.

I was also really pleased with some pictures I took of a southern red-backed vole.  They are through the window, so not perfect, but still not bad for such a tiny critter.  This was my favourite picture, with his tiny paws showing.  Absolutely adorable!

I am very interested in bees.  They are such a vital part of our ecosystem, and they need all the help they can get these days.  I was therefore concerned when I recently noticed a bumblebee on the screen of my screened in porch over several days.  It has been there for at least 3 days, which is the length of time I've been watching a robin make its nest (another post!) and I was becoming concerned about my buzzing little friend.  The bee had not moved at all for the past 2 days, and we have had very wet, dreary and cool weather.  Sometimes, early in the spring (which it certainly is here), bumblebees can get tired and cold.  There are not many flowers blooming yet, so their food sources are a bit scarce and the weather isn't helping.  If they are unable to get enough nectar to retain body temperature, they cannot fly, and they will just sit somewhere until they die.  So, my bee needed FOOD!

I brought my little fuzzy friend inside and prepared a slightly warm solution of about 30% honey and 70% water, in accordance with advice I found on a bee web site.  I put her in a bowl with a few leaves and sprinkled the solution on the leaves, and then poked some holes in a plastic wrap topper for the bowl.  I then set her on my desk near my work lamp where it is warm.  Here is the bee on a leaf.

Within about 30 minutes, my little friend was drinking the honey water and within about half an hour, she was already buzzing around the bowl.  It was remarkable how quickly she perked up after so many days of being immobile.  What started out as a clumsy and stumbling bee was now a normally-behaving, energetic bee.  Here she is with her tongue out - you can see it in the front touching the bottom of the bowl.  She was quickly ingesting the honey solution.  I believe it is Bombus impatiens, the common eastern bumble bee.

Every bee's life counts in today's environment, with these critical pollinators being subject to many challenging conditions.  I'm glad that I was able to help this bee get back on its feet.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tulip Time

I am very pleased with the tulips that my mother and I planted last fall.  They are now flowering and the colours are so cheerful - they make me smile every time I look out the kitchen window.

I had purchased a few boxes of assorted tulip bulbs so I had expected a range of colours. Unfortunately, I have some reds mixed in with pinks, which I will fix before next spring.  Overall though, they have made a lovely spring display.  You can see the forget-me-nots are in bloom as well, and in the background, there are some allium buds that are not yet open.

One of the assortments was the regular style tulip flowers in an assortment of pinks and purples.

The shades are so rich and warm.  I love the deep plum on the left.

My favourite from this assortment is a white flower that has pink accents on it.  It is a really beautiful flower and I would like to find more of these to add to the garden for next year.

One of the assortments had the frilly-type flowers, and a large proportion of that box of bulbs is a bright magenta colour.  I am especially fond of these.

There are also some lovely yellow and red tulips - these are on especially long stems.  I will plant the red and yellow ones together in a bed that is separate from the pink and purple ones.  I love all the colours, but I'm not keen on the look of red and pink together.

Some of the flowers have very fine "shaggy" edges that give them an interesting appearance.  I think these are my favourite ones.

This one looks as if it is on fire.

My favourite in the shaggy-edged ones - this white and red one.  What a show-stopper!

I think we planted three boxes of mixed bulbs with 20 or so bulbs per box.  If I remember correctly, they were $9.99 for a box.  I would say that it was well worth the cost and the effort in planting to have such a stunning spring display.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

The female hoomin bean (FHB) has been super-duper busy this week.  She has sat at her desk every day, all day, typing and grumbling and making flow diagrams and grumbling some more.  She gets a bit distracted when she's like that.  Sometimes, she does questionable things without really thinking about it.  For example, this week, she gave us hats.  Honestly, what was she thinking?

I tried mine on, but it wasn't at all suitable for my regal bearing. 

My Lady Épinette Nutkin tried hers on and was briefly traumatized into stillness...

...and then she realized her photo was being taken and was utterly horrified.

I had to console her afterwards.

No, dear FHB, we do not want hats.  At least, not ones like that.

On the positive side, after she grew tired of repeatedly filling our water bottle, the FHB decided that we should have a larger water repository, so she gave us our water in a cats-are-old dish.

I don't know why they call it a cats-are-old dish.  Maybe it's the kind of dish that cats eat from when they are old because they lose the ability to eat tidily and make a big mess, most of which gets caught in the dish. The FHB said that she used it previously to cook cats-are-olds in it, but really, she can't possibly have cooked a cat because she is not that crazy.  Yet.  In any case, it holds a lot of water for us and we are quite pleased with it.

I think we might need an intervention with the FHB to stop her from working so much.  Somebody ought to feed her more alfalfa.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.19

This week....good grief.  I can't even say where the time went.  Busy does not begin to cover it.  Not very creative today I'm afraid, but at least I managed to get a post written!  Rather bird-focused today, but that is about all I have to share because otherwise, it's all work!

Our prompts this week:  Starts with S, Week's Favourite, Family

Starts with S:
This is a Song Sparrow, which I photographed in my parents' garden last weekend when I was visiting them.  I usually see different birds when I visit them, and this time was no exception.  So far, I haven't seen a Song Sparrow in my yard.

Interestingly, the Song Sparrow has a remarkable range of subspecies - about 30! - across North America.  This one is the typical eastern variant.

Week's Favourite:
I was pleased this week to see a Northern Flicker for the first time in my front yard.  I managed to get a picture of it - not a great picture, but it was exciting to see a new-to-my-yard bird, so that makes it my favourite!

I am hoping that a new family will soon be underway in temporary housing on my downspout!  This week, an American Robin built her nest there, and she took three days to complete the process.

Day 1

Day 2

On day 3, it looked similar to day 2, but a bit more built up.  Here she is sitting in her nest on day 3.

It was interesting to see her coming and going with bits of twig, and then smaller bits of twig, and then grasses.  She ended up bringing chunks of mud that she used to push into the nest sides, presumably for strengthening it, and making a lining that is smooth and soft.  I will be checking it to see how many eggs have been laid in it. Last year a robin built its nest in the climbing hydrangea which is just adjacent to this spot, so it might be the same pair I suppose. I do look forward to seeing a robin family over the next few weeks!