Thursday, January 21, 2021

Snippets

A couple of years ago now, maybe, a bit of coffee got spilt on the back of my DSLR camera.  It was in the spot where the LCD screen folds into, and as far as I could see, that area was sealed, so I didn't think it was a big deal.  But it was, and my camera died.  

Lately I've been using my phone camera.  My phone is a cheap one, so some pictures don't always come out well.  I have been trying some pictures on the manual setting, and sometimes I can get some decent ones.  
 
These are from our morning walk one day earlier in the week.  We have been lucky just lately, with no rain and sunshine.  This picture doesn't do the scene justice, but all those little blobs of moss on an old apple tree were just glowing emerald with the sun shining through them.



Ferns and moss about 6' up on a Big Leaf Maple.



This spot on our trail is called 'At the maples'.  A clump of maples all growing from the same spot



I love the bokeh I got with this moss photo.





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Last week I picked up an ironing board for 50 cents at the thrift store.  We took the legs off and I used double sided tape to stick some rubber mats on it.  A ramp for the car.  It weighs nothing and just fits in the trunk.  It will mostly be used for Luna getting in the car.  She can get out okay, but some days can't get in well.  She has always been weird about getting in.  She stands so far back and takes this flying leap, that lately results in slamming her belly into the edge of the seat.  She doesn't like to be lifted, and sits down or backs away.  Jake just waits to be lifted in and out, but he could use the ramp too.


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We have been meeting Meredith most weekends for a walk.  She hasn't been coming over since the Covid restrictions were tightened.  Last Sunday we walked around a wetlands not far from where we used to live.  The parking lot was almost full and there seemed to be loads of people heading off around the trail.  The trail was wide open with room to get well out of the way when other dogs were coming.  Luna was a good girl, distance and liver treats made for a good dog.




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On our usual afternoon walk around the block, we were really noticing the longer days.  We can start at 4:30 now and still get home before dark.  Mist rising from the field.


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On New Years Eve the tree guys were working in our neighbourhood.  I asked them if they would dump their loads at our place.  We put a big tarp down at the top of the driveway and they backed up and dumped two loads.  Yee Ha!!


Every morning on our way out to the back bush we each push a wheelbarrow's worth out to the garden.  I'm covering up a low area with cardboard, and then a few inches of wood chips on top.  The cardboard is to stop the grass from growing through the chips.  It will rot away over the summer.  It's the area where I'm planning on having the squash vines sprawl.  On the right where you see the thin white lines on the ground, well that's a long bed that has been spread with chicken manure and then mulched with leaves, and some old electronet fencing laid on top to stop the leaves from blowing away.  That's where I'll plant the squash this summer, and then try to direct all the vines over the wood chips.  Wish me luck!


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Bella melted!
I don't talk about Bella much, but I couldn't resist these pictures.  We've never seen her lay like this before!  Talk about 'Does this position make me look fat?' 
Yes Bella, yes it does!



 She is not a small cat and her weight is perfect for her size.



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And last but not least, another day this week when we had a beautiful blue sky and clouds afternoon.



These last four were when we did the late afternoon walk, and make it appear darker than it really was.





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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Wyndson Farm Gong Show.

We have a seasonal creek in our back bush.  It dries up in the summer and then is wet through the rainy season and winter, which are the same thing really.   We cross it twice.  One crossing has a few culverts put in so we can drive across with the tractor, but the upstream one hasn't leant itself to culverts, as it is a wide shallow crossing where the trail is.  At times we've tried to make the crossing drier, but they were feeble attempts and didn't last long.  

You may remember that I used to compete in dog agility with Jake and Luna, and for many years I was the equipment manager for our club.  At some point we were upgrading some equipment, and we ended up with two 12' long, 1' wide, plywood covered aluminum frames.  They were the up and down planks of the dogwalk, which had one plank leading up to a horizontal plank about 4.5' above the ground, and the third plank was the down ramp at the other end.  The planks we had were the up and down planks, and had little wood slats across them for grip.  Then it was determined that dogs were jamming their toes on the slats on the way down, and a better grippy rubber coating had been developed for the dogwalk, so our club replaced the whole thing and somehow we ended up storing the old planks in the rafters of the barn.  

Okay, that was probably more info than you wanted, but I'm very good at making a short story into a long story.

At some point I decided to take the wood slats off, so that left bare wood.  One day I had a eureka moment and suggested we use the planks for a bridge across the creek.  But there was that bare wood, and that needed painting to protect it.  And months later Larry finally painted them and we set them up and they worked well.  

This was definitely a rainy season kind of day!


Since Jake is now well over 16, he certainly isn't the agility dog he once was.  He could still manage to do stairs with some assistance, but one day Larry joked that it sure would be nice if we had a ramp from the back door down to the patio, which currently are 9 steps apart.   And  I said, well, those dogwalk planks that we are using for a bridge would be great for that.  And Larry thought it was such a good idea and well worth trying, that he didn't waste any time putting it into action.

He decided he would pick up the planks the same way he had installed them.  I was thinking that it was a lot dryer when he installed them, we had had an awful lot of rain since then. But I thought I wouldn't say anything, I do tend to nag, and sometimes I just try to keep my mouth shut.  I regretted that!  When he had taken the planks out there, there was no bucket on the tractor.  Now the bucket was on, which makes the tractor that much longer, and more difficult to maneuver in tight places.  So he went round the loop of the trail, loaded up the planks and was driving out across the creek.  I didn't actually think to take any pictures while this was all happening, and just took these few here when it was over.
See that tree trunk on the right.  He had to avoid hitting that with the tractor bucket.



And see that hole there on the left where the culvert is falling into the creek?  He had to avoid that too.  It was pretty mucky on the right side too.  Too long of a vehicle, too many things to avoid, so the front left wheel ended up in that gap between culverts.  The tractor doesn't have four wheel drive, so it was stuck. 


Larry walked back to the house, got the truck, put some weight in the back and brought out some equipment.  He backed into the trail, the idea being to attach a come-along to the tractor and the trailer hitch on the truck, and try winch it out of the hole.  I was watching the passenger side of the truck as he backed it in, and he was supposed to be watching his side, but ended up putting the back wheel off the trail, and now the truck was stuck! No four wheel drive on the truck either.  So we got the come-along attached to the front of the truck and a convenient tree and I started cranking the lever as he gave the truck a bit of gas.  He had not realized that he had brought the wrong come-along though.  One side of the drum had corroded away.  I had cranked it and the cable slipped off the drum and got stuck down the side and there was no cranking it tighter or getting it to loosen off.  At this point we are starting to think about embarrassing ourselves and going to a neighbour  and asking for help.   Sometimes you just feel so dumb!



See those things on the back of the trailer with the holes?  They are called sand ladders and you can put them down to drive over in soft ground.  So we started digging in front of the back wheels of the truck and managed to get the sand ladders under the tires enough for them to grab and move ahead.  Thank goodness, one vehicle unstuck!



So then I suggested that we use the bucket of the tractor to help us.  You tip the bucket down and lower it to the ground and keep pushing on the lever.  Since the bucket can't go down any more, something has to give and the front of the tractor lifts up.  So with the front wheels of the tractor now off the ground, we where able to span that gap in the culverts with one of the sand ladders, and put the other one under the right wheel, and when the wheels where back on the ground the tractor moved ahead and all was well!  
Well what a relief!  We had a good laugh at ourselves and felt good we didn't have to call on a neighbour.  
A lesson learned? One can only hope.



So here's the planks back at the house.  They are a success!  We have wire on the the other side now at the bottom so Jake can't fall off the side.  We took those rubber mats off because they are deadly if there is a bit of frost, and  bought a couple of rolls of that nubbly rubber shelf liner stuff from the dollar store and stapled that down.  It is better in the frost, but not perfect, so we have to check when we have had a clear night.



Luna has turned 13 and she is having some issues with her back legs, and sometimes crashes coming up the stairs, so the ramp is handy for her too.

We only had 9 days without rain in December, and a foot of rain, and already 4 " of rain this month with one or two dry days.  Very very few hours of sunshine.  Kind of depressing really.

Dreaming of nicer days

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Monday, December 28, 2020

White Christmas

About a week before Christmas there seemed like there was no hope of there being a white one.  And then suddenly a blip appeared in the forecast.  All of a sudden there was a chance of a wet system colliding with a cold system, right over us!  Elevations over 200m were supposed to get snow, with places closer to sea level being mixed rain and snow.  Well we are about 100m above sea level.  Lots of times the forecast snow never materializes, so we didn't pay much attention.

Monday morning, the 21st, dawned wet and grey.  Very wet in fact.  But, some of the rain drops were looking a little more obvious than others.  When we went on our morning bush walk, water was everywhere, and the creek was flowing with more water than the culvert could handle, and was rushing across the trail.  But as we walked, the snow flakes became more obvious mixed in with the rain, and during the day the snow took over.

By the time we set off on our late afternoon walk around the block it was a winter wonderland!



These bulbs looked so pretty glowing through the snow.



Our neighbour's house looked so pretty



But across the road there was a mess to clean up.  The snow was wet and heavy and branches brought  down some powerlines.  Ours went out the next morning.  We made sure we didn't walk under any trees, and detoured out into another neighbour's field to avoid some.



My star made out of coathangers, on our gate.  It didn't look like a star from a distance, I didn't have enough white lights.



There was some cracking and crashing during the night.  One branch near the top of a large evergreen next to the house brought down a lot of other branches as it fell, and crushed the fence.  We cleaned it up today.  A few chickens were using the branches as a way to get out.



Tuesday morning the snow had stopped, and it was so pretty.  8" measured on the front lawn.



The setting sun and rising fog late that afternoon made for some pretty pictures.





And then back at home, the sun was down and the moon was up.




I had missed the walk on Tuesday morning as I had a dentist appointment for two molars to be extracted.  I joked that it was my Christmas diet plan.
Larry told me that he had to crawl on his hands and knees on some parts of the trail that morning.



We had taken the little battery chainsaw out with us, so we used that until the battery ran out.




Jake at 16 1/2.  He just keeps plodding onπŸ’—




That afternoon I spent far too much time trying to get chickens to cooperate in a photoshoot that in my head, worked out so well.  Ha, ha, just the opposite in real life.  




Wednesday night the fog and freezing temperatures had made for some sparkly hoar frost Thursday morning.




Crystals on the grass sticking through the ice.



Alder catkins




The battery had been recharged, and that morning we got the rest of the trail cleared out enough to walk through .



Blackberry leaves



On Christmas day we went for a walk to the dyke.  As a single, it was 'ok' for our daughter to come for Christmas.  She has made up our bubble of three through this whole pandemic.  Our son and girlfriend stayed in Alberta.  

A white Christmas, although the day was gray and the snow was soggy.






There were lots of other dogs and their people down there.  Luna is not fond of strange dogs, so I took her down by the creek for her own photoshoot!



She's keeping an eye on brother Jake greeting those other dogs on the top of the dyke.

  



We went back home and got the turkey cooking.  It was small and I had brined it, which makes it cook faster it seems.  The meat thermometer eventually showed it as easily cooked, no matter where I poked the probe in.  I put it aside to rest, while the rest of the dishes finished cooking.  Everything was ready to go, just the turkey needed carving.  Larry started and then I noticed slightly pink juice.  Ugh!  Back in the oven it went, but everything else was ready, so we just ate dinner without the turkey.  And to be honest, no one missed it.  Now the leftovers have been eaten up as of today, with lots of turkey left still. Turkey soup coming up.


I hope you had a decent Christmas this year, wonderful in it's own way, no matter how you celebrated it.πŸ’–