Sunday, April 29, 2018

Still Here

We had a very wet Spring this year, cool too.   Not as bad as some people, who had snow until past the middle of April.  It's all relative though, I think everyone had a later, colder, wetter or snowier Spring.

The Trilliums in our bush have been blooming for quite a while.  They have all reached the pinky purply colour now.  One day I saw a clump of bigger looking Trilliums (not only do they have three petals, but most often seem to grow in clumps of three), so I crashed through the bush to get to them. On the way I came across the deer skull from the cougar kill of a few summers ago, so I carried it over to the Trilliums.  There was something about the contrast, death and rebirth maybe, and I was so taken up with the skull next to the Trilliums that I didn't even get a decent picture of them.


  
Now I'm not really big on using dog coats, but with so many rainy days, sometimes you just want to have less 'dog' to dry off when you get back to the house.  I found the nice red one for Jake at the thrift store just recently, it is a good fit and lots of coverage, and it only cost me $5.  I think he looks like a red burrito!




Luna and Bella had some deep discussions about the endless rain.....



I took the ducks out for a paddle in the drainage canal I dug next to the new row of rhubarb I planted. I've already mentioned the local Bidding Wars group on Facebook that I'm active in.  Well this time I was the winner of a whole bunch of rhubarb plants.  Enough to plant a row of about 20, and another 20 or so that I potted up and will take to the market, which starts in a week!



Then I took the ducks for a visit with the chickens, who didn't give a hoot, or a quack!  The wet hens have the same 'tail down' posture of the ducks.


I planted some kohlrabi and broccoli seedlings, and spread some of the ash from the wood stove around them.  It's supposed to help prevent club root.  The big plants are kale from last year, which are sending out nice tender leaves before they flower and go to seed.



There's a new man in the flock.  The little rooster in the header photo passed away a few weeks ago, he was a good age, he lived at least nine years at our place.  Just after that a free little rooster came up  in a Facebook group I'm in, so I offered him a good home, and went and picked him up.  I like to have a rooster to give a warning when predators are near.  There was a great carry on the other day, I could hear the rooster's little voice shrieking 'danger, danger'.  When we ran outside there was nothing to see, the hens were all hiding, so maybe an eagle had made a low pass.



Getting this new little guy, who is quite vocal, made me realize that our old one wasn't using his voice much in the last while.  I like to hear a rooster crow!



All the rain meant there was lots of opportunities for getting stocked up with jam and marmalade.  I didn't take all those opportunities, but did get some made.  The fixings for Three Fruit marmalade in this picture



When you have two leaky boots that are opposite feet, the Fashion Forward Frugal Farmer puts the two good ones together and makes a statement! 



And does something fun with the leaky two!



And then it seemed like we went from a wet cold Spring straight into Summer.  Warm and sunny, shorts and t-shirt weather, and the dog's first official swimming session of the season!




The greenhouse is getting a bit of use, I've planted a few tomato plants and potted up some of the Red Russian kale that seeds itself in the vegetable garden each year.



The trees have all burst into full bloom.  That's the ornamental cherry in front, the Bartlett pear in the centre, the Comice pear to the right of it by the barn, and to the left an unknown apple tree just coming into bloom.  On the left of that, quite tall, is what's left of a cherry tree.  We'll be lucky to get any of those cherries. That dark thing down the left side of the photo is the cover over the patio umbrella which I should have cropped out.  It is hiding a clothesline of laundry, of the sort I wouldn't want to be in the photo­čść



When you stood next to the fruit trees you could hear the wonderful roar of many many bees hard at work. Here on the Bartlett tree.



And another bee on an apple blossom



A few tulips whose days are just about done



And pansies, that I'm pretty sure were planted here in Spring of 2017!!



Even out in our bush, the wild cherries are just a mass of blooms, we have never noticed so many as this year.  The pink is the salmonberries blooming.  


And now, unfortunately, we are back into cold and rain.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Thing About Cats........

Cats just seem to find us.  I thought about all the cats that have been in my life, and I could only come up with four that were purposely acquired.  And two of those, I'm just guessing about, since it is far too many years ago.  The other 10 or 12 just sort of showed up.

Since I've been blogging, we had Meredith's cat here, Smudge, and then after my mum had her stroke and was not able to return home again, we took in her cat Nelson.  When Meredith bought her own place, Smudge went with her and lived to the ripe old age of 19.  

Nelson had some health issues, including a probably cancerous tumour in his mouth.  That was operated on, although did return to a degree, and other health issues developed.  Last summer we decided it was best to send Nelson to the Happy Hunting Ground. 
So then we were without a cat.  I thought that would be fine, because we were more dog people than cat people.  But it just seemed a bit weird, something was missing in the house.

In the meantime, about six months after the passing of Smudge, Meredith had decided that she would like to get two cats, that would be company for each other.  She really was only supposed to have one cat where she lived, but who was to know...

A friend she worked with knew of someone who was looking to rehome their two cats, because their toddler was making the cat's lives miserable.  Meredith saw a picture of them curled up together.  She went to visit them, and fell in love, and brought them home.

The cats were stressed of course, and then it seemed like they weren't getting along with each other.  Meredith tried everything.  Introducing them slowly, one in a pen, one out loose, calming pheromones, cat nip.  It would seem like it was going well, and then they would have a fight.  And since it takes two cats to have a fight, there was the worry that someone might complain.  She came to the conclusion that in their previous home they had a common enemy, the obnoxious toddler, and now that common enemy was no longer an issue.....Who knows.  So when Meredith wasn't home she had to keep Bella locked in the bedroom.

It was sort of working out, but it wasn't really much of a life for Bella, so I offered for her to bring Bella here and we would see how it went.  So one time when we were away and Meredith was chicken sitting, she brought Bella over and left her locked in the bedroom here during the day.  Bella is still Meredith's cat, but she lives with us.  She adapted quickly, and although she wasn't used to dogs or being outside, she adapted quickly to that too.

When Meredith acquired Bella and Toast, Bella was BIG!  Overweight, and she didn't lose any of it at Meredith's.  She would flop down on the floor and expose her big fat belly and I'd call her Big Bella, a beached whale, Portabella, etc.  She was 14+ pounds.  She slowly, very slowly, started to lose a bit of weight here, but still had a long way to go.

Last Fall I switched her over to a raw diet, and between that and going outside quite regularly, she lost about 3 lbs and now is a decent weight.

She is an adventurous cat, and when she first arrived we 'lost' her several times in the house.  She will drink out of the toilet if the lid is left up.  Here she has jumped from the toilet seat to the window sill.



This time we lost her, and then found her in our closet.










She is an easy going cat. Didn't bat at any tree ornaments, and was totally fine wearing her Jester collar.  What she does go crazy over is any light reflection on the floor or wall.  She loves chasing a laser pointer.












She has got quite adventurous and will join us outside quite some distance from the house.





She is mostly an inside cat, always in at night, and almost always in when we aren't home.


The other day she joined me and the dogs in the hayfield.  I was the throwing balls for the dogs.  Sometimes she would chase the ball, it was hilarious. 
I wonder if I got one she could pick up, whether she would bring it back.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Easter in Edmonton

David and Melissa moved to Edmonton last year,  David at the beginning of May, and then Melissa joined him in the middle of June.  Since June we've seen them several times, but we have not actually seen them in Edmonton.  

A while back the decision was made to try get out there for Easter.  Originally we were going to drive (it's about a 12 hour trip), and then as it got closer we changed our minds and decided to fly.  Of course being the Easter weekend, all the cheap flight options were snapped up quickly, but we did the best we could.  The flight out was not direct and was stopping at Calgary.  Bummer, but it would be supper time so we figured we could get something to eat to pass the time until the flight for Edmonton left.

We were leaving from our local Abbotsford airport, less than 20 minutes from home.  We got to the airport and got in the security lineup, which was going no where as security wasn't open yet. Huh?  Eventually someone came along and asked all those going to Edmonton to come back down to the check in counter.  It seems there was a maintenance issue in Calgary.  The plane we were supposed to board was going to be late leaving Calgary, which meant that by the time it got to Abbotsford and took us back to Calgary, we would miss our connection to Edmonton.  So they switched us to a direct, but later flight to Edmonton.  Instead of landing there at 9:30, now we were going to land at midnight.  Not so great for David and Melissa, who are early risers.  But, it's not like we had a choice.  We were given food vouchers, so we stayed at the airport for something to eat, and then headed back home for a couple of hours.  I let Meredith know that she didn't need to come over yet.  The extra time was enough to make a batch of muffins, take the dogs for their evening walk, and get the chickens all shut in. 

 Larry had been having severe back issues.  Compressed disc or something, move wrong and he'd scream in pain and just about collapse to the ground.  He'd been to the chiropractor the previous two days, and was getting around carefully, with the help of a cane.  Basically though, he wasn't doing much of anything else.  I guess if you want to look on the bright side, we got to use the priority boarding!  Anyway, we made it to Edmonton without him having too much of an issue. 

 Now Easter and Spring go together in my mind, but Edmonton is still in the grips of winter.  They have had snow on the ground every day but one since the start of November. It was bitterly cold there that night, something like -25 with the wind chill.  A fellow directed us to the pickup area and said there was a heated waiting room to wait in.  I had already texted David to say we had landed, and then let him know we were waiting.  I didn't get a reply, which was a bit concerning.  I tried a few times, and then phoned him, and then phoned and texted Melissa, and no answer from either of them.  We took turns heading out into the cold to check the line ups of waiting vehicles to see if we could see our ride.  Larry would walk one way and come back in to warm up, and  then I'd go the other.  Other passengers came and went.  We waited and waited, and tried to make contact with them. I eventually looked up the name of the place they lived and got a number for the landlord upstairs.  The phone didn't get picked up there either, so I left a message, but didn't expect to hear back since it was getting close to 1am.  Buy this time my mind is looking at other options.  Were they on their way to the airport and were in a serious accident?  I looked up hospitals, but lots of them, where to start?  We waited some more.  Finally I looked up police stations.  There was one right at the airport.  I called there, but it was airport security.  I explained our predicament and said I was trying to find out if there had been any serious traffic accidents.  The lady seemed quite concerned, and gave me another number to call, which I did.  I was put on hold, and it was then that I got a call from David, I think it was about 1:20 or so, and we had been waiting since midnight.  Sorry, sorry, he had fallen asleep, he was on his way.  

 It's probably just as well it took him 20 -25 minutes to get there, it gave us chance to recover (I shed a few tears of relief).  It was just such a damn helpless feeling of not knowing what to do.  Larry had to get off his feet, and tried out the chairs.  We had joked (in a worried way) about spending the night there.  Things always seem sooo much worse in the middle of the night.


Anyway, all was good, David was a bit sheepish,  we were just so relieved.....
The next morning Melissa said that she had woken up and wondered why all the lights were still on and woke David up to ask him if he had picked up his parents...... She said he just about had a panic attack. 
 I don't hold a grudge but reserve the right to milk the story for all it's worth!  

The next morning it was still bitterly cold early on.  We went to the barn where Melissa boards her two horses, and there are trails to walk the dogs there.  Even the dogs had coats. 




A man and his dog.  Warming up a bit now.



Fritz and Elmo.  They have stalls in a heated barn for the night.






In the afternoon, we drove to see the house that David is buying, he hopes.  He was actually to get possession the Tuesday before we arrived.  We had planned on helping with some things that needed doing.  On Monday he got word that the deal was on hold because the seller lived abroad and because  CRA held back part of the money from the sale, he didn't have enough money to pay off the mortgage.  What a pain in the patootie.... So now they are just waiting, waiting, waiting, (like us at the airport, ha!) to see if the seller can get the money sorted out so the deal can be completed.  We went to a few second hand building supply type places I told him about, although Melissa was the only one that bought something.


Maybe it was here that my visa card fell out of my phone case, but somewhere it went missing between buying gas on the way home from the airport on Friday, and a bit later Saturday afternoon.  I put the card on hold until we got back home, but couldn't find it anywhere so had to cancel it. 

On Easter Sunday we drove into downtown Edmonton and were walking around the Legislature Buildings  when we realized that there were tours going on, so went into the warmth and checked it all out.



Waiting for the tour to start.



Up the grand staircase we went





We went up a LOT of stairs



"I want to be a peaceful, happy, normal human being, pursuing my unimpeded way through life, never having to stop to explain, defend, or apologize for my sex.... I am tired of belonging to the sex that is called the Sex. And it is because the finding of the Privy Council that we are “persons” once and for all, will do so much to merge us into the human family, that we are filled with gratitude and joy."  Nellie McLung


 We didn't get to to up to the very top.  Looked like a little tropical oasis up there.





Apparently the Minnesota State Capitol was the inspiration for the Alberta Legislature Building


Sunday and Monday were a bit warmer than Saturday, although well below freezing.  Find a sunny spot out of the wind, and it was pretty nice.  The sun shone every day, so no complaints there.
Our flight back Tuesday morning was uneventful.
Larry's back did well.  He did three long walks in the uneven snow, and didn't even use the cane. He probably would have taken it the first day, but forgot it.
He was back at the Chiropractor's on Tuesday and she was pleased with how his back was doing.  That's good, there's lots of work to be done ;-)