Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mystery Solved

While we were staying at Wyndson Cottage, we went to the dog park a few times.  As we were walking towards the off-leash baseball diamond, I noticed what looked like a pile of horse manure on the paved path.  Someone had a horse in there!  After exhausting the dogs with games of fetch, we usually walked around the park on our way back to the truck.  Gave the dogs chance to decompress and  to do their business.  As we were getting close to the truck we noticed all these piles on the grass.  We went over to look.  Piles of what looked like horse manure, but not the same as what we were used to, and they were BIG!  We could see spots were it looked like the grass had been grazed a bit, but we couldn't see any tracks, and the grass wasn't all chewed up liked we would have expected it to be if a bunch of horses had been milling around.  It was a really mystery, but....all I could think was 'free manure, for the garden, FREE ...'  We have loads of manure at Wyndson Farm, but none at Wyndson Cottage. So the next time we went to the park, we took along a garbage can and a rake and a snow shovel.  After the dogs had their fun and a walk, we put them in the truck and got our tools.  I did say to Larry that if he felt too embarrassed, he didn't have to come.  He said he only felt a little bit embarrassed:), so we walked back to the grass and started scooping up piles of manure into our garbage can.  Kind of felt a bit silly, so kept our heads down and worked as fast as we could.

I think part of the reason I felt silly was because I wasn't exactly sure what it was that we were scooping up.  Fortunately only one old fellow with his little dog passed by while we were pooper scooping.  I can just imagine him saying when he got home,  'Martha, you'll never believe what I saw at the park today....'  When we got the garbage can as heavy as we could handle, we staggered back to the truck.


 I ended up using it as a mulch around the pathetic little raspberry canes in the back yard. 


 I had decided that it must be a herd of elk that were bedding down in the park at night.  When we got back home, I googled elk droppings, and they look nothing like what we had picked up.  Nor did moose droppings.  It was looking more like it must be horse poop.  Curiosity was killing me, so I sent this email to the rec center, which was right next to where we were scooping.

I have an odd question.  We live in Oliver part time.  On a recent visit, on our way to the fenced dog off leash, we noticed what looked like a pile of horse manure on the path. After walking around the park, we found a whole lot of those piles, and some were quite big, on the grass.  We have a horse, and are familiar with horse manure, and this looked a bit different to what we are used to, well similar, but bigger.  So then we decided that elk(?) must be visiting the park at night, bedding down for a while, eating some grass, and leaving early in the morning.  I've since googled elk droppings, (and deer and moose) and the pictures don't match.  So I'm wondering what left those big piles, (a herd of draft horses?)  Mostly I'm wondering because we collected a garbage can full to add some organic matter to our garden in Oliver, and I'd like to know what it actually is.  If you could solve this mystery for me, I'd really appreciate it:)

Just the other day I got this reply.

Yes, they are from local horses that keep escaping there fenced yard.  This has been an ongoing issue for the Parks for a number of years.  The owner of the horses is just as frustrated with how well his horses can escape.
Well at least now we know what we've mulched with.  I have a hard time believing that the horse owner is powerless to prevent his horses from escaping though.  Kind of hoping we can get another load though the next time we are there.  Larry even said as mu(l)ch!

And after all that poopy talk, here's a pretty picture of the sunrise one morning, taken from the living room window. Too bad it isn't underground wiring.  We had sunshine six of the seven days we were there:)


Friday, February 22, 2013

Full Moon

Lately I've been fascinated with all the wonderful makeovers you can give to old furniture.  There's a whole blogosphere out there that is all about people taking an old piece of furniture and giving it a new lease on life by painting it and being creative.  I'm taking baby steps into the crazy, exciting world.  Check out some of the links at the bottom of this blog post http://missmustardseed.com/2013/02/furniture-feature-friday-a-link-party-7/

A few weeks ago I bought this little end table for $4.99 at the Sally Ann.  It was in rough shape and a bit wobbly.  The wobbly part was easy to fix, I just had to tighten up the three bolts underneath the top.  Now I was so excited about it that I started sanding it right away before taking a photo.  Try to imagine the top darker with lots of water marks.


I loved the grain on the top.  It is a veneer, a very, very thin veneer.  There were some chunks out of it along the edges, which I patched up. Some sections were lifting, along a join.  I glued them back down.  Then more sanding.  I didn't get it perfect, but I had to stop, or else I would have sanded the veneer away.   Even though it doesn't appear so in the pictures, each of the three lobes were the same size.  I guess I never had the camera directly over the center.


Here it is stained and a top coat of a few layers of water based poly.


The legs were painted with a homemade chalk paint, and then a dark glaze brushed over it.  Most of it I rubbed off, just left a bit around the junction of different pieces of wood.  It didn't have a lot of edges, but I did sand them off a little bit.  Both the glaze and the sanding help to give the impression of age, not that this picture really shows up either technique very well.


This picture shows the colour of the top most accurately.  


Larry looked at it and said well he guessed it was supposed to be a shamrock.  He said though, that to him the left and right lobes looked like two cheeks, and not the kind on your face.  He said he didn't know what the third lobe was though.  I said it was the sun rising over a full moon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trumpeter Swans

Last week while at Wyndson Cottage, we took a drive north to Penticton.  We had wanted to look at TVs.  Perhaps it was more like I wanted Larry to go and look at TVs, while I looked in the thrift store.  Oh, lucky me, the Salvation Army Thrift Store just happened to be across the road from a TV place!  So I wandered around and found two pair of pretty good jeans, a plain neutral cotton bedskirt, and some of the same pillow shams that I already had.  I use pillow shams to make dog beds.  Unpick or rip out the row of stitching that runs a couple of inches in from the edge of the sham.  Buy an old quilt, also from the thrift store, usually only a dollar or three if you get it on a sale day, fold it to fit and put it in the pillow sham.  Luckily for me, it was customer appreciation day, so everything was 30% off, and the total was just over $11.  My kind of shopping.  But I digress....

 On the way to Pentiction we pass Vaseaux Lake, which is an important bird sanctuary.  There is a parking area and some trails to walk down, which we stopped at on the way back, but it was rather cold and miserable, and seemed like something that was better saved for a nicer day.  Of the eight days we were at Wyndson Cottage, this was the only day that the sun didn't shine.  Just down the road though, these Trumpeter Swans were standing on the ice.


Those are some big birds.  The males average 26 lbs with a wing span up to 10 ft.


I think that young one was getting in trouble.


I love that looking through a camera lens sometimes makes you notice things that you might otherwise not.  It wasn't until I started taking photos of the swans that I noticed their reflections in the water on the ice.


I did manage to do a bit more thrift store shopping while we were away.  A jacket, a belt for Larry, a cake pan and a citrus juicer for a total of $4.25 at the hospital thrift store in Oliver.

On the way home I convinced Larry to stop in Osoyoos, so I could check out the tiny United Church thrift store there.  Four sherry glasses and another pair of jeans there, total of $4.50.  I'm a big spender:)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Signs of Spring

Pretty flowers



Hairy cats hightailing it out of there.


Monday, February 18, 2013


Making sure that the black and white bitch witch can't sneak that Kong away from him while he has a little snooze.


Sometimes we'd leave Calli back at the house with some peanut butter smeared on the inside of that Kong, while we took the two collies on a longer walk.  It's the monster size, so if the peanut butter is smeared right to the far end, the dogs really have a hard time reaching the last bit with their tongue, which means that the attraction of that Kong lasts much longer.  Luna would always remember about the Kong when we got back from the walk, and would head into the house as soon as she could, to see what she could salvage. She must have abandoned it at some point, which allowed Jake to get it.   
Maybe he's keeping his eyes closed so he can't see the 'look' that Luna would give him, to make him abandon the Kong and move away, which he would.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Glorious Blue Sky Day

When we were at Wyndson Cottage for a week in January, we were a little disappointed that the days were grey. We only saw a bit of sun one day.  There was some snow on a few days, which was expected, but we were quite disappointed at the lack of sunshine.

This last trip though, it was so exciting to wake up the first morning there to clear skies and the sun coming up.  By mid morning it was beautiful.  The temperatures were above freezing, and it felt very Springlike.  I wanted to go up the mountain.  We were really trying to be conscious this trip of not over exercising Calli, so Larry was a little hesitant as we had headed out with the three dogs.  I said we'd just go up to the water tower, which is just a little ways up, and has a gravel switchback road leading to it.  We got to the tower, it was warm, it was beautiful. Luna figured it was time for a snow bath, or a face wash at least.  There was a hard crust on the snow right there, and it was like she was trying to break through it.

 So then I said well maybe we could go along that trail over there, it's flat (thinking of Calli).  The only thing was there was a steep ravine between us and the trail.  So we slid down it on the icy side that was facing north, and slip slided our way up the south facing, muddy melting side, pushing and dragging Calli along with us.  Actually, we had to get off the trail and use the hummocks of grass to pull ourselves to the top, because heavy mud was accumulating on our boot soles.  And then we were on the level.


The trail headed off between two small hills.  Luna was all over the place, figured she was smelling deer, so made sure we kept her in sight.


The trail came out into the open and the hill dropped off to the north, and presented a great spot for a group photo.  Of course in the time spent trying to get the perfect shot (impossible) Jake was telling me that the sun reflecting off the snow was just getting too darn bright!


The view to the north


And then the deer appeared


We saw five of them.  They kept disappearing and then reappearing in another spot.  Maybe there were more than five.  The dogs didn't notice them.  I think they were out of their sight line.


Time to head back for lunch.


Cottage Vision

Now if I was one of those organized people, I would have had some blog posts ready to magically appear while we were away.  Not only am I not organized, I couldn't even manage to get anything posted in the six days before we left.  We just got home from eight days at Wyndson Cottage in Oliver.  The sun was shining every day but one.  The only precipitation we saw was about half an inch of fluffy snow on our last day there, that promptly melted as soon as the sky cleared and the sun shone.  The four hour drive was good, the mountain passes were all clear.

First order of business when we got there was to see if we could pick up any tv reception with an aerial.  We had brought the one from home, leaving the house sitters with no tv reception.  They weren't impressed, but survived with their laptops.

On one of our previous trips, we had driven around town to see if we could spot aerials on any rooftops.  No luck.  Finally we asked at an electronics store.  The guy Larry spoke to said he thought we might be able to get two channels.  We were all excited.  Of course Cable and Satellite is available, but we didn't want to be paying $40 a month for a service we were rarely there to use. After all, at Wyndson Farm we get away with Peasant Vision and 8 channels. We didn't want to buy an aerial until we were sure we could actually pick up a signal.  I said I wanted to do this in the dark.  Didn't want all the neighbours watching us as Larry walked around on the roof of the house with the aerial on a long pole, turning it in different directions, to try pick up a signal.  The last trip we had gone back to the electronics store to see if they had aerials there, which they no longer did, and the guy we talked to this time was very doubtful that we would pick up any signal at all.  Too many rocky hills in the way.

Of course being at night, and the sky being clear, it meant the temperature was below freezing, and there was a nice slippery coating of frost on the roof.  Larry said he wasn't going up there.  We made do with him standing on the carport roof on the little ladder that we had managed to stuff into the truck.


I was command central, which was in the truck in the carport. (It was warmer in there:))


I started the search.  Great excitement.....TWO channels!  They were analog, and not digital, but....and then it ended up that really it was only one channel, as they were both the same.


We got Global, and this was Glee.


We took the tv and the aerial back inside, and found that even with the aerial leaning up against the living room wall, we got reception.  A bit snowy, but still...   I took the aerial and it's pole out the front door and leaned it against the metal stair railing, and the reception was good.  The aerial leaning on the front steps was not a look we really wanted to maintain.  The next day Larry found something on the side of the house to fasten the aerial to, and we are good to go:)


Actually, in some ways it's good to only have one channel.  If there is something on that we aren't interested in, there's more incentive to turn the thing off.  It is nice though at the end of the day if we've just come back from a long walk and are tired, to flop down on something soft, glass of wine or sherry in hand, and just veg out in front of the idiot box for a little bit.

And yes, we are looking for a bigger tv.  That little one will go back to my sewing room.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Golden Boy

Elizabeth and boys 175Elizabeth and boys 102

My main man had a birthday today.  One of those special ones.  He's entering the golden years.  You know, when you get reduced admission prices to events and get to ride the ferries for free mid-week.  We had a wonderful family birthday dinner out tonight.

Teaching David that when your dad is holding you, it IS okay to stand on the top 'this is not a step' step of the step ladder.  

Elizabeth and boys 180

And teaching Meredith the finer points of adjusting your stirrups.

Elizabeth and boys 077

Seventies anyone?

Elizabeth and boys 160

And back to the Fifties.

Elizabeth and boys 147

When we were doing some sorting out a while ago, we came across this poem that Larry's aunt Phyllis had written for his first birthday.

And you know, for a while there, Larry DID have long blonde curly hair, for his mother to play with.  I've seen the photo evidence...somewhere....

Here's to many golden years to come.