Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Walk on the Wild Side

It was a lovely walk through our bush on Sunday morning.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it really felt like Spring.  Some of the first signs we see are the wild bleeding hearts (dicentra formosa) .


Can you see the two drops of water held in the center of the leaf?
Don't you love all the little beads of water on the points of the leaves.


Here is the most striking wild sign of Spring, the smelliest too, although I didn't smell anything that morning.
Skunk cabbage (lysichiton americanus)
There were numerous plants growing in the creek, but only one was blooming.  There were raindrops on the Skunk Cabbage too.



The camera was just about in the creek for the next couple of shots.  Thank goodness for the flip out display on the back of it, or else I would have been in the creek too.



Here is our latest version to get Calli through that walk in the morning.  I showed you before how we used to hold her up by her tail.  Then we changed to a harness I had made back in the days when she was first hurt.  We would put the harness on her and then only use it when she had tired out and her back legs were starting to drag.  Both methods worked, but both were very hard on our arms and shoulders.  The latest version is for one of us to pull the cart with us, Calli walks as far as she can on her own, (about 1/4 of a mile or so) and then we put her in the cart to finish the rest of the walk.  At least with the cart, we don't have to support her weight, we just have to pull her along a bit.


Jake is a little put out because Luna stole his toy.  Here she is hoping that Larry will throw it for her.  She glances from the toy to Larry to the toy and back to Larry.  Kind of like she is trying to get your attention and show you what she wants you to throw.  Larry ignored her.


But when we got near the bottom of what used to be our riding ring, which used to be all sand, Luna found one of her basketballs.  Yes, I did kick it for her.


Things are once again right in Jake's world.  
Yes, I threw the toy for Jake.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Few Things Accomplished.

Right now I am picking away at some projects that are taking much longer than I thought they would.  But then that's nothing new.  The potential for projects around here is endless.

I did manage to get a small plot of potatoes planted this morning, just as it was starting to rain.  Those hens all volunteered to help, but I said thanks very much, but I'll do it myself.


I've talked a few times about painting the tool handles orange.  We are both terrible at leaving tools where we were last using them, and not putting them away.  Mostly it is because jobs never seem to get finished in one go, so you leave the tool(s) there so that they are ready when you go back to finish it.  Then something else seems more important/more exciting to do, and the tools get forgotten.  We waste a lot of time looking for things.  At least this way they are easier to spot.  Oh sure, if we would just put them away, it would be even better, but since we can't remember to put them away, that's where the problem lies.


Larry saw the handles and said what a horrible colour it was.  My dear, that is just the point, maybe we'll actually see them out there.

I worked on a piece of furniture in the livingroom, and I think I can say that is finished for now.  Maybe there will be pictures tomorrow.

We are trying to get things sorted out and cleaned up.  Progress in slow.   We usually have a box or bag on the go that will be dropped off at the thrift store.  Things leave here, but then I can bring stuff in just as fast.

Some neighbours of ours, that have lived here almost as long as us, have sold and have moved to a townhouse in town.  Their son, who helped them move, asked us if we wanted to come and have a look at anything left in the garage and workshop that we might need.  There were a few things for sale, we bought a lawnmower and a drill press, and then we poked around and gathered all sorts of odds and ends.  A wheelbarrow, hoses, small weadeater, shovels, a rake, on and on.  Somethings we were undecided on, actually it was a bit overwhelming.   The son said well we had until 12 noon today, before the new owners took possession, if we wanted to come back for anything.  I went back in the afternoon as we had thought of a use for something we had turned down in the morning.  Some guys were there with a couple of bins on the backs of trucks and were doing cleanup of some of the old junk that tends to accumulate on an acreage, as well as the rest of the stuff us neighbours didn't want.  I did manage to get some of what I went back for.

We went back again in the evening and inadvertently took a wheelbarrow that belong to the bin guys.  It was upside down in the bin, we thought it was going to the dump, and figured we would 'save ' it.   I got a phone call from the son early this afternoon.  He said they were just finishing up, and the wheelbarrow belonging to the bin guys had gone missing.  They were wondering if one of the neighbours had been by and taken it.  Oops.  I apologized up and down and sideways, felt like an idiot, etc.  He said the bin guy was going to stop by for it in a few minutes.  I rushed out to the barn and took it out to him.  Apologized all over the place again, as I'm giving him a dozen eggs.  He was very nice about it, and said they have got another job there, as the new owners are going to replace the roof shortly.  We'll have to wander over one day and introduce ourselves.  Thank goodness it wasn't the new owner's wheelbarrow that I wandered off with. That really would be getting off on the wrong foot.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


This was going to be a post for St. Patrick's Day.  Well I did think about doing it, but just didn't seem to make the time, we all know how that goes, unfortunately.  I was going to get seed potatoes yesterday too, and plant some, I mean what is more Irish than potatoes.  That didn't happen either.  We went to get a truck load of chicken feed today though, and the seed potatoes were at the same place, and it didn't make sense to make a special trip, so I got them today.  I have yet to plant them.

Here's one thing that's coming up nice and green  in the garden though.  It was planted last October, and that would be garlic.


See that thin rope stuff on the ground.  That is actually sheep netting, a fence that is connected to a charger, so that all the horizontal wires are electrified.  We don't use it for fencing any more, but laid on the ground on the garlic bed (unconnected ) discourages any stray chickens from scratching there.  Even if we manage to keep all the hens where they are supposed to be, it's almost impossible to keep the little wild bantam rooster in.

Here's a couple of green things I sewed yesterday.  Calli got a new cover for her mat.  The one she had used to be waterproof.  I had made it for our black lab when she had bladder problems.  Now that's a story I should tell you sometime.  The cover had been washed so many times, it was no longer waterproof, but the foam inside had a nylon cover over it, and under the nylon the foam had two plastic garbage bags over it.  Still, I had been thinking for a long time that I should make a new cover. Yesterday it finally happened.  I didn't go out looking for camo, it just happened to be a waterproof piece I found at the thrift store:)  And I calculated in my head how many years ago I made the first cover, and it could be about 13 years ago.  That's scary.


This is a scrub hat, the kind that doctors and nurses wear.  My niece Kathleen, who is a nurse in the maternity ward of a large hospital, had asked me to make her some....TWO YEARS AGO!


 Some jobs I just have a hard time starting, and I just kept putting it off... and off.... and off.  Then Kathleen went on maternity leave herself.  I blogged about how she gave birth in their van on the way to the hospital.  She wasn't going to be at work for a year, I had a reprieve.  Do you think I got it done,  oh no.  Finally, at a family gathering at Christmas, I promised her that the scrub hats would be the first thing I sewed in the new year.  She did finally get three of them, and I've been picking away at the rest, hoping to deliver them to her next week.

And what could be more green than that blessed hedge I've been hacking away at.  I finished all the pruning on that row yesterday, except for the last tree.  I decided it was getting one final prune, right off at the base.  That tree was a mess, not held together in the middle, scrawny and sprawling and growing right under a Variegated Maple.   I had plans for the space it would open up.  Larry chainsawed it to pieces this afternoon, and we sawed quite a few branches off the maple tree as well.


There will be quite a few trailer loads of branches still to pick up.  This is the south side of the hedge, from the vegetable garden.  I really hacked it back, and there are a few branches that could be chainsawed off, but it doesn't really matter.  It will fill in and look better eventually.


More maple branches to be cut up.  Those were the ones that Larry was balanced on the ladder to get.  The photo just does not show the scale.  The maple tree you see has grown from nothing (I think we cut it off at the ground a couple of times before it finally got going) to twice the height you see here, in the 27 years we've lived  here.  The Western Red Cedar in the row on the west property line along the road were planted as babies.  We had a friend who worked at a government tree farm, so we were gifted with all sorts of rejects when we moved here.


The row of Douglas Fir along the south property line came here the same way.  Hard to imagine they started out small enough that Fancy, one of our horses, used to walk over the top of them to scratch her belly.  Now they shade the vegetable garden until March.  I'm thinking we should take out the two smallest ones in the middle to create a Winter  sunshine window.


There's a few other rows of trees we've planted too.  Some have been kept under control better than others, but the green is threatening to overtake us.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Big Guns to the Rescue.

This is looking down our driveway now.  When we moved here nearly 28 years ago, there were a few of those cedar hedging trees down the side of the driveway, in random places.  I strongly suggested we buy more, and we made a nice row of them on either side of the driveway, each planted ten feet apart.  There are now about 30 of them.  And then they grew, and grew some more.  We got a really bad dose of freezing rain one winter, and the trees all opened up like a flower, with the branches bent out to the ground.   We cut the bent branches off, and then put webbing around the inner trunks, and fastened them back in tight together.  The webbing is still there, doing it's job.  Every few years I'd whack the tops off the trees to keep them at a reasonable height, but we never pruned the sides.  Big mistake.  Some of the trees had grown up to eight feet wide, and the ones that are right out in the open are about fifteen or sixteen feet tall.  The ones under the trees stayed shorter and narrower.  


Somehow or other, the previous weekend when David was here, we got talking about them, and the mess they were in and David suggested they could just be pruned right at the ground.  I even jokingly agreed at one point.  It got me thinking about them, and I decided to have a go at tidying them up.  I said to Larry that I was going to see if I could get them all done before David came back this past weekend.  I picked away at them all week.  Some were time consuming, shoulder and wrist aching.  I found the easiest thing for me to handle was the electric hedge trimmer.  Last year we bought a decent one.  I pruned the sides this time too. Some of the top growth was too thick for the hedge trimmer, so I'd have to use the loppers or a saw.  Those two tools were really hard on my shoulders and wrists.  Sucks to get old.   I had to get Larry to cut a few branches with the chainsaw.  Larry has shoulder issues too.  We have an 8' and a 12' orchard ladder.  Most of it I could do with the shorter ladder, but some places needed the 12', with is a pain in the backside to position by yourself.  It's the most stable ladder though.  I spared you pictures of Larry balanced on the tall ladder with the chain saw, cutting branches off a maple tree.   Just like the Preventable commercials we see on TV....What was he thinking?

By the time David had finished work on Saturday, I had them all done except for three at the top of the driveway, that were pruned a couple of years ago, and four just down from them that hadn't been done for 5 years.  Those four were right out in the open, so they were massive, and many of the branches were too thick to cut with anything but a chainsaw.  I had joked to David that I was leaving them to him.  He told me that he had asked his boss if he could borrow the tractor on Sunday morning.  (He works at the horse farm across the road on Saturdays).

So this is how those four got done.  That box chained to the bucket on the tractor is how they move loads of bedding shavings around.  Larry is on the 12 ft ladder, so you can get a bit of a sense of how big those ones have got.


Looking from the other side, from the vegetable garden.
How nice to have someone young, strong and energetic doing the hardest part for us.



Most of it was done with a small chainsaw, but for some David was able to use the loppers.


Larry got to operate the big boy tractor.


One done, three more to go.  There are three to the left of the ladder that are the ones done a couple of years ago.  It won't take me long to do those. 


Since I felt like I should be out there, even though I wasn't really able to help, I got the raspberries and the grape vine pruned while I was hanging around.  Since it was pouring rain the whole time, it didn't seem like a good time to be out there with an extension cord and a power tool.

We did load that big metal box up twice with the cuttings, and dumped them in a big blackberry patch.

Oh yeah, that extension cord, well it is now 5' shorter than it was a week ago. 
On the bright side, I was able to fix it myself.

Thanks so much David!

Friday, March 14, 2014

For Daniel on Frugal Friday

Last summer when my sister and two of her boys were out from Ontario for a visit, my nephew Daniel could not get over the amount of groceries that I seemed to be able to find with a half price sticker slapped on them.  He joked that I must surely have my own roll of hot pink half price stickers that I discretely slapped on something I fancied.  Ha, I wish!
The small grocery store where I shop occasionally has some amazing bargains sometimes.  A few years ago a brand of detergent that I used was reduced in price, then the half price stickers were slapped on it.  I bought enough to last me until just recently, and just after I ran out, I found a different brand at half price.  Now if I find something extra special that is half price, I'll make a joke about how Daniel would be so impressed.

This week I got a few different things.  Yes, I'll buy something that is different, something that I wouldn't ordinarily buy, because it's fun to try something new, and well of course, because it only costs half as much as it would normally.



I actually picked up the pancake mix because I thought it was the Decadent cookie mix, but then thought what the heck, I'll try the pancake mix.  That was $1.74.  The syrup was $1.50 I think.

We ended up having the pancakes for supper last night.  Oh, I had something else planned, but I was tired out, and kept putting off getting started on supper, and finally just decided to make the pancakes.  All I had to do was add water.  They turned out great.  Not overly sweet, and a pretty decent ingredient list.  It made 21 pancakes.  Three of us had them for supper, and I finished them off for lunch today.


I ate mine with the caramel sauce on them, and some lemon yogurt.  I did have to pay full price for the yogurt, but there have been times I've found that for half price.  The combination was delicious.
Daniel, I wish you had been here to share them:)

PS  Here's proof that I got my Spring plants potted up, and they won't fade away in the flat.


This one could have used a few more plants.  I did have a couple of unhappy primulas that I'd brought home from my mum's warm room at the care home.  They looked happier already, out in the cooler air.  I also added some Tete a Tete daffodils that I had bought in pots last year, and had left to lanquish at the side of the house, unwatered, on their sides.  Some of them look like they are determined to try to bloom.  We'll see.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Feeling His Oats

Sometimes when I'm outside, I hear a thumping noise.  I wonder what it is at first, and then I remember.

This guy lives right across the road from us.  He is a Lowline bull calf, born last year.  Lowlines, in a nutshell, are a small version of the Aberdeen Angus.  He is being grown out to see if he is bull potential, or not..... and we know where that leads.  


Hard to imagine he might grow up to look like this.

Lowline bull -Wikepedia

There are also two Lowline cows, one of which gave birth to this Bully, and the other one aborted.  They are bred to calve again this year.  The calves are really cute, and small, and I'll try to get pictures.

Much of the time, Bully's head looks like this.


His halter is hanging around his neck, also covered in mud


He lives on a horse farm, and used to have a pony in the field with him.  He got bigger and started acting more bullish, and it was in the pony's best interest to be put in an adjacent  field.  Now bully has a few inanimate objects for company.


As for that thumping, well just watch.
  You couldn't actually hear it in the video, only the wind.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


It's here, at least for this week.  Tuesday I went to my favourite garden center and brought a flat full of Spring home with me.


All those bright and cheery little faces make you feel good just looking at them.


Of course, me being me, I bought these particular ones because they were on sale.  Anywhere between 60 cents  and a dollar a pot.  


Today I hope to make up a couple of planters with them.  I'll keep them at the front of the house where they can stay under cover and out of the rain that is sure to return.


Of course me being me, there is just as much of a chance of them never getting out of the flat,  and just sitting there until all the blooms are done.


Wouldn't be the first time, or the last. 

On a more positive note, I did soak some pea seeds for a few hours, and got them planted in the early evening, in that extra hour of end of the day light we now have.  Over 300 hundred seeds planted, I can taste the peas already:)


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Secondhand Sunday

I've been looking for a food processor for quite a while.  The blade on the one I have now keeps getting jammed on the support post, and after I have been using it, the blade is jammed on so tight I have to fight to get it off so I can lift the plastic bowl thingy off the motor base.  Did that make sense?  

At one time every garage sale seemed to have a food processor.  Not that there have been any garage sales to go to yet this year.  I've been checking the thrift stores, but have had no luck.  I thought I had found one once, and when I went to plug it in to make sure it worked, it didn't:(  I was most disappointed, since everything is usually checked to make sure it is working correctly.  

In January when we were in Oliver, we finally got around to checking out the Kinsmen's People's Market.  I guess they decided to name it after the beings that were coming to buy things, and not the beings that might be hidden in some of the furniture.  There is a flea market across the street as well.  The KPM is like a giant garage sale/thrift store.  Some things are priced better than others, but I thought I got a real deal with this food processor for $3.   It's an older Sunbeam, weighs a ton, and works well.  I don't really use a food processor much, but when you need one, well you need one.  Some things just can't be done with a blender.  Mostly I use it for pureeing the red peppers for red pepper jelly.  Just recently though I've started making my own hummous.  I've got tired of paying store prices and buying hummous with unnecessary, why do they have to be there, and what are they, ingredients.  The food processor does a great job on the hummous.  

When I bought the food processor, it only came with the metal blade.  No big deal, I don't have a lot of use for the other blades, although have used them occasionally.  


  Yesterday was a miserable wet day, I couldn't seem to get myself working on anything useful, so I decided to go wander around a couple of thrift stores.   Guess what I found!   A cardboard box that had food processor parts in it.  And it just so happened to be the same model of food processor that I had bought.  So for $5.50 I got an extra plastic bowl and top, three food pusher tube things,  another steel blade, as well as a plastic blade.  There is also a tray that holds a bunch of different blades that fit on the white and clear umbrella shaped things (why can't I think of the right names for these things?).  So there is a grater, a french fry cutter, and four blades that will slice different thickness.  Looks like there are three blades missing (can't expect it to work out absolutely perfectly!).  Made my day though, to find this.


Here's an original water colour I picked up a couple of weeks ago.  I have a soft spot for water colours.  It's about 20 x 24".  It came in a good gold metal frame, and looked fine in that.  But....the picture I decided to replace with this one, had this wood frame around it.  It was the same size, and the style of the frame just seemed to go better with the water colour than the metal frame, so we switched them around.   The picture was on sale for $8.75.


Now for what attracted me to this picture.....well it made me think of where my dad grew up.  He lived on Waterside, a street that ran alongside the River Nidd in Knaresborough England.  There is a train bridge over the river which the painting made me think of, sort of...

Knaresborough Viaduct from River Nidd.jpg
Photo by TJ Blackwell

When I looked further, I found this photo of the Low Bridge over the River Nidd in Knaresborough.  Inspiration for the painting maybe?:)

Low Bridge, Knaresborough
Photo by Carol Walker