Sunday, April 26, 2015

Something a Bit Different.

Today we went to Fort Langley and met son David and his girlfriend at a British Car show held at the Community Hall.
David had been here for a few days to learn about a new computer program that the company he is working for is going to start using.  

The show was held by the  L.A.M.B. Motoring Club

It was on the grounds of the lovely community hall.

This was my favourite car, the Triumph Mayflower.  It was cute, with the two colours.  The bonnet (hood) is up for inspection

And the boot (trunk) is open and all ready for a picnic.

This was the inside, (sorry for all the reflection), with a cute little fold down table in the backseat, and I  loved the china tea cup:)

David and Christina admire an MG

 Here's one for you, Harvey!

 There was a beat up old double decker bus, complete was a lady conductor with her money bag over one shoulder and the machine that cranked out the tickets over the other.

I went up the little windy staircase at the back to the upper level.  It was always easy to spot David in his bright orange.

I have yet to perfect the art of a good selfie, I'm always squinting at the screen, trying to see it.

The token Land Rover.  Hermione is owned by someone in the same club as David.

I guess this was the other part of the 'mostly British'.  That little trailer on the back folded down to the size of a tent trailer.  Pretty cute combo don't you think?

Afterwards Meredith joined us and we all went out for lunch.  The food was good, but it was spoiled by the length of time we had to wait to be seated.  Seems that five is an awkward number.  They 'couldn't' add a chair to the end of a booth because that may block the aisle in case of a fire.  There were sections of the restaurant that weren't being used.  When we finally did get a table meant for 6, we were right next to one of the unused sections.  There was only a small piece of wall sticking out a couple of feet,  between us and a table for 6 in the next section.  David was actually on the phone to another restaurant to see if there was space there, when we were finally seated.  Then after ordering, we had to wait far too long to get our food.  We saw people seated after us, eating first.  I was looking for someone to complain to when our food finally arrived.   We aren't a complaining family, but I was close to changing that.  I'm going to the restaurant website to see if there is a place to leave a comment.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thrifty Yard Art

Saturday of the previous weekend, we headed out to some garage sales.  There was actually one just a couple of miles away, which is pretty unusual.  Their stuff was divided into two spots.  The household, 'woman's' stuff was in the carport.  Decent stuff, good prices, she just wanted to get rid of things, as they were moving.  
The man of the house has his stuff down by the barn.  Tools, etc.  He wasn't going to let his stuff go very cheaply.  I tried to bargain him down on some garden tools because I thought he was asking too much, but he wasn't going for it, so I left the tools there. 
 I'd bought a nice looking microwave for $8 from his wife, and then on our way out, I passed an old bird bath base.  I kind of thought, even though it was missing the top, it would make a neat piece of garden art.  It had a $5 price tag, I offered $2, and the hundred pound hunk of concrete was ours.  It probably was that heavy, it took the two of us to get it into the trunk of the car.  As we are driving it back home, it suddenly occurred to me what I was going to use it for.

I don't know what that metal thing on top is called, kind of like a wind vane compass sort of thing.  I bought that for $2 I think, last year.  It's been sat on the patio table since then.  The circle on the bottom of it just fits around the top of the concrete base.  (Darn, I realized after that I didn't have it sitting on there straight, but you get the idea).

Because the base used to have a bird bath top on it, there was a hole in the top that looked a bit funny.  I couldn't find anything that fit over the hole and fit under the metal sculpture.   A few days later I was at the garden center, and saw the perfect addition.  Loved that rusty metal bird, it was perfect.  I was hoping it would fit underneath and cover the hole, but it wouldn't.  You know the prices of garden art at the garden center, it's not garage sale/thrift store pricing.  I was pleasantly surprised to see this heavy metal bird priced at $5.49, so it seemed like it was meant to be.

To cover up the hole, I put a bit of soil in it and shoved some Sempervivum (hen and chicks) in it, and hope it takes root.

I have the perfect place for it to go.  David kindly dug out a massive Siberian Iris for me when he visited this week.  When I get the big hole filled in, I'm going to set my yard art right there.  I'll post a picture.

 And here's a piece of yard art for Oliver.  I was at my favourite thrift store's half price sale yesterday.  I saw this little brown bird, it's about 8" tall, and thought it was a quail.  We see lots of quail at Oliver, so this fellow is heading there

Or maybe he would rather stay here, he kind of blends in with the hens.  When I was paying the $1.50 for him, the lady at the checkout called him a guinea hen.  He's a quail to me.

And since we are on the subject of birds.  Here's my 50 cent 8" x 12" bird print.  None glare glass.  At first I thought they might be Robins, but now I don't think so.  Anyone?

Thrift stores, garage sales, finding something great for very little makes my heart go pitter patter:)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Trips to Oliver

We've just got back from another quick visit to Oliver, the third one this year.  Okay, it was nearly two weeks ago now, I'm just really slow at getting this done.  In the Spring, it's always fun to see what is blooming when we we are there.

The daffodils along the driveway put on a good show.  We were talking to a neighbour and she commented on them, and thought that the previous owner had planted them.  Oh no, it was me.  I set her straight on that one!  The first Fall we were there I planted 50 or more daffodil bulbs and I think they've multiplied since then.  The previous visit there was a whole mass of them in bloom on the far side of the stairs.  They must be earlier because they get the heat reflected off the south facing wall of the house.  

A stubby little Iris starting to open.

The Wallflowers too were just starting.  We'll probably miss them at their best.  They remind me of England, I think it is the smell.

And one lonely Bergenia by the carport.

Quite often when we go to Oliver there is some project or other that we have in mind to get done.  Sometimes it takes a few visits to accomplish that.  This past visit we got one length of the irrigation set up and operational.  A got a real deal on three boxes of it at a thrift store, oh, probably a couple of years ago now.   Ten of these little microsprayers water part of the lawn and the flower beds.  Saves a lot of moving of the sprinkler around.

The first visit in the new year was this project.  The kitchen sink is just a single one, which is fine for the most part, but I find it really inconvenient when I am making jam.  I had a double sink that I had picked up on the roadside (I think), as well as another faucet set given to us I think (Ken?).

So near the end of our January/February visit we spent the best part of one day changing the sink from a single to a double.  At one point both of us were laid in that cupboard together.  Romantic it was not.  I tried to get one of the border collies to take a photo, but they wouldn't cooperate.  It was very squishy and uncomfortable.  It was a freakin' nightmare trying to get the old faucet undone.  It was all corroded under there, and in the end we broke something which made that faucet unusable.  Thank goodness we had the spare.

It all came together in the end, but there were plenty of trying moments.  Like the time when you realize that the new sinks did not have a center drain, but they were offset to the back.  That meant the adaptor kit that connected both sinks to the drain pipe that I had already bought wouldn't work.  I came up with an idea to make it work, and was trying to explain it to the guy at the hardware store so that he could help me with the right parts.  He was making sounds like he didn't know what I was talking about, and was suggesting another way, and I was making sounds like I didn't know what he was talking about, because I didn't.  Finally I drew him a picture so he understood, and we got a few extra parts to make some fancy angles so we could get the two sinks to drain into one drain pipe.
The bonus was when the dish rack fit perfectly into one sink.  It spends most of the time in there, until I need that extra sink.
I think that is probably the original mid-fifties counter top.

I can't think of a project that we did in our early March visit.  Maybe climbing up Mt. Oliver, first to a little peak to the north, and then to the radio tower which you can just see sticking up into the white cloud to the left of Larry's head.  Even though it was early March, it was a crazy warm day, and very windy.  Beautiful though.

Not sure when we will get back up there.  I'm working on getting most of the garden planted here at home.  My mother isn't doing very well.  Eating very little and sleeping a lot.  She's not really there, if you know what I mean.  It's almost four years now since she had her stroke.
One day at a time.

I can't believe I've published four posts in five days.  You probably can't either.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Back to Warm and Fuzzy

Feeling happy again about the new hens.  None trying to escape this morning.  No pecked eggs.  36 eggs laid today.  Way to go girls!

I've been cleaning out the cupboards, slowly.  Stuff we aren't eating anymore.  I have one of those upper corner cupboards that is awkward to get into and it's hard to see everything in there.  That was were I kept the stuff like dried beans and dried soup mixes that I was postively absolutely going to start using on a regular basis, and never did.  So now I've just decided I'm not going to use them, ever, and because I hate to waste ANYTHING, I'm soaking them in some water and feeding them to the chickens. 

 And I must say, the chickens are thrilled.  As soon as I get close to the fence they all come running.  Or some of them.

And then more showed up.  The little rooster, he just goes wherever he pleases.

The new hens like it too.  They all seemed to like todays offering of beans and soup mix better than the lentils they got the other day.

And on a note of a different colour, I noticed that just about everything blooming here is blue(ish).  The daffodils are long gone.  The few tulips are on their last legs.  Here's the blue(ish) stuff.


Ajuga or Bugleweed


Perennial Cornflower

 Grape Hyacinth (almost finished)


 Something whose name escapes me right now.  Most of the picture was out of focus so I cropped it out.

And now for some pink.... Columbine

And last of all, our flowering Cherry, which is just about finished and is sprinkling pink petals over everything.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Give Them an Taste.....

Those hens loved their taste of freedom.  So much so that a few determined ladies decided that they needed to get out of their field and find a 'better' place to lay their eggs.  Larry had a very early morning doctor appointment on Monday, so after he left I stayed outside and puttered in the garden, and all of a sudden I noticed a hen behind me.  I wondered  how she got there, but didn't think too much of it, and herded her back through the gate and went back to what I was doing.  I heard a flappa flappa flappa, and there she was again.  I got her back into her field and went back to my transplanting.  Then I heard a flappa flappa flappa again, and then again, and then there were two hens in the garden.  Put them back in their field, and figured out that they were standing on top of a little rinky dink shelter on the north side of the coop and launching themselves over the fence.  I took the rinky dink shelter apart.  The hens still got over the fence.  I put some more fencing up to make it higher.  One still got over or through or somehow ended up in the garden AGAIN. I showed her the nest boxes in the coop.  Not impressed she said.  By that point I had to go in for breakfast as I was starving.  When I checked later I didn't notice any wayward hens, and didn't think any more about it.  This morning was a repeat performance of yesterday.  Larry had gone to an early physiotherapy appointment.  One very determined hen was using an old ladder shaped roost that was leaning against the fence, to help her on her way over the top.  I took that down.  Then she used the overhanging branch of a maple tree.  This time she ended up in the driveway area, but kept trying to fit through a hole that was too small to get back in the garden.  I kept showing her the eggs in the nest boxes in the coop.  No way, she said.  Then I found an egg in the garden, hidden in the long grass, right near that too small of a hole that she was trying to force herself through.  Once a hen has decided where she is going to lay her eggs, she is determined to get back that same spot every day, no matter what she has to do to get there.  There were another couple of hens that were pacing the fence line next to the garden, sticking their heads through the small holes in the wire, hoping to get through.  I went in the coop and threw some more hay around, added some more to the nest boxes, anything to try and make them more appealing.  Still not interested, those hens said. 

 So then I brought in some milk crates that we had made into nest boxes last year.  Eureka!  All the hens seemed to think they were just wonderful, even those desperately trying to lay elsewhere.  I went back out a bit later, no hens were pacing the fence line, no hens were in the garden, and a couple of milk crates had three hens jammed in each.  In the end, 6 eggs were laid in those milk crates, and 20 were laid in the other nest boxes. 

 Two of them had holes in them.  Yesterday two of them were dented.  I wondered yesterday whether those two had been banged on the front edge of the next boxes, but the two this morning had definitely been pecked.  I thought 'oh wonderful, not only are hens trying to get out of their pen, they are also starting to eat eggs'  And just the other day I was feeling all warm and fuzzy about them, thinking how personable they seemed, how they would run to the fence when they saw me, how they had really adjusted well to their lifestyle change, etc. Huh, and now two days later they are egg eating escape artists.  A bit later in the day I saw a crow on the roof of the coop.  I've seen them there before, and have watched for a while, but have never seen anything happen.  I know there is a crow's nest in the Fir trees along the south property line.  So then I figured that the (naughty word) crows were going in the coop and stealing and or eating eggs to feed their young.  I took a piece of plywood and leaned it at an angle out from the wall of the coop, to make a sort of leanto in front of the chicken door.  Not that the crows couldn't figure out how to get around it, but it might feel like more of a trap to them that way, and they would think twice about it.  Crows are smart birds.  Less than a week after we got the new hens, one started laying, we got a few eggs.  And then all of a sudden the eggs seemed to stop.  So now I'm thinking that the crows were getting her eggs. Another naughty word!!
So I'll see how it goes tomorrow.  Let's hope the milk crate laying boxes continue to see like luxury suites for those few picky hens.  Let's hope the crow(s) have been discouraged.  Let's hope the sun comes back out after the sudden temperature drop and rain of this evening.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Happy Hens

The new girls are settling in really well.  The first ones have started laying.  There were seven eggs on Friday and I was shocked to find fourteen eggs in the coop yesterday!  

I figured they needed a reward so I opened up the fence to the big field.  The grass is pretty long but they got quite adventurous and had a good time wandering around.

The two fir trees that were cut down to create the 'window' are still there, waiting to be bucked up.  I could see their little brains thinking, aha..among those branches is the perfect place for us to lay our eggs.  Therefore they will only be let into this field later in the day, after all their eggs have been laid in the coop.

We went back out as the light was dimming, to make sure they all made it back to home base.  There were about half a dozen still in the field, but not far from the coop.  Tonight we went out to do the same thing, but it was a tad darker.  They had all got themselves back and into the coop.  Good girls!

The photo below was this morning, right after I had let them out.  They all head out onto the grass and eat, eat, eat.  Still lots of grass left in their main field.  You can see the temporary fence between the two fields just behind the hens.

So much nicer to see than a large flock a few miles from us.  Those hens are in area that is not big enough to sustain them and the grass.  Now it is just dirt, and when it rains...mud.  Their eggs are sold as free range at one of the markets we sell at.  As we go by we see piles of old bread or produce in there, but no grass.  I know which eggs I'd rather eat.

And something a little bizarre.  I cooked a spaghetti squash last night.  When I cut it in half to scrape out the seeds, I noticed that half of the seeds had sprouted, with great long shoots.  A different kind of spaghetti.  I should have cooked them along with the squash.