Friday, February 23, 2018

Chasing the Perfect Picture

 I think it was just this winter that I learned that the Anna's Hummingbird overwinters here.  I've had various feeders hung right outside the dining room window, and just love seeing them land and feed.   
Earlier in the week I set the camera on a tripod right next to the window, but sort of tucked out of sight, and have managed to get some decent shots.

My usual spot with the laptop is to sit at the dining room table. I get the reflection of the feeder on the screen and can see when 'Anna' arrives.  I'm able to get up and move out of sight and hold the shutter down and see what I get.

This feeder is probably the best.  I like the clear base so that I can see the level of sugar water, and the lack of a large bottle makes for more humming bird viewing, as the bottle doesn't get in the way. 
And one day I got a humming bird tongue, or at least part of it! 

And a bit more of it here.  And now you really need to google 'hummingbird tongues'.  It's pretty fascinating!

One morning just as the sun was coming up

And then there were two!

That was pretty exciting!  I've never seen two birds at the feeder at the same time.  Only once have I seen two birds near the feeder, but never on it

I think they are both females, as their colours are pretty muted

Incoming again!

This makes me thing of those shots of puffins flying back in to their nests on the cliffs.

On the weather scene, we've had a return to winter.  We've had snow several times since Valentine's Eve.  And we were just starting to think Spring.

Last Sunday was wicked with quite a wind chill.

A pretty day though with fresh snow and sunshine

Snow soccer and fancy footwork

Luna and her favourite (only) sheep.

And Rupert Rabbit.  

Rupert lives somewhere around the back of the barn. Maybe under the old chicken coop or the fifth wheel trailer or amongst the junk in the leanto.  Rupert is allowed to stay as long as the garden damage is minimal.  If Rupert turns out to be Ruby instead, I'm sure there will be a change of plans.  So far so good, but Spring is coming....and we know what rabbits do in the Spring. Last summer, as the story goes, a bunch of rabbits escaped/were let go, whatever.  Just across the road, a batch of black babies appeared.  Maybe Rupert is one of the babies, but one day a grown rabbit appeared behind the barn, and has been there ever since.  Rupert was given pieces of apple when it was cold and some bits of hay, and of course since he hung out in the chicken field a lot of the time, he had access to Ramona's hay and could even get into the chicken coop for feed if he wanted.  Just lately he has actually come up to my hand and taken a piece of apple and I have been able to touch him with my finger.  I'm trying to not get too involved.....ha!

Right now Abbotsford has snow in the forecast.  Last I heard there were several inches of new snow.  I'm in Ontario, where it is slightly warmer and a bit drier. 
Today my sister bought 450 square feet of laminate flooring, and in the next few days we are going to install it in three bedrooms and on a landing.
Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

More Projects

It's quite a few years ago now but I remember asking son David what he was looking at on his laptop, that he was finding all these different vehicles and auto parts.  And so I was introduced to Craigslist...
And I was smitten....
Poor Larry, I dragged him all over the countryside, and Vancouver, picking up this and that and the other thing.  Some free, some not, but all of them a bargain in some way or another.  The Craigslist fever did fade out a bit, but every once in a while I'd find something else that I thought we needed.  Sometimes I'd go on my own to pick something up.  I'd always leave the address of where I was going, and in the last few years now that we both have a cell phone, I'd text him when I got there and again when I left.  Never once have I felt unsafe, but I'm very aware of the situation and remain on my guard.

Not long ago I heard of Bidding Wars.  Abbotsford has it's own Bidding Wars page on Facebook.  People list their items with a starting bid, the location to pick it up, and people have 24 hours to bid on it.  
Oh dear, I'm hooked.  I have sold quite a few things myself, in fact the dollar value of what I have sold may exceed what I have bought, maybe....Well since I haven't kept track of what I have bought, and some were bought  traded for eggs instead of money, I can't be sure, but I can convince myself that the amounts must be close.😂

I thought about it the other day.  I think there are only two things at Wyndson Cottage in Oliver that were bought brand new.  The tv was one, although it's not that we couldn't have found a good second hand tv.  Between Craigslist, garage sales, thrift shops, what we had extra at home, and now Bidding Wars, we have furnished the whole place, everything, all the kitchen stuff, tools, everything.

I mentioned we took up a bathroom cabinet on our last trip.  The bathroom is tiny.  In the picture below I am stood in the doorway.  The floor space is 5'x 4.5'.  There used to be one of those cabinet things that had legs that went up either side of the toilet with storage space above.  Next to the other end of the bath was a tall 1' x1' shelving unit.  We took half of that shelving unit away, and the shorter one didn't seem so overbearing in the tiny room.  I never liked the over the toilet one, but since there was no storage under the original sink, we needed the space.
Putting up the 'new' cabinet over the toilet was our first project.  I paid $4 for that on the bidding war site.  

Simple you'd think.  Just screw the cabinet to the wall.  But like most home improvement projects, they are never as simple as they seem.  The backing on the cabinet was a flimsy thin particle board held on with a few tiny nails. The backing was not something we wanted to count on to keep the heavy particleboard cupboard in place.  We borrowed a few brackets from the old cabinet.  Larry thought that since it was so heavy it should have a wood support under it.  We found a thin piece and then found a better piece, screwed it into the studs and screwed the cabinet to it.  Better but not great.  That next morning we went to the Kiwanis market and found a bag of brackets for $3, and they were white and looked great and ended up using those and removing the supporting piece of wood underneath.

The cottage had a fridge when we bought it.  It was big and older, almond colour with dark trim. It seemed to run a lot, and seemed loud too. We wanted a smaller, newer one.  I found one on Bidding Wars.  The freezer door had quite a dent in it, like something had fallen into it and then fallen to the ground.  There was some interest, but bidding didn't go very high.  I had perfected my bidding technique I thought.  I wouldn't show any interest in an item, and then would bid in the last few seconds and was mostly successful.  With the fridge I cut it too close and was a second late. But, the seller wanted it gone that weekend, and the buyer was unable to move it until during the next week.  So it was offered to me for the winning bid, which was $14!! We went and got it right way, I wasn't passing that up.  I had the perfect fridge magnets for covering up the dent in the door!!

The smaller fridge also made for easier access to the light switches for the utility room, kitchen and dining area.  We changed two of them around and had the dining area as the most awkward one to reach behind the fridge.  We can leave that one on, and just turn the light on and off by the chain hanging from the ceiling fan. We also took off the trim along the edge of the counter, cut off an inch overhang of the counter next to the fridge, and put the trim back up.  With the narrower fridge and the  counter trimming we gained about 5" of floor space and as a result exposed two of the light switches. A big deal in that little house.

Since we had to transport the fridge on it's side, we left it standing up outside for a day and a half before we brought it in.  We plugged it in, and the darn thing just kept running and running, and things inside were starting to freeze up.  I unplugged it that night, and then next day we went though the same thing.  That night instead of unplugging it, I just turned it off with the dial inside. Good move!  The next morning when I opened the fridge, I thought it felt warm in there.  Well it was warmer than the house.  18 C!  I went whaaaaat??  I took something out that was under the fridge light, and it was really warm, so I did make the connection that it was warmer because it was by the light, so the light must have been on all that time I guess?  I closed the fridge door and pulled a bit of the door seal back and could see the light still on. So why is the light staying on?  When I checked where the light button was, I saw that it had been knocked out of position and wasn't getting pushed in when the door closed.  Eureka!  The fridge was running all the time to counteract the heat thrown out by the light.  Since I had unplugged the fridge the first night, the light wasn't on, but turning the fridge off with the dial instead, didn't turn the light off the second night.  After all that was sorted out, the fridge worked just fine, hooray!  Needless to say, there were a couple of meals of leftovers that we did not eat, but the dogs got them and they did just fine.

I'm sure you are all bored to tears if you managed to stick with me this far.  The third bigger project is now going to be a post of it's own.

Here's a Junco soaking up some rays and dreaming of Spring.

I'm just hoping that the rain I can hear coming down now will get rid of the rest of the 5" of snow that we were surprised with on Valentines Day.  
Like the Junco, we too are dreaming of Spring.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chicken Day

Right now we are in a little stretch of dry and mostly sunny weather.  After all the rain, it is wonderful.  The rain makes for mud, and despite people saying that chickens don't like to get their feet wet, the chickens don't really care. They will scratch around in some small patches of mud, and then don't wipe their feet at the door, and the coop gets to be a disaster far too quickly.  
Larry headed out with the car to get 10 bags of feed.  We buy 10 bags every time, sometimes more, because we get a slight discount when we buy at least 10.

Then in the afternoon I browsed Craigslist to find some hay and did find some cheaper stuff advertised as 'bedding hay' and Larry headed off to get 10 bales of that.  

We use it for bedding in the coops and nest boxes. The hay was just down the road from where we used to live when we first got married, so Larry got to talking with the hay guy, and then said he had a hard time getting away.

I was prepping some oranges for marmalade and was heading outside just as Larry got back.  I started cleaning out the coops, it went fairly well and I only had one wheelbarrow to dump from each of them. One of those wheelbarrows was as full as it possibly could be (Larry calls me 'one trip Karen').

Meanwhile Larry got the hay unloaded, two of the bales were a bit loose and decided to bust out of their strings in the unloading process.  The hay was nice and fine and was easy to spread in the coops.  Such a nice feeling to have the coops all clean and freshly bedded again.  The dry weather helps to keep them clean, and the days getting longer helps too.  The shorter the nights, they less time they spend roosting.

Sunset, the sun flashing out at the end of the day and catching the trees

And the next day was lovely.  We all thought so!

I like this photo

It kind of makes me think of this wonderful piece of artwork by Miriam Mas.
My sister is lucky enough to own the original.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Our Trip

Kind of funny, we would mention to people that we were going away.  They'd usually ask if we were going somewhere warm.  And we'd say no, probably going somewhere colder, but one heck of a lot drier.  It's rained every day for the last three weeks here.  We went to the Oliver cottage for 9 nights.  It rained a bit there, and three mornings there was a bit of fresh snow on the ground, but that moisture amounted to nothing close to the 5" of rain that Abbotsford got while we were away. We were glad to  miss it.  I was getting messages from the house sitter 'there's sooo much rain', 'I'm sick of the rain'....
We do a lot of walking in Oliver, to keep the dogs happy mostly, but it's good for us too, and we do enjoy it.  Most mornings we'd pick a section of dyke to walk along, that we'd have to drive to.  In the afternoons or evening we'd walk out from the house.  If it was dark we'd do our usual route up the hill and around the high school.  The deer venture into town in the winter evenings, we've got some piles of deer poop in the back yard or just behind the back fence.  We've never seen them but this particular night there were two on the bank just down the road from us.

One day late afternoon we climbed to the water tower which is just up a bit of a road and the crossed over to a little valley

And then up over the top and back down again.  Kind of neat with the moon rising. It wasn't quite as dark out as it looks

One morning we thought that someone had been chain sawing trees that had fallen over the trail.

The only saw that spits out chunks that size has beaver teeth!

And then a bit further along we came across this tree.  Lucky for the beaver it had fallen right to the river, and they had been peeling bark off the end in the water. It's really incredible what they can do with those teeth.  The picture doesn't show how massive that tree was.
Does the beaver shout 'timber!' as the tree goes down? Do any beavers ever get crushed by falling trees? Do the beavers know which way the tree is going to go?  They aren't the fastest of creatures on land after all.....

Further down the trail we checked on the beaver tree from the last time we were there.  It's still there, but it looked like there was a bit of fresh chewing.

We had one sunny day while we were there.  This is the only picture I took that day!
I'm so glad the house faces south.  On a sunny winter's day the sun streams in the living room, and usually warms it up enough the the furnace is redundant for a few hours. Luna often sleeps with her tongue stuck out a bit.  Her front teeth are worn down to nubs, so not much to keep the tongue in place.  I think it is from pushing the basket ball around, can't think of any other reason.

Feb 1 was Larry's 70th birthday.  The dogs got a good walk in the morning. So did Larry!

A dull day, but still scenic

I follow the Oliver Chronicle (which is the local newspaper) on Facebook.  They had a giveaway of two free tickets to a big curling tournament in Penticton, half an hour away.  I happened to win them (I do wonder if the mention of it being Larry's 70th birthday had any bearing on that)😆, but I think only eight people actually made the required comment to enter.  I guess the odds of winning were decent!
I knew Larry had curled a bit when he was young and agile, but I didn't know he had curled for about eight years, and that wasn't counting the years before that that he would go and watch his dad curl.  I can't believe we actually sat there for 3 hours.  That was the first time seeing curling live for me.  It was mostly pretty interesting, and also interesting listening to comments from people around us.  There was an older lady sat behind us who was a curling whiz, so it was fascinating to listen to her telling the younger guy who had brought her, about the different competitors and the rules and stuff.

Afterwards we went for a meal out.  Which is actually the first time we've gone for a proper meal out in the 5+ years we've been going to Oliver.  
Are we weird? Cheap?
Probably cheap.

And speaking of cheap, how about this chair and footstool that we picked up at the Kiwanis market Saturday morning after we arrived.  $5 for the two of them.  
Our living room, which is quite small,  well the whole house is small, 520 sq ft with about an 80 sq.ft utility room including stairs to the partial, unfinished basement added on the back.
The living room used to have two chairs and two love seats.  Then we did some rearranging and took out one love seat and brought up a chair which was the twin to 'Jake's chair' from home.  It was okay, but it was a bit big in the space and was the wrong colour.  So the $5 'new' chair has moved in and Jake's chair is in the basement, and he gets to curl up in one of the other ones.  He was a bit confused at first, but got it figured out eventually.

The footstool is a bit big in the space, but Larry likes that the chair rocks and spins and he can easily turn to watch the tv which is out of sight to the left of the picture.  Except we didn't watch much tv this time because we are just using an aerial since we don't want to pay a monthly fee for something we usually aren't there to watch.  Sometimes the one channel we get with the aerial comes in decently, but this time it was not.  The picture was watchable, but the sound was all static, and the closed captioning becomes annoying after a while.

The neighbour over the back lane kindly gave us her wifi password, so we are able to use that.  It cooperated pretty well this time, but sometimes that can be a bit sketchy too.

Of course I had a slew of projects lined up to do while we were there.  They all got done, and I'm pretty happy how it all turned out.  More about that later.  
Just know that we drove there with a fridge, a dryer, and a bathroom cabinet in the back of the truck.