Pages

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

Today is Bunday, so I have the great pleasure of blogging to you again. The female hoomin bean asked me to say that the owls thwarted her again yesterday and she got pine sap on her bottom from sitting on a stump waiting for the owl to hoot again, which it didn't. Serves her right. I don't mess with owls - I'm too smart for that!

Anyway, earlier this week, one of my friends on FaceBun asked me a very good question: Why do rabbits have such dainty feet? This is definitely worth discussion. It is not well known, in the world of hoomin beans, about the legend of rabbit feet. I, King Pippin and ruler of my great domain, shall pass on to you the story that has been told in my species over a great many generations. If you know anything at all about rabbits and our tendency to create new generations, you know that is a LOT of story-telling.

So, a long time ago, there were no hoomin beans.  There were rabbits and there were dinosaurs.  There were a few other things around too, like amoebas and horseshoe crabs, but they aren't important for this story.  

The dinosaurs were very big and scary.  There were some dinosaurs that ate plants, like the rabbits, and there were other dinosaurs that ate the rabbits.  In any case, we rabbits were pretty much scared of all the dinosaurs because they really didn't seem terribly friendly, and they were very powerful.  
Back in this time, it was the time of vast mud flats and tar pits and other disagreeable surfaces to walk on.  Naturally, rabbits had evolved to deal with all of this, and we had feet that looked like furry balloons.  We had the ability to inflate and deflate our feet, as needed, so that if we got into a situation where we were inadvertently in a tar pit, we could inflate our feet, which would cause us to gently rise above the tar. Sometimes it wasn't perfect and we would flip upside-down while levitating out of the problem situation (leading to tar on our ear tips), but in general, it worked well.  


The problem, though, is that we looked kind of ridiculous. Really ridiculous, if you think about it. I can't show you any pictures because there weren't cameras then, but trust me, it was a bit embarrassing, and some of the other creatures would snicker when they saw us. When our feet were deflated, we looked like we walked around on puddles of fur and they were all flopsy and inconvenient when we wanted to dig our burrows. Still, we had those feet for a reason, and although they weren't dainty, they were quite effective at helping us deal with those dangerous times. In fact, sometimes we were very lucky to have those feet, and that's why hoomin beans got the horrible idea of carrying around a rabbit foot for luck. This is a despicable practice and shouldn't even be worth mentioning, except that it still happens. So just stop it already!

As time went on, the dinosaurs became more and more powerful and ruled the land with their scary teeth and ear-shattering roars. But one day, there was a great vibration felt across the land, and the bunnies all levitated a little bit, in case something was about to happen, and the dinosaurs all roared and jumped up and down and made a general commotion, as was their habit. The amoebas didn't do anything, and I think the horseshoe crabs didn't really notice because they were in the sea, but I wasn't there so I'm not sure.

After the big vibration, things began to change, and the temperatures began to go down. It was an age of winter approaching, with vast quantities of snow and great glaciers of ice and a lot of shivering amongst the dinosaurs. They roared a little less often and they gathered in groups and waved their tiny arms and tried to decide what to do about it all. We were all fine because we have warm coats and we eat tundra plants and we generally hopped about and enjoyed the lack of tar pits and mud flats. 


As time went on, there were fewer and fewer dinosaurs, and more and more rabbits.  One day, a large group of rabbits came upon a dinosaur shivering in a snowbank and the dinosaur was actually crying big dinosaur tears and it was terribly distressed.  The rabbits were, generally speaking, a sympathetic lot, so they ended up talking to the dinosaur, although they all kept their feet inflated in case of emergency. The dinosaur said that he was the last dinosaur and was very sad and very cold, and would the rabbits please keep him company and warm him up. The rabbits were not at all sure about this matter, so they had a wee conference, as we do, and while they were having the discussion, the dinosaur lost consciousness. The rabbits all grouped around the dinosaur, and being warm and fluffy and cozy, they warmed him up sufficiently that he was able to regain consciousness, and fortunately he was a plant-eating dinosaur, so he didn't eat any of them. The dinosaur was still very powerful though, and the rabbits brought him little bits of tundra plants, but it wasn't enough, and eventually the dinosaur was about to depart this mortal coil. As a final gesture of his gratitude, the dinosaur asked the rabbits if there was anything he could do for them, and the rabbits had a wee conference, as we do, and decided they didn't really need the tar pit/mud flat feet adaptation now that the climate had changed, and they thought, since he was so powerful, the dinosaur might be able to do something about this. So they asked him if he would change their feet to small, dainty feet so that nobody would laugh at them anymore, and they would be able to have an easier time digging their burrows.

The dinosaur cried a big dinosaur tear and said he wasn't that powerful, but he would try to do something from wherever he went, when he went, and then a great sigh escaped him, and he began to shimmer and disappear, and in his place, the rabbits were astonished to see the Great Lady of the Wood.  The Great Lady said that the rabbits had been very selfless to help the last dinosaur and that she would grant them their wish, and that from that day forth, all rabbits would have lovely, dainty, appropriately-sized, non-inflatable feet, although rabbits who were living in snowy areas would have larger back feet for practical purposes.  The rabbits all passed out from sheer shock and delight, and when they woke up, their feet were just as you see today.

So now you know why rabbits have such small, dainty feet.  And with that story told, I must go and rest my small dainty feet.  Until next week, keep your ears (and feet!) clean.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Friday's Hunt 3.12


Our prompts from Eden Hills this week are:  Starts with L, Week's Favourite, and Antique.

Starts with L
L is for loom!  I have a few.  Looms are for weaving.  On occasion, when I have been at a public spinning event, using my spinning wheel, I have heard people say to one another "Oh look, she's weaving."  No, actually I'm spinning.  I've heard a mother say to her child "That's weaving" when I am spinning.  It's a bit frustrating.  Looms have a warp (threads that are vertical and fixed in place while you are facing the loom) and a weft, which is the thread that you use to go back and forth, across the warp.  That is how woven fabric is made.

My largest loom is this Nilus LeClerc floor loom.  I got it second hand, and I confess, I have not yet used it.  I really want to do so!  But I need to clean it up and get it warped before I can use it.  I got it about 5 years ago.  It's on the list of things to be done!

This is my table loom - a Rasmussen 4-harness loom.  The Rasmussen company doesn't exist anymore.  They were purchased by Montana Looms, who also went out of business.  It's a good quality table loom and I have used it.  Once.  Ahem.  I intend to rectify that.


 It has a floor stand too, so it doesn't have to take up table space.


This is my rigid heddle loom, leaning at the bottom of a shelf full of weaving yarn cones.  It's a vintage Erica loom made by Northfield Loom of Minnesota. They don't exist anymore either.  It's a great little loom and I've made several projects on it.  It's easy to warp and use - probably why I've used it the most.  As you can see, I have a lot of weaving yarn available.  I really need to use my looms more often!


This is my Majacraft circle loom.  These are currently in production, and a lot of fun to use!


I also have a DA Looms sock loom and a pot holder loom.

There are no more looms looming in my future!

Week's Favourite
My favourite picture from the past week is this one I took of a squirrel outside on the brush pile.  I really like the way the red colour of his coat highlights ties in with the branch colour.  I also love his assertive look - you can see he's watching me!

Antique
I have a couple of interesting antiques from my father's mother, who was from England.  Her name was Rose Lillian Towler, and she became Rose Lillian Moxon after marriage.  I have this lovely antique grandfather clock that lived in her home for many years before I inherited it.  It has a lovely, mellow Westminster chime.

The face has the Latin phrase "Tempus Fugit" above it, which means "Time flies" in English.  I put one of the cat's mouse toys up there, to look like the Hickory, Dickory Dock nursery rhyme!

I also have this interesting antique medal that she won in her younger days for the sport of push ball. Push ball was a sport that began to be played in the late 1800s.  It was played with a large, leather ball that was the height of an average man.  It was constructed from four leather hides placed over a wooden frame. The two teams had to try to push the large and heavy ball through a goal for a score.


I thought it needed a bit of cleaning when I got it out for the photograph, so I took to it with a toothbrush and some Silvo.  It turned out quite well!  I think she would be pleased with the clean up! The push ball match was sponsored by the Daily Mail, which was a newspaper.  I think it's still in existence today.

As you can see, it was awarded to her in June of 1927 in the town of Hanwell, which is a town in the London Borough of Ealing, in West London.

The original box is still with it and it shows that the medal was made by Fattorini and Sons, in Bradford, England.  I was inspired to look them up and found out that they were a jewellery business established by a family of Italian immigrants, originally opening their shop in Harrogate in 1831. The Bradford shop was opened in the 1850s.  Remarkably, the business still survives today, having been handed down over the years through the family. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fattorini_and_Sons)

It's lovely to have these old family heirlooms to admire and to think about the history of my family members over time.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thwarted by Owls

There are no pictures in this post, which is really the whole point.  It's the owls' fault. They are thwarting me.  Regularly. I might even say...systematically!

Let me tell you about my recent owl (non-)experiences.

Spring (not that I really call it spring when there's still 2 feet of snow on the ground) has arrived.  I'll call it late winter.  With that, the owl breeding season is upon us. During that time, you are more likely to hear owls. True to form, the owls in my woods have been speaking up. I've got some barred owls out there, and also some great horned owls. I know this because I have studied various websites with samples of owl calls and have listened closely when I'm outside - they all have fairly distinct calls, so it's relatively easy to know what you're hearing. In sharp contrast to that point, it is NOT relatively easy to see what you're hearing.

Last week, in the late afternoon, when I was filling the bird feeder, I heard a barred owl. I quickly changed into woods walking clothes, grabbed the camera, and headed outside. I continued to hear the owl. My best guess was that it was maybe 100 feet into the woods, based on the sound and its direction.  I quietly entered the forest and began walking towards the sound. Well, maybe not as quietly as I would have liked.  I mean, there's still a lot of snow. It's snow with a crusty, breaking surface that sounds a bit like you're walking through a bowl of cornflakes with no milk. So when I say "I quietly entered the forest..." what I'm really saying is, I went galumphing through the forest sounding like a large herd of angry elephants.  

The owl went quiet.  It probably flew away, fearing the panicked pachyderms were about to enter its realm.  I stood, for long, desperate moments, ears aching from the cold (no, I didn't have time to put a hat on, there was an owl, dang it!) I sent out secret ESP messages to the owl, asking it to hoot, even quietly, for me.  The owl was not inclined to listen. I stood in place for ages, peering into trees.  I'd move ten feet and peer some more. I crept silently made as little noise as possible when walking on cornflakes and slowly made my way forward.  I came out on the other side of the woods. This was the start of it all.  The elusive owl syndrome.

Twice more, since then, I have rushed to gear up for the woods, with camera, and cornflake walking gear, upon hearing my so-called friend, the owl. Twice more, I have been thwarted by silence. Silence so loud, I can hear the owl laughing at me. I have stood, leaning against tree trunks, begging the universe to let me catch a quick glimpse of a real, live owl in its natural habitat. I have sat on fallen tree trunks and breathed extremely quietly, focusing on the woods around me and the tiniest sound, which is usually a squirrel that gives me the hairy eyeball and says "Hey lady, that's MY tree trunk you're sitting on. Get lost!" I have had snow over my knees and down my boots. I've had branches dump a load of icy crystals on my head. I've come home with bits of spruce stuck in my hair and twigs adorning my ponytail.  I have heard more owls than I care to count, and I have seen NONE of them!  Not a single, solitary, stinking owl!

I've come home without a single shot on my camera memory stick. Every. Single. Time.

Tonight, I went to pick up a few groceries and came home just as it was turning dark. As I drove along our road to our driveway, that nefarious, phantom owl went gliding across the road, bold as you please, gliding to somewhere unseen in the middle of the woods. He mocks me. I feel it. I could sense his delight at my being stuck in the car without a camera, seeing him swoop by without a hope in heck of being able to find him again.  I got out of the car and stood silently. He hooted. I hooted back. He hooted again. I scuffed the ground in frustration. That owl and I have a score to settle. One of these days, I will get my picture!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

I am very pleased to be able to blog to you about my new custom-designed furniture piece.  It is befitting a bun of my status to have custom-designed furniture, don't you think?  The male hoomin bean (MHB) decided to take on my order (well, it's not as if he had a choice, but let's make it sound like he did) for a specialized hay buffet and integrated restroom facility.  What a fine craftsman he is!

The hay buffet is a very important part of my daily life.  It gets my digestion going and that helps me think deep thoughts and contemplate my plans to dominate the universe.  Until this point, the female hoomin bean (FHB) has been providing the hay buffet in an empty tissue box.  Her logic (a wee bit faulty, but she does provide the hay, so I'll try to be nice) was that the hay would mostly stay contained in the tissue box, and this would keep things tidy.  I laugh my rabbitty little laugh in her direction.  Did she not realize that I would amuse myself by repositioning my hay box as and when I please, and that I would leave a long trail of unfinished hay pieces as I went?  Seriously, no floor is complete without a good scattering of hay.

Well, the FHB and I do not see eye to eye on this matter.  Something about hay clogging the vacuum hose and not having time for this mess and blah blah blah...


So, the MHB and I had a business meeting about it, as we do from time to time, and we decided....well, I decided and he agreed....that I should have a custom hay buffet with integrated restroom facility.  The integration was necessary because although I am inclined to use the HB- mandated restroom box with fluffy litter, sometimes when I am very engaged with my hay buffet, I forget.  Well, after all, I am a bun with many important things on my mind.  The restroom box fits into the wooden frame and can easily be emptied by the slaves HBs as needed.

As you can see, the hay buffet is clearly designed to offer me maximum access to my favourite hay, while tending to keep it all in one spot, to appease the FHB.

Bits of hay that fall out, or that are dropped while I am eating, fall into the integrated restroom facility. Furthermore, I can be completely focused on my hay buffet without having to remember to go find the restroom box.  It's already right there!

I have carefully explored my new furniture and I did taste it, but I have decided I prefer the hay to the wood. The MHB put a nice hinged lid on the hay portion, for frequent refills.  This also makes a good perch from which I can survey all the kingdom that is mine.


I can eat from the top, if I want to.


I can also keep a watchful eye on those shady guinea pig characters.

I can do my stretching routines to the left...


...and to the right.  It's very sturdy and doesn't topple over when I do my exercises.


All in all, it's an excellent addition to my domain.  Thank you to the MHB for making it.  Until next week, as always, keep your ears clean!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.11

Yet another busy week and a day late on Friday's Hunt.  We actually went out for supper last night, and I forgot that it was St. Patrick's Day, so we had to wait 1.5 hours to get a table, and by the time we got home, it was too late for blogging.

Our prompts from Eden Hills are:  Starts with K, Week's Favourite, and Drink.

Starts with K
My father recently took on a restoration project of one of my mother's well-used kitchen knives - one of her favourites.  It is a good quality Sabatier knife, so it was worth fixing.  It was so well used that the wooden handle finally gave up and cracked.  My father began the project by removing the blade from the broken handle.  You can see the blade has been sharpened many, many times by its rather tapered blade angle.  It's a very good steel so it has held up to many years of sharpening and is always as good as new!

My father then shaped most of the handle, and drilled the hole, before cutting the handle to length. He had to purchase a special bit to accurately bore the hole into the end grain of the hard-grained wood he used for the handle.  That type of bit is usually used for making hand-crafted wood pens, such as fountain pens.  Here's the handle before being cut to length, and you can just see his planned shaping line.


He the put the blade back in the new handle with epoxy putty to glue it into place, and made a small hole at the outer end of the handle so that any excess epoxy had a place to squeeze out. He later filled that hole.

The final shaping and sanding was followed by 3 coats of polyurethane.  What a great job he did! My mother's kitchen knife is ready for many more years of reliable service!

Week's Favourite
Marc did some repairs to one of the bird feeders - the plastic perches had broken this winter - probably a combination of bitter cold making the plastic brittle, combined with squirrel activity!  You can see in this shot where the squirrels also chewed around the feeder openings.  Marc glued some new wooden dowels in place for new perches, since the birds couldn't perch any more.  I took this shot of a squirrel back at the repaired feeder.  I think the wood perches will hold up better than the plastic ones.  I love this shot because it really showcases the red coat of the squirrel - he just gleams in the sunlight.  I enjoy their antics at the feeder.

Drink
Pippin and Mitten share the same water bowl, although they don't drink at the same time.  Pippin also has a water bottle in his crate, but he seems to prefer the bowl.  I've noticed that he sometimes puts a foot into the water first - not sure why he does that!  I doubt it makes the water taste better!

We used to use a plastic orange water dish for Mitten, which worked well until Pippin joined us.  He thought the water dish was a fun toy.  He began picking the dish up by the edge, and dumping the contents.

Not very helpful!

Now they both drink from a heavy glass dish - Pippin can't tip it over and they both drink happily from it.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

Here it is, Bunday again!  Where does the time go?  I have been so very busy this week.  Mostly I was conducting some very important meetings.  I also did some very important research.  I am a very busy bun with big business to conduct.

Earlier this week, I conducted a meeting with the male hoomin bean.  I invited him to sit for a while in my well-appointed, sunny office, and talk to me about some plans of his.  I am pretty good at listening.  Even though I'm a bit impatient at times, because I really can't tolerate inefficiency, I am a good meeting participant.

The male hoomin bean said he was making plans about his work, and he discussed them with me in some detail.  In general, I approved, and I gave him some good advice, because I'm generous like that.  The female hoomin bean left her spinning wheel in my office.  I suppose that's OK.  I don't know why she calls it a spinning wheel.  Doesn't she know that all wheels spin?  I mean really, that's their purpose!  They're wheels, not toasters.  Good heavens, you don't have a car that drives on toasters.  It drives on wheels.  They spin!  Honestly, I do wonder about her sometimes.

I think you can see that I am well suited to being in business meetings, especially if there are good chairs.


The male hoomin bean and I had a follow up meeting later this week.  It was a little more casual.  I think you could call it a real face-to-face meeting.

We also had a special guest visiting for part of our meeting.  It was very convivial.

The female hoomin bean is very busy so I've been helping her with some important research about the garden.  I'm helping her decide which plants she should plant for me to eat.  Naturally, this is a critically important subject, so I had a lot of reading to do.

All these meetings and research are quite exhausting.  It's important to have a good variety of office chairs to sit on when you need to rest and contemplate your business and research.  I like this one quite well, and the colour suits me.

Oh!  But look at the time!  I must dash off, I have important things to do!

Until next week, keep your ears clean!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.10

Well, it certainly has been a very busy time lately, and the fact that I'm a day late on Friday's Hunt is further evidence of the craziness of my work schedule lately.  I was working until almost 9 pm last night, and by then I was just too tired to write.  So, Friday....Saturday....whichever it is, here's the hunt!

Thank you to Teresa at Eden Hills for our prompts, which are:  Starts with J, Week's Favourite, and Bird/Wings.

Starts with J
J is a bit of a tricky letter.  There aren't a lot of easy topics for photography that start with the letter J.  Perhaps I should show you our cat, Mitten, who was stuck under a box that was overturned, and he sort of looked like he was in Jail!  Don't worry, he gets out quite easily.

My mother helpfully suggested jewelry, so here are a few pictures of some beaded pendants that I've made and sold.  I don't have much time for bead work these days, but I'd like to make some more of these in the future.  I really enjoy the challenge of choosing the right beads to work together into a cohesive look.  The colours make me happy!




Week's Favourite
Pippin really is a very photogenic rabbit.  With the rainbow-coloured backdrop of my sweater, I think this is a lovely picture, so it's my favourite this week.

Bird/Wings
I take a lot of bird pictures, as my regular readers will know.  I haven't taken many lately due to being busy, but also because there aren't many birds around right now.  There are the black-capped chickadees and the red-breasted nuthatches, but I don't see any others on a regular basis, except the pheasants.  I went outside to try to get a good bird picture today and it was bitterly cold.  The wind was blowing, making it even colder.  With the wind chill, it was -25 C, which is -13 F.  I was wearing my insulated coveralls, but I didn't put socks on, because I was still in my pajamas.  You can well imagine how cold my ankles became after a few minutes!  Only for you, my dear readers, only for you!

Anyway, I did manage to get a couple of bird pictures - not great ones.  I really wanted to get a wing picture, but I didn't have as much luck as I would have liked today.  I got a picture of a black-capped chickadee looking like a wee torpedo - just snapped at the moment in flight that his or her wings were folded in, rather than spread out.  It's kind of a funny shot - looks like a wingless bird!

I almost got another good shot but as you can see, the nuthatch was just leaving the frame in the lower right.


The feeder was in shadow and there was bright sun behind, making it difficult to get good pictures today. However, I did manage to get this single decent wing shot.  This is the red-breasted nuthatch again.
 
To make up for the lack of good wing shots, I give you this bonus shot of a ring-necked pheasant in the sun this morning.  His plumage is glorious.  You can see he's been eating a lot of the chicken feed I put out to help them stay warm on these cold winter days.  His crop is quite full!