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Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 4.03

I can't believe it's Friday already!  Where did the week go?  Summer is just flying by.

I am not very prepared for this week's Friday Hunt.  The topics are:  Starts with C, Building, and Something I Wear.

Starts with C
Today, I was given a little gift by Mother Nature - the chance to rescue a chipmunk.  Unfortunately, I have an outdoor cat.  I'm not all that fond of cats, and I do not generally approve of outdoor cats. Izzy was my former barn cat and she is a very friendly cat, but she is terrible at litter box use, so she can't stay in the house, so I am stuck with keeping her outside.  As a result, she sometimes catches little creatures.  This really upsets me, but most of the time she is not very successful with hunting.

Anyway, I saw her outside today with a limp chipmunk hanging from her mouth and I was horrified. I've never seen her catch one and they are usually way too fast for her.  Anyway, I went running out to see if I could rescue it but I feared it was already dead.  She dropped it and it just lay on its side.  I picked it up immediately and cradled it and found that it was, remarkably, still alive, but not moving much.  I checked it over for wounds and found none.  So, I put it into a plastic jug that was handy, and took it inside to observe it to see if it needed to be taken to the Atlantic Wildlife Institute for treatment or rehab.  I offered it some sunflower seeds.

The chipmunk was still for a very long time and seemed a bit stunned, which I suppose is normal given the experience it had just been through.  I took it out to the back screened porch and put it in a larger plastic tote with some seeds and water for a while.  About 20 minutes later when I went to check on it, it was running around inside the porch and chirping in the way chipmunks do.  So, I knew it was most likely going to be OK.  I let it go, after getting a couple of cute pictures!  I am so glad I had the opportunity to save it, and it gave me a letter C for today!

Building
Marc has been doing a tremendous job on the renovation of the outbuilding that is becoming his motorcycle workshop.  As I've mentioned before, he is using pallet wood and barn boards to do the inside walls.  This week, the ceiling heater arrived that will keep it warm enough for him to work out there during the winter.  Here is the building from the outside - during the winter of course.

Here is how part of it looked last winter.

Here is how that same part looks now.  The upper boards are the pallet wood and the lower boards (horizontal) are the barn boards.

He also refinished a couple of vintage windows to use on the inside dividing wall - they look great! He hopes to have it all finished by the fall.

Something I Wear
Right now we're in the middle of summer, which is the hottest time of the year here.  That said, it's not THAT hot.  We don't have air conditioning though, because we really don't need it.  We very rarely hit 30 C (86 F) and generally we don't go over 26 C (79 F) but for me, that's still quite warm.  I wear a lot of lightweight sleeveless dresses in the summer to keep cool.  I especially like tie-dyed ones. Here I am today in one of those dresses.  I'm also wearing a very pretty turquoise glass pendant that my parents brought me as a gift from their recent trip to Bermuda - I love the colours!  It seems that I am almost always wearing something teal, green, or turquoise.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 4.02

I usually prefer to do my Friday's Hunt post on Friday, but we went to an estate auction on Friday evening and the rest of Friday was just too busy to get to it.  Yesterday was really busy as well.  So, it's Friday's Hunt on Sunday.

The prompts from Eden Hills this week are:  Starts with B, unbalanced, and door.

Starts with B
I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) program for this year.  I pay an annual fee at the beginning of the year, and I get a vegetable "box" every week during the growing season.  It started at the beginning of July (our growing season is late because of our horrible winters and slow springs) and I have had 2 boxes so far.  I actually get to go to pick it up in town, and I can choose the items I want in my box.  The selection at this time of year includes some root crops that have overwintered, including carrots of all colours, and field beets.  What a BOUNTY of vegetables!  I am really pleased to have joined this program.  I hope it will lead to more healthy meals for us, with a bit less pasta on the menu, since it is a common meal here due to its speed and ease of preparation.

In this picture, which was the first box, there are beets, carrots, kale, spinach, cucumber and potatoes!

Unbalanced
At the estate auction, which we primarily attended because there were some tools that Marc wanted, I bought these two lovely wooden planter boxes.  I liked the colours and they work well with the colours of our house.  In some ways, they are unbalanced.  First of all, they are two different colours. Secondly, if you look closely, you can see that the red one is made from wider boards than the green one.  So, they are not the same, but they make a nice pair of planters, and although I may not get around to planting anything in them for this year, they will be nice for planting in next spring.

Door
You might have noticed that those planters are on the front doorstep, which is right in front of the main door of the house.  Oddly, this door is not the one we primarily use, in part because we do not have a key for it.  The former owner didn't have a key for it and had not had one for a long time apparently, if at all.  I love the cheerful red colour of our front door, and its glossy surface.  As you can see, the red planter box is in a similar colour family, so the two different colours still work well with our house colours.  At some point we'll have to get a new door handle and latch so that we have a key for the door again.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.01

It's time for a new round of the alphabet on Friday's Hunt.  This time, there is also a little shift in the prompts - we are not doing week's favourite this time - although we can include it if we wish. Instead, we have two random prompts.  I like the change because I tended to struggle with week's favourite.

The prompts this week are:  Starts with A, Inside, and Sunset.

Starts with A
I'm sharing a moth that I photographed on June 23.  It is the White-spotted Sable moth, which has the scientific name Anania funebris.  Its host plant is goldenrod, and there is plenty of goldenrod in this area.  It's a pretty little moth - I like its orange shoulders!  This moth is also widespread in Europe, which is interesting because we don't share that many moth species between North America and Europe.

Inside
My foxgloves have been delightful this year.  Last year I didn't have any.  I think that the former owner cleared out all the foxgloves from the garden beds just before we moved in.  I was surprised to see so many foxgloves this year, but they are glorious.  I seem to have three main colours - a dark magenta pink, a light peachy colour, and a very pale pink.  I also have a single white one.  I am captivated by the inside of the flowers.  They have such detailed patterns and I like to watch the bees go inside them to gather nectar.  Here are some pictures of the inside view of foxglove flowers.

White

Peach - you can really see the tiny hairs at the flower openings in this shot.

Pale pink

Magenta

Bee bum!

Sunset
It's tricky for me to get good sunset pictures at home.  Our home is surrounded by trees, and most of them are quite tall.  This means that even when I'm on the balcony on the second floor outside our bedroom, I still can't really see the sunset except a bit of colour through the trees.  I took this shot as the sun was setting earlier this week.  I like the way the sun is still shining through the trees.

This shot is from the balcony also, about 20 minutes later than the one above - you can just see the pink-tinged clouds through the trees.  That's about all I ever see for sunset!

I decided to try to get a sunset picture on my way home from my knit night this week, so I took a dirt road to try to find a clear patch of sky (also very difficult given the density of trees in the general area).  I didn't have much luck with that approach, because the gaps in the trees didn't point in the right direction for a good sunset picture.

I suppose I have to go elsewhere to take good sunset shots!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bunday Blog Business

This week I'd like to advocate the benefits of resting.  We rest a lot during the day.  We might also rest a lot at night, although I'm not saying, because the female hoomin bean (FHB) is always wondering what we get up to at night, and I prefer to let her live in mystery.

Now that it is summertime here in Canada, we think that resting is a national pastime. There are hoomin beans resting everywhere - at the beach, on their deck, on their patio, at outdoor cafés, the list goes on and on.  We like to rest on the window sill.  The cat also likes to rest on the window sill, but we evict the cat when we want to be on the window sill, because bunnies have precedence since the cat can lounge in places that we can't reach.  It's only fair.


Lady Épinette Nutkin shows excellent resting form.  She stays close to the water dish.  The FHB always makes sure we have fresh water because it can get warm on the window sill in the sun. Épinette is also still moulting, so she needs to keep herself warm in the spots where she has less fur at the moment.


Sometimes we like to snuggle while we are resting.


Sometimes, we rest further apart.


Sometimes, Lady Épinette lets her leg dangle off the edge of the windows sill, in a most alluring way. I see the duck looking at her.


On cloudy days, like today, we put on our sombreros and have a siesta on the rug.














Saturday, July 1, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 3.26 (late again!)

I'm late with Friday's Hunt because we were visiting my in-laws yesterday evening for supper and a visit with Marc's brother and family.  As a result, we were home fairly late and it was too late to start typing up a blog entry.  Today has been busy with my work, as usual, despite the fact that it's actually Canada Day and probably I should take the day off, but that's not happening.  Without further ado, let me get to today's topics from Eden Hills:  Starts with Z, Week's Favourite, and Dessert.

Starts with Z
I'm going back into history for this one because I haven't taken pictures of anything lately that starts with z...at least not that I can think of!  Instead, I'm sharing a photograph of my great grandfather on my father's side.


This is Ernest Zachariah Towler, as photographed in the mid 1930s. He was born in 1878 in London and his siblings all had a biblical middle name.  My father has done quite a lot of family research over time, and he learned that Ernest's father, William, was a Money Lender who got into some trouble with the law and skipped to the USA, never to be heard from again!  What a mystery!  

In any case, I am glad that the tradition of biblical names didn't continue in the family, and I think my father is pleased that he didn't end up with Zachariah as a middle name (with apologies to any of my blog readers with that name!)
Week's Favourite
It's been a very busy week and I didn't have many chances for picture taking.  I did get this picture of a poppy seedpod shortly after the bloom had ended.  I love the shape of poppy seedpods and their structure is quite remarkable, not to mention beautiful.  The velvety burgundy-coloured "hat" is my favourite part!

Dessert
I am again digging into history for this topic, since I haven't had time for making many desserts lately, and when I do, I don't usually take pictures of them.  Instead, I share with you this photograph of a cake that my mother and I made for my father as a birthday cake, which is of course a dessert! We have a family tradition of individualized cakes for birthdays! This one from the mid 1970s is a depiction of the CN Tower, which is located in Toronto, Canada.  We were living just outside Toronto at the time.  I'm pretty sure it was a chocolate cake.

The CN Tower was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1995.  It is 553.3 metres (1,815.3 feet) tall and is essentially a communications tower, although it's also a major tourist attraction.  At the time of its completion in 1976, it was the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower.  It is now the third tallest tower in the world, and is still the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.

The reason the cake says "Daddy's Tower" on it is because my father played a role in the choice of communication cables that were installed in the tower, and in their proper installation.  As a child, I used to think of it as "Daddy's Tower" because I knew he was working on a project at the tower, so it was one of those phrases that stuck.  There were complicated factors at play with the cables because of the height of the tower and the tendency for the inside bits of the cable to shift due to gravity over such a significant drop in height.  Fortunately, since my very meticulous father was on the job, it was all carefully planned and tested and everything worked out well.

He did have the opportunity to be inside the tower during construction and took some interesting photographs.  This one, which is not related to dessert, is a view down the inside of the tower shaft. That tiny little dark disc at the bottom is 8 feet diameter. On the left you can see the cables coming past the 1100 foot catwalk where the white blob is the hard-hat of a worker clamping a cable to the wall. There are catwalks around the shaft every 100 feet up to the 1200 foot point, and this picture was taken from one of those catwalks.  I'm glad it was my Dad doing this, because I would probably pass out up there. Yikes! 



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Friday's Hunt 3.25 (late!)

I'm late on Friday's Hunt today because I have been busy enjoying a visit from my parents on their way back from a holiday in Prince Edward Island.  However, I'm taking a few minutes to get this written with some pictures I took on our walk in the Sackville Waterfowl Park this morning.  It was such a lovely day for the walk and we saw lots of birds and other wildlife.

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

Starts with Y
Today I have a series of "Y is for yellow" photographs from our waterfowl park walk.  Here is a male mallard - he has a lovely yellow bill.

I also saw this dragonfly - I haven't had time to look up the species yet - but it has an interesting yellow triangle on its back.  I hope that will make it easy to identify.

This beautiful male ring-necked duck has a lovely yellow eye.

Bonus - not from the waterfowl park, but from the pile of sawdust on our driveway yesterday afternoon...this lovely yellow swallowtail butterfly.

Week's Favourite
I think my favourite picture today is this mother duck with her family of little ones.  They're probably considered "adolescents" now - they still have some down but they are quite big and growing fast.

Splash
There were lots of ducks splashing around in the water today but I didn't get any really good pictures of them splashing.  This one is about the best of the bunch - they were far away.  You can still see some water droplets spraying off the duck's wings.

We also saw lots of tiny fish in the water.  Sometimes when the ducks came close, they would be disturbed and would make little splashes on the water's surface.  I didn't get a picture of the splashing, but here are the little fish.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moulting Squirrel

In recent weeks I've taken a few photographs of a squirrel who lives in my yard.  I never really thought about squirrels moulting (or molting, if you live in the US!) before, but after looking closely at the photographs I took, I realized that the moulting process is quite distinct, and also takes quite a long time to progress.

Here was my squirrel friend on March 18 after getting a peanut treat.  At this point, her coat is still quite normal for winter.  You can see the reddish tone along the top line of her back.

I first noticed that the squirrel was looking a bit "ragged" in mid April.  Here you can see there is a faint line on the foreleg where the fur has begun to moult - the line is caused by the longer "winter coat" hairs.  The shorter summer fur is on the lower leg and paw.  This was on April 15.

I didn't get a lot of great pictures of her in May, but here you can see the line of moulting fur is progressing down her shoulder somewhat, and on her rear leg.  This is on May 5.

I'm calling this squirrel "she" because when I was taking pictures in May, I noticed that she was most probably nursing babies, based on her appearance here.

Here she is on May 29 - now you can really see that the moult has progressed over much of her body and the winter coat is still stubbornly holding on at her shoulders and rear haunches.

This shot shows how the winter coat has a much brighter red tone in a stripe that was down her back from shoulders to tail.  You can see the remnants of the red on her shoulders and also still at the tail, but the summer coat in between the two areas is just a regular brown colour, without the rusty red tones.

It was most obliging of her to show me her back!

Look at that red stripe!

So here she is on June 7.  You can see she still isn't quite finished the moult, so it's been about 6 weeks since it started.  Another thing I notice is that she now has a dark stripe along the side of her body where her brown fur meets the white belly fur.  That wasn't so distinct in winter, if you go back and look at that first photograph.

You can also see the dark stripe on her side in this shot.

I'll be watching her tail over the next few weeks to see if those vivid red hairs come out and are replaced by less vibrant tones for summer.  It has been interesting to watch the changes in her and to document them in a series of photographs.  I'm hoping that one day she'll learn to take a peanut from my hand!