Thursday, February 28, 2013

I spoke too soon...

I was all on about spring in the last post, but we're not there yet! We got a whopping big snowstorm yesterday...

The snow is sticking to all the trees! So lovely.

Here's a panoramic view. Not my best stitchery, but you get the idea.

Mrs. Cardinal was out looking for breakfast.

Our laneway was all plowed out by 8 pm. Bernie the trusty farmer is very reliable about showing up with his tractor after a storm.

So pretty!

I made sure the birds got lots of seed this morning.

This is not normally a walk-on feeder!!!

See that dark spot in the snow in the middle of the pic? That's a rock that sit on top of my birdbath, holding the heater in place. My entire birdbath is buried.

We've got some very large drifts!

I was just glad no power lines came down with all that wet, heavy white stuff.

Still, spring arrives next month!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring must be nigh!

Even though it looks like this outside...

...and we are getting a winter storm tomorrow with 6" or more of snow, today I found this...

...on my jacket. What is it?

It is...

...BEE POOP! The temperature is warm today (it's all relative, people), about 4C and very sunny. My bees are going crazy out there. On a warm late winter day like this, they zip out of their hives for a potty break. 

Honeybees will not defecate in the hive unless they are sick, so they hold it in for most of the winter until a day like this comes along.

Then they take a "cleansing flight" and the snow looks like this:

All of those yellow splotches are bee poop. The dark dots are dead bees. Unfortunately, some go out, get too cold to fly, and fall to the ground and die.

I picked this one up off the ground and took her back to a hive...

...I picked her up on that boxwood twig, but she crawled off it onto my hand!

This girl was sitting on the hive lid next to a colourful array of bee droppings!

This poor soul didn't make. Fell in the snow and couldn't get out again! Sometimes you can resurrect them by picking them up and blowing on them, but sometimes they sting you when you do that. Don't ask me how I know that.

All four of my hives had bees going in and out today. So far, they've survived the winter but it ain't over yet.

The girls were clustered around the top entrances...

...and the bottom entrances!

It was great to see my girls out and about. A few of them landed on my jacket.

Meanwhile, down in the duck run, everybody is looking forward to spring.

This guy needs a name. He looks like his dad, Amy Winehouse (yes, Amy is a boy. Long story.)

Moishe. Unless it's Twitchy. Augh, I'm not sure!

Yep, spring is coming.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kitties and cupcakes

We had quite the weekend! Today is National Cupcake Day for SPCAs and Humane Societies. People are selling cupcakes all over Canada to raise funds for animal shelters. My friends Ronna and Christina and I baked a bunch of cupcakes for the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OSPCA (where our tripod kitty Alex came from.) Christina took 66 (!) cupcakes to sell at The Squire Shop in Cornwall. Don't they look yummy?

Ronna made beautiful rose cupcakes, as well as sunflower and snowman cupcakes. Christina created yummy Skor and vanilla cupcakes with cute bird and snowflake decorations. I made coconut-lemon cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

Doesn't Ronna make beautiful buttercream roses?

Here is the recipe for my lemon-coconut ones!

Yesterday, Gordon and I visited the shelter in Cornwall. 

This very big boy is an Alex look-a-like! His name is Bear and he was a lovely, mellow guy. He's one big kitty, and he's looking for a home. (No, he did not come home with us!) We were there because in January, Gordon did a fundraiser on his law firm Facebook page. For every page "like" he got in that month, he donated $1 to our shelter. Yesterday we went down to drop off a cheque for $1100!

Those gals were very brave, out in the snow in their shirtsleeves!

Meanwhile, back at home, Emily and Alex were sacked out on my desk after a leisurely morning of bird and squirrel watching...

"Alex! I love you Alex!"

"Pay attention to me!"


"Quit bugging me, Emily!"

"That's better. Just settle down!"

Yep, a cat- and cupcake-filled weekend. And guess what? Our black granary kitty is still out there! On Friday night, I went out to look after the ducks and chickens, and the poor cat was sitting on the rim of our heated birdbath, taking a drink of water. When he saw me, he scampered back off to the granary. I'd been giving him bowls of water, but they froze quickly. We now have him set up with a heated dog dish of water, twice-daily feedings, and a feral cat shelter made from a cooler, filled with straw bedding. 

We named the cat "Raven", because he's black and was in the BIRD bath, and it's a name that's good for a girl or a boy. We don't know what sex he is; I'm just calling him a "he" for now. My goal is to get him used to me, then catch him and take him to the vet for neutering and vaccinations. We'll see how that goes. I don't know how wild or feral he really is. He's not here every day, or at least the food isn't disappearing every day, but he's around most days. I bet he's out making his rounds. I've seen him three times in the last month; Gordon hasn't seen him at all. I may end up borrowing a humane trap and catching him that way. He looks young to me, under a year but not a tiny kitten.

Happy Cupcake Day!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Look at Little Miss Emily, the perfect angel!

And Naomi and Alex...

"Where's our supper?!"

Ooo! Peek-a-boo, Emily!

"Ahem. Dinner? Hello??? Helloooo?"

Meanwhile, yesterday in my office...

My work table was a very popular place!

Yes, they had been watching Bird TV, but then...

...the taunting Mr. Red Squirrel showed up! No fear.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The inmates are running the asylum!

(Excuse the state of our kitchen. We are in the middle of having beadboard put up, wallpaper stripped, walls repaired, and painting done!)

The inmates are running the asylum...

On other hand, if you want to ensure your in-laws never eat in your kitchen again, I have a possible solution....

Totally unsanitary, but completely hilarious!

We discovered that blue-coloured wood under a layer of atrociously ugly light blue-and-white 70s faux-wood panelling covered by somewhat less atrocious plaid wallpaper. We're going to leave the wood and paint it! It's original to the house and about 110 years old.

I think we need more cats...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sleigh ride!

Today was wonderful! My friend Eugene offered me a sleigh ride as a (delayed) birthday gift, so we went over to his farm today (been in the family for over 200 years!) and I had the best time.

I was on this sleigh pulled by two gorgeous Belgians. Best of all, Sam and Jake (the twins who own these beauties) let me drive the horses for two good long runs. 

No, the horses are not moving in this photo. But we got trotting soon after! I today I discovered that I absolutely love driving horses. I've always liked the big draught horses, but this is the first time anyone has handed me the reins. I am totally hooked and now harbouring dreams of owning a couple of heavy horses. It doesn't help the Eugene, Sam and Jake were all encouraging me to do this. Eugene told me I am a natural, and a "good woman driver." Coming from him, this is tremendous praise! 

Our friend Inari came along too, and so did Marie-Emmanuelle and our godson Ben!

On our second ride in the sleigh (we had three today), Ben had a nice nap, first in my lap, then in Gordon's!

He really seemed to enjoy his day!

And here is Eugene's old sugar shack and "man cabin"...

He thoughtfully has provided an outdoor ladies room to the side of the man cabin, complete with sign and toilet paper...

"Girls' rest area". Complete with wood shavings to soak things up!!

He has a woodstove in his shack, too.

Here we are, enjoying the gorgeous sunny winter day.

Gordon, me and Inari enjoying our first ride out.

Abby the dog came along too and enjoyed her day running with the sleigh.

Ben got up close and personal with the lovely Belgian horses.

Aren't they magnificent?

Marie-Emmanuelle and Ben posed for a photo with Eugene. It was pretty cold today, about -10C but the windchill made it feel quite  a bit colder. Inari and I were having trouble feeling the ends of our fingers and toes by the time we finished at 5 pm!

It was great having Ben as my own personal law-warmer.

Inari and Gordon sitting back-to-back on a bale of straw on the sleigh.

So what do you think? Can you see me with my own team of horses? I like horses but I have to say, the only ones I've ever dreamed of owning are draught horses. Still, I have MUCH to learn.

Best birthday gift ever! Thanks Eugene.