Monday, March 31, 2014

Hello from sort of down under...

Having a great time in Sri Lanka (while our house/farm/petsitters cope with yet another snow dump!)

We looked sort of perky when we left Montreal on Friday night. We snagged the two seats ahead of the emergency exit on our Qatar Airways flight. No one next to us, yay!

After a getting some interrupted sleep on the 12-hour flight to Doha, we didn't look TOO awful!

Qatar looks like what I expected. A big desert!

We switched planes and after another five-hour flight, arrived in Sri Lanka. Our guest house was lovely and I really liked the towel and sheet art on our bed:

We had a typical Sri Lanka breakfast yesterday. Fish curry, lentil dahl, tomato/onion salad, and those big coconutty things I forget the name of!

This morning we had Sri Lankan omelettes (and fruit!) on the terrace.

This afternoon we arrived in Tangalle, where we are staying at the Mangrove Garden chalets. Here's ours:

So relaxing here! I conked out in a hammock for two hours this afternoon. Still dealing with jet lag!

And here's a spiny sea urchin I found washed up (dead) on the beach tonight. Poor thing. Glad I didn't step on it!

The beach here is quite beautiful...

Lots of fishing boats.

A happy Canadian!

I went for a walk a bit before sunset.

The ocean is too rough for swimming in most parts, but there is a spot near our place that is sheltered by a reef and works just fine. We spent a good hour in there today. Warm like bathwater, aahhhh!

And to end a fine day, supper on the beach with some fruity drinks...

More soon!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day parole

We are all heartily sick of winter. But Julius enjoyed his day parole the other day!

He had to take his escort with him (me!)

At 14, he is still handsome and fluffalicious.

He's ahead over towards the dried-out patch of catnip he remembers is behind the garage!

It was -20C when I got up today (better than the -26C it was yesterday!) but tomorrow we're heading off to Sri Lanka and HOT WEATHER!!! Maybe when I get back, the snow will have melted. Or maybe we'll just fly home to a spring blizzard!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring. It's the new winter!

I don't believe winter is going to end this year. When we got up this morning, it was -26C. The normal temps should be a high of 6C and  a low of -5C!

It was a little warmer the other day and my long-suffering bees came out on some cleansing (pooping!) flights...

Poor little things!! So cold. If they aren't quick about it, their flight muscles chill and they can't fly. Then they drop to the snow and soon die.

Touch wood, all six of my hives are still alive right now but I won't breathe easy until the first dandelions bloom and I know they're getting in some pollen!

Today I snowshoed out to the field hives for the first time in weeks.

Pretty sure they must have been buried a little while back. They're pretty much still buried!

My trusty bee inspectors braved the cold winds and came along with me!

Poor old Tristan. He plods along but he still loves his walkies!

I liked the shadows these cast!

Sophie still loves winter!

We made it all the way back to the woodlot.

Even Tristan! That tree on the left is our one sugar maple.

They had a little break in the snow!

Okay, well, somebody had an EXTENDED break!

It is supposed to warm up Friday. I'll believe it when I see it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Piggy goes walkabouts. And things are heating up in Sexyville!

While we are all despairing about the continuing freezing temperatures, bouts of snow, and lack of spring on any near horizon, Ophelia and her buddies went outside today to check out the situation.

LeMay (right) came to us from the same barn as Ophelia. My rescue pig and chicken! They like to hang out together. I can't say I am particularly worried about Ophelia eating the chickens anymore.

I think she is yearning to get out there! Too bad it's snow and not grass. I couldn't get that gate open if I tried.

Meanwhile, in the barn (aka Sexyville):

Well HELLO Carlton, you hunka hunka burning Narragansett turkey love!

He loves to show me his goods. I am pretty sure he thinks I'm a hot turkey hen.

And that's Inari peaking out behind him.

Now known as "Mr. Inari" because for #$@&'s sake, female turkeys don't constantly strut, gobble, have heads that turn blue and red, and lengthen their snoods when displaying!

So even though Mr. Inari is quite a bit smaller than Carlton....

I am pretty much convinced "he" is a "she." If any one thinks otherwise, let me know. Mr. Inari is the one in front. His/her/its tail feathers were not up on display here, but they often are!

Carlton felt compelled to show me his best side! He looks like a two-headed turkey with Mr. Inari beside him.

Meanwhile, my rooster Jams was being uncharacteristically debonair. Instead of instantly humping Julie and Bonnie (the new girls), he had a nice chat with them.

THEN he jumped their bones!

Meanwhile, Ophelia's only urge was to find something edible in the barn...

I need to clean up that face of hers but it's been so damn cold, I've been loathe to take a damp washcloth down and fix her up! She doesn't seem to care. She does like her daily brushings and belly rubs!

Much as I have had it with winter, in under two weeks we are going to be in SRI LANKA! We were there in 2006 and I swore I'd go back the year I hit 50. So we are! 35C weather is sounding mighty delightful to me right now. We're off for two weeks leaving the place in the care of our competent farm-/pet-/house-sitters I cannot wait, even though we are flying in a 777. With any luck, it won't vanish into thin air!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Mighty Mouser

Warning, this post contains photos of a dead mouse (but you can just pretend it's sleeping! Really. It looked, er, quite peaceful.)

So, God help me, I went down to the basement to do a spot of laundry the other day. And there was Emily, with a freshly-caught (and well dead!) mouse. If you look below, you can just see the poor thing's tail poking out from Emily's right paw.

So then she started tossing the dead mouse in the air! And somehow, it landed in the inset handle of my dryer drawer. Which I didn't realize until I pulled open the drawer (and screamed):

Let me just say that this photo inspired me to clean and vacuum the basement to within an inch of its life.

Emily thoughtfully fished out the mouse for me.

Then she took it over near the woodpile for a little more fun.

Sigh. Poor little mouse.

30 seconds later, she ate it. Whole. I mean, she barely chewed!

I have to say, I have not seen a mouse or mouse droppings in our kitchen in an exceedingly long time. I think the three girl cats are feline killing machines! It's gotten so I'm afraid of what mayhem I'll walk in on when I go down to the (now much cleaner!) basement.

But really, I am grateful to them for keeping the rodent population under control. If only I could send them out to the barn for a few hours!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Seed box!

My beekeeping mentor and buddy Pierre made me a wonderful present!

It's a box for all my seed packets! 

We gave him a bunch of good old wood that was in our barn. He planed it all and saved some to make me this box.

And he burned a little art into the bottom!

Isn't it fabulous? He has made quite a few lovely things for me. Today he brought us over some duck and turkey nesting boxes he built. Pictures of those to follow!

And Charlotte the hen may be almost five years old, but she still pops out a nice egg every now and then:

I need to go take more pig pictures. I am in love with Ophelia! Yesterday I was giving her a good scratch and she sort of fell over onto her side with her legs straight out. So I massaged her belly and give her lots of attention and she closed her eyes in a state of extreme bliss. So sweet!