Friday, August 31, 2007

Poop Doggy Dogg

Xena seems to be on a roll (no pun intended) with this whole "dung" theme she's got goin'. You might want to listen to the commentary that goes along with this video. video
So Xena was feeling a little unloved for the rest of the day yesterday, coz she wasn't allowed in the house or the truck or generally too close to anyone. But there's a funny thing that happens with that girl. Dirt doesn't stick. You've heard of the Teflon Don? Well, Xena is the Teflon Dog. No kidding. After a few hours all that green "stuff" just kind of fell off. We've noticed that before with her. She gets all covered in mud and not too long later it's all gone. There must be a natural oil in her coat. Handy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

fall is coming

The hummers are gone (sniff). They've actually been gone for a couple of weeks now, but I haven't had the heart to bring down the feeders. There weren't as many as last year (the most I counted at one time was 16. Last year it was more like 30). And they bugged out early. Maybe they know something we don't. Apparantly the Farmer's Almanac predicts snow for us on Oct 18th. We'll see. It IS cooling off and all the greenery is turning yellow.

Although the hummers are gone, some of the barn swallows are lingering, as well as the Sandhill Cranes. The kestrels have returned, which also seems early to me, but I don't mind. I enjoy watching them. (I did not take this picture) Speaking of hummingbirds, this is my main feeder. I like it a lot, except do you notice something funny about it?It hangs crooked. I wasn't too impressed by that, so wrote an email (complete with pictures) to Lee Valley. They jumped right on it, insisting on sending a replacement even though I said I didn't want one. It took me all summer to send the faulty one back to them, but they never pestered me for it. I am VERY impressed with their service. So, the new one is great. It hangs straight alright, but there is still a flaw in its design. The top and the bottom join around the middle where the perch is and it is not a good seal. If you fill it too much it leaks like a seive. Kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion. If you can only fill it halfway that's a long reach for those little guys to get the nectar. So, I took some video and sent another email to Lee Valley. They acknowledged the problem, but nothing could be done except return it for a refund. I didn't want to do that. I like the overall design, so have opted to make my own modification by glueing the 2 halves together. It'll be a little trickier to clean, but will be much better I think.

Monday, August 27, 2007

long time gone

My goodness, it feels like I've been out of touch forever! We have not had an internet connection for 8 days and it's been driving me a little crazy. Apparantly, lightning hit the tower on Mt. Sheridan near Burns Lake. That's where our wireless signal comes from. It was fried so bad they had to ship a bunch of new parts from back east and then their technicians had to get up the mountain and climb the tower to make repairs. I'm sure they weren't too happy about it, but neither were we .... and neither were our customers when we were unable to help them. It's unfortunate that there are no other ISPs in this area, except for Telus dial-up and that isn't even worth considering. It might be time to look into our own satellite set up.

Anyhoo....that's where I've been. Now it's time to do some catching up.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

more wildlife

We haven't seen very many deer in our fields this year. That's probably because of Xena. This is one of our rare visitors. She started to bounce away (and over the fence like it was nothing) only because Xena came running up the stairs when she spotted me on the veranda. She didn't see the deer until it was already across the field



No sooner had I taken that video and there was a black bear in our east field, but he was a little far away. Then I went around to the kitchen door and there was a big, fat, handsome coyote in the north pasture. Quite close, actually, but I didn't get my camera in time.

my latest project

This is what I am currently working on. It's a gift for someone, so I can't tell you too much (except that it's NOT a scarf) and I figured no one will ever be able to guess at this early point so it's safe to show you.If it actually does get finished in time for Christmas, I'll show you pictures afterwards.

I'm pretty excited about it to tell the truth. And once again I'm impressed with what a useful tool the internet really can be. I found the pattern online .... well, I found reference to it online ..... I had to then find a back issue of the magazine that contained the actual pattern. The main stitch is called a "spike" stitch. I studied the pattern instructions and did some searching on the internet, but still couldn't figure out exactly how to do it. I made a bunch of swatches, just winging it, but nothing looked like the pictures. So then I had a brainy idea. I googled the designer of the pattern and found her blog, website and email address. I contacted her and explained my confusion and she wrote back within one day. Now, THAT I find super cool.

a forgotten treasure

It's been almost a year since my short term working at the local dump. I had completely forgotten about this beauty that I rescued from the landfill.I put it in my car where it has been sitting all this time. We rediscovered it when Niessa came to get the car and we were dunging out my stuff. It definitely needs some TLC (I'll show you a pic after I've cleaned it up), but whether it works or not it'll still make a cool addition to our collection of "old stuff".

luxury

Like our new rig?Just kidding. It belongs to our neighbour. We just couldn't resist the photo op of our little truck set to tow it away. We'll be sticking with our Boler for a while yet.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

one very happy girl

That'd be Niessa, our great-niece (or is it grand-niece? I never know. Our nephew's daughter). I gave her my car. It's just a little 3 cylinder piss-pot, so I doubt that she can get into too much trouble, but she sure did seem to be happy to receive it.It's got a bunch of stupid quirks, but she's lucky to have mechanical people in the family to work out any that give her trouble. It was just sitting around collecting dust in our back yard, and I can't think of a better home for it to go to. I know she was excited and gave me this beautiful bouquet to say "thanks".You're welcome, kiddo. Enjoy!

birds on a wire.

The barn swallows were having a convention on this old TV antennae. They were just chattering up a storm .... that's what made me look up.I was pleased to have caught this guy in-flight.Then a big gust of wind came along and poof, they were gone.

it keeps the bugs away

On this morning's walk the bugs were driving me buggy. Art said he saw this on "Quest for the Bay" on TV.Would you believe....it actually works.

outrageous

Went shopping yesterday, for "just a few" things. The cashier said "that'll be $108.29, please". I looked at my cart and thought "for what?! I didn't buy anything". I was in such disbelief I actually went back to the shelf to confirm that this package of toilet paper really did cost $20 ........ $20.00 !!!!And that is not even the high end stuff. I might as well use it to ..... oh wait, I do.

a little light reading

We went into a used book store in Vanderhoof the other day. While Art was stocking up on Dale Browns and Tom Clancys he came across this and bought it for me.Now you might think that's weird, but if you know me, it's not. I was always a bit of a math geek. In grade 9 my absolute favourite was Algebra. I loved it and ate up everything the teacher could give me and still sat around twiddling my thumbs. Finally, rather than have me distracting the other students because I was always finished way ahead of them, he gave me the job of tutoring those that needed help. Just as recently as a couple of years ago I went to the Burnaby library and came home with an Algebra book....to read....just for fun. Art thought I was totally nuts.

But Calculus was a different story. I firmly believe that there are good teachers and there are bad ones. My grade 12 Math teacher was a bad one. Ya, he was smart, but he was unable to get across to me the basics of Calculus. When I said I didn't understand he did not have the time (or inclination) to help me. He just waived me off and I fell hopelessly behind. I never did get it and failed that class. When I got a "D" in Math it was like someone drove a spike through my chest. I blamed the teacher, but who listens to a kid? So, it's one of those niggly things in the back of my brain that I've always wanted to learn. I am looking forward to it.

are there any botanists out there?

What kind of plant is this? Does anybody know? We found it on one of our walks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

yellow bellied....

.... marmot, that is.

I did some checking and am pretty sure that our resident family of marmots are the "yellow bellied" variety. (I did not take this picture)They are not endangered, while the Vancouver Island marmot very much is. They live only on, well, Vancouver Island.

Monday, August 13, 2007

EEEEWWWWW - gggrrrrooooossssss !!!!!

It's bad enough that I have to tell Xena 50 times a day to "not eat the cat food", but now something new has gotten her interest .... the cats' litter box. She keeps trying to get in there and I keep catching her. But today she took off with something in her mouth. I chased her down and pried her mouth open, only to find a lovely big cat turd sitting there on her tongue. GOOD GRIEF! And I had to put my fingers in there and pull the now slimy thing out! What IS it with dogs anyways???!!!

Is this what they call a sh**t - eating grin?

frisbee found

There was a rainfall warning for this area yesterday and boy did it come down! It was a torrential downpour, non-stop, for close to 24 hours. The Endako Mine was supposed to have their annual company picnic down on the shore of Fraser Lake ....








.... and the Endako Community Hall Society (of which we are members) was hired to work at it. It's a pretty big deal. They rent a bunch of huge inflatable playground thingies for kids to jump around in and hire a caterer to cook food. We supervise the games and make sno-cones, cotton candy and popcorn, and they pay us well for it. But the rain was so bad the picnic had to be cancelled.

Today is much better, so we did get out for our walk. The driveway needs another day or so to dry out, so we walked in the field and up the hill to Gramma's. It was a good workout. In our travels we found Xena's lost frisbee. She was pretty happy about that.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

gettin' some excercise

Art and Xena started a new trend about 2 weeks ago ....... going for walks. I decided to join them and our first outing together was a hike along the west and south fencelines. A little over-ambitious probably, but it was interesting to see a part of our land I'd not seen before. There are a bunch of old shacks and cottages from years ago when a crazy guy called "the preacher" lived on that corner of the property. He apparantly built 5 houses there, but never had enough materials so would steal pieces off the previous ones to build each new one.After that 5 km hike I thought I'd take it a little easier for future walks .... at least for a little while. Our driveway is 1 km long and is downhill from our house to the road, so it is a nice walk with some work required to come back up. We try to do that daily. Already it's getting easier. Xena, of course, LOVES it. She runs ahead of us and in and out of the bush all along the way. I'm sure she puts on 5 times the mileage we do. I'm also sure that there's no hope of us ever startling any wildlife with her around. One time she spooked a flock of about 6 or 8 grouse and when they started flapping around it scared the %$#@ out of me. Here's one that went up into a tree.The other day, we were walking along and all of a sudden a great big gangly moose came running up the driveway towards us. Xena got quite excited and started barking and chased it into the bush. It all happened too quick to get a picture.

This is a woodpile near the bottom of our driveway. A family of marmots live here. Can you see the big one sitting on the very top?

feelin' a little artsy-fartsy

These are some things we found in the old sheds and barns around our place. The previous owner left them behind, along with all kinds of other stuff (mostly junk). This is bunny the whirligig .... his legs spin like crazy in the wind. I think he's cute, so he now lives in our garden.I don't know what this plaque is off of, but it is cast iron and I like it. It sits on our fireplace mantle.A little while back Art found this chair in one of the old barns and put it by the garden. It caught my eye with the chamomile growing all around it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

social butterflies

We've been getting a lot of company lately. While Echo and Grant were here, Art's sister Cheryl drove out from Vanderhoof. She and Echo are making a family favourite for supper ..... fitcomes. It's a Swedish potatoe dumpling sort of thing. Yummy and great for feeding a crowd.Knowing that it's always windy here, Grant brought 2 big kites. Well, he guessed right and they were a big hit.It did not take much coaxing to get the kites into the air.We even had a pretty rainbow come out for a while.At the end of the day Art and his great-niece Jamie brought the kites home. All you can see are her little legs under that big thing.I got some good video, too, but it's not ready to post yet.

Later, Art took Jamie for an ATV ride while her new dog Cinnamon ran alongside.Next up was our rockhound pal Dan (from Vancouver) and his son Eric. They spent the night as they were passing through to Terrace (Dan would return in a week or so).

Two days later Doug and Patricia drove up our driveway. This took me by surprise even though I knew they were going to be in the area. I don't know why I was surprised. Seems silly of me when I think about it. Why would they NOT visit us after coming all the way from Toronto? Let me tell you the story of how we met .... Doug was surfing the net one day, looking for info about Endako. Turns out his Mom was born and lived here as a child. She passed away in January so he was planning a trip to search her roots. He found my blog.

So he looked us up and gave us a call. I emailed some info about B&B's in the area and gave him the names of some old-timers that may have known his Mom. Then I didn't think much more about it. Well, I'm glad they looked us up and came to see us (they were even bearing gifts, which blew me away). They visited for awhile and the next day, after they toured around Endako, we got together for supper. Doug isn't very shy and just talked to people in the community and wouldn't you know, he found the house his Mom lived in some 70-80 years ago. I think that is so darned cool! We had a really nice evening with them and I think if they lived closer we'd be friends. Only trouble is Patricia is terribly allergic to cats and dogs, so wasn't very comfortable inside our house. I'm sorry about that.

Grant and Echo came to visit again, but just an overnighter this time. We tried to guilt them into staying an extra night, but I think Echo had had enough of all the travelling and just wanted to be home. I can relate to that.Some more rockhounds drove up from the coast to attend "summer camp" in Burns Lake, so stopped in for a visit on their way through. Siggi & Brigitte and their grandsons Christian & Nicholas arrived in their motorhome and spent the night in our back forty. This is Christian, being a sweetie-pie and watering my wisteria. Some kids are just nice.On Sunday, they all headed to Burns Lake and Dan returned from Terrace. He was here for Summer Camp also, but opted to stay with us and drive back and forth each day. He left this morning to go home, even though Summer Camp is not over 'til Friday. The weather's crappy and he's missing his wife, so off he went.

Things are quiet now, for a little while. Siggi and entourage might be back on Friday night before heading home to Vancouver. We'll see.

As for Summer Camp .... we ended up not going to it ourselves. Art got busy with database work again. It's OK. I don't mind. It's pouring buckets out there right now, so sitting snuggy in the house suits me just fine.

Monday, August 06, 2007

please drive carefully

It's a beautiful day up here in Central BC. It's sunny, warm and lazy. We took a quick drive to town around lunch time and on the way home, about half way between Fraser Lake and Endako we happened upon an accident on the highway. An elderly couple in a smallish car hit a moose. The car was extensively damaged and thankfully the people were only bruised and shaken up. I'm sorry to say, however, that the moose was dead. Disemboweled on the spot. It was an extremely sad sight. Made me cry.

It had just happened when we arrived, so there were no emergency vehicles. We stopped and Art directed traffic in one direction, while I did the other. I don't know if it's just the long weekend so people are hungover or tired or what but it's shocking how some drivers are just not paying attention. They drive too fast, they don't look around. A few almost piled right into the scene. Jeez! Not a nice way to end a vacation.

tire video

The video clip from my last post is now working. P.S.... there is a trick to turning tires inside out, so if you ever want to try it yourself and get stuck I'll gladly pass the tip on.

I suppose I should give credit to the guy we learned it from. Art found this website while searching for info on tire gardening and was excited about getting the book they offered. I checked it out when he wasn't looking and sent for the "kit". It contained the book, a DVD (REALLY helpful), and a jigsaw blade (and instructions on how to make the blades yourself). It came just in time for me to give it to Art for his birthday. And so the fun began!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

tire crafts

You've heard about our tire garden. Well, we've been learning more ways to use those tires and make them prettier to boot. This is a little movie clip I made of one project. Art is turning the tires inside out and we planted the wisteria in them. I love that they no longer look like tires.

There are many more styles of planters we can make and paint them to look even nicer. I'll definitely post pictures as we go.

The above project got Art all inspired and he started to tackle the bigger tires we have in the main garden area.Because we missed getting our summer garden planted, he is designing cold frames for fall and winter growing. Check out Art's blog for more info on that. This shows 2 tires that he has inverted after removing only one sidewall.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

wackie weeder

The grass in our yard is getting very tall and we don't have a lawn mower (or goats .... yet). So Art pulled out the weed wacker and cut some paths to places like the workshop, the chicken barn,the tire garden. Look how the crops are bursting out from under that gardening fabric. The contraption that looks like a lawn mower is the weed wacker. No sissy one for us. It does a super job.And, of course, his adoring audience who is intently interested in anything Art is doing out in the yard. See that one a little left of centre with the red and white blotchy face? She's trouble. I've come to recognize her because every time she's near that gate she walks right across the cattle guard. Just a brat.Art and I aren't too fussy about having a perfectly groomed yard. We like the "natural" look, just as long as we can get around. These are potatoe plants in the tires and the chamomile just grows wild around them. Very pretty, I think. Hey, speaking of chamomile. We harvested some of it and made tea. VERY nice!

she laid an egg

In this case, that's a good thing. Ladybug laid an egg today, which means she is okey-dokey. Unfortunately, she's been away from the flock so long we can't just put her back. No one will recognize her and will likely reject her, so the advice to us has been to slip her in after dark. I guess if the others don't see her arrive then she must have always been there. Seems chickens aren't too smart.

chicken update

Ladybug (our sick chicken) seems to be doing OK. We're keeping her separated from the others for now because I'm not sure she's 100% yet. She's eating and drinking and moving around well, so I think she's enjoying the VIP suite. Trouble is, she's not laying any eggs.Speaking of eggs .... Xena likes 'em. Here she has her eye on one that is about to be her breakfast.It has her name on it .... literally.