Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Look at that will ya?

More than a month has passed since I last posted.

Oh, well.... it's summer.  We don't get that many months of summer up here north of the 49th.... so we make the most of it.

Golfing, gardening, hanging out on the patio sipping a cold beer .. admiring the fruits of our labour ...etc... you know how it goes.  The lawn is the best its been in years..in spite of those pesky voles having made hundreds of trails all over the one side ..it grew in beautifully.  Kind of like they aerated it I guess.  You'd never know they'd spent the winter wrecking things under the snow banks.

My pots are beautiful... a riot of colour this year.  I particularly love the 'million bells' flowers (Calibrachoa)  ...  they just keep on blooming all summer.  I always have yellows and pinks ... and purples ...  and even the odd orange just to get my own attention.  I don't even like the colour orange ..but, some oranges are nicer than others...and, for some silly reason, I like how orange and pink flowers look side by side.

After my visit to my sister's "fat farm"... there was no Mr. Limpy when we got back.  Nobody fed him while I was away ... and I guess he moved on to greener pastures.  Like the clubhouse at the nearby golf course.  I was there one day and a whole family of crows was perched on trees and signposts "cawing" for a handout...hahahhah...I laughed and tossed a few bits of my peanut butter sandwich in the air.  I scared one off the post... must not be my guys...my crows wouldn't be afraid of me.  I did try to call out to Limpy just to see if one of them was him...but, no limpy guy hopped down to greet me.

This is the last time I saw him .. through the window... having some fun in the birdie bath all by himself.

And, this is the last one I have of Missus..... giving me the 'come hither' look ... there is just something about her.........

We had a huge storm last Wednesday and I saw my first funnel cloud.  It gave me goose bumps.  I know the folks in Kansas and Oklahama will be saying, "big deal"... but, we don't get that type of weather around here.  Well, not often.  There was a tornado that did touch down several years ago in Edmonton, a city not too far from us ... that did a lot of damage...and a lot of people were killed.  That was a first.

I looked it up on Wiki ... here is what happened.

~~~July 31, 1987 The tornado killed 27 people, injured more than 300 people, destroyed more than 300 homes, and caused more than $332.27 million CAD ($597 million in 2015 dollars[1]) in property damage at four major disaster sites.~~~

Our day was nothing in comparison.  But, on Wednesday, I was coming home along a busy highway and cars were stopping to look  ...and take photos...traffic was doing ridiculous things.  I kept my eyes on all of them and on the clouds too... knowing I could make it home in 8 minutes and feeling as though I would beat it for sure.  Hard to tell how quickly things were moving but it was a fair ways off in the distance.  I did get home just in time to wrestle the big flower pots closer to the house.  I "walked" them by turning them side to side .. cuz I sure can't lift them.   All 8 of them.

Next, I grabbed the camera and stood in the garage with the big door open.  Got a few good ones of the clouds. The lower ones were rotating as it all moved along (just like in the movies) and I was happy it was moving south ... at quite a rate of speed .. not a funnel, but a huge dark bank of clouds... looking pretty ominous....
black as night at 1:00 pm...

then it rained ... next came hail.. then... oh, wow ... huge hailstones!!  And, seeing as folks might think I was exaggerating when I told the story, I took this photo with my tape measure to corroborate things..... no doubt how big it was now!!  I had to wait til it stopped as I didn't want to feel the bash of one of these on the old noggin.  Guess I could have worn a motorcycle helmet...but, what about the rest of my body? .. Didn't risk it.

Areas just outside the city were the hardest hit and crops decimated by the hail ....several houses totally trashed....it did plenty of damage.... and apparently a small tornado touched down just outside the city limits...but, not a lot of damage in that area.

But, today is beautiful.... time to go out and water my pots...... luckily I still have pots to water. !!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Fat Farm

That's what we used to call them.  You know...the "retreats" where you go to lose some weight ...get refreshed and then go back home to your normal routine.  Political correctness decrees that we shouldn't call them that anymore...but, I ain't politically correct...so I call it just that.  The Fat Farm.

This one is my sister's acreage.  We have joked about it being that since the first time I went there and did a lot of physical stuff ...and did come home 5 pounds lighter.  Since then, I don't always manage to lose, but still do a lot of things while I am there ..so at least I am in a bit better shape when I get home ...except last time when I had an infected fingernail area... which had nothing to do with work or even her place.  It was wrecked before I left home ..but,  progressed to the point where I needed antibiotics by the time I got back here. 

This time we picked major weeds, made a new little garden area where we planted pansies given to us by a guy that had accepted the last of her spruce and fir 'baby trees' that she has been trying to get rid of for ...oh....about 8 years.  She bought them in a silent auction.... thought she was only buying a couple... she ended up with a couple of "lots" ... which consisted of plenty.  The total number of trees was well into the many hundreds. This was the last 20 or so .. by now, they had rooted right through the bottom of small pots and straight into the ground.  We had to pull them out by the roots to move them.  some were pretty big ..and heavy........... some even had 3 trees to a huge pot...

On the day before that she had begun to dig around the leaky yard hydrant, which is near the horse waterer and just outside the fencing around Mickey's paddock.  Not much room to work around it as it was situated between the waterer and a fence post, but it had to be replaced.  Digging commenced... but had to be abandoned on the first day...    too hot and it became too late in the day and ...well, one can only do so much in a day.  I forget what else came into play...but it was something..........

Next day the digging continued.  We needed to get down deep enough in our narrow trench to see the bottom of the hydrant pipe and the coupling ... everything was totally rusted and wrecked.  It was a narrow dark space; we were running out of daylight and brought out a trouble light... there were rocks and roots and rootlets everywhere and it was damp and smelly.  I hated having my head in the narrow space..could hardly breathe.  She was the trooper, as usual, and was right down in there with the crowbar.... digging around behind the pipe as well as in front of it.  We had to make enough room that when we took out the old pipe...no dirt would be dislodged and fall into the lower pipe as we tried to carefully place the new one onto the threaded portion.  Once we found the lower drain area we made sure it did drain out a bit ...then, of course, there was also mud..... oh it was great.  
In the end... we got the old one off...  guided the new one into position and tried to lower it into the proper area..... et voila ..... success!  It turned into the threads nicely... we got it tighter.... tested it and it worked perfectly.  A lovely new blue handled yard hydrant.  Woohoo!  I'll just add that to our résumé  ....... along with massage, dental assisting, secretarial skills, .. re-jetting a motorcycle carbureter, baking pies, churning out muffins and cookies, doing landscape rock work, house painting,   etc...  ...  stitching up things (and, in her case, even making clothing and costumes, I don't really sew)   .. worming horses, and all the other stuff that goes with that.. etc, sheeesh.... she's got me well beat in the 'extras' department of any résumé  . ... we can now also claim to be able to replace a frost free yard hydrant.  Hah!  As if anybody would hire a couple of 60s women to do the task.  Not that I want a job.

I'm not going to tell you about the weed eater episode ... suffice to say...some things turn in the opposite direction than you may think... especially when they need to stay in position while operating in the other direction..... nobody was injured in this process as it can't even be turned onto the threads unless you get it right.

So, the upshot of it all is.....I lost 5 pounds!  

Now, off to get some groceries.  The fridge is bare.  

Oh, and.... deer.  These two came down from the top of the property one night when I was on the porch .. sitting quietly.  I'm not sure if they recognized me as a human..or if they were just not afraid...I quietly took several photos and they never did seem nervous.  Finally they moved off back up the hill.  That was fun.
Click on them to see their little faces up closer .... 

As you can tell....they were pretty cheeky and nibbled on every leaf or flower that looked like it could be tasty .... and wandered around the yard at will.  Checking out every single thing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Limp got mad...

..when some darn starling stole one of his crumbs that he dropped while trying to reorganize a beak full to carry off to the babies.
When he got back to the fence and saw it had been stolen, he looked around... muttered something I couldn't quite make out and jumped down into the bird bath where he began vigorously swishing his head back and forth.  This is his usual bath...only the head..  as it is difficult for him to bend his damaged leg I think.  He looked up... stepped on the edge and ... usually he hops right off.  Not this time.  Back he went and really went to town.... he splashed like crazy to get it all out of his system.

I've decided crows are pretty patient.  The starlings make their lives hell... really they do.  They dive bomb them, peck at them in flight and on the ground as well...they steal their crumbs.. they never shut up either with the darn TICK TICKing....... it makes me crazy, but not Limpy and his wife  ... although, he is a bit more patient than his 'missus'.  Sometimes she makes noises and flies at them every so often...but, he just quietly says "awwww".... in his little voice., like ..oh, man..not again......

He has a loud voice when he needs it..but mostly just mutters, or chatters or quietly voices his displeasure and/or opinion.   He talks to me while I garden too... wandering around with his limpy gait... hoping for a few sun flower seeds from time to time.  He doesn't get too close and I don't blame him... who knows how he got injured.  Maybe it was a person who hurt him.

I've been indulging them ..helping them to feed the babies.... but, I've cut back and hope to let them teach the babies not to beg ... he is a good provider (even if he is disabled) and she is a fierce and capable Mom.  I can hear the babies in the tree now..but, they are not out of the nest yet.  Probably won't be long...they say 35 days ... it's been several weeks since they began taking food to the nest.

I'm dreading winter ... I've read that they do migrate.  Ours from Alberta apparently go to Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. How will he fly that far with a damaged wing and leg and whatever else is making him limp and not fly right?

I've even gotten to the point where I wonder if a small doghouse nailed to my fence would work as a winter house for him if he can't go away.   I wonder if he might use it.   Mister BV is wondering if I want it heated and decorated nicely too..... hmmm....

Sometimes I attempt a bit of humour in return...but, it's probably going to end badly for him..... and it's already making me a bit sad to think on it.

Linking up to Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Olde Worlde look ...

... I think it looks like something vintage .... and, it does have a bit of actual vintage on it...the tatted edge of a hankie that I bought at the local doll/bear show a month or so ago.  A woman had several silk hankies ..for 25 cents and 50 cents!  I snapped up most of them.

Of course, one does hate to cut into them....but, like Karen says ... why put them in a drawer and forget about them?  Use them on something else .. something that will be seen often.

What about a pin cushion?  Perfect.

The colour on the piece of fabric is flower pounding... using flowers from my garden.  I did it ages ago ...and stuck in in a bag with other fabrics... hahahahah...never to be seen again either really...... looks a bit like watercolour doesn't it?

Pssst... don't tell Karen I showed it publicly without damp stretching it...yikes!! It looks all wrinkly!
Almost as bad as showing your underwear in public....well, ...if you are over 30 that is.

I use my little pin cushions all the time .. some sit behind glass in a curio ... some have been sent away.... they get used and they definitely get looked at. No hankies in hidden places in drawers around here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

They're lovebirds!

My crow couple... they really aren't crows at all.   I caught them sitting in the poplar one evening.... kissing....

I call them Limpy and the Missus most of the time, but sometimes I call her Big Girl..... because she is.  She is big, beautiful and fierce.... she has large feet and sturdy long legs...and seems  so much larger than Limpy.  His legs are pretty skinny and his one wing droops down at what I am calling his shoulder.... poor guy.  But, he does get around pretty well even with is disabilities.

She is amazing on the wing... even a squirrel zigzagging across the street could hardly stay ahead of her.  He zigged, she zigged.... he zagged, she zagged ...   she almost managed to catch his upraised tail...oooohh... they hate squirrels with a passion.  I don't know if squirrels would dare to raid a crow's nest ... but, maybe ...   All I know is ... if they see one, they give chase ..  even if they see one half a block away!  Where was the camera that day.  I would have had to be some kind of speedy to catch any of it!

Limpy is a little less graceful in his attempts to get rid of intruders and interlopers ... this is more his favourite position.  Sitting outside my window ... keeping a beady eye on me. ..

but if anybody comes near "his" food board...or "his" bird bath water.... in "his" yard, he gives awkward flapping, hopping and jumping chase.   Between them, this pair of crows gets rid of Starlings, squirrels, magpies, and small hawks..... in their quest to raise their babies.  I don't mind at all that he keeps other big or annoying birds away.  The little birds don't mind him and his Missus at all.  The sparrows are even cheeky enough to steal his seeds off the board I set out for the crows.  The chickadees don't care about any other birds... they come ..do their thing and go... as they please.

He has become somewhat stronger ... he doesn't use the tree for climbing up to their nest anymore.  He manages to get airborne and onto a neighbouring rooftop...and, from there, up to the nest.   They try to switch with each other so they don't leave the nest unguarded for any length of time.  Unlike the darn robins in the photo below ... they left their nest unguarded .... and, .... oh, no..... Mister Limpy did a BAD, BAD thing!!  He got up to the robin nest and stole an egg.....ohhhhh...I feel bad now...... Here he is ..caught in the act.  Only because I wondered what he was up to sitting on the big plant pot arrangement on the front steps of the neighbour's house and got the camera to check through the zoom lens....... I was shocked to see him do it.  I suppose I shouldn't have been...but, I was.

I'm finking on him and linking up to  Wild Bird Wednesday ....   click on the photo below if you would like to see all sorts of beautiful and interesting birds....