Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The forest has opened!

The forest has finally opened to full bloom! There's a magical time in late May, where all the trees' leaves have opened up, but are still small, and contracted. Then, there's one lovely sunny day, when they drink in the sunshine and stretch out - and now the forest paths which were once wide, are thin and narrow, as the trees have expanded and filled the forest with green! It's so beautiful! You can really feel the life returned to the woods. Bring on the summer! :D

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Kimono (Yukata) Came Today!

Cool!! I got this great summer kimono (yukata) today from kyotocollection on eBay - tons of patterns to choose from, they're great to deal with, check them out to see their huge selection! It's really fun, I'm still practicing getting it on properly, etc. but it's SO loose and comfortable (a little constricted around the waist, but still very comfortable). Don't know how to wear a kimono properly? Check out the fantastic, informative website at It's a really breezy piece of clothing, perfect for summer! :) Dave and I have been studying the Japanese culture and language for a little while now, so this seemed like a fun little treat to get. :)

But using chopsticks, on the other hand...that still totally eludes me. :D Always something new to learn, that's what makes life interesting! :)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Icky bug time! :D

This is a pic of what we around here call a June Bug. (I tried to tell him it was only May, and that he was early, but he just looked at me strangely). They're a little over 1 inch long in the body, not counting the legs. They have 2 sets of wings that are almost 1 inch long each, so when it's in flight, they're bloody huge! They make a very loud noise in flight too - really creepy! They only live in this form about a month - I don't know what they do the rest of the time. :) I'm just glad that they aren't around the whole summer, the sound of them buzzing out there in the dark when you want to step out on the deck and look at the stars is just too creepy! :D Like moths, they are attracted by light (thinking it's the moon), so you get a lot of them on window screens.

If you look really closely at their eyes, they, like moths, have these gorgeous red faceted eyes, like a red jewel. I assume there's some benefit to seeing in the dark with eyes like that. Check out the pic below - while it's out of focus, you can see one of each of their eyes reflecting red back at the camera flash:
So, if you like bugs like that, Nova Scotia in late May - June is the place to be! If you don't like them, stay indoors after dark - they're not poisonous or dangerous or anything like that - they're just big and creepy! :)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

More lovely apple blossoms!

They're just so lovely! And they smell just heavenly! I've added several of these photos to my Zazzle photography shop, if you want to get some of them on greeting cards (just $2.99 USD). As time allows, I will make some of them available in prints and US postal stamps, too. :)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Apple Blossom Time!

It's apple blossom time! Such a lovely display every spring! The Annapolis Valley here in Nova Scotia even has a whole festival around it! These are pics I took of some old apple trees in the back one time, maybe as long ago as 100 years ago or more, the area that our house stands on was farmland (I think they didn't realize that this particular area has almost nothing but bedrock, which must have been gravely disappointing), and these few apple trees and some painstakingly hand-built rock walls are all that remains of that time.

Casey ran around and tried to wait as patiently as she could for Mommy to finish taking pictures in the brush. "What IS she doing? Are we gonna play or what??!!!" It's such a gorgeously hot sunny day, we had a great time!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Potential scam targeting pysanka teachers

I have recently been informed by several teachers in the United States that someone "from the UK" is claiming to wish their son to have private tutoring in pysanky. They want to be given the teacher's full name, address, phone number, years of experience teaching, etc. They offer payment through check. We have no evidence that this is a scam, but no evidence that it ISN'T, either. It certainly seems to be odd that so many teachers are being approached by this person. One should proceed with extreme caution if approached by this person. I've put a note about this on several pages on my pysanky site as well, so hopefully everyone who received this email will approach the situation with caution!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Finally! Got pics of a blue jay!

They're SUCH pretty birds, the blues and greys in their plumage are gorgeous! Check out the second pic, he's got an adorable jaunty look to him!

Of course, I'm also a Toronto Blue Jays fan, so blue jays have a special place in my heart already! :D

Monday, May 22, 2006

Yellow Iris

I took a shot of Dave's mom's gorgeous yellow iris in the garden - just after the rain we had this morning. Isn't it beautiful? What a lovely yellow!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Beloved Bluenose Blueberries

Here in Nova Scotia, we LOVE our blueberries, so it's always a happy thing to see them come to life in the spring. Here you can see the pale pink bell-shaped blossoms that will lead to those luscious berries in mid to late summer. I can taste them already! I saw huge bumble bees yesterday flitting from flower to flower, looks like they're enjoying them too! :)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

BeanDreams: Finished the fence!

Dave and I finished putting up the chicken wire fence - looks pretty good! As long as it keeps Casey out, and discourages rabbits, I'll be pleased! :)

BeanDreams - Victoria Day Weekend Garden Fun!

And now it's Victoria Day weekend, the tradtional start of gardening season here in Nova Scotia. Woo hoo! I finally finished deweeding the garden today, and added the lovely well-rotted chicken manure that Dave's mom brought me. So it's all set to plant! I've started hardening off my transplants, so in a week or so, they'll be ready to go in the ground. I'll probably wait a bit longer to plant my beans, for the soil to warm up a bit more. I still have to build a little fence (the materials were donated by my parents) :) to keep Casey out - I just can't get her to understand that I want her to stay off the garden. She's already half-squashed my chives. :) The fence may also keep bunnies from eating all my lettuce - but I hear they can be pretty determined, so we'll see. Frankly, I'd just be really excited to see the bunnies up close and personal. :D

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

shedding season - for squirrels too!

It's not just dogs and cats that shed in the springtime - check out this shot of one of our squirrels that I took yesterday, you can see the areas of thick fur that have yet to fall out, leaving behind the thin summer coat. Neat, eh? Also, I saw that one of our female squirrels had BABIES!!!!! I didn't see the babies, but I saw that she had developed teats, full of milk. So I didn't mind when she ate all the sunflower seeds at the feeder (leaving none for the birdies), she has to be healthy and strong to feed her babies! I look forward to seeing them at the feeder, hopefully later this summer!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

BeanDreams: Lettuce!

Turned over enough of the garden to plant my Romaine lettuce today! Along with a couple of potatoes and onions that had sprouted in the veggie bin in the kitchen, just for fun. The potatoes might grow, and the onions will provide tasty greens for awhile. I'm SO glad to be able to get some gardening done, I really was going to explode if I didn't get to do some soon! And Dave's mom brought me some well-rotted chicken manure from her and her man-friend's chicken coup, so I'll mix that in soon. Right now there's a huge thunder and lightning storm, with lots of rain, which will be great for my little garden!

Monday, May 15, 2006

BeanDreams: I couldn't stand it anymore! I had to plant SOMETHING!!

With the good weather overload we had today, I spend a great amount of time outdoors, turning over and de-weeding the garden, and getting some plant pots filled with soil, ready for seeding. It's still a bit early here, Nova Scotians really traditionally don't do anything garden-related until Victoria Day weekend (the second last Monday in May, in honour of Queen Victoria). That's the weekend that everyone goes out and buys their transplants, etc. But everything seems to be a couple of weeks ahead of schedule (like unusually warm spring temperatures, & pretty wildflowers we don't usually see till June are already here), so after supper, I just couldn't resist the temptation to plant my nasturtiums and poppies. I'm so excited!:) Now it's jut a matter of watering and waiting!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! Had a nice visit at the parent's house. I got these tulip bulbs years and years ago from my best friend, and they're still gracing my parent's garden to this day! A gorgeous display that has multiplied over the years, so beautiful!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

WOW! I've never seen birds do this before!

I was just upstairs doing the dishes, watching the bird feeder. We have a pair of blue jays that come by occasionally - they're always together, and very fearful, any little noise or perceived threat will send them away. Today, one of them was at the bird feeder, and one in the tree. The bird feeder bird ate a couple seeds, grabbed a seed, then flew off to the bird in the tree. AND THEN, beak to beak, he FED the other bird the seed he had in his beak! It was so delicately and proficiently done it looks like they do this all the time. AMAZING! I've never seen an adult bird feed another adult bird in this manner. It seemed like the other bird was just too scared to come to the feeder, his/her friend/mate knew that, and went and got something for them! Extremely cool! So glad I saw it! :D

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

new at

Just did a minor redo of LearnPysanky's look and feel - I'm quite pleased with how it turned out! I've worked on organizing the top nav a little better, making each line of the naviagtion a grouping of associated pages. AND I finally figured out how to do server side includes (I did them for years at work, but didn't know what I had to do to my server to have them on my own website). Finally did some research, made the appropriate (easy!!) changes, and presto! Now I don't have to individually update my "site last updated" date on each page. Woo hoo! Any little thing that makes upkeep easier, is good! LearnPysanky is a very big site, and can be unweildy at times. :) So, check it out!

Great morning experience

I had a wonderful experience this morning. I had woken up early (5:00 - 5:30 am), and was having trouble getting back to sleep. I got up and walked around a bit, and saw in the kitchen that a moth had been left trapped between the bug screen and the window when we closed it last evening. I opened the window to let him out. The sky was still dark, with just a hint of light in the east. I heard the frogs down the road, still chirping away. And I heard just one note of the robin's cry. I stood there for a few minutes, listening, then snuck back into the bedroom and got my big bed blanket, put on my ducky boots* and went outside on the deck to hear and see the rising of the dawn. The robin gradually drew out its cry more and more, and then I could hear other birds joining in - the song sparrow was most notable. And slowly the sky got brighter. I could hear a large group of crows cawing in the distance, and I heard a duck quack not far off, sounding like it had just woken up (QUAAAACCK quack-quack-quack-quack). Soon there was so much birdsong, I couldn't hear the frogs anymore! (only if there was a temporary lull in all the bird conversation). I did notice that once the sky was light, but the sun still hadn't broken the horizon, that they had stopped chirping altogether and gone back to sleep, hiding from the spring sunshine. It was like Nature's version of the night shift being relieved by the day shift. And it was beautiful! I was really glad to be able to experience that! :)

* ducky boots are little dark green rubber shoes that are meant to muck about outside in, and are easy to slip on and off at the door so you don't track dirt indoors. I call them ducky boots, but I don't know if anyone else does. :)

Monday, May 08, 2006

New Birds - House Finches

Some lovely little male House Finches - this first little guy must be a juvenile just coming into his plumage, as he's still so speckled - a fat little guy, and some cutie!

This other guy is much thinner - I think I've seen some females around as well, and they all seem to have stayed for a few days now. :D Pretty little birds!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Spring Flora

This is a lovely dewdrop covered bleeding heart type plant. I don't think it's the real bleeding heart - this plant blooms for most of the summer, while true bleeding heart only blooms in the spring - but its flowers are very similar, and are a pretty purple colour, too!

The symbol of Canada, the proud maple tree! The maple's buds are already opened - they have this elaborate looking blossom, kinda neat looking! Leaves should be out soon! (You can just start to see the leaf coming out of the top of the bud, the really light green tip sticking out).

And look who's peeking out here! Fiddleheads! These are so named because of their similarities to the top of a violin (hard to see here, as they have just come out of the ground, but in a couple of days, it looks more obvious). They are ferns, who come out of the ground curled up like this, then unfurl. Fiddleheads are a popular Maritime delicacy - when they're a little bit bigger than this, you cut them off with about an inch of stem, then fry them in butter and eat them. I tried them once, but the taste didn't really appeal to me - it tasted like lawn grass to me. But don't tell that to the people who wait eagerly for the 2 week fiddlehead season! They love the stuff. :) And yes, I've eaten lawn grass, who didn't as a kid? :D

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Such a lovely evening

The weather cleared up a bit from the rain and cloud this afternoon/evening, so I took Casey out for a quick walk after supper. Great weather - mild, if a little humid - still very pleasant. The birds were chirping in the trees, gathering up the last meal of the evening. I walked through several little spider webs as I was making my way through the trees (sorry little spider babies!) - newly hatched spiders are everywhere spinning their tiny webs. Fortunately we don't have any poisonous spiders here in Nova Scotia - all they do is catch bugs, which is great for keeping the pest population down. :) Casey and I had fun with a stick toss or two, and as we were returning home, I heard the frogs in the swamp down the road start their nightly chirping. I was surprised, I thought they didn't start till after nightfall, but apparently they start about 1 1/2 hours before. So there, I learned something new! :) All in all, a lovely evening among the budding green of the forest. :D