Thursday, March 30, 2006
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006
And now today, the very first flowers of the year have bloomed! I don't know what they're called, they're similar to a dandelion, but they're not. [Edit: Asked Dave's mom, and she told me they're Coltsfoot. Holy Moley, I never put it together that these little flowers in the spring and those big wonkin' kinda shield shaped leaves later on in the summer were the same plant!!] And look who's taking advantage of the flowers already! Mr. Bee is having a good time getting his wings stretched out & getting back into pollen-collecting shape.
And while I was underneath the tree looking at the flowers, little black-capped chickadees were eating birdseed in the maple tree above me! You can see more red there, too, as the buds on a maple tree are red, and starting to swell up a bit.
Yay! It was a lovely time out there, I did a bit more work on bordering the garden, and getting rid of some rocks. If I just work on it a little bit every day (or at least, every not-rainy day), I'll have it ship-shape by planting time. :)
Friday, March 24, 2006
Here's some pics showing the view from the front (it looks worse than it is) and from the back (it looks better than it is). :) The log you see in the second shot is going to be used as one side of a "holder" for the raised bed (Dave's mom didn't have anything like that there before, but I think it would be a good idea to have some borders put in place).
But just in case you ever need to sift some rocks from some dirt, here's how I'm doing it (and best of all, it's free!).
First off, you get hold of metal mesh of some kind (this one we just had hanging around the house from some long-forgotten other project). Bend it up into a sort of bowl shape.
Next, shovel on some dirt with rocks in it (not too much though). Shake it somewhat vigorously, to separate the dirt from the rocks (you can sift it over a bucket, or right over the garden). Wear gloves, that metal's sharp!
And now you've got some metal mesh with rocks in it - just give 'em a toss back in the driveway and you're all set!
Of course, it might cost you a couple bucks to get some mesh if you didn't have some already. You want it to be fine enough to catch most gravel, but not too fine or else the sifting will take forever.
It might take me a little while to finish it, but the garden plot isn't actually that big, it'll be easier to see once I figure out where the borders will be, etc. Time marches on, and before you know it, it'll be planting time!
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
I'm SO glad that this little image was on the packaging for the peat pots, or else I think I would have totally freaked out if I started to see roots growing out through the pots! I assume that it's actually normal peat pot procedure. :)
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Some of the best baseball you'll see this year was played during this series. It was really wonderful to see all the different countries playing the same game, but with their own different styles. Very cool!
It must have been great for teams like Cuba who have only really been able to play against amateur teams to finally test their mettle against the best in the world. To come in second for them must be fantastic! I was surprised that the Dominican Republic didn't make it to the final, but there is some degree of luck involved, and if you have one bad game, that might be all it takes to send you home early.
And Korea! Where did they come from???!!! (And don't say Asia, I know that!) :) But they were incredible! They just kinda snuck up on the rest of the world, I don't think people were aware how good they had gotten, but we all know now!
This was a great experience/experiment, and I'm sure it'll very quickly become one of the most anticipated sporting events!
Monday, March 20, 2006
I swear, whenever I need a smile, this photo is guaranteed to give me one! It's just so freakin' hilarious - and it's such a well made suit, I think that's the funniest part, it's not saggy or anything! It's really form fitting & seems quite functional (you know, for those chickens with a sense of haute couture, or who live in a chilly climate). Its just great! :D Be sure to take the time to look through their site with its selection of images, it's well worth the time.
Smile! You know you want to! :D
Saturday, March 18, 2006
The sage, BTW, is doing magnificently well, no troublesome issues at all, and have true leaves set out already! Hooray!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
John Kamoulakos, a founder of Mr. Donair Ltd., is retiring. His brother, Peter, was the creator of the donair, and together they sold it through their chain of shops, which grew over the years. John also helped create Pizza Corner in Halifax, so when you get a 11 pm donair craving (yes, it does indeed happen, I can attest to that), you've got a place to go. :)
The donair spread throughout Nova Scotia, but for some reason, places outside can't quite get the recipe right, so we're still the best place to get one. My GOD they're good!
For those who don't know, a donair is a very spicy creation, kind of like a gyro, but instead of lamb, it uses beef, and it has a sweet and tangy sauce which is also different from the gyro sauce. The meat is rotated on a spit, then cut off and fried. A piece of pita bread is lightly fried with water and oil, to make it a little crispy but flexible. The meat, tomatoes, mozzarella, and onions are piled on top, then its rolled in half, kinda like a taco shell, and you pour some sauce on top! It is AMAZING!
So, all hail the retiring King! You and your brother contributed a huge gift to our Nova Scotia culture! (seriously, the donair is synonymous with NS, it's something visitors find out about rather quickly when coming here!) Read the whole story from the Chronicle Herald here: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/490335.html
(I'll share my recipe later, the instructions are a little complicated and take some time to explain - they are SO worth it though!)
Friday, March 10, 2006
Augghh! Where did spring go??? Eeeeeeee....it's been very pleasant and sunny lately, but late last night it started to snow...by the time I took Casey out for our very short walk at around 11 am, it was pouring cold, cold rain. Poor Casey, she really doesn't like stormy weather; whenever we go out in it, she starts lagging behind very quickly, and I ask, "Do you want to go home?" and she turns abruptly around and heads back home at a trot. I really need to get some oil cloth and make a little raincoat for her, I think that would help a lot. I know, it's pretty silly, the idea of this "grand" German shepherd in a raincoat, but if it makes her happy, it'll have to be okay. :D
Poor Max the squirrel, he's out there on our back deck railing right now, grabbing a snack, and his normally big puffy tail is soaked through; he looks so tiny and wet!
Home "grown" eggs
I thought I'd share this pic of some of the eggs we have in our fridge. My mother-in-law raises chickens (a flock of about 10), and brings eggs home for our use. She has lots of stories about the chickens, they can be quite funny sometimes (and very, very stupid). :) I really wonder how much clucking went on during the laying of some of these eggs - the tiny ones (not pictured) that the new, younger hens lay are very cute, but some of the ones that the older ones lay are ENORMOUS and look very painful! I mean, look at the size differential in some of these eggs! The individual variety of sizes and shapes of eggs per bird is really something! Some are perfectly round, some are squished on two sides, some have big bumps...it's amazing.
But we're always happy to eat these eggs because we know that the chickens that produced them are happy and healthy, despite the occasional "tough egg to lay". :)
Thursday, March 09, 2006
As I mention in my design description, this style of design has a lot of good memories attached to it. Growing up, it was on tonnes of products throughout my home, and the homes of my Dido (grandfather) and Uncle. Soup tureens, kitchen spoon holders, candlestick holders, and mugs, mugs, mugs! It's like those "comfort foods" you eat when you're older to remind you of happy childhood times - these designs say "comfortable home" to me. I'm very pleased to carry on this tradition to a new set of products, and put my own spin on these folk designs. This design is based on traditional Ukrainian folk embroidery, with a customary trio of colors: red, black & white.
Nova Scotia is inundated with huge quantities and varieties of seafood! (but PEI has the biggest shellfish expo (it's International!) every year in September - someday I gotta go there and try the lobster! They cover it on the news every year, and it looks like SUCH a good time!)
But I digress - Nova Scotia has a proud and deep rooted fishing heritage, too, so it's natural that I should find such inspiration in it! This fish I created in a whimsical folk art style with heavy Celtic design influence. I'm really pleased with the gold effect I created in its outline, it turned out really well.:)
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Hey! My sage sprouted! So, it wasn't so slow after all! :D
Weird new underwater life!
You gotta read this story! They found a new lobster-like creature that is so unusual they had to create a new family and genus to accommodate it! It's blind, blonde and hairy! WEIRD!!
Monday, March 06, 2006
Here's our two cats watching the bird feeder from inside the kitchen. They are strictly indoor cats, so this is the closest they'll ever get to the birdies outside. They spend hours there, making little squeaking noises, saying "Please gimmee!" The nice warm sunshine is another great bonus of this particular spot in the house.
Molly is the elder cat, about 9 years old, and very cranky. Baby Boy is the big ol' cat (about 2 1/2) who's right at the window. He's a big thug, but he was a wee baby at one point! :) He is the most affectionate cat I've ever had, but it wasn't always that way. We rescued him and his brother from the wild, as their mother was a feral stray. Someday I will share their story here, but we lost his brother last year, and I still find it difficult to think about their story since he's gone.
Anywho, its lots of fun to see these cats watch the birds, I enjoy watching them too! :) I've found some inspiration in seeing them in this new spot, I'll be doing several art pieces in the coming months featuring cats and birds. It'll be a lot of fun!
It's funny about the sage, I've been looking for over a year for sage leaves in the grocery store, I had run out and loved to use them on chicken, in meatloaf, etc. I prefer the leaves to the powdered form. But for some reason locally they had stopped carrying it. Then it struck me, *duh* grow your own! Then you can have all the leaves you want!
Here's a closeup of how the tomatoes are progressing. Their first leaves are getting very large, & I see the barest beginnings of their first "true leaves" peeking out. So, BeanDreams is coming along well! It'll be another month and a half or so before the ground outside will be thawed enough to start giving it a poke and seeing if it can be worked, so BeanDreams will be mainly focused on the indoor transplants for the next little while. I'll keep you all posted!
Sunday, March 05, 2006
The Black-Capped Chickadee (not sure if it's male or female, they look virtually identical). Extremely common around here, we see them every day all over the place! They have the cutest little chick-a-dee-dee-dee call (and I understand from an item on TV that the number of "dees" at the end indicate a threat level. If they're really nervous, there will be up to 14 "dees" on the end, but if everything's okay, they'll do a regular "chick-a-dee" or a little "cheep"). You can imitate them, and they will call back. :)
Red-Breasted Nuthatch (I think it's a male because of the black, not grey cap - then again, the male's breast is usually darker red...oh well, it's one or the other!). I hadn't seen this type of bird before moving out to the Eastern Shore. We only have two here now, I imagine there might be more in the summer time. One of the little dears has a deformed leg. It's fully formed, but twisted up facing backwards, and has no mobility. I assume his mate stayed with him, and that's why there's only the two of them here. They're very lively, similar to the black-capped chickadee.
This is the squirrel I call Max. He's a boy, and has a lovely red-tinged tail, and is very typical of the sort of squirrels we have around here. And, when you watch squirrels a lot, you really see where they get the expression "he's a little squirrelly". Holy moley, he's just so jittery! He runs around chittering and hopping, moving around in quick little movements, ready to dart off at a second's disturbance. And he is NOT shy, he will walk around doing great acrobatics to get to the bird feeder - I put some stuff on the railing just so he won't have to do that, but he does it anyway. Maybe he thinks it's fun. :)
These male and female Common Redpolls (which I had formerly erroneously listed as Ruby-Crowned Kinglets -- oops!) were just passing through in late February, 2006. I haven't seen them before or since, so I'm really glad I caught them on camera. They are really cute, and such a lovely bright cherry red to brighten up the winter! My favorite is that cute little male there, looking right at the camera, he looks so jaunty!
We also have blue jays and crows in the neighbourhood (I hear the jays, but I don't see them in our immediate area, I don't think they've come far enough out of the forest yet). We also have grey-slate juncoes, but I haven't seen them in several months, so I think they've moved on to deeper into the forest until the weather warms up. As I get more pics, I'll post them! :)
Of course, stick to this blog for regular updates too, I just wanted to have an alternate place where people could see just the garden stuff. :)
I've got lots of great pictures of the little birds in the area, I'll be posting them shortly!