Friday, May 30, 2008

The Anthropologist in me is tickled pink!

(For those of you who don't know, I majored in Anthro in university, so there actually is an anthropologist lurking around in me somewhere...)

A tribe of people in South America have been photographed who have NEVER had contact with the outside world! We don't even know what they call themselves! They've never even seen a plane before! (Ergo, the red warpaint they're wearing, upon seeing the plane fly low overhead for the second time in a few hours). Can you imagine what would be going through their minds right now? Pretty much, "What the heck is that thing in the air???", and "Let's defend ourselves!".

Apparently their habitat is going to be endangered by encroaching logging in the Amazon rainforest, and these photos were released to give yet another reason to put the kibosh on deforestation in that region.

Part of me wants to run right in there and study the heck out of these people, and learn more about how indigenous people adapt to their environment (teaching us how we likely lived ourselves thousands of years ago). But the other part of me wants to leave them pristine, and unaware of the outside world - because once contact is made, it's made. There's no going back. They would be forever changed by the experience - if they survived it.

The BBC has tons of info on this fascinating discovery. Here's the main article, here's the amazing group of photos of the tribe from the air, and here's a great little article on what we can deduce about their way of life from the photos taken.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BeanDreams: Planting New Seeds

I've finished planting my containers for BeanDreams 2008!

In one container I planted kohlrabi around the outside perimeter, and my beloved bachelor's buttons on the inside. Both plants are tolerant to the cold, so I thought they should go together. Bachelor's buttons, in my experience, sprout within 24 hours, so I'm looking forward to reporting on sprouts very soon! They're just bursting with energy, it's quite amazing!

In another pot, I've planted catnip (for our babies) and oregano. Oregano is the rare herb that actually tastes stronger when dried (most herbs are the opposite), so I won't be using it fresh. It's a great herb that's featured in a lot of my favorite recipes, so I look forward to using it!

And finally, in the smaller pot, I'll be planting the parsley. Parsley is a notoriously slow starter, so I've used a couple of tricks I read about it to (hopefully) get it going faster. The seed spent a week or so in the freezer (simulating winter) and is now sitting in a cup of warm water (to simulate a warm, wet spring). I'll be putting it in the pot later today. Parsley is nice fresh - I don't like too strong a parsley flavour (I know, I'm a wuss), so I chose a milder form to grow.

And as you can see, my bok choi and daikon radish are doing beautifully!

The daikon greens are lush and lovely - the roots aren't too big yet...

The bok choi is a petite variety, so it'll be ready to eat soon! I'm surprised it's grown so very fast - when you plant in containers, you can see the development of the plants day by day a lot easier.

Addendum: I wrote this up on Monday - since then, it's been COLD! The seeds have been shaking in their pods! However, this morning, we had some sun, and I saw that the Bachelor's Buttons have sprouted. Huzzah! Hopefully, the sun will heat up the soil enough to allow the rest of the seeds to get started. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Evening BBQ with Feathery Visitors

Whilst out BBQing this evening, I thought I'd try to get a shot of the beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird that comes to our hummingbird feeder.

Would have been a great shot, if the sun had been out. Can't see it's colours at all here... :\

Here, you can just barely see him, but you get a great look at that beautiful bright shiny red throat of his. Beautiful! His gorgeous-coloured electric shiny green back feathers will have to be photographed another day...

Whilst I was waiting for the hummingbird to come back, and tending my bbq, this cute little sparrow came. I think he's a Song Sparrow, but I'd have to go look that up. His song was just crazy, chirping sing-songily all over the place, as he sang in the tree before he came over to our deck. First, he alighted and surveyed his surroundings.

Then, he noticed me.

"What the heck are you doing? I'm getting out of here!" And he took off! Darn cute though! :D One of my favorite bird photos!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ann's Ruralish Life Widget!

I've got a widget for my blog! It's limited to newer browsers, but I hope you'll enjoy downloading it, and keeping up to date on the latest from my blog! Just click on the share box at the bottom of the widget, and it'll give you lots of options for places you can post my widget! :)

Afternoon Flowers

Forget-me-nots grow wild around here, such a lovely blue and pinky-purple display in the lawn.

Caught a busy bee enjoying our non-pesticide covered dandelions - later, birds will eat the seeds that result from this pollination. I know that weeds suck when you want to have a nice lawn, but there's a lot of creatures out there that make use of those weeds. We don't use pesticides on our weeds, so we don't make those creatures sick.

I hear that spraying vinegar directly on a weed will kill it down to the root (but be sure to avoid your grass!) - I haven't tried it yet, but it's an option you might try (if you aren't lucky enough to live out in the country, where having weeds on your lawn is more common and accepted than out in the 'burbs).

Early Morning Plant Life

I was outside this morning, fairly early, to plant my seeds - just haven't had the opportunity until now. Which has been hard, looking at the seed packs every day, saying "plant me!". :) Well, they're all planted now - more on that soon.

While I was out, the early morning sun was peeking through the light cloud, and streaming through the tree branches. The dew was still on the flowers and leaves, the air was fresh and warm. It was really lovely!

This is a magnolia type tree, I believe. Has a lovely scent!

And strawberries are in bloom all over - look at the little dew drops on the leaves, so cute!

What a lovely day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Tees for Ukrainian Foodies

I've added three new designs to my gift shop today for all you fans of Ukrainian food out there: specifically, pirohy (perogies), holubtsi (cabbage rolls), and my personal favorite, borscht (beet soup). If you love Ukrainian food, you'll want to snap up one of these tees!

Don't forget my shop's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, with a 30-day money back guarantee!

EDIT: Okay, okay, I added another one for kielbasa (koubasa) fans - how could I forget about them? :D

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Local Pumpkin Legend Passes Away

Howard Dill was a really well-known name around these parts - his prize winning giant pumpkins are a sight to behold! He did a lot for the giant pumpkin industry, developing what many say is the largest variety in the world.

It'll be a sad fall (pumpkin harvest time) this year, without him around--his name was always in the news. :(

His website is here,, where you can learn more about his giant pumpkin variety. A write up on him made the front page of the Herald this morning.

And check out Windsor Nova Scotia, believed to be the birthplace of hockey (on Howard Dill's property), and home to a huge pumpkin regatta every year (people take giant pumpkins, hollow them out, and use them as boats. It gets pretty wild)!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Birds

The goldfinch male, after looking rather awkward a couple of weeks ago, has finished moulting and is looking resplendent in his gold mating finery. And, he has a lady friend to eat dinner with!

So cute! What a bright cherry yellow!

The white-throated sparrow came back this spring, a couple of weeks ago - so eye catching with his golden dot (near his beak) and white throat.

And the crossbill came back this morning, almost a year to the day since he last visited, which was very exciting! Didn't get a pic because my batteries died! Auggh!


Also seeing a lot of the purple or house finch (not sure which, wasn't able to get a snapshot) over the last little while. It's great to see all the summer birds arriving! :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Site Downtime

Sorry about this, but there appears to be something wrong with my website at, affecting my blog titles, images on my blog, online gift shop, and of course my Learn Pysanky site. Hopefully any issues will be resolved soon!

Thanks for your patience,


Monday, May 12, 2008

Cannibal Locusts?

Scientists have a new theory as to what causes locusts to swarm, devastating crops. They think they might be afraid of other locusts cannibalizing them! Crazy, hey? But it's a reasonable theory - if people suddenly started turning cannibal, I'd join with a bunch of other people and run the heck away too!

Read all about this new theory on the BBC.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

BeanDreams Closeups

Here's the world's tiniest bok choi sprout leaf! It's about as big as the top part of my pinkie finger. Teeny! But you can see where it's heading, it's going to be a lovely (read: delicious!) bok choi one day!

These daikon radish leaf sprouts are much larger (the true leaves are about as long as my whole pinkie finger). But check it out, under the pinkish part of the stem, you can see the white root poking a bit out of the ground - that's gonna be a tasty radish soon!

It's almost time for me to consider my second planting, as things will go more quickly from this stage, now that the true leaves are out. Oh, I just love spring! :D (It's extra nice because the blackflies haven't come out yet - enjoy it while you can, only a couple of weeks left till they do!)

Peepers in the Sunshine

Peepers was really enjoying the sunshine streaming into the kitchen this morning...

He's leaning against a box of dog cookies, that we're actually using to hold bulk bird seed... :)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Another reason to visit (or live in) Kyoto

Not just because of the beautiful scenery, and the lovely feel of traditional Japan - Kyoto's another great place to go, because when the riverside cafes open up for the summer, you just might get a maiko (apprentice geisha) serving you a drink! How cool would that be! There just aren't that many geisha (comparatively speaking) these days, and it's a pretty rare opportunity to see one up close for the general public.

Want to get a glimpse into a geisha's day? Mainichi did a photo journal special on geisha recently, check it out here.