Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although technically, it's tomorrow, but we always had our dinner on the Sunday growing up. :) Gorgeous day outside, sunny but windy. Definitely getting fallish out there, it's downright freezing in the mornings!

My kitchen is filled with the wonderful scent of fresh herbs from the pork roast I'm making. Just a small dinner for me and Dave. Of course, I'm probably going to go overboard as I always do and make too much food for 2 people.

Roast pork with sea salt, pepper, fresh sage and rosemary, and dried parsley from my parent's garden.

Candied sweet potatoes.

Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic (again, grown by my parents).

Possibly mushrooms.

And possibly this amazing glaze recipe that would go equally well with chicken or pork. If not, then good ol' pork gravy.

Again, too much food for 2 people, but we'll enjoy the leftovers!

And we are thankful. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eastern Passage Get-Away

My parents, Dave and I, decided to beat the heat out Eastern Passage way (its been hitting over 30 deg. C the last several days). Nothing like a stroll down by the Passage to Halifax Harbour with the beautiful wind coming off the water to cool you down nicely. Ah, the sea air!

A lovely little fishing community, a LOT of fishing boats, lobster traps, fresh lobster for sale...

What's beautiful about Nova Scotia is that the roses that grow wild here even grow up to the edge of the ocean! A hearty plant indeed, and so lovely.

From one part of the boardwalk, you can look down the Passage and see downtown Halifax, with the Purdy's Wharf office towers to the left of the picture, and the Angus L. MacDonald bridge in the center.

The BEST fish and chips I've had in a very long time, super fresh haddock, beer battered with crispy chunky batter, just amazing! A great little place to go if you're in the area, called Wharf Wraps (funnily enough, the dish that Dave and I ordered is on the poster I've linked too). So fresh!!! So tasty! Dave's so used to the crappy minced super-processed fillets that you get in the grocery store frozen food section, he was shocked that fish could taste this good!

There are a LOT of people out walking with their dogs, and I thought it was very considerate of Wharf Wraps to put out a dish for passing puppies.

As we were walking back to the car, we saw a large, obviously young seagull attempt to get fed from a passing adult. He was making loud baby-ish cries too. Pretty funny. The adult was having none of it! :)

All in all, we had a fun time, it was a great way to cool down on a hot summer day...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sunny "Picnic"

Well, sort of a picnic, without the food. :) We spread out a blanket and enjoyed the shade and strong breeze on the top of our hill, during one of the only sunny days we've had here this summer. (Its really been a miserable summer here, nothing but cloud and rain for weeks at a time).

Lila had a nice time...

Casey, not so much. She always hides in bushes when she's overheated, but I think it would have been cooler for her if she had just sat in the open with us...

Dave read a book, and I worked on some artwork. A ladybug landed on Dave's knee, Lila rolled around in the grass. Flowers were blowing in the wind...

It was really peaceful and lovely, so nice to do something different and fun. I spend too much time on the computer when I'm home... :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Biomass my a$$

This is the most disgraceful thing I've heard regarding the environment in quite some time. They claim to do it in the name of reducing carbon emissions and eliminating their use of oil and fossil fuels. Sounds good, right? Except that to do this, they use debris "left over" from cutting down trees. What they mean by that is using machines to scrape up the entire forest floor and leave nothing but a wasteland behind - literally.

This was in the Chronicle-Herald this morning - it is a very disturbing read, but its important to know about these things, so we can hopefully do something about them.

Green power at high cost
Clearcutting for biomass leaves nothing behind

With Jeffrey Simpson, staff reporter
Sat. Jul 25 - 4:46 AM

Little forest debris is left on the ground in the Caribou Gold Mines area near Upper Musquodoboit. The debris is burned to produce electricity. (Photo by KATHY DIDKOWSKY)

Stumps and vegetation left after wood is harvested for lumber and pulp and paper only. (Photo by KATHY DIDKOWSKY)

Kathy Didkowsky grew up discovering streams, lakes and wildlife in the forest behind her house.

Now when she walks through the same wilderness in Upper Musquodoboit that she’s trying to save, Ms. Didkowsky sees more and more bare land.

The forest is being clearcut and for the first time Ms. Didkowsky noticed it’s not just the logs being taken.

"Now with biomass they take everything," said Ms. Didkowsky. "They work with a machine that literally just ripped at the trees, it didn’t cut."

When trees are harvested for pulp and paper, stumps, branches and leaves are left on the ground to decompose and give nutrients back to the soil. When wood is harvested for biomass, a renewable energy source, everything is taken.

"I cried…. It was devastating to me," said Ms. Didkowsky.

Northern Pulp manages about 280,000 hectares across the province, including land near where Ms. Didkowsky grew up.

Bob Bagdon, vice-president of human resources for Northern Pulp, says the company’s been collecting wood waste to use as fuel for years.

"We burn it in our power boiler, which generates electricity that we consume to run the mill," said Mr. Bagdon.

The debris produces enough electricity that the mill in Abercrombie Point near New Glasgow is self-sufficient and doesn’t need to use heavy oil for energy.

Biomass has been at the centre of a hot debate. The Utility and Review Board was asked to approve Nova Scotia Power’s plan to buy electricity generated through burning wood waste from NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd. and Strait Bio-Gen.

The untendered $60-million deal would have generated $1-billion worth of electricity over 25 years at the Port Hawkesbury paper mill.

On Wednesday, the Utility and Review Board said it lacked the authority to approve the plan in advance.

Nova Scotia Power doesn’t require board approval to purchase renewable power. It plans to review the board’s 40-page decision before deciding what to do next.

Under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, the province is supposed to get 18.5 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2013.

"I have real issues. To turn the province into a moonscape to say that we’ve reduced our carbon emission doesn’t appeal to me," said Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell, who pointed out that in opposition the NDP had introduced legislation against clearcutting.

Raymond Plourde, wilderness co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, said his organization supports renewable energy but would like more emphasis on sources like wind, solar and tidal.

"This province has overcut the forest already," said Mr. Plourde. "How can we add on top of that more hundreds of tonnes of the forest being cut and burned for energy production?"

On Thursday, Premier Darrell Dexter said he thought biomass would be part of a renewable energy solution. Mr. Plourde said his organization isn’t against using biomass and some wood for energy, but does not agree with Nova Scotia Power’s plan.

If it goes through, NewPage Port Hawkesbury will need 400,000 tonnes of biomass cut from the forest every year. Mr. Plourde explained that this would be like having an extra pulp and paper mill in the province, or doubling NewPage’s current wood consumption.

"This is a whole new level — and not a small level, but a massive level — of increased pressure on the forest to produce ever more amounts of fibre."

Mr. Plourde worries that this type of pressure would be devastating to wildlife, especially birds, which are already in steep decline.

"The vast majority of (endangered species) need healthy mature forests and we’re losing them."

Trees are considered renewable energy because they grow back, but Mr. Plourde said the soil has to have nutrients in it for this to happen.

"If you scrape off everything that’s left over after a clearcut, then there’s nothing left … to rot and to help nourish the soil and feed the next generation of trees," he said.

Ms. Didkowsky has seen the area she grew up in change before her eyes — there’s less wildlife, waterways are damaged, the ground has been disturbed by heavy machines, and the land where trees have been removed has been baked dry.

"I would like to see that there was a forest management plan in place and stricter legislation to say that there’s diversity in the species left in the forest, and there’s age diversity."

Mr. Plourde said he doesn’t know of any regulations about clearcutting for biomass. He thinks the government needs to do more for the province’s forests.

"So far, the province has done nothing to actually study the ecological implications of this kind of harvesting," said Mr. Plourde.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Close Encounters of the Bee Kind

Holy crap! I just came tearing down the hill and into the house after a 3+ minute ordeal with a bee who mistook me for a flower. I was sitting on the top of our hill in the backyard when I heard bee wings. I said, "Oh, is that a bee?" and looked around. Didn't see anything. Then I looked down and saw he had landed ON MY ELBOW. He was probing me with his cool tongue (or whatever you call it that bees use to get the nectar out). I got a very good look at this while I "remained calm" and tried not to do anything to annoy him. He wandered around on my arm for a few minutes, trying again and again to get any nectar at all from my elbow, but it wasn't happening. His tongue felt very cool and soft. It would have kind of tickled if I wasn't so scared. Then, he started to take off, only to re-land once again on my arm after a microsecond! He was convinced this was the spot he heard there was nectar, and wasn't leaving until he got some! So, I knew the next time he took flight, I'd have to run. And when it happened, I ran like a bat out of hell. Nearly fell down the hill, it's quite steep, and the dogs thought it was great fun and ran with me. The bee looked a little stunned for a second as he tried to re-land, but that was the last I saw of him. Hopefully he found the flowers that were behind me a few feet, that were a kind of peachy white color like my skin, which I'm assuming he was looking for. ???

An abrupt end to our sit outside! At least I didn't get stung, and the poor mistaken bee got to live another day to gather nectar and didn't lose his life after stinging, as most do.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Home made sushi - a first!

Is it perfect? No. I could have rolled it tighter, added less cucumber, and so forth. But I'm still super-proud of my first attempt at making sushi at home!

I first considered making it myself after getting a veggie one from the local grocery store. Since it didn't have any raw fish product in it, I got to thinking I could make it myself at home. But, I was still pretty nervous about trying it. Then I found this video:

And while many may complain about his technique, he did make it look simple enough that I thought I really could try to do it myself. Now, there is sushi, and then there is SUSHI. Mine is very much "small letters" sushi, nothing spectacular, but it's good enough for me to have as a snack now and then at home, for a lot less than it would cost at the store.

For my first maki sushi, I used cold cooked shrimp, green onions (only the tops), and cucumber, deseeded. I already had plenty of nori here, which I use on rice, and rice balls (onigiri) sometimes. I also had fun making the sushi rice myself, fanning it and cutting in the rice vinegar (see a good explanatory video:

All in all, a fun experience I'll be happy to replicate in the future!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


You know the song:
GreenFeet was all my joy...
GreenFeet was my delight...
GreenFeet was my heart of gold -
And who but my Lady GreenFeet?*

This is what happens when goofy puppies play on freshly-mowed lawns...

*with apologies to Medieval balladeers...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Urban Chickens: NB

Well, even though our city council disappointingly decided against the tiniest of chicken coops in Halifax city limits, it looks like New Brunswick, our provincial neighbour, is taking a step forward. Good for them! Moncton, NB, is having a pilot project with 4 chickens in a coop in city limits.

Buy local - how much more local can you get than your own backyard! A great learning experience too, the "farm" will give tours to the public to see how it's run. They're hoping to learn from other urban farms in the country, and will make a full report when the project ends next year, adding to the information available out there on what works and what doesn't.

And then MAYBE Halifax city council will EVENTUALLY change their mind...when they see what a positive experience it can be! One day... I know I'd LOVE to have a chicken coup!

Read more on the CBC:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pig Business

Thanks to Stephen Fry for tweeting this! I might not have heard of it otherwise!

It is HARD to watch, but it is IMPORTANT to watch. Pig Business is a new documentary film about the devastating effects of modern "farming" methods of raising pigs - which really is applying industrial production methods to animals. I love pigs, and bacon is probably my most favorite food in the world, so being face to face with how these animals are treated in the larger corporate farms is really hard to see. It is a great kick in the butt, though, for me to continue to track down and support small local farmers who treat their livestock with respect. These are living creatures after all, not cars!

I don't know when we'll be able to see the film in North America, but the UK has showings listed on the website, and also has a trailer for the film.

So check it out - it's tough, but it's so very important to know the consequences of how we're raising animals these days.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Photo Journal: Springtime in the City

Our first city spring in several years. Took a long time getting here, as there were steady snowstorms throughout winter. But the trees are finally in leaf, and the early blossoms of forsythia and crocus have all faded away. Finally, spring is really here!

We had a couple of lovely flowering trees in our yard, near the woods:

Chickadees are still enjoying our tiny birdfeeder:

The leaves on the maple trees are out, but not fully extended yet:

Casey's having to take time out during her play, in the shade of the bushes. Her black fur makes her overheat very quickly, and as soon as it got a little warm, she started having to take breaks. :)

And, on a not-really-related note, I bought a very cute little turnip at the grocery store, and decided to take pics of it. I had the knife in the shot for scale. Bahy Boy thought perhaps it was food time, and gently reminded me that he was there, and totally available for feeding. What a goofy cat. :)

So, that's been spring...bring on the sunny skies and sandal-wearing weather!

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Gift Shop!

I've added a second gift shop on Zazzle, called Ann's Ukrainian Gifts Too! It'll feature even more unique Ukrainian designs, on some of Zazzle's more interesting product lines.

Just in time for Father's Day, I've released a line of Ukrainian Neck Ties! Perfect for Dad on his special day, these ties feature Ukrainian folk embroidery inspired designs he's sure to love.

For American customers, the url is*

But if you're in Canada, you can shop Zazzle's local url @*

They have local urls for Australia and Great Britain, too, just click on the appropriate flag at the bottom of the page.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Finally, a trip to Hamachi!

Finally, after a whole year of dashed plans, my family and I got to go to Hamachi. There are 4 Hamachi restaurants with different themes in the Halifax area - we went to the one on Portland Street, Hamachi Grill & Sushi House.

The atmosphere was really nice in there. The staff were super friendly. The decor was very nice - very traditional, formal Japanese, not plastered with tons of stuff on the walls, but just a few well-chosen art pieces. There was a lovely Japanese water fountain, and a very cute sushi bar surrounded by a moat, where your sushi is delivered to you via "boat" (have to try that next time)!

But on to the food! I told my parents it wouldn't be a proper Japanese meal unless they had miso soup, so we all had some. It was really lovely, and my parents were pleasantly surprised by the taste (they heard the words "seaweed" and "tofu" and weren't expecting much good to come of it). But there's so much more to a good miso soup, of course, and all the wonderful flavors came together perfectly.

Pork Gyoza. The pork gyoza was spectacular. MAN, that stuff is good! I heard James Barber once say that every culture has a dumpling, it's basically only a slight change in dough, and whatever the culture chooses to stuff it with. Ukrainians and Poles are best known for perogies, of course, but Japan has its gyoza (delicious recipe @ Lovely with Hamachi's delicate vinegary/soya dip-in sauce.

Shrimp Tempura. Their tempura was above reproach. As I've often heard, proper tempura is really an art form, made in small batches with freezing cold water, leaving a few lumps of flour in so that upon frying, the batter puffs up light with extra crispy bits. We had shrimp, and it was lovely. Beautiful coloring, deliciously crispy.

Unagi Kabayaki. I had wanted to try eel for several years now. There's a day (the traditional "hottest day of the year" in Japan) that everyone eats eel on, as it's oiliness is believed to help you "beat the heat". So I finally ordered it. And wow, what an unexpected flavor! (But unfortunately, not in a good way, this time). I thought it would be rather chewy, but the inside really rather melted away, which was nice. Now, this is freshwater eel, mind - but it tasted like the sea! I can think of nothing that has ever elicited such a strong memory connection with the sea other than actually being there, breathing in sea air. It was astonishing! It tasted like ocean, it's the only way I can describe it. Not unpleasant like drinking sea water or anything like that, but as if you were actually able to eat ocean, and all the minerally, saltiness of it in a physical form. Dave had promised to eat whatever I ate, and so dutifully had some. Even my dad tried some. My dad and I also tried it in honour of our German ancestors, who came to Nova Scotia a few hundred years ago, and had to spend many a winter eating eel, as it was in abundance in the Lunenburg area. I applaud them for their courage. Or their desperation. I tried to like it. I really, really did. But it was such an extreme flavor, and it just didn't "chime" with me. Or my dad, or Dave. So we had to leave this beautifully prepared (I mean, it was gorgeous, and lovingly done, you could tell) food alone. We took it home to share with our furry family.

Beef Sashimi. The true treat of the night was the beef sashimi. Sashimi usually refers to raw fish, served with a dipping sauce, so I assumed (correctly) that this would be beef seared on the outside, but completely rare (or blue, as the server called it) on the inside. It was served super-thinly sliced, in a ponzu sauce. What an amazing experience. Holy moley! I put it in my mouth, and as I was experiencing this incredible taste sensation for the first time, I looked over at Dave and could see the range of emotions he was going through as he was hit with it. My parents were asking us eagerly how it tasted, but we both couldn't talk - I could tell he loved it as much as I did though! When we finally could speak, we both just oohed and ahhed, we couldn't even really put it into words. It was so delicate and tender, the meat just melted in your mouth, it was truly amazing, amazing. WOW. SO GOOD! The sauce complimented it wonderfully, and the whole thing together was the most incredible taste sensation. WOW.

My parents had sesame seed salmon, with a very unJapanese portion size. It was HUGE! BIG salmon, lots of sake grilled veggies and fried rice (traditional Japanese meals usually have MUCH smaller portions, but we're used to bigger here in the West, so I guess that's what they serve).

Dave and I had a couple different kinds of sushi, all impeccably prepared, of course! As I've said before, I don't think sushi will ever be my all-time favorite, but it is nice to have a little on a special occasion.

So, all in all, we had a lovely time, and will definitely go back again. My parents were nervous about trying a totally new cuisine, but I think they were pleasantly surprised. And there's tons more on the menu, so we'll have lots to try next time, too! So if you're ever in Dartmouth, be sure to check out the Hamachi Grill and Sushi House - you'll be glad you did!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kotatsu time is quickly coming to a close...

I don't know who'll miss the kotatsu more, the animals or us! Now that it's springtime, it'll soon be time to put away winter things.

Baby Boy was the biggest fan amongst the cats, enjoying sleeping on it while the sun was up, and staying under it the entire evening before bed. Whether it was on or off, Baby would be there, secure in the hope that at some point it would get turned on, and would get toasty warm. Lila was the biggest fan amongst the dogs, but didn't realize it could be turned on even when a person wasn't sitting at it. When we were sitting at it, she'd come in from the cold outdoors and dive right under, but if no one was, we'd tell her to go under, and even put her under, but she'd come right back out again, looking at us wonderingly, "Why aren't you going to sit down? I'm cold!". She always falls asleep under there, and you eventually either hear her snoring contentedly, or panting because she got too warm, but doesn't want to leave. Pretty cute.

We put the kotatsu together ourselves, using our old coffee table as the base. We bought a kotatsu heater off of eBay (from shop owner gyatei), and a stepup/stepdown power converter (from export depot). We used a large bedspread/duvet, but never did get around to getting a proper table top made for over it. We plan on getting a piece of MDF and painting and varnishing it for next winter. Hopefully it'll get done! Otherwise the duvet gets pretty dirty from us eating over it all the time. :) The heater was very easy to install, a few screws were all that was needed. It provided us with a great place to all sit down together as a family, bundled up and warm and toasty to watch tv, eat, or do hobbies. Good way to save on oil heating too! ;)

Want to make your own kotatsu from scratch? mantilo: a miscellany has a great post on his own adventures in kotatsu-ing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Savings (with a little decluttering thrown in)

I love reading Maki's informative and entertaining blog Just Hungry. This month, she's doing some posts about financial frugality, and she did a nice little review of the Japanese educational manga Savings Techniques for Women Who Can't Save. She mentions something I've heard many times before, that reducing the physical clutter in your life can help reduce the mental clutter, and helps you financially, too. Check it out!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pysanky Final

And here's the finished product! There are some things I'd change about it, like varying the line widths a bit more - but considering I was able to dig out only two sizes of kistky to use, I think it turned out pretty okay! Happy Easter Everyone!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Finally, Pysanky!

The sad thing is, I don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to pysanky these days - this is the first one I made all Lent! Spent a couple hours doing the white tonight, hope to finish it before Easter! :)

As per usual with the ones I make at the end of Lent, I didn't follow a set design, I prefer to make it up as I go along. Hopefully, it'll turn out pretty!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Change of Direction

For the last several years, this blog has been focused specifically on my ruralish life - nature photography, bird watching at our bird feeder, walks in the woods, and so on.

Moving to the city (and winter) has changed those aspects of my life. I still cherish many of the same things I did before, I just don't get to explore them much these days. And if I keep the blog as it is and only talk about those things, it'll be months between postings. So I think I'm going to move the focus to include a few of the other things that interest me, too:

Japanese television - they have some amazingly creative storytelling on Japanese TV, that you just don't see much of anymore on North American tv. I'll also discuss good foreign (well, foreign to North America) :) films I come across.

Organization - I'm trying to focus on reorganizing my space, and my time, to fit everything that I have to do, in! Somehow! BIG fan of Peter Walsh.

I'll still give regular updates on my gift shop, my art, and any ruralish behaviour I get up to! Hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Its a brave new world

This is so awesome. I've been a fan of Obama's ever since I saw him give that amazing speech at the DNC back in '04. And he and his wife have taken it up yet another notch by planting a White House organic kitchen garden. Their main aim is to start dialogue regarding the fast-food/obesity issues many Western countries face, but it also sends a great message about consuming locally grown/seasonal produce and good-for-the-earth organic farming methods. All around, a great addition to the White House property, and a wonderful example for others to follow!

Read more.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sardines, watch out!

This is truly amazing video. A school of sardines is attacked by dolphins, sharks and birds, ALL AT ONCE! It's freakin' crazy!!

I don't usually watch "hunting" videos (I feel too bad for the hunted - I know it happens in the wild, I just don't want to see it), but since (1) the fish are teeny-tiny (2) there's tons of them and (3) there's no blood, I made an exception in this case. So glad I did, it is really must-see video.

It's like "Wild Kingdom" on steroids. To watch the school twist and turn in unison to evade, the birds turning into missiles diving into the water, the sharks NOT eating the birds, it's

Friday, March 13, 2009

Local Restaurants & Farmers Meet

A good idea, I hope more places can come up with programs like this. It's a meeting where farmers, Nova Scotia chefs, government marketing representatives and a group representing restaurant owners all got together, with the aim of getting local restaurants to use more locally-grown produce. Getting everyone to meet face to face like that is great, everyone gets to meet and know each other, opening up new networks of local supply that everyone can trust and feel comfortable with.

Read about it on the Chronicle-Herald.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I can't resist good design!

I saw this at work today, and HAD to get one myself and give it my own tiny financial support.

It's called a "Wishbone" soap dish, and I wasn't surprised to see on the packaging that this design was the winner of the Umbra-Pratt Design Competition. It is a fantastic looking design, and if I guess right, it'll be wonderfully functional, too. Instead of like many soapdishes, this one won't have a sloppy mess underneath, because the air will be able to dry most of the bottom of the soap, through the "ribs" of the fish. Very cool!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Moonlight through trees

Spooky-looking night out there tonight...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Future is Now: Tracking Songbirds

It's pretty amazing how small we can make trackers for wildlife these days. All the miniaturization in technology is enabling researchers to get new insight into the travel patterns of many animals, including tiny songbirds.

The more we learn, the more we can see how environmental changes, airplane traffic patterns and more are affecting the wildlife around us.

Learn more on the BBC!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Site Down for a time

As I discovered while I was trying to update my shop today, my hosting provider is having some hardware/network issues which has caused my site to slow down, and now stop loading completely. I think it was out long enough it might have lost its DNS entry, so it might take some time after they get the servers up and running again for everyone's computers to be able to see my sites again. This affects and, as well as some of the images on this blog.

I'm very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Stoats 'n' Stuff

Dave had a ferret several years ago. Her name was Jessica, and she was the sweetest little thing. If you want an entertaining pet, get a ferret. Unlike kittens, who keep their playfulness while young, but often grow lackadaisical when older (like Baby Boy, who prefers to just roll over and get a belly rub rather than chase a string), ferrets stay just as active and crazy when they're in old age as they were when they were young.

I remember seeing a video of wild cousins of the ferrets sitting together out in the wild, then one of them darting over and giving a young bear (minding his own business eating berries in a field) a bite on the butt! Then the ferrets ran off, chortling and bouncing away like it had been the best joke in the world. That's a ferret mentality for you: fun first, think of the consequences later. The bear was annoyed, but didn't chase them for long. :)

Stoats are also wild cousins of the ferret, and this really cute video shows him gamboling about in a garden in the UK. It's pretty hilarious!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Chickens in Halifax, update

I got an update the other day from the Facebook group set up for people in favor of being able to raise chickens in Halifax. The study done by the city is nearly complete, and they say the study looks like they're going to continue to ban raising chickens locally, which is really unfortunate. Read about the slowly ongoing saga:


If you happen to live in a place that does allow chickens, why not consider raising some? You get a great source of fresh eggs, that have been produced by chickens you raised and feed yourself - talk about quality control! And often, you'll have enough extra eggs to offer to neighbours - building community relations!

Mother Earth News has an article on raising chickens for first timers, check it out for more information. I think it'd be a lot of fun - I would if I could!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Shipping Less Water Around the Globe

A very interesting article on the BBC today about the ripple effect of removing a lot of the extra water from products like clothing detergent - the containers are smaller, which means less plastics to be recycled, shipping costs (and fuel use) are less, and on it goes.

I learned that it's not just me, modern detergents actually do make less foam. But it's on purpose (not a lack of quality, which I was thinking) - it's a water-saving measure, so you don't have to use as much water when rinsing out your clothes.

So, have a read, it's quite interesting!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunny Afternoons

Everybody loves the bright afternoon sun we get here in our new place. There's always a jockeying for position on the coffee table, couch...

...even the bookshelf, which is popular enough we've added a little piece of carpet to one of the shelves for kitty comfort.

Lila puppy (our possibly-permanent houseguest) looks up expectantly, hoping we'll move the sun around to the couch so she can get comfy. All in due time, puppy, all in due time. :)

Happy Cows, more milk?

It makes sense, really. A cow that doesn't feel like "just a number", produces significantly more milk in it's lifetime than a cow that's shoved in a stall and basically ignored.

So cows, like people, like to feel noticed and appreciated. :) It leads to more productivity, which is good for both businesses AND people (and cows!). Good stuff all around!

Read a little more about it on CNN.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Merry Ukrainian Christmas

Things still haven't gotten to what one would call a steady, regular pace here in our new home - I hope to reorganize in the new year and get back to regular blogging updates! Sorry it's been so long!

Had a lovely haddock dinner for Ukrainian Christmas eve - haddock encrusted with parsley, served with roasted garlic on the side. Yummy!

Krystos Razdayetsia everyone!