Monday, May 31, 2010

Help! Another mystery...

 Last week I shared some photos of the twins I took while playing around with my camera.

I posted this one of the male twin, hiding behind a plant of some sort.

Tammy from Flat Creek Farm asked if I could tell her the name of this flower, but I could not.

So, I'm hoping you can help us out. 
Surely if we can figure out what these are for, we can name this flower.

I will say that we have discovered lots of native wildflowers around the farmhouse, including False Dragon's Head and Purple Coneflower. Of course, there may have been more but they all look like weeds to the Artist.

Enough said about that.

 

~Be well friends~

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A surprise visitor

 It has been another busy weekend, and unlike most of you, mine is ending all too soon.

Things started off quiet enough; I beat the Artist and the twins home, so Callie and I relaxed together on the front porch. I managed to balance a good book in one hand, (see my side bar), a tall glass of cold lemonade in the other hand and somehow still managed to pet Callie's head too. An odd feat but anything is possible on a Friday night.

Shortly after, the rest of the gang arrived home, and while the Artist and I tried to decide our plans for the rest of the evening, we found ourselves shouting over the sound of Callie barking. Normally a quick word or two is all that's needed and she settles herself down but this time there was no relief. We should know by now that when Callie barks there's a reason. Sometimes it's the neighbour a mile down the road walking in his front yard (the nerve!) and sometimes it's a leaf blowing in the wind. Take it or leave it, movement is her game and barking is her middle name. We couldn't ask for a better protector of the old farmhouse. 

Frustrated at not being able to have a conversation, the Artist decided to check on Callie. Within a few seconds, he was running towards the back while calling out, "there's a turtle back here!"
  
Last year we saw quite a few turtles sunning themselves on the banks of the pond on a hot day. They were 5-6 inches in length. What one would expect in a pond our size, or what I would expect anyways. So imagine my surprise when I saw Callie leaping circles around this...
Just to give you an idea of size, here he or she is in front of the Artist.
Don't worry, he was only using the twig to slow her down for a moment so I could take a photo. 
She was moving much faster then the well known tortoise of the children's fable.
His or her shell was over a foot long. 
We suspect it may be a female looking for a place to lay her eggs. 

She headed for the crick that feeds the pond and then started to head away from the pond. She may have been slightly distracted by an excited pup running circles around her and it was hard to get said pup to settle down! Or the lady with the camera, who just wouldn't go away, might have also been a problem.

Eventually though, she found the pond and slid right in.
What kind of turtle is it? Well, our first thought was a Snapping Turtle, due to its spiny tail, however its back was smooth and it didn't snap at the twig or any of us. People we spoke to suggested either a Blanding Turtle or a Snapping Turtle. After a little research at the Toronto Zoo website, I discovered Blanding turtles have a distinctive yellow throat, which our little lady certainly did not have. She's definitely a Snapper and only the young ones have a spiny back, while the older ones have a smooth shell. 
So there you have it. There is a rather large Snapping turtle in our pond. 

Any thoughts of one day using the pond as a swimming hole have been completely dashed!





~Be well friends~
 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why I Moved to the Country: Reason #54

Great backdrops for photo ops with the twins.

My how they've grown since yesterday!
Some are more than eager to please mom and pose for a few photos.
While others, maybe not so much tonight. 

There is a hint of a suppressed smile lurking there, I can always see it, and I can always bring it out!

And there is always a ham bone or two about the place,
just to keep life in balance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had my first Photoshop lesson with the Artist tonight. 

We fared much better than I expected...as my friend Misha would say, Oy!




~Be well friends~
 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happiness

 Life has been busy around the old farmhouse lately. My body is slowly recovering from a long weekend of gardening. There is still more work to be done, and I wish I had enough energy to complete more tasks after work but we're in the middle of a mini-heatwave at the moment and whatever energy is left at the end of the day quickly runs and hides as soon as I pull in the drive. 

It's all good though, don't get me wrong. As I crawled into bed last night, I felt a sense of completeness knowing that veggies and the self sustainment they bring were quietly rooting their way into our life for another season. Spending almost all of my waking hours outdoors I actually felt more connected to the old farmhouse; the two, I realized, need each other and I don't think one would survive without the other. This land, the farmhouse and I are happy to have each other.
Speaking of happy, this was my moderate first attempt at one of PW's photo contests. It was taken on an older old camera but I still love it. I love their expressions, the twins' baby teeth and the way their heads seem to fit together like a hand in glove. I keep a copy of this photo at my work desk and it always warms my heart.


 ~Be well friends~
 

Friday, May 21, 2010

This Moment...

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~Soulemama.


I am linking up to Soulemama for this Friday moment.

~Happy weekend friends and a very warm and happy long weekend fellow crazy Canucks!~




Monday, May 17, 2010

Ride with the Wind

 The twins had a special riding clinic over the weekend;  putting their riding skills to the test and learning about western games. I decided to sneak in before it was over and take some photos of the group in action.

This is the welcoming committee at Ride with the Wind stables.
This little girl knocks my socks off. 
 
 If only she would come home with me.
Then I could pet beagle ears all day long and life would be swell. 

When I arrived they were practicing barrel racing. 
 Well, some may have been barrel walking instead but all good things come to he (or she) who waits. 

Others, it seems, were built for speed. This isn't always a good thing. 
Horses? I can get used to that.
A driver's licence?
I think not.
Phoenix
This is the newest arrival at the barn, Phoenix. She was very sweet and snuggled right up to me.
We were very surprised when we learned that Phoenix had previously belonged to a Mennonite family, as a cart horse, as she was underweight and a little rough around the edges when she arrived. Needless to say, I was happy to see how much she had improved in just a few weeks.
Tessa and Chevy
Chevy is quite a character and he's also madly in love with the head horse of the barn, Tessa. Luckily for Chevy, it's not an unrequited love. The first time we visited the barn, Tessa was quite upset to be in her stall without Chevy in the barn. The two are rather inseparable around the farm and it's quite cute to watch them together.

The male twin and his favourite mount, Frosty.
I think there is a mutual affection thing happening here too,
but I could be wrong,
maybe he just smells like apples and carrots.
And before you think I'm, perhaps, a little too harsh about the whole driving issue.
Let me ask you this...
Would you let any of these glimmer twins drive your vehicle?
  I thought not.

And on that final note,
Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be rock stars.

Let'em be cowboys and wranglers and such.


~Be well friends...and thank you for your fancy footnotes on the fiddlehead fern post!~
 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fine Fresh Fiddleheads

 This fine feline would like to fill you in on the fun fellowship that's been happening at the farmhouse.
You see, we've been busy fiddlin' around these parts lately.

Fiddlehead'n, that is, with Fiddlehead Ferns.

You see it all started when I told the Artist that I wanted to eat asparagus and fiddleheads every day while they're in season. Fiddleheads have an exceptionally quick season. So fast, in fact, that last year I only had the chance to taste them once, then presto, they were gone. Having pined after them for an entire year, I wasn't going to let that situation play out all over again. 

We've been far away in fantasies of food fixins, of the fiddlehead sort. 
They fare very well with asparagus, steamed with lemon juice,

or fried in butter and garlic,
 and maybe with some shrimp,

 along with some pasta.
Or maybe a steak would be fine?
Don't forget the first meal of the day, breakfast! 
There's no better way to start the day than with a fiddlehead and asparagus omelette.
But sorry, I didn't get a picture. Time is a precious commodity at five thirty in the morning.
As a matter of fact, frauline, yes I do. Now where was I? 
How about fiddleheads and pasta with pesto formulated by the Artist last fall.
And, of course, it wouldn't be right to finish off the final day of the week, Friday, without our regular flat bread, also known as pizza and this was the grand finale.
It was fantastic.
Unless you're a finicky fusspot.
In that case, you go straight to the Friday night film fest. 
Now playing...

I would never do a thing like that!

 ~

This post is brought to you by the letter F for the full entertainment of Dandy,  and her husband B, over at Spontaneous Clapping, who were curious back in March, after visiting the Ferry Building in San Francisco, if anyone had ever actually tried Fiddleheads.

I believe her question has been FulFilled.

And with that, I will Finish while I'm ahead....


...this is addictive.




~Fare-well Friends~

 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why I Moved to the Country: Reason #70

No matter where I have lived, there has never been a time when I didn't take an interest in learning about the local history. A whole new set of challenges crop up, however, when you're trying to learn about the history of a rural area. There are fewer books, photographs or museum exhibits testifying to rural life. To date, our best resource has been word of mouth from long time residents, which is pretty much everyone except us. We have yet to determine who the original occupants of the old farmhouse were but I'm itching to find out. It will likely require a visit to the city records office and we have that on our list for fun times during our summer holidays. Exploring our local heritage is a wonderful way to become part of our local comunity and is a fun summer activity while we very patiently wait for harvest time to roll around.

In the meantime, I've been browsing these books the Artist stumbled upon at our local library branch. It seems our nearby village was a bustling community at the turn of the previous century. During the 1860s, the same time the old farmhouse was constructed, the village was home to 67 dwellings, 7 stores, 1 tavern, 1 cooper shop, 4 blacksmith shops, 2 wagon shops, 1 bakery, 3 tailor and millinery shops, 2 saddle and harness shops, 3 saw mills, 1 grist mill, 3 shoe shops, 1 woolen factory, 1 pottery, 1 oil refinery, 1 school and 2 churches. Today, there is the library, the post office, a variety store, a feed store and 1 church. There are farm markets, of course, an electrical contractor and probably a few other home based businesses but when comparing store front to store front, times have certainly changed.

There is still a sense of community, people are friendly and always willing to help out for various community events, including a large celebration for Canada Day.

Do you like the gratuitous background I used in the photo above?

It's another thrift store find. It's a hand sewn quilt for a single bed. The reverse is white; each tiny stitch is impossibly perfect and the radiating floral pattern in the centre is just beautiful. What I really love about this quilt, though, is that it's the same style of work that my great grandmother used to make. My mom still has one or two that my 'Big Grandma' made. (That was the moniker given to her to differentiate between her and my grandmother.)

I can still remember going into the dark, low ceiling basement of her old house, quite scared of the ominous furnace at the end, but also quite enthralled with whatever large quilt she had set up in the frame waiting for her to sit and stitch a spell. I used to crawl underneath and look at the pattern from the bottom up, but only for a minute; there were Chinese checkers upstairs, calling my name.



~Be well friends~

Monday, May 10, 2010

We have a Winner!


I'm really excited about the winner of this giveaway for two reasons. 

One, they're crazy Canucks like yours truly; they also happen to be from Ontario to boot! 

and

Secondly, they have an awesome blog!

That's right,  I said they. The winning entry was from two sisters who blog together, one who posts 
from the city while the other does her thing from the country. They may be traveling on separate 
paths but they're venturing for a life of self-sustainability. Right up my alley!


is the winner of the CSN giveaway!

Please visit these lovely ladies, say hello and browse around, I highly doubt you will be disappointed.
Congratulations Boyd Sisters!
Thank you all for entering, welcome new followers and thank you CSN stores for giving me the opportunity to host this giveaway.


 ~Be well friends~