It was just a matter of time before it happened. The fact that we've been out here in the country for three years easily stacked the odds against us. Still, I can't say it was an easy pill to swallow. I suppose, there are some experiences in life you can never prepare for.
Crossing paths with a skunk would be one of them. The intensity of it's aroma, how it permeates each and every fiber, of every molecule, of every object within a hundred foot radius is incredible. Just ask Callie. Trying to protect her family from the big, bad skunk in the wee woods she took one for us...right in the face.
As she barked ferociously and relentlessly, I had visions of either the man still wanted by the police from the incident earlier this year or a kitten hiding out among our pine trees. It never dawned on me that it would be another black and white creature of a different persuasion. General chaos ensued in the dark as we realized that a skunk was on the scene. She tried to come in one door, which quickly led to a different door with a brief stop inside her manger. Thanks to quick instructions found online she was bathed before the spray dried with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and while she has a bit of an odour about her, we can live with it, she is a pond dog after all, she always has a bit of an odour. The side trip to her manger however, must have left a large amount of spray covering her bedding so the Artist removed the straw and placed it in the fire pit for burning.
Never have I met a more dedicated pup intent on protecting her pack or more in love with her bedding.
I'm linking to Soulemama Soulemamafor 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, savour and remember.
Around these parts this can be a tricky time of year for photo taking.
I've found myself still in what I refer to as summer mode; when I see a
scene I'd like to photograph I make a mental note to try it the next
day or whenever I have a free moment. Only thing is, the next day the object could and likely will be
gone. So while the sun was shining again last weekend I spent some time outside so my camera and my skin could soak in some much needed vitamin D.
The maples have almost entirely shed their leaves, with the exception of a few hangers on. Luckily the willows and the magnolia are still fully dressed, as is this miniature rosebush. It's not quite miniature anymore it's almost four feet tall and is still covered in blooms. I deadheaded the entire bush in July. I think my mom thought it was overkill until on a return visit I pointed out that it was replete with even more blossoms.
I splurged on Thanksgiving weekend and bought three bouquets of gerbera daisies. Then, as our guests arrived and relaxed with a drink and snack out on the patio, I walked around the yard cutting a mix of wild flowers, grasses and 'weeds' and arranged them with the daisies in sap buckets for center pieces. You can see one here. Three weeks later and the gerberas are still holding their own.
please, don't think I'm advocating creating your centerpieces when your
guests arrive. I just seem to always underestimate my time, even with
three days advance preparation. Am I the only one with this issue?
Because there was a fire ban in our area over the summer due to the lack of rain this summer, despite the fact that we had record setting amounts of rainfall in the spring, this was our first bonfire of the year. And as the sun crept down in the distance Saturday evening, this was best seat in the house.
Did you know that I still had time for a little traveling on the weekend. Sure did. I went to Paris. Yep, Paris! I hadn't been there for awhile and I was sure you might not believe me so I took a photo so I could offer you up some of the resplendent beauty of Paris and, well heck, to prove I was there.
This was taken in the English section of town, obviously. All the sections are English though, in Paris, Ontario.
As the leaves continue to swirl down from their summer perch and the frost is heavier with each morning, it's a pleasure to have a spot (or two) to sit by a cozy fire, to unwind after a long day engrossed with spreadsheets and relax with a book or a crochet hook. While not advancing much last winter, I continue teaching myself to crochet. I struggle with understanding the pattern instructions more than how to create different stitches, so, I finally abandoned my beginner booklet and found a simple pattern on Ravelry for a dishcloth that is coming along rather quickly and I've been stitching it up with organic cotton, so lovely on the fingertips.
I'm sure it comes as no surprise that chickens are on the brain of just about everyone here at the old farmhouse; I finally decided to delve into this book I found in the bargain section last year and give it a go. Home to Roost: A Backyard Farmer Chases Chickens through the Ages covers the complete array of all things chicken. From their place in various human cultures past and present to their history on this planet and all things in between Bob Sheasley presents a show and tell of the chicken chocked full of humour and personal anecdotes. It's always inspiring when I stumble across another commuter. If I've learned one thing while living in the country it's that we're thick as thieves we are, we who daily leave our heart in the country while heading into the city to keep our dream alive.
And, you know, now that I think of it, there's probably something else I've learned. There ain't no cure for the chicken bug; once you got it, you have it for life.
Now that she's a little older, we've been giving Ember more access to the great outdoors. To say she loves it would be an understatement. She thrives on being able to explore and I imagine, in her eyes, our two and a half acres is a veritable new planet full of discoveries yet to be made. From the pine forest to the tents of willow branches there are more changes in landscape than she could or ever will comprehend. After six months of exploring every inch of the old farmhouse and I do mean every inch this is exactly what the doctor ordered for a kitty with a bad case of the curiosities.
While I was out clipping cattails for an indoor arrangement, I heard heavy footsteps through the reeds. Caught up in finding some that were still intact, it was a few minutes before I looked down to say hello to Callie because surely that was her romping her way through there. Nope. It seems a drain pipe and tall, tall reeds and cattails are the best place for a kitten to explore on a sunny Saturday afternoon in October.
~Be well friends~
Photo edited with two of my fave textures from Kim,
Portrait and Warm Sun with a little Serious Scratch Magic added in.
It's been three weeks since our adopted flock came home to abide at the Rural Roost. Our new residents, Elijah the cockerel and the four pullets have settled in rather nicely. The girls are shy little creatures taking more time to come out of their shell and any thoughts of naming them, especially by the glimmer twins, were quickly dispelled as soon as they arrived. Why you ask? Because you can't tell them apart. It's as simple as that.
There is one exception. It seems three of the ladies follow Eli without fail. They sort of remind me of the Supremes in this photo. Where Eli goes, they go. The fourth lovely lady however has a mind of her own. Either that or she is easily distracted and gets left behind but I'll never tell; that's her story, not mine.
In those first few days after their arrival a head count was done, oh, about every five minutes or so and inevitably there would be one missing. "One, two, three, four. Where is number five?" I would ask the rest of them. And hence the last little girl is known affectionately as Number Five. Only thing is, we can only tell which one is Number Five when she's off doing her own thing. Which can go on for quite some time, by the way, but she eventually makes a quick jaunt across the yard to catch up with her roostmates, as captured above. We'll be sure to bring this photo out again at her wedding, just to embarrass her one last time.
As I've mentioned before, these birds are Chanteclers, a rare and endangered breed, one of only two to originate from Canada. They are cold tolerant birds which they've already proven to us, as they love to forage in the little woods beside their coop all day long, despite the cold, drizzly grey days we've experienced the last few weeks.
When the group arrived Eli was the same size as the ladies but has grown significantly over the last few weeks and is now much taller than the others. His feet are quite massive as well, and as you can see his plumage is quite colourful. I do think, however, that both sexes have beautiful colouring. But I still tell Eli he's a pretty boy. Happy rooster in training, happy Rural Roost!
Eli's tail feathers will continue to grow and both he and the girls have bluish green feathers with an iridescent glow. These Chantecler are the partridge variety, while the original Chantecler breed has white plumage.
We're thoroughly enjoying getting to know these guys. Within no time, Eli was eating out of our hands and while they're still not too fussy about being petted, they do love to follow us around the yard. In fact, sometimes I turn around to see them running after me. I'd like to think they adore me, but these little Scratchheads have only one thing on their mind and I don't believe they think I'm their mama.
As the last vestiges of the gardens were plucked away this weekend, we discovered how much the chickens love raspberries and adore strawberries. So much so, that they pestered me for more the next day. I offered them some swiss chard but they turned their beaks up at that. Yes, they're picky eaters too. Luckily, I'm used to that!
So as we continue to learn about coop keeping, bird tending and just how much poop a chicken can make, we're falling in love with these little creatures as they roam, scratch and peck around the old farmhouse. Dare I say, another Rural Revival at it's best?