Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top 17 of 2017

 Well, another year has passed and I can't help but thinking good riddance! My husband and I were in a bad car accident in August while visiting family, and while we weren't seriously injured, the toll that it takes on the body is not to be underestimated! We've also dealt with a lot of illness this fall, including pneumonia. But when I look back on the pictures, I am reminded that there were lots and lots of good moments too!

I finally built myself a greenhouse this spring and got lots of use from it.
 Of course we hatched some more chicks to join our flock (but out of 25+ eggs, we ended up with just two hens!).
 I had my very first experience in beekeeping and it ignited a new passion!
 The kids and I spent many happy hours exploring ponds and found these salamander eggs. We checked back on them over the season to watch them hatch and grow.
 And I continued to volunteer with the hummingbird banding project. Always such an honour to handle these little guys.
 We raised caterpillars and watched them transform to butterflies before releasing them into the wild. Such a thrill!
We took a family trip out to Alberta and had loads of fun in Drumheller and the badlands. Those dinosaurs, such a blast!
 Drumheller hoodoos.
 My garden was a very peaceful spot for me this summer, and I spent lots of time sitting by our little pond, watching the tadpoles swim, while I snacked on raspberries. Mmmm, can't wait until next year!
 We spent some time canoeing and exploring in our lake and camping at our local campgrounds. The kids loved every minute of it.
 Ugh, the fateful car crash. A lady ran a red light and totaled our car. We ended up in the ditch. It's been a long road to recovery and it takes its toll on you, when you can't get out and do the the stuff you would normally do for exercise and fun! I'm glad the kids were not with us when it happened.
 Beach wanderings and fun. We made the most of the last few days of summer before my eldest started school.
This year I started a Family Nature club and it has been so much fun, getting outside and exploring with other families. I hope we'll keep it up in 2018.
Ah, the clay oven! What a fun, involved project that turned out to be. But how rewarding in the end! The kids were involved in almost every step along the way and were thrilled to finally get to use the oven once all the fire bans from the summer were lifted. Not only do we get to bake fresh bread and pizzas in it, but it looks so great in the garden too.

 This year, I sold my resin work in the local craft fair and did really well. I've never sold anything at a craft fair before and was super excited by my success. Here's to many more!
 And Christmas was a wonderful, low-key affair with just the four of us. We were actually healthy this year, so we were able to enjoy it to the fullest.
It really wasn't too bad of a year, when I look back on all the positives! Here's hoping that 2018 brings more good to everyone! Happy New Year!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bugs, Birds, and Tadpoles

One of our favourite spring activities has been to explore a local pond. We found some salamander larvae and have been checking back periodically to check on their progress.

Salamander larvae are much more developed than tadpoles when they hatch. They are already good swimmers and hunt for their food, as they are carnivores right away (unlike tadpoles, who are herbivores until they become adults).

 We brought home a few tadpoles from a friend's man-made pond, to watch their development. The tadpoles are so tiny when they hatch and look so embryonic still (is that a word?).

Within a few short weeks that have grown huge and their little hind legs are starting to bud out. So exciting!
 We ordered out caterpillar kit again this year. It's amazing to see how fast those Painted Lady caterpillars grow!

 I thinks chrysalides are so beautiful. Look how golden this one is!
The butterflies emerged just a few days ago and we released them yesterday. Look how bronze they are by their bodies.
 We made a little pond in our garden this spring and have been enjoying this new addition. They are tadpoles swimming around in it and it is relaxing to sit on the bench and watch them swim.
 And finally, we've got 6 Wheaton Ameraucana eggs in the incubator. We lost one because of a terrible windstorm that resulted in a 6 hour power outage, but the other 6 are gowing strong and set to hatch in one week.
 Spring is such an exciting time!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Missing in Action

Well! I've been away from this space for awhile. This time of year, I am filled with a wild energy, as signs of spring emerge and the days stay light for so long. Gardening is on the brain 24/7 and I am pulled outdoors for hours and hours a day. However, we've had a freak snow fall this weekend, so I don't mind staying inside for bit to catch up here.

 We hatched out some Lavender Orpington chicks about 3 weeks ago. These fluffy babies are adorable and the kids are in love. This is the first time that Cedar has been old enough to hold them on her own. Last time we hatched chicks inside, she was just a baby and would have eaten them if she could! But oh my, she is so good with those chicks! Especially with her favourite one, Lavender Lilac. They snuggle together for hours and the other chicks try to hop up on her lap for snuggles too. She's got such a calm demeanor around those babies.

Bees!We have bees on the mind this spring. We cleaned out our mason bee house and found over 30 new cocoons and leaf cutter bee cocoons! This has inspired hours of research and learning, and the building of pollinator hotel. The kids and I spent many hours together gathering materials for the hotel and setting it up in our yard. A few days ago, we saw a little mason bee male flying around in our yard and he kept landing on me. He wasn't one of ours though- our cocoons are still intact. I'm excited to watch them at work this spring.

 Our kitties are still doing well! Dandelion has grown big and Boos mostly tolerates his presence. They spend most of their days outside, but when bad weather keeps them indoors, they love the kitty grass that Cedar planted for them.

 Finally, I built a greenhouse! It was the first big construction project that I have done all by myself and I am so proud of it! It is a wonderful retreat for me, a sauna when it is too cold and windy out in the yard. I've got no plants in it yet- I am killing off the grass before I make the garden beds- but I do enjoy just sitting in there. My plants inside are thriving and I am excited to get them outside. But it looks like with this snow that we are getting that it will be a long while before that happens! In the meantime, my garden plans get bigger and more elaborate...

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