Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunsets and Dandelions in Fort St James

I have always really like dandelions. Just ask my mom. I snuck some into my wedding bouquet to tease her. I think they're gorgeous in all their stages. And they're free! Fields look so beautiful spotted with gold and very whimsical when that gold turns to snowy down. They are also very good for you and the leaves, root, and flower are all edible. People make dandelion wine and syrup among other things and the greens are good in salads. It blows my mind that people spend lots of money buying harsh chemicals to pour all over our ground in order to get rid of them. It is my mission to have people embrace and enjoy dandelions.
Fort St James seems to have an abundance of these lovely wildflowers. I have never seen anything like what they have here. The park across from our house looks like it is grass, but up close, 90% of it is dandelion leaves. Yesterday, the whole field burst out in bloom and it looks gorgeous! I'm going to have to learn how to make dandelion wine!

The park 2 days ago.
The park yesterday. This pictures does not do it justice. It is stunning to behold in real life.
Last night, after a series of rip-snorting thunderstoms, the sky cleared up and the sun came out in time for another beautiful sunset over the lake. I thought I would share some of my pictures of it with you.

Click on this picture to see a larger view. There are birds flying across the sunset.
The stained glass in the old church illuminated with fiery sunset rays.

A memorial to an amazing bush pilot who lived in this town many years ago. Some day I'll share a bit about him.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Fuzzy Beatnik

I finally finished the sweater I started working on in January. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I need to take a little break from knitting now though. Time to focus on chickens and gardening.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just a Few Short Weeks...

...Makes such a big difference in the lives of chickens.
Remember this?
That was just 3 weeks ago.

And now they look like this!

(Velociraptor's eyes look super creepy in this shot)
And look how much his wattle has grown!

I've got outside all set up for them and they will be moving out this weekend. 5 more days until the eggs are due to hatch...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I finally caught it on video!

He's been very elusive, choosing not to showcase his talent on video. I've been trying for a week to capture it. He finally complied tonight and gave a good crow on video.

He's getting better at it too. It's starting to sound more like a rooster and less like a baby dinosaur. He is also very considerate and waits until the alarm goes off in the morning before he warms up his vocal chords.

I feel like a real farmer!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Victoria Day Celebrations

After much anticipation, the Victoria Day celebration at the Historic Park finally came. Our friends from Kamloops came up for the weekend (yay!) and they humoured me by coming along to the park. It was so fun even though the weather was lousy. We enjoyed a free Full Monty breakfast, a tour through the park, some archery, and a Victorian fashion show/contest (I won for the ladies category. Yay!). It was a good time and now I wish I could do it all again. It will be a sad day if I ever get sick of that park...

The winners for the Victorian Fashion Show.
The Hudson's Bay Company flag flying high.
Relaxin with a corn cob pipe on the Victorian Lazy boy.
These chickens are the parents of the eggs in my incubator. Man, I love chickens!
In other news, Velociraptor has started crowing. Not a full crow, so he really sounds like a velociraptor! The other chicks are growing nicely and the Barred Rock/Brahma is a real sweety now, sitting and snuggling down in my hand. They played outside again this afternoon and are learning how to use the ramp into the coop. Velociraptor has mastered it, but I have yet to see the other chicks climb up it. I think by Friday I'll be moving them outside permanently.

Uh Oh

Guess who started crowing....

Friday, May 20, 2011

First Time Outside

I took the chickens outside for a little field trip this evening. Boy, did they have fun! They were a little apprehensive at first, but soon had fun pecking in the grass and testing out their wings. The Tawny Brahma made a fantastic flight and landed elegantly on top of the box from across the coop. The Barred Rock tried to follow suit, but didn't quite make it, hitting the side of the box instead of landing on top. Hahaha, it was too funny. They froze and looked around every time a hummingbird flew overhead though (the hummingbirds are starting to scare me. They've started a turf war over our feeder. I'm afraid I'll get speared if I go outside!). I don't think chickens ever let their guard down. They are always on red alert.
After a bit of play time, I brought them back inside to their box, which I don't think they were too happy about. But they still don't have all their adult feathers and the nights are still too cold. A few more weeks, guys. I'll bring them out when I work in the yard though. They'll like that.

So, yesterday I bought an orchard! Ok, it is only two fruit trees, but I am as happy as if it were a whole orchard. We are somewhat limited as to what kinds of fruit we can grow up North, but I am pretty happy with what we got. I got a sour cherry (Romeo) that is sweet enough to eat straight from the tree and sour enough to bake with. I also got an apple tree with 6(!) varieties of apple that mature at different times. Whoo hoo! Grafted on this tree is a Rescue AppleCrab, Fall Red Apple, Battleford Apple, Honeycrisp Apple, Heyer#12 Apple, and a September Ruby. Today we bought some raspberry bushes and I got a Lily of the Valley to plant in front. Our yard is going to be beautiful and produce some great food for us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Life Update

This past Sunday was the most beautiful day. It seems that the weather turns fantastic on the weekends here. On Sunday, after some afternoon tennis across the street, we had a potluck at a friend's cabin on the lake. We hula hooped on the beach, ate delicious food, I swam in the lake (the ice has been off for at least a couple of days), and relaxed in the sauna. I love this place! It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I have been working some more on my chicken coop lately. I have dug around it, laying down wire to keep predators from digging in, and then hauling rocks from the beach to make stone pathways. Today I planted some seeds in the garden around the coop, so I hope they will turn out. I've got sunflowers and calendula, beans and marigolds, lettuce and peas.
I have also been insulating the coop, which is a very difficult task, although it is nearly finished. In the end, I bought some fibreglass insulation to line the coop. It was the cheapest and easiest option.
We have had tons of hummingbirds at our feeder! They have nearly drained the nectar from the feeder that I put up just days ago! I constantly hear their buzz over head. I took some pictures of one tonight. They are all a bronze colour with a very shiny orange/bronze patch under their chin. Any ideas what kind?
Finally, I went to Prince George last Saturday and we bought a new momentum reel mower. It is pretty exciting to cut the grass now! And we also bought a rocking chair for our living room (and somehow managed to squish it into the back seat of our little Corolla). I also bought a bunch of crocheted doilies that I am going to use for a project soon (more on that later).

Well, I think we are all caught up now! I hope you have been having a wonderful week and I'll see y'all soon!

Chicken Update

Those chicks sure are growing up fast! Velociraptor looks more and more like a chicken and less like a chick every day. Today, he made his first real chicken sounds, not chick sounds. He is also getting a bit aggressive and he and the Barred Rock are picking fights with each other. This never used to happen. Can't we just all get along and be friends? I might have to put one of them in isolation. "Time out, Velociraptor!" Who wants to bet he is a rooster? Any guesses on the rest of them? Maybe we should make a bet on who is what.

I candled the eggs today and found at least 4 of 7 are fertile and growing. It is a bit early yet, but I wouldn't hold my breath on the other three. See the dark spot just under the line on the egg? That is the growing embryo. It's hard to believe that in just 14 more days that will be a chick hatching out. It happens so quickly!
Here is a picture of velociraptor. He sure is growing, isn't he? He looks like a mini adult. He is also looking very rooster-ish isn't he?
The "little" one is getting more dark feathers now.
The Barred Rock/Brahma. He looks like he has a big nose in this picture. He has the pea comb and feathered legs of a Brahma, and the colours of a Barred Rock. I hope he is a she, because s/he would make a beautiful addition to my flock.
This one is an Isa Brown/Brahma mix. But I mostly see the Brahma in this one. The markings, comb, and feathered legs all look Brahma to me. This one also has a very gentle and cuddly personality.
The littlest one and the Barred Rock roosting together on their new roost.
Velociraptor is a stand-up comedian with a captive audience.

I just went to check on them and Velociraptor and the Barred Rock are snuggled up together sleeping. All must be forgiven. But they'll probably be at it again when they wake up. Oh dear.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Cure For Hiccoughs

This is something I have been interested in asking all of you for awhile. What is your tried and true favourite cure for hiccoughs?
My Grandmother had a cure that she swore never failed, and I have to say, it never has for me. Take a spoonful of brown sugar and stick it in your mouth. Next, take a mouthful of water, letting the sugar melt in your mouth a bit before you swallow. Done. Hiccoughs are cured. I think we may have pretended to have hiccoughs when we were little just to get a spoonful of sugar!
One downside to our family cure, whenever I have brown sugar now, I feel like I am going to have the hiccoughs!
There are so many hiccough cures out there and many of them are so bizarre! From scaring people (ask my sister about that one!) to drinking out of a cup upside down, the cures vary from person to person and family to family. So please, take the time to share your hiccough cure. I am so interested to hear how it is done in your family!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Meet The Chicks

I got our Buff Orpington eggs from the National Historic Site (my favourite place in the world!)today and and got them set up in our incubator.
The eggs all settled in the brooder.
We drew pictures on them to help keep track when we are turning them.
Such a wide range of brown coloured eggs from the same breed!

The chicks are doing really well! The different personalities of the chicks came out when I took them out of their brooder and took individual pictures of them.
The tawny chick wouldn't even leave my hand. It perched there when I brought it back to the brooder too.
The Barred Rock/ Brahma kept making a run for it around the room. Bold little guy. Look at the feathers growing down his legs.
The little one flapped its wings and wandered back and forth across the basket.
Velociraptor chirped quite a bit and pooped a few times.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Victoria Day

Who can resist dressing up? I love trying on costumes. This coming Victoria Day, the Historic Site is having a big party and there is going to be a prize for best costume. I am there with bells on! I borrowed some costumes from our theatre group and I was having some fun trying them on this afternoon. I can hardly wait for Victoria Day! Any excuse to wear an old fashioned dress!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Proud Owner of Chicks

Yesterday, I had about 10min after getting off work to run home, quickly see the new chicks my husband brought home from work, and then dash of to my second last play performance. The excitement was just about too much! And it is pretty hard to pull yourself away from your first look at your new chicks after only 10 min. Suffice it to say I was just a little late getting to hair and make-up for the show.
Soooo, I have four new chicks. Two lighter coloured ones and two darker ones. The oldest and biggest chick (around 3-4 weeks old) is a Danish Brown Leghorn. We already call it a "he" because he looks like a he. We won't know any of their sexes for at least another month. The other ones are mixes, I believe. Brahma and Iso Brown, and Brahma and something else I don't remember. And I don't know what the lightest coloured one is.
Well the chicks got right to work being chicks in their new home. My husband said one of them promptly sat down in the food and started throwing it around (I need to get some sort of trough for them so they don't sleep in their food!). They eventually quieted down and slept pretty well. I didn't. Must have been too excited.
I have decided not to name them until I know which I will keep and which will be someone's supper. Although I have been unofficially calling the Leghorn Velociraptor.
And now, the years of reading and dreaming about having chickens have finally come true.
Oh, and I borrowed an incubator and am getting some eggs from the National Historic Site on Wednesday. Hehe.

If you are having trouble watching the video here, try on youtube here>

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Four Years

Four years ago I married my husband in a fun, picnic-y day in a nut grove. We rode away to start our new lives together on a bicycle built for two.

Thanks to all my friends and family for the three hours it took to curl my hair! Hehe.
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