Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Wet-Felted Landscape

I have seen many cool felted landscapes for animals lately and was very inspired to try my own. The latest one I saw was on a blog written by a woman who worked at the same daycare I used to work at. Check out her polar bear playscape here. In my landscape I wanted to have some dens and caves for the bears, foxes, and wolves, a stream and pond for the beaver and otter, and some meadow area for the others. I laid out all my wool and wet felted it last night. This morning I needle felted the caves to give them a bit more structure and stiffness.
The animals are out, exploring their new habitat. I added some rocks and twigs too.

 There is a giant foot on the scene...

 Hehe, someday Kesten will have as much fun with it as I do, I'm sure of it!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sick Days and a Big Boy Bed

After a trip to the city on Monday, we came home with a big boy bed for Kesten. We're not quite ready to make the transition yet (we're going away shortly and we also need to get a mattress pad, as they were all out at the store) so we have it set up in the living room. Which has been really convenient these past couple days, as Kesten and I are sick. Naps, cuddles, and books have been the order of the days as we try to heal ourselves. We better get better before our big trip! Oh, and the dogsled races are this weekend along with our Winter Festival!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Snowshoe to the Waterfall

It was a beautiful day for a snowshoe! I headed out on the lake with my friend Lisa, who generously offered to pull Kesten in the chariot. Sheltered from the wind by Mt. Pope, we could see "snow tornadoes" being whipped up on the ice further out. On the way, Lisa spotted some grouse on the hillside. One flew away before I got a shot, but here is the other one. Can you spot him? I have no idea how Lisa saw them.
 We passed the T-Caves on the way. It was only my second time out this way, the last time was when I was pregnant with Kesten. Look at that sky!
 A little further along we saw otter tracks in the snow! How cool! They slide along on their bellies and and then bound a few steps and slide some more. We followed the tracks back to their source at the waterfall.
 Right by the waterfall is a tiny little ice cave opening, formed in the ice that builds up along the shore. It looks like the otters have been hanging out in this cave. I don't blame them, it looks like such a cool place.
 An inside view of the cave. Look at the otter tracks in the snow and the rocks that have been picked up in the ice wall from the beach.
 The waterfall had actual water cascading down the sides. I was expecting it to be all frozen!
 Kesten enjoyed breaking off icicles. He got pretty mad when it was time to go.


 On our drive back home, a mule deer crossed in front of us and posed for this picture. Kesten calls all the animals in the deer family "moose."
How invigorating to be out in the fresh air and sunshine! I needed that!

Friday, February 21, 2014

This and That

Remember back in November when I harvested a bunch of willows for weaving? Ya, I didn't really remember either. Every once in awhile I would look out on the front porch where they were sitting and think, "Oh right! I should get to that!" Well a few weeks ago I finally did. I wanted to make a laundry hamper with an "open-weave" type body. Well, it is finished and it looks a little rustic! haha But I think it will serve its purpose. My husband thinks it looks like a prop for the Robin Hood movie or something. I'd have to agree. 
 Last night I finished sewing a liner for the basket.
 And here it is in the new baby's room. The room is coming together more and more. And my pre-baby #2 list is shrinking. Laundry basket? Check. Baseboards in baby's room? Check.
 After a lovely chicken talk today, I decided to post a couple of pictures of the ladies. They are handling this winter like champs. Three eggs a day! And now that I am over the nausea of early pregnancy, we are actually keeping up quite well with the egg production. It is a lovely addition to our diet and we are thoroughly enjoying our frittatas, quiches, fried egg sandwiches, scrambled eggs....
 Eggatha has her neck stretched out in this picture, and Eggwina is behind (Those are my Gold Laced Wyandottes). Peabody is the one mooning the camera (she is an Australorp/Ameraucana).
Well, for once I am not looking forward to the end of winter. This has been a most enjoyable winter, probably because of my new found passion for snowshoeing and tracking animal prints. I'll miss it when the snow goes!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Snowshoe (Hare)

We went for a family snowshoe this morning (well, I snowshoed, since we only have one pair and tried to break a trail). On our snowshoe, I spotted a snowshoe hare and got a picture! Yes! Finally! Can you see the little guy? Look in the centre of the picture, you can see his ears and eye.
 I cropped the picture on the computer for an even closer look.
 You have no idea how excited I was! haha
 We saw all sorts of moose and deer tracks in the fresh deep snow. We could see where they nibbled on branches and pooped. hehe
 Working down the trail ahead of the sled.
 The snowmobiles had recently been on this part of the trail, making it easier to walk. We suddenly have so much snow! It took us awhile, but we have tons!
 Back at home, Kesten and I visited the chickens. Look at the piles of snow around the chicken coop! It is practically buried.
Hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Threshing

Finally! I have finally finished threshing all my wheat! My "stuff to do before baby #2" list was getting to be quite daunting and with only 3 months left, it was time to cross something off. While my son napped, I got the rest of my Chinook wheat and sat outside in the sun and clipped all the grain heads off into a bucket. This is the most time-consuming part, probably took 45min. Next, I took a dowel and used it to pound the grain heads until they released the wheat berries. This probably only took 15min. Of all the three threshing methods I have tried so far, this was the fastest and most efficient. Maybe even the most fun. I took some pictures inside to try and show you my method. It was so nice to spend some time outside, now that the temperature hovers around 0c. No more being cooped up inside!

Now, if I am really on the ball, I might winnow the grain tonight. Keep the momentum going, right?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Finally!

The weather has finally warmed up. I just looked at the thermometer and we are nearing -4c! Kesten and I went for a long walk through the very deep snow. I pulled him in his sled and it was more of a workout than I care to admit! Next we strolled along our street, Kesten leading the way and then retuned to our yard to shovel out a path to the chicken coop. Kesten sat inside the chicken coop, chatting pleasantly to his "chickies," while I supplied them with fresh water, hay, and sawdust. They don't seem to mind him, they just go on about their business, scratching and eating. He got himself right under the coop, where he had to crawl on his hands and knees. When he decided he had a enough of that, he sat there demanding that I come to get him. He seemed to have forgotten how to crawl out again. Well, being in the pregnant state that I am, there was no way I was crawling under there to get him out, so I stood there encouraging him to crawl until finally he obliged. Whew. Next we filled up the bird feeders and brought the bird seed inside for a little project.
I set out some peanut butter, birdseed, and yarn.
 Next, we took a big spoonful of peanut butter and plopped it into the bowl of birdseed.
 We squished the peanut butter around, mixing it with the birdseed. Next we tied the yarn in a loop and wrapped it around the ball of peanut butter, squishing it into the ball as we went.
 I hung them up outside our window (where the hummingbird feeder usually goes). We'll see if we actually attract any birds, but it would be nice to see some chickadees!
 (I don't know why this picture wouldn't flip for me).
Haha, just as I finished typing this, one of the birdseed balls just fell through the string and landed in the deep snow. Oh well! We set another birdseed ball in a bowl on the deck to see if the birds will go for that one.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Trumpeters Swans Today

Today it has warmed up to -15c and the Trumpeters were celebrating the change in weather with a swim in Stuart River. It was snowing pretty heavily, making it hard to get a clear shot. I love the interaction at the beginning. I wonder what they are doing. Is it a greeting? Or band practice? Or a dance? It had me laughing though.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Trumpeter Swans

With our mild January days, the Trumpeter Swans have been hard to spot. They tend to spread out over the open water on the river. But over the last week and a bit, the temperature has really dropped and more ice has been forming on the river. With the -25c temperature this morning, I figured we might have a good chance to see them all together. We hopped in the car and drove out to the river, all bundled up.

 The river steamed and it looked like slush, as new ice formed and churned round and round. We didn't see any swans at this spot, so we drove down the river a little further.
 At last some success! The swans were all tucked up and sleeping on the beach. When they saw me approaching, every head popped up and I was greeted by warning trumpets. They soon settled back down when they saw that I wasn't a threat.
 They seemed cold, poor guys, hopping from foot to foot, or sleeping with their heads tucked under wing.
 Some flighty ducks were sleeping with them, but headed out into the river when I approached.
 A few swans were swimming down river and came up to investigate what all the noise was about.
 Time for a drink of ice cold water. Some of the sleeping swans waddled down for a sip.

 Such majestic looking birds...until they start wiggling their feet in the air! Haha, they had me giggling a bit. I think they were trying to warm up their feet by shaking them around. It looks like this one is giving his friend a side kick.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tracking

Lately, my favourite winter pastime has been tracking animal tracks. I could go for hours, following trails and looking for signs of wildlife. This past week has been bitter cold and a challenge for me to get outside. Since I am now six months pregnant, all my good warm winter gear no longer fits me and I have been feeling a little trapped inside. Plus it is too cold to take Kesten out for long. This afternoon I could handle it no longer and with my husband home to watch Kesten, I headed out for a trek through the forest with my snowshoes to look for animal tracks.
 I was really bundled up! A toque, a scarf under my cowl, 3 shirts, a sweater, and my dad's old Cowichan sweater, leggings, yoga pants, rain pants, 1 pair of -40c socks, 2 pairs of mittens, and my winter boots with snowshoes strapped on. It was -20c and I didn't even feel the cold! haha
 Someone suggested to me that I should be able to find lots of lynx tracks where I go tracking, and sure enough, just 5 minutes up the trail, I spotted some lynx tracks. Lynx feed almost exclusively on snowshoe hare and since this is a bumper year for the snowshoe hare, the lynx are also abundant. The lynx tracks seemed to be following snowshoe hare tracks. I wonder if the lynx got its meal?
 In the little valley I wandered down there were 3 old cars that had been pushed down the hill.
 I followed some snowshoe hare highways for awhile, noting places where they had been feeding (and pooping!). I've been dying to spot one. They like to sleep during the day, under trees and logs and such. Hares like to stay above ground. Although they 'sleep' during the day, they are always partially alert, listening for predators. If one happens to wander too close, they either stay really still, hoping their camouflage is good enough, or take off running. So I've been hoping that I would stumble across a sleeping hare for awhile and today I finally did! Although I wasn't aware of it until it was already running away from me. I didn't even have time to get out the camera! But at last I finally saw one. With the hundreds and hundreds of tracks all around, I sort of expected to see more by now, but I guess I am just too loud and clumsy moving through the snow.
 On my way back home, I was treated to a lovely blue sky and a view of the moon. Only a few more days left of this extreme cold and then it is supposed to warm up significantly by Thursday. Poor Kesten has been so eager to go outside to play. Just a few more days left...

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