Category Archives: life

When The Birds and The Bees Meet

I felt him looking at me. He was staring from the roof of the bird feeder. Mr Yellow Jacket rubbed his hands together, watching my approach.  Was he planning an attack?

"Hey, gang, wake up, someone is heading this way. She looks tasty"

All winter, the Yellow Jackets have laid in wait, dormant, hiding inside the log cabin that sits on the bird feeder. We did not realize they had built a home there.

"I am coming Buzz, I am ready to attack cause I am hungry It has been a long winter."

My husband had to take down the log house and remove the nest. The Yellow Jackets continue to gather around the empty feeder. I have a feeling they will be building another home inside the house.

The hive, but no honey. Just our luck, we get the Yellow Jackets. Why don't the Honey Bees built a hive on our property.

There was a cluster of bees inside the nest.

We enjoy feeding the birds and watching them at the feeder. I wonder if birds will eat the bees? I hope so.

The Birdhouse is back on the post. We will keep watching for further developments.

Three, Two, One, Blast into Spring

Spring blasted into my world today, spun around and left summer in its wake. Last weekend there was ice on the lake here in southern Ontario. Today the temperature reached 26 C.  (26 ºC = 78.8 ºF for anyone in the USA )

Early spring crocuses are in bloom. I am not sure how this crazy weather will affect my garden this year. I will take it day by day.

I took a few photos with a macro lens today to celebrate whatever season this is.

Three

Two

One... Blast into spring.

Why a DIY Disaster Equals Flood

Why do I have strangers sitting on my kitchen counter?

My entry in this week’s “Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual.”

Strangers are on my counter

It all started in the bathroom. A little DIY project. The toilet would not stop running, an easy fix. The trouble began with the wrong size part. Too late to return it, the project will wait until morning, Hubby turned off the water, we try to conserve where we can.

After a good night’s sleep, I arose eager to start my fabulous Friday. In my morning fog, I wondered why my feet were wet. Skipping forward, and after much time using every available towel, the water in the bedroom, bathroom and hallway is somewhat cleaned up. You have already guessed that the toilet seal is broken and the water not completely turned off.

Time for breakfast. Disaster zone #2. More water in the kitchen. This is not good. The counter is a pool of water, as is the floor. Above the window there is a giant paint bubble holding a gallon of water. Inside the cupboards everything is floating.

We found more towels and began mopping and wringing. It was time to call the Co-Operators Insurance. Yep, the guys with the dash.  Within the hour, we had a claims adjuster and an estimator from ServiceMaster at our door. They delivered the good news and the bad news. Yes, our insurance covers this disaster, but we have a $1,000 deductible, unless our damage is high enough to waive the deductible. (Is it OK to pray for a bigger repair bill?)

Cutting a hole in the wet ceiling.

Before long the restoration crew arrived and set about their work. Their “destroy first and repair later” job. The kitchen cupboard had to be removed from the wall (gently).

Gently removed the kitchen cabinet.

The carpets in the bedroom ripped open and seven huge and very noisy fans and two very large dehumidifiers set in place. I am happy to report that they cleaned up as they went.

Two fans on the counter, two on the floor and three upstairs.

Look at the clock, that is 7:50pm, this has been an all day affair. Now we are in waiting mode… like watching the paint dry with a jet engine in the room. My head hurts.

Stay tuned for chapter two of DIY disaster rescue.

Are You Listening to the Zoo

Zoos are educational. We listened carefully to all the animals, they each had important things to tell us. We were interested in what it is like to live in captivity.
I think this is a Softshell turtle that the children are talking to….

"Hey Tommy, I have a big bathtub, will you come home with me?"

"Sorry girls, I like living here, they feed me and besides, I have my eye on Tilly, that cute little thing on the log over there..... Don't look now,... but I think she is looking at me. Is she?"

I find I look for personalities in the creatures at the zoo. My experience with my pets indicate that they are each unique, with quirks and habits, little ways about them that differentiate each one from the other. I know these are wild creatures, but they are individuals creatures. This seahorse had plenty to tell us.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing... "

I am warning you, flash that light in my eye once more and I am calling the authorities.

I am not a lying fish, I am a Lion Fish, Wanna hear me roar...?

"You would be grumpy too if you had to listen to that lying fish roaring all day long."

Gravel Eating Sheep in the Northwest Territories

While driving on the highway toward Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, we pulled over to photograph some sheep. They were busy on the side of the highway feasting on the gravel. I understand their real name is Thinhorn Sheep but are also called Stone Sheep (I have not confirmed this name)
The sheep were not afraid and allowed me to approach fairly close. I am sure they were actually posing. We lingered for a while watching this adorable family.

The family that eats together stays together.

Yep, that is rocks they are eating... yummy.

Is Mr. Billy inviting me to join the family dinner?

The baby is smiling, I am sure of it.

Sydney the Jumping Shepherd

It is Daylight Saving Time, the geese are returning home from their vacation and Sydney has a new spring in her step.

We put the leash on Sydney and walked to the lake to enjoy the sun.

The ice is melting in the creek.

The ice on Lake Simcoe is starting to melt.  All the fish huts have to be removed from the lake by March 15th, but I worry that it is already unsafe. There have already been a few ice rescues and sadly some tragedies.

help...the ice is sinking.

Luckily, it is not deep at this spot. Sydney was able to scramble out and shake off the icy water.

I found a stick.. please play with me.

Sydney loves to jump to grab the stick.

Sydney can jump high

She loves the game and will keep it up for a long time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

For this weeks challenge, I thought I would post a few photos I took last summer while on an extended roadtrip. These photos emphasize a contrast in size.

The largest Dump Truck in the world

We crossed the border from Alberta into BC and arrived in a beautiful little town nestled in the Rocky Mountains, in the southeast corner of the province. Sparwood is a small coal mining town on the Elk River. They have lots of scenic hiking and mountain biking trails in the area and lots of opportunities to enjoy the water. You can spend your time either fishing, kayaking or canoeing in the Elk Valley. Sparwood is also home to the largest tandem-axle dump truck in the world! Built by General Motors of Canada, the 1974 Terex Titan – all 350 tonnes, 66 feet and 3,300 Horse Power of it – lives in Sparwood, Home of the Titan. Two Greyhound buses and 2 pickups can fit into the box!

These photos of the Titan show how small we are in contrast to this Monster truck. I am 5’6″ and my husband is 6’3″ tall, yet we are dwarfed beside the wheels of this dump truck.

Can the driver see me down here?

Zoos. What do you think?

Do you think this orangutan is living a good life in the zoo?

We took our grandchildren to the zoo. The orangutans are a popular enclosure to visit because they are very active, swinging on the ropes and bars, climbing the nets, playing with some toys and, as you can see from the above photo, draping themselves with blankets. I like visiting a zoo for the educational factor. The children are able to see animals that they would otherwise only see on tv, or in books. (I do enjoy seeing birds from around the world and the snakes and other animals too.) We have the children’s’ attention and are able to discuss endangered animals and how man has taken over their natural habitat. This being said, part of me  still feels uncomfortable with these caged animals. Is this fair? Is this cruel? They are fed and clean but they are animals, they are snakes and birds and not people.  I know in my heart I think these animals should be free.

What do you think?

Is there value in zoos?

What is the value of a zoo?

Winter is for Ice Fishing

It has been a strangely warm winter here in southern Canada, many doubted if the lake would freeze enough for fishing, but the bay is finally frozen indeed. It was time for us to take another walk on the ice. Today we wanted to check out the fish huts.

The access to the lake is easy, just walk down the boat launch.

There was a lot of action on the lake, it was as if we all had to make up for lost time. Everyone was enjoying the day in their own way.

Trucks and snowmobiles flew across the ice.

Some were cross-country skiing with their very large dogs

I live on Lake Simcoe, which claims the title of “Ice-fishing Capital of Canada” some say “of the world”. I approached a hut.

Is anyone home?... I knocked on the door... no answer. I tried the door... it opened.

I opened the trap door to look into the fishing hole. There is a small stove for warmth, Sitting in the small hut patiently fishing can get pretty cold.

"what are you doing trespassing?" my husband asks.

I knocked on another door and these fisherpeople (politically correct) invited me in to watch as they fished. I waited a while but, no fish were biting. There are smart fish in Lake Simcoe.

Some people were enjoying the day by Ice-sailing. They have a parachute that takes them zooming on skis across the ice

It looks like so much fun... I think I want to try this out one day.

We walked back to shore. You can see how far out the huts are..

additional info added Feb 28:

The thickness of ice is always a concern. Every year, we lose vehicles and sadly some lives are lost as well because the ice is not always safe. The  DNR (Department of Natural Resources) measures the depth of the ice on a regular basis. There are regulations for the fish huts too. Each hut on the ice is numbered and must be removed by a certain date each year.

There is a thickness recommended for various activities:

*Less than 4 inches* � STAY OFF! There is no reason to test the newly formed ice at this time.

*4-6 Inches* � Ice fishing, foot travel in single-file lines, and small spaced seating on the ice should be safe, presuming the ice is clear and clean.

*6-10 Inches* � Snowmobiles and ATV�s can travel safely on good ice that is over inches thick.

*10-16 Inches* � Small cars and pick-ups can begin to venture on to the ice. However, the DNR states that it is best to avoid driving on the ice whenever possible.

*16+ Inches* � A medium-sized car or mid-size pickup can drive on good clear solid ice.

I hope you enjoyed a tour of Lake Simcoe in winter.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulge

I don’t usually indulge in food, not often anyway. The challenge came in and I wondered what do I indulge in? I have to say I do indulge in a trip now and then. Last summer, I indulged on an Alaskan Cruise. I went with my two sisters and two of my nieces. We sailed on a rather small cruise ship, the Volendam, with Holland America.

The Volendam

I have posted about parts of the cruise previously, including the rock climbing. The dinner after the rock climbing event was a formal dinner. I shared a room with Jennifer, the youngest in the family. As we dressed in our finery, we indulged in a glass of wine…

Just one glass.... honest.

With great fanfare, the waiters, complete with bakers hats, marched into the room waiving the napkins in the air. They swooped in and ceremoniously laid a napkin on every lap.

Napkin Parade

My sister Louise received her napkin with great fanfare.

We have a lot of fun with our server, He made us laugh and helped make the evening a lot of fun

The delicious meal ended with desert, a Baked Alaska. Another grand parade.

Ceremonial paraie through the dining hall with dessert.

The week long trip was a week of indulging. everything from wonderful food to massages and manicures as well as an opportunity to see part of the world that is magnificently beautiful with its glaciers and ice.