Make Lots of Noise

This isn’t something I regularly find myself saying to my kids. But a couple of bears are hanging around the neighbourhood. Yesterday one came to our side of the mountain. Balto chased it off. Whenever the kids are heading outside now I say, “Make lots of noise! Sing, whistle, laugh.” Like I need to tell them to make lots of noise!

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Wolves

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The lake had been frozen over for about four days, so yesterday the kids and I did a little exploring along the shoreline. We walked along the ice and all my axe tests showed 6-8 inches of ice. Still, we stayed close enough to shore that we knew we could touch if we went through. Just before supper Zach spotted three wolves out on the ice! It was quite exciting to watch them.

The wind howled through the night and all that ice was broken up and mostly blown somewhere else by this morning.

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A Few Bits of Summer

I’m not even going to try to catch up on what I’ve missed of summer. Truly, the goats sabotaged my summer without even being here. :-) It was quite a production to get ready for them with terrain challenges, lack-of-skill-and-know-how challenges, and all the fullness of life without getting ready for goats. If Dad didn’t end up coming up to help I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have pulled it off. Even with his help, I found myself finishing the gates after supper the night before we were leaving to pick up the goats! Ah… the trip was extremely peaceful and I enjoyed the time with my husband, Gabe, a visit with Paisley and Rob, and finally – picking up my goats! Now that they are actually here they are easy. At least, so far.

Let’s back-track a little, though. This photo was taken on an outing with a neighbour to dig up sugar maples. See the bear scratchings on the old cabin? Looks like he’s claimed this as his own. Glad we didn’t see him.
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Chocolate Tube Slime

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Somewhere I have another photo of it “opened” but I couldn’t wait for Flickr to load my photos again to find it.

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Breakfast at the cabin on the first sunny morning.

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Heading out to catch some pickerel.

It was a cold, rainy trip to the cabin, but we got a couple of sunny days at the end.  We came home with trout, pickerel, and a few lobster mushrooms.  It was a good time.

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Katie and Gabe

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A nearby hike – this is taken from the US side. (You can hike in on the Canadian side or the US side.)

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The mini barn. I’d like to get some better shots that show a fuller view. On either front corner of the building you can just see the gates attached (bucks on left side, does on right side). Inside the “barn” the closed in part is the goat shelter (one opens on each side for the bucks and the does), and the rest is hay/straw/supplies storage and we’re sticking all sorts of implements in there that haven’t really had a proper home anywhere else yet.

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Here’s a view from the does’ side.

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The first breakfast at their new home.

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Walking the goats! The kids know to watch those bucks closely and keep them at leash length from the does if they start getting any ideas!

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Carpenter ants fastidiously emptying a large spruce of its contents. We need to make a plan to take the tree down before the ants (and a wind) do, as it will naturally fall either on the mini barn or the sauna.

 

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Katie – checking out the chickens in their new enclosure.

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Building gardens.

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Testing the depth and size of the apple tree hole.

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She calls it her “birthday skirt” but after this hike I think we’re calling it the “tick skirt”.

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At the falls.

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There have been a lot of pirates around here lately.

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By the cooking fire.

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There is never-ending brush to clear and burn. Everyone does their part.

 

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More Pottery

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The two mugs missing from the set are now complete. The set may grow, but for now it’s up-to-date. (Until I get my own glazes and kiln.) I missed a step on the plaque, unfortunately, and that is why the letters look a little melted.

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All six of the mugs have different patterns on the handle.

These are the last of my pieces from the last set of lessons I did.

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You can see how much more crisp the lettering was on the first batch.

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This was a fun project.

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A teeny casserole dish…. too small for much.

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Last Week

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Nature journaling.

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Heading to the river mouth.

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Birding.

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“Birding”.

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Puff balls.

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Do I really need to say it?

“Can she be one already?”

She was rather silly when I took her “one year old” shots.

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The birthday pair at one and six!

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Birds, Snow (Again), Sap, Greenhouse, Etc.

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Balto and Mystery (our only named chicken) sharing kitchen scraps. We’re not quite ready to leave Balto unsupervised with the chickens, but we’re close. I don’t think he thinks about eating them any longer.

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The warblers started to show up right after the big dump of snow. It seemed as though they knew spring was on the way.

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Those happy chickens got to enjoy about three snow free days. And now we are under another 15cm or more as of yesterday!

The variety of birds at the feeders right now is incredible! Juncos of all phases, all sorts of sparrows (Bird nerd though I was, I never got the sparrows down; I’m learning them now, thanks to Zach.), thrushes, and the exciting spot of the day – a rusty black bird that, under the conditions of food scarcity, is attacking and feasting on the other small birds! The waterfowl variety has been very interesting too. On the drive to town this morning Zach and Graeme saw a woodcock surrounded by smaller birds of all varieties. They said it looked as though the birds were holding a council.

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Rusty blackbird: a shifty looking fellow.

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Rusty blackbird enjoying a meal.

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A sampling of how many birds are congregating around any available food source.

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A LOT of dead bees. There is still a live cluster in the hive. We have yet to determine if the queen is alive. We need a warm day to look for her. Even if she is, the hive will be getting a very weak start.

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The birch sap is flowing.

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Zach at work in the greenhouse.

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These are some of his own personal bedding plants.

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House of Potters

Waking up to another blizzard yesterday, my list of outside to-dos got cancelled. The kids voted (not that it was put to a vote) for finishing the set-up of the pottery wheel. “The pottery wheel?” you ask. My husband has an every-seven-years or so birthday gift plan. Apparently I was due for one this year! He surprised me (big-time surprise) with a pottery wheel! He ordered it in time for my birthday, but his call week prevented him from picking it up. Finally, he got it and then the last blizzard prevented him from driving his car down our driveway (it’s a long driveway) for several more days. One evening – on my way to pottery lessons, in fact – I noticed a rather large box filling the back of his little car. The following day I asked him about it, and he said “it’s a box”. The driveway was still deep in slushy, snow, so he and Zach unpacked it at the car and carried the parts back to the house where I was let in on the mystery of the large box.

Well, we started setting it up the day before yesterday only to discover there were still some parts in the car! When Grae got home from work I was sure to get them, and yesterday we finished the set-up in the morning. After that the day was all about pottery! I did a couple of demonstrations followed by each boy having a lesson and a good chunk of time to play with clay on the wheel! If pottery wasn’t enough of a joy already, it’s even more fun now that I can share what I’ve been learning with my enthusiastic little potters! They all really loved it! Here are some shots of the whole affair. Danica was quite content to make a few little items by hand, thankfully. She’ll have to do a little more growing first!

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Snow. Snow. Snow.

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Monday morning – 6:30am. Shovelled enough to get truck turned around so Graeme could take it to work. Kids and I cancelled plans for the day and hunkered down at home. Electricity was out from about 7am to 12pm.

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I think we set up the trampoline a bit prematurely. By Friday (above) we were cleaning excessive weights of snow off of it for the fourth time in one week!

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Hmmmm…. will we make it out the driveway to the music festival?

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Yep. Because my dad is driving.

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No amount of pleading from the back seat could change his mind.

And do you know what? The festival was great. Now that we survived the trip – both ways – I can say it worked out for the best. The adjudicator was fantastic, and it was a nice conclusive ending to all the work (and struggles and issues) that was involved leading up to it. It will leave everyone with a better idea of whether or not they want to do it again next year.

Back at home we all had fun playing and exploring in the deep snow (which by now was measuring, on average, 28″ deep)!

There was going to be more to this post, but all the photos aren’t uploaded yet. So I’m going to bed.

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