First Snow 2014

I’ve been noticing that the deer have their winter coats on.

Just in time for snow to fall.

Frank and Zappa were not too sure about the whole thing.

The first few snows seem to come as a surprise every year. Eventually they give in and accept it, but for now they are not impressed.

Snowy days often seem to bring out the birds. Mostly we see chickadees this time of year. I am very fond of them, for the fact that they don’t abandon us in the winter.

I was surprised and pleased to see this guy as well.

This fella first made an appearance late summer/early fall. It was another Friday when I was working at home. I was on the phone listening to a meeting of some sort, and looking out the window.

We don’t see a huge variety of birds around here, so seeing something new is exciting. I couldn’t wait to get off the phone and a) figure out what type of bird this was, and b) get my camera. Unfortunately, he (she? no idea) was not very cooperative when it came to being photographed. I was, however, able to quickly identify it as a red breasted nuthatch. I would see it around off and on; not sure if there is more than one but I only ever see one at a time.

I had just put up feeders outside the patio door the previous Saturday, which give me an excellent view. I’m taking photos through double layered glass, but at least I can get nice and close.

Toward the end of the afternoon I ventured out to have a look around. This early in the year I can still think of snow as pretty.

Of course, this early in the year I also know that it likely won’t last…

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This Year’s Garden

Things have been in a pretty sad state this year, because half of our fence was laying on the ground. The deer see this as all-you-can-eat buffet. I didn’t really feel like doing much, aside from planting a bunch of containers.

Before heading back to work after vacation, I planted transferred all the pepper plants that Dad gave me into containers. I planted the rose bush cuttings too, but I guess I didn’t get it quite right because they didn’t survive. Hopefully there will be more cuttings that I can try with next year!

On Tuesday of our first week back to work, Cory decided to call the fencing company to find out how much longer we would have to wait (I have been a little cranky about this). They told him they would look up the contract and call him back…And a very short time later, they called back and said “We’ll be there tomorrow.”

Hands up if you think they forgot about us…

Anyway, by Friday afternoon Phase 1 of the new cat fence was installed. We still need to get the extra bits for cat proofing, but at least now the deer can’t eat my garden.

We’ve enclosed a slightly bigger area; that yellow bird feeder used to be outside the fence, as did that pine tree in the back corner.

The deck is now inside the fence, which was what I had wanted when we installed our first fence, and the gate is much easier to deal with.

Love being able to go out the patio door and into the yard without opening a gate!

Most of my containers were on the deck…

And a few down at the bottom, where I got away with having some last year…

But I moved a bunch once the fence was up. I have space to get in behind the garden beds that were along the fence before, which is also nice.

I still have a lot of garden clean up to do, obviously. I’ve been picking away at a little bit when I have time. My garlic needs to be dug up right now, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet – hopefully this weekend.

You can see the line in the grass where the old fence used to be. It will fill in before too long though, I am sure.

We told the fencing guys what we wanted, and they did a pretty good job of keeping the fence as close to the ground as possible. There is one corner where there is a pretty big gap though. It took the cats about a week to find it, but find it they did.

So for now we are still keeping them in at night, and I am living with the 3:30 – 4:00 am complaints, but at least the end is in sight.

I still miss my maple tree. I haven’t spent as much time sitting out in the yard this year – I’ve been finding that the evenings get chilly pretty quickly.

We have a chair in need of repair as well!

We’ve been enjoying fresh herbs. Tomatoes are looking good so far, and I have three cucumber plants that are looking productive as well. The Habanero plants look pretty good, the Jalapenos have not caught up yet, so not sure if they will. Still, things are not looking too bad considering the late start.

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June 28 & 29 – Family Time

It’s been a long, hard week at work – sometimes things just go that way, despite your best efforts – and I was not in a very good mood by the end of it all. That led to a restless evening, and I decided it was time to get back to these photos.

They made me smile, and I hope they will do the same for you!

…It’s family BBQ night!

Stef relaxes with some guitar practice

Hi Nathan!

Time to sit back and enjoy some entertainment

Piano Man! And very well done, too.

Sisters, cousins, mother, daughter...

...and more!

They thought they could hide...

But Mom had control of the camera, and she found them all!

Lazy Sunday morning after…

Chasing chickens...

They're positive the grass is greener on the outside...

Walking in the woods

And down the country road, where we found a friend

It was a wonderful visit! I hope we will do it again soon!

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June 27 – Luneburg

Quick post! I kept meaning to post Lunenburg pics, but have been busy with the whole vacationing thing! Some relaxing, doing some things around the house. It’s been busy. Over too fast, as vacations always are.

So we left Peggy’s Cove and drove along the south shore. Lots of cute little towns along the way. We made a very brief stop in Mahone Bay, to enjoy the view, and then it was straight on to Lunenburg.

It was hot and sunny by this point. Dad & Mom get to Lunenburg fairly often, so they were walking with purpose, and the rest of us were following along behind, stopping for photos when something caught our interest.

Hello lamp post! Whatcha knowing?

How does Rum Row sound for an address? Stef thinks it's alright!

Free tasting at Ironworks Distillery!

But first I get distracted by a butterfly.

Almost got hit by a car for this one. (Okay not really; merely annoyed Lunenburg drivers).

Cilantro: The Cooks Shop

Time for Happy Hour

Honestly, it felt like we rushed through Lunenburg a bit. But by this time, it was hot and we’d had a lot of sun; some of us were starting to wilt. I’d love to go back for a more leisurely ramble some time, but on this day I was quite happy to sit down and relax.

Refreshing beverage obtained - Garrison Nutbrown Ale (iPhone photo)

Dinner ordered! (iPhone photo)

Let the relaxing commence! (iPhone photo)

See how I look all wilted and worn out and my sister still looks awesome? I must be getting old or something.

Before we left, we did manage to find the Bluenose II tucked away at a dock; it is currently undergoing repairs.

And finally, souvenirs that came home with us…

Ah Lunenburg! We shall remember ye fondly.

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June 27 – Peggy’s Cove

What does an East Coast girl living on the West Coast do when she comes home for a visit? Soaking in some East Coast experiences is a good start!

Stephanie came home for a visit, and we decided to take a day and go to Peggy’s Cove. I knew I had been there before, but all I remembered about the experience was having a picnic on the rocks, making grilled cheese sandwiches on the camp stove (for some reason, food memories stick with me). I asked on the drive, and Mom and Dad couldn’t remember exactly when that trip happened, just that Stephanie was very young at the time. So this was like a first visit for Stef & I.

I was not disappointed. It is beautiful there – and definitely a good spot for a picnic!

Mom did find the pictures from the trip I remembered, and she said Stef looked to be around 4 years old, which means I would have been 15. From the pictures it looks like it was a fun trip the first time around too!

This time, after seeing the lighthouse and exploring the rocks for a bit, we ate lunch in the restaurant. It would have been fun to wander around a bit and visit some of the little shops, but since we wanted to drive along the south shore to Lunenburg, we decided to be on our way.

Posted in Nova Scotia, Summer 2014 | 3 Comments

Hummingbirds in May

That I am posting about in June…still trying to catch up!

I put the hummingbird feeders out somewhere around the middle of May, and it did not take long for them to show up. For a while there, we were seeing hummingbirds almost constantly. There were battles over the feeders, little hummers zooming this way and that.

It seemed like they suddenly disappeared. Not sure why,  but hopefully they will be back.

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Then There Was May…

April showers bring May flowers...

I have some catching up to do…Let’s start with the end of April.

April 26 - CACI Walk For Autism, Rockwood Park

On April 26, I volunteered along with a number of my coworkers, at a fundraising walk for the Community Autism Center here in Saint John. They provide support for individuals, and families of individuals with autism. I meant to write a post about it at the time, because it was good morning at a great event, but never quite  got to it.
I got up very early that morning – okay 6 am, which for me is painfully early – because of the cats. I let the cats out and decided I might as well stay up, otherwise I’d fall back to sleep and end up rushing around. So I relaxed with my coffee and book for a while, and then headed off to arrive at Rockwood Park for 9 am.
It was sunny, but it was really cold for the first couple of hours. The time went fast though. There were lots of people at the walk, having a great time. We were right beside a pretty little lake that I never did take photos of, since I spent most of the time facing the opposite direction while doing my official job, which was to take photos. [Side note - this park is 5 minutes from our house. Whey do we never go there?]
After the walk, I went home, then Cory and I headed out to do some errands. Then we went out to dinner with friends. By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty wiped out, and like I never completely warmed up from the first couple of hours at the park. Then I spent Sunday processing photos so I could hand them over to the event organizer.
I think I was still tired going into the following week, and then on the Friday I felt like I was coming down with a bad case of allergies – that was what I told myself – but I ended up being sick for the next week, so it sorta feels like the first part of May disappeared on me.
We’ve had a cold and rainy spring. We enjoyed our sunbeams whenever we found found them…



…And wondered if we’d ever get the garden planted? [Okay, I wondered.]
Cory wondered what those white things on the cherry tree were…
They were cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, that was pretty much it. The cherry tree is not looking good. Possibly this winter killed two of our trees, not just the one; we shall see.
The critters have been back to provide entertainment.
And lots of bird watching of course.
One Friday working from home, I saw a crow on the neighbor’s lawn, with a bunch of little black birds. I realized it must be a crow family? I’ve never seen that before.
Woodpeckers. sparrows, hummingbirds, we’ve only seen the finches a few times – seems to me they are usually around more than they have been.
And chickadees of course. I took these actually standing out on the front step, and this chickadee was not at all concerned.
We are still waiting to get our cat fence fixed – or rather to have a new one installed. I am a little frustrated (more than a little, really). It’s been hard do much in the garden because there has been so much rain, but we also don’t have any protection from the deer; I don’t want to plant things just so they can get eaten.
Also, I’d like to sleep through the night and not have the cats poking at me at 3 am…then 4 am…then 5 am…Sleep would be good.
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A Little More Spring

We’ve been getting some nice weather finally. Yay for above 0 temperatures! Inching into double digits even!

I’ve seen robins hopping around in the yard. A sure sign of spring, right?

Friday & Saturday were busy at the feeders again, I got some good shots of the woodpecker – actually, at one point I saw two, but by the time I grabbed my camera the second one was gone.

Saturday was a beautiful day. Frank spent quite a bit of time sunning himself on the deck. He decided he wanted me to hang out with him, so I enjoyed some sun as well. Then I decided to check out the yard; I haven’t been out there since the snow started falling in December.

It’s pretty wet out there, I was squelching around.

There are signs of life poking up in the garden…not that any of it is lasting very long I imagine. There are definite signs that the deer have been hanging out in our yard as well. Still, it was nice to see signs of life.

I could not get Zappa’s attention – the  birds are just way too interesting.

And, finally, the view of the devastation from the other side…

We have some work ahead of us.

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Maybe Spring?

Anna asked why I haven’t updated my blog lately; I said “Because I spend all my time playing stupid computer games.” So you can blame Cory.  :)

Really, though, there hasn’t been much going on except winter, winter, and more winter..We’ve  had lots of  rain, freezing rain, snow  with high winds, we’ve had a  blizzard, and cold weather. At the beginning of the season, the snow and ice can be pretty scenery; being stormed in can be an enjoyable change…At this point it’s just tedious.

Friday morning we woke up to birds. We haven’t seen many birds all winter – chickadees and crows, a woodpecker once or twice. Friday morning I saw cardinals, sparrows, juncos, and  the woodpecker was back for quite a while.

The cats were fascinated.

At one point, we saw a bird fly through the house. Quickly followed by Frank running up the stairs and into the kitchen. I was sitting in the living room working on my laptop, and Cory was home too for what was supposedly a day off. I asked him to go open the patio door, but by the time he got out there, Frank already had the bird in mouth. Cory chased Frank into the living room where he reluctantly dropped it, poor little chickadee.

Cory grabbed Frank, and I grabbed a pair of gloves. The bird was lying in it’s back, but the legs were moving now and then, so I gently picked it up and it immediately started fluttering in my hands. Cory opened the patio door for me, with Frank struggling all the while. I stepped out on the deck, and as soon as I opened my hands the chickadee flew away, so hopefully no harm done.

The birds must have made a mess at the feeders during the day though, because we had a pack of deer checking out the area Friday night.

Yesterday was supposed to be rainy/icy/snowy again, so I thought all the birds might disappear, but they were back.

And it’s a been a busy morning at the feeders again so far today. It seems like the birds have decided it’s spring. Let’s hope they are right!

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Chop Chop Week: Thursday

Tonight was a favourite spot – Britt’s Pub. It had been a nice day, chilly but clear, and I couldn’t help but admire the blue sky as we arrived.

Britt’s turned out to be my favourite meal so far this week – and that’s with me not even being particularly hungry (eating out every day will do that to me).

Beet and Goats Cheese Salad w/ Walnuts, Infused Olive Oil, Balsamic and Greens

I don’t generally like beets unless they are pickled, but this this was good. Britt’s actually made me enjoy beets. Who knew it was possible? I ate it all.

House Made Ravioli Stuffed with Sausage, Sage, Ricotta and Spinach. Served w/ Tomato Gravy, Parmigiano Reggiano and Fresh Italian Bread

The star of the show, the course I was most looking forward to and it was wonderful. I wanted to lick the sauce off the plate when I was done. Again, I ate it all (well, except the bread, the ravioli was plenty on its own). If this was on the regular menu, I would order it every time.

Deep Fried Ice Cream w/ Shaved Chocolate and Peanut Butter Whipped Cream

Ice cream is not my first choice for dessert, but this was beautiful stuff. I struggled mightily to eat it all. I came close…But eventually had to admit defeat.

I would be happy to call it quits here and eat salad for the rest of the week. Or possibly month. But it’s not over yet…

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