Monday, June 19, 2017

Bugs, Birds, and Tadpoles

One of our favourite spring activities has been to explore a local pond. We found some salamander larvae and have been checking back periodically to check on their progress.



Salamander larvae are much more developed than tadpoles when they hatch. They are already good swimmers and hunt for their food, as they are carnivores right away (unlike tadpoles, who are herbivores until they become adults).



 We brought home a few tadpoles from a friend's man-made pond, to watch their development. The tadpoles are so tiny when they hatch and look so embryonic still (is that a word?).

 
Within a few short weeks that have grown huge and their little hind legs are starting to bud out. So exciting!
 We ordered out caterpillar kit again this year. It's amazing to see how fast those Painted Lady caterpillars grow!

 I thinks chrysalides are so beautiful. Look how golden this one is!
The butterflies emerged just a few days ago and we released them yesterday. Look how bronze they are by their bodies.
 We made a little pond in our garden this spring and have been enjoying this new addition. They are tadpoles swimming around in it and it is relaxing to sit on the bench and watch them swim.
 And finally, we've got 6 Wheaton Ameraucana eggs in the incubator. We lost one because of a terrible windstorm that resulted in a 6 hour power outage, but the other 6 are gowing strong and set to hatch in one week.
 Spring is such an exciting time!





Saturday, April 15, 2017

Missing in Action

Well! I've been away from this space for awhile. This time of year, I am filled with a wild energy, as signs of spring emerge and the days stay light for so long. Gardening is on the brain 24/7 and I am pulled outdoors for hours and hours a day. However, we've had a freak snow fall this weekend, so I don't mind staying inside for bit to catch up here.
 




 
 We hatched out some Lavender Orpington chicks about 3 weeks ago. These fluffy babies are adorable and the kids are in love. This is the first time that Cedar has been old enough to hold them on her own. Last time we hatched chicks inside, she was just a baby and would have eaten them if she could! But oh my, she is so good with those chicks! Especially with her favourite one, Lavender Lilac. They snuggle together for hours and the other chicks try to hop up on her lap for snuggles too. She's got such a calm demeanor around those babies.





Bees!We have bees on the mind this spring. We cleaned out our mason bee house and found over 30 new cocoons and leaf cutter bee cocoons! This has inspired hours of research and learning, and the building of pollinator hotel. The kids and I spent many hours together gathering materials for the hotel and setting it up in our yard. A few days ago, we saw a little mason bee male flying around in our yard and he kept landing on me. He wasn't one of ours though- our cocoons are still intact. I'm excited to watch them at work this spring.


 Our kitties are still doing well! Dandelion has grown big and Boos mostly tolerates his presence. They spend most of their days outside, but when bad weather keeps them indoors, they love the kitty grass that Cedar planted for them.




 Finally, I built a greenhouse! It was the first big construction project that I have done all by myself and I am so proud of it! It is a wonderful retreat for me, a sauna when it is too cold and windy out in the yard. I've got no plants in it yet- I am killing off the grass before I make the garden beds- but I do enjoy just sitting in there. My plants inside are thriving and I am excited to get them outside. But it looks like with this snow that we are getting that it will be a long while before that happens! In the meantime, my garden plans get bigger and more elaborate...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Picture Highlights

January

January was mild with perfect packing snow for making snowmen and winter scavenger hunt excursions.

February


February is always an exciting month, when I begin to start my seeds indoors and the dogsled races. Cedar and Kesten both got to ride on the sleds and I think they are hooked!

March




Our unusually warm temperatures continued into March, melting the snow a month earlier than usual, prompting us to spend all of our free time outside. We ate outside just about everyday in March, and also enjoyed a trip to the Okanagan for Easter.

April





In April, I did some more experimenting with dyeing with woad, we built a little shady spot under the deck, the hummingbirds returned, and our mason bees hatched out and promptly got to work laying eggs.

May



 May is arguably my most favourite month. We went for a long paddle down the lake to see the pictographs for our anniversary, and our little girl celebrated her second birthday. The farmer's market re-opened and the garden was planted out.

June



In June, the weather turned wet and remained wet for the rest of the summer. But we still had nice days and enjoyed the re-opening of the Historic Park, Kesten's 4th birthday, and the return to hummingbird banding.

July






Oh July! The garden exploded with all the rain, but so too did the slugs and pests. We went for an amazing family holiday to Bella Coola, where we enjoyed rainy hikes, boat rides, and hot springs.  A new kayak meant that I got to spend more time out on the lake. And my dad renovated the playhouse, which saw many hours of fun all summer long. Canning and preserving was in full swing as the garden kept producing more and more.

August


August was full of camping trips, mountain bike races, gardening, and playing in the dirt. And I made my own salsa from all my homegrown ingredients.

September



In September, we had the long-awaited Mushroom Dyeing Workshop with Alissa Allen (mycopigments.com). The mushroom picking season was in full force and we also enjoyed the final event at the Historic Park for the season- Metis Days.

October

We went to Calgary for Thanksgiving and spent some time with family there. The rest of October, I was hunting for dye mushrooms in the forest! And then we capped it off with Halloween- I was a pirate, Cedar was a mermaid and Kesten was an aspen tree-octopus.

November



 November started out with some very warm weather, so I took advantage of that and went for a kayak on the lake. We adopted a little kitten, Dandelion, and I completed my long dreamed-of project, my mushroom dyed sweater. November wrapped up with a whirlwind weekend of Christmas activities, including the Santa Claus parade and the craft fair.

December




And December is finishing off the year quietly and beautifully. Here's hoping that next year will be just as good.

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