As of the afternoon of March 2nd, Peabody, the little black hen, is sitting on 12 large Red Sussex eggs. My friends dropped off the eggs and I numbered them with pencil and popped them into the coop. Peabody took that time to hop off the plastic eggs she had been incubating and go and get a drink and a bite to eat. I checked back soon afterwards and she was fluffed out on top of her dozen eggs, looking very pleased with herself.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Our annual Caledonia Classics dog sled races happened again over the past weekend. And we turned out to watch, as usual. There was a change in venue this year, as there is virtually no snow on the lake. Our unnervingly warm weather has melted and refrozen the snow until the lake is a big mess. So the races were held in the forest instead. It was a beautiful location, but it did make viewing the races more challenging (and the racers had to race in timed heats, not mass starts due to a narrow trail).
Look who sauntered up to my camera last week! Since then, I have got my camera set up better to attract lynx, so here's hoping we'll see more of these guys throughout March. (I also got this one running by and this little snowshoe hare, the favourite meal of the lynx).
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Well, it looks like Peabody, my little black hen, is intent on being a mother. She is huddled over a couple of plastic Easter eggs (one of them is only half an egg) with her feathers puffed out. I've decided to finally give her a chance. I'm going to try and get some fertilized eggs for her this week and see what happens. Last night I made a nice little nest box for her with some clean wood shavings and some straw, but as usual, she has taken the eggs out of the box and is sitting on them in her own chosen spot. My only other hen sticks close to her side, unwilling to hang out alone. At night, the two of them snuggle in tight together. For this reason, I won't be separating them during the incubation time. Fingers crossed that it all works out! I'll try to keep you posted.
And it looks like Boos is getting all broody too, sitting on the coop, that contains the chicken sitting on the eggs. It's all about the solidarity.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
So after sending my video to some experts in the province, they believe that the fourth deer in this video is likely a hybrid deer. They are not very common at all, which is pretty exciting that I got a video of one.
Hybrid deer occur when mule deer and whitetail deer ranges overlap. They are often the result of a whitetail buck mating with a mule deer doe (although it can go the other way), as mule deer and whitetail deer have different mating practices that make it easier for the pairing to work this way. Whitetail bucks are used to chasing their ladies around until they get tired, while mule deer usually just stand still for the deed (well, let's just get this over with). So when a whitetail buck encounters a mule deer doe during the rutting season, he can't believe his luck and thus little hybrids are made. Mule deer bucks, on the other hand, are often saddened and confused when whitetail does run away from them, causing them to spend long hours in front of the mirror contemplating what part of them gave such offence. So it is much less rare that baby Hybrid deer are born to whitetail mothers.
As it turns out, it is a good thing that mule deer mother these special little fawns. Hybrid fawns are not too hardy, with only about 50% of them surviving past their first 6 months. Mule deer does are typically larger and more defensive of their babies than whitetails, giving those poor little hybrids a better chance at survival.
One of the reasons that Hybrid deer have such a poor survival rate is that they become confused when approached by a predator. A whitetail's response would be to run away and a mule deer would "stott," bouncing on all four feet at once, bounding over boulders and barriers (I'm pretty sure they make a "boing, boing, boing" sound as they go). The hybrid doesn't seem to do either, but pretty much runs around in circles. Hence, another reason why it is rare.
Hybrid deer males are sterile, but the females can mate with either whitetails or mule deer. The hybrid deer look a lot like the fourth deer in my video above: Dark long tails like whitetails, a white rump like a mule deer, and mule deer ears (maybe a bit smaller). For more information on identifying them, check out this informative article: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2012_heffelfinger_j001.pdf
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I just don't know what to think! It's been hot and thawing for a few weeks now and it doesn't look like it is going to let up anytime soon. I love winter, but I also love spring. I'm torn. Oh well, can't control the weather, might as well embrace it. I am enjoying this sunshine. It has been a cloudier than usual winter and this sunshine just hits the spot.
This little girl turned 9 months old just over a week ago. My husband says in three more months she won't be a baby anymore. Sniffle. That's not true! She'll always be my baby.
And Cedar has been inseparable from her balloon since we first gave it to her. It follows her around at meal times, and play times, and snuggle times.
first video of a lynx passing by my game camera! Lynx season is just starting up, so I'm hoping to capture more videos before March is done!
And here is another marten, just passing by!
Sunday, February 15, 2015
This is a fun little pattern that I envisioned one night and had fun bringing to life. I bought some fun fat quarters to sew these up (you only need less that half for each colour) and tried as best as I could to write up a pattern for them. I've never written a sewing pattern before, so please ask if you have any questions about what I've written. I'm providing you with the link to download the pattern and instructions (If you try to print the pattern off the blog, the sizes will likely be wrong). Enjoy!
Moose Pattern and Instructions: Printable version.
Moose Pattern Instructions
What you need:
1 main colour fabric (MC)
1 contrasting colour fabric (CC)
needle and thread
4 matching buttons
stuffing of your choice
1.Trace all the pattern pieces onto the fabrics, as written on each pattern piece. Add a 1/4” seam allowance and cut out. Using a fabric marker or chalk, mark the locations of the ear and antler placements on the head of the moose, and the leg placements and tail placement on the body. Mark the button locations on the legs.
2. Body: With right sides facing, sew along the moose's body, leaving a 1” gap at the bottom along the belly. With scissors, cut small cuts to the seam along any curves or corners (see photo*), so that the seam lies smooth when flipped right side out. Flip right side out, stuff with stuffing and hand sew closed using an invisible stitch.
3. Legs: With right sides facing, sew along lines of each leg, leaving a 1” gap along the side at the top. With scissors, cut small cuts to the seam along any curves or corners (see photo*), so that the seam lies smooth when flipped right side out. Flip right side out, stuff with stuffing, and hand sew closed using an invisible stitch. Repeat for other 3 legs. Position the front two legs in place on the body of the moose. Pull a thread through one leg, into the body of the moose and out through the other leg. Place a button on this leg and sew back through the leg, body, and out through the first leg, placing a button on this leg. Continue sewing back and forth through the buttonholes until the joints seem to be strong. Bring the needle through one leg and knot behind the leg (between the leg and the body) where the knot wont show. Repeat with the hind legs.
4. Ears: Match a main colour piece and a contrast colour piece with right sides facing. Sew together, leaving the bottom un-sewn. With scissors, cut small cuts to the seam along any curves or corners (see photo*), so that the seam lies smooth when flipped right side out. Flip right side out, and tuck the 1/4” bottom up inside the ear. Press flat. Repeat with other ear. Fold each ear in half lengthwise and hand sew onto the location on each side of the moose's head.
5. Antlers: With right sides facing, match up the antlers and sew along the lines, leaving the bottom of the centre un-sewn. With scissors, cut small cuts to the seam along any curves or corners (see photo*), so that the seam lies smooth when flipped right side out. Flip right side out, stuff with stuffing and hand sew the gap closed. Place the antlers in position on the moose's head and hand sew into place.
6. Tail: With right sides facing, match up the tail pieces and sew along the lines, leaving the bottom un-sewn. With scissors, cut small cuts to the seam along any curves or corners (see photo*), so that the seam lies smooth when flipped right side out. Flip right side out, tuck the 1/4” at the bottom up into the tail, press flat, and sew with the contrast colour facing down into place on the body of the moose.
Be sure to add a 1/4" seam allowance to all pattern pieces!
*These pictures below show how to trim up to the seam in order to have the seam sit flat when flipped right side out.
* Trim any fabric on corners as well, like below.
Here is a good tutorial on how to sew an invisible seam.
Thanks! Happy sewing!
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
As much as I love winter, it can be a little hard on my little ones. The snow is too deep to be able to walk through, some days can be a little too cold to play outside, and all those layers do make it hard to move around. But we've had lots of fun so far, both inside and out, and I have to admit that I am a little bit sad that there is only a month and a half of real winter left!
Now, on to the fun! Cuddles and snuggles, kitties and blankets can warm up a day!
Were they co-operating in this picture??? Maybe. Cedar likes to touch the snow too, and then she tries to eat it. So does Kesten...
We built a snowman one day when it warmed up and the snow was just perfect for packing. (Our snowman is now buried past the waist in new snow).
I've had to dig the chickens out from all of our snow and we've had even more since this picture was taken.