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...

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