Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A week with the nephew

Mom and I drove up to the valley two Sundays ago and brought home my three-year-old nephew to stay for a week. He attended Daily Vacation Bible School in the mornings, and then Mom (and sometimes myself) found something to entertain him with for the afternoon and evening, before hustling him off to bed in a timely fashion. He is an adorable kid, very bright, inquisitive, and affectionate, and given the somewhat-unfamiliar circumstances and the occasional bout of homesickness, behaved very well for a little boy!

Monday after DVBS, we took Kohl in town to buy him a life jacket and watch the Parade of Sail, as the Tall Ships left the harbour. After explaining to him what we were looking at, and why they had sails, and once the popcorn chicken in the travel mug was gone, he decided to roll down the hill at the Dartmouth Commons. Thinking it a little steep (I imagined a little boy hurtling down the steep grassy slope, looking like a skiier on one of those "Deadly Sports Disasters!" clip shows), we walked down the hill a little further to where it was a gentler slope.

I don't think Kohl has quite mastered the concept of hill rolling, yet; there was a lot of limb flailing and leaping half-somersaults, and not really any proper rolling. I didn't want to get stains on my good jeans, though, so I will have to wait for another opportunity to pass on my auntly hill-rolling wisdom.

Thursday, I took Kohl to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. I think the beavers were his favourite (probably because they were the most active). And although he found the word "Caribou" so troublingly bizarre that they required multiple viewings, I think he liked the wild sheep second-best.

Or, rather, he thought it pretty funny that it was peeing in front of him. I never begrudge little boys their potty humour, though, so naturally I took a picture.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

If you give a hare a cauliflower...

He's going to ask for broccoli.

I really am going to try to get into some more regular posting soon. I want to get some Tall Ships pictures, and some more garden pictures of the garden that aren't macros, and actually show plants in situ.

Also, I haven't said much about our bunny problem yet, although chasing rabbits is one of my new pastimes. They have already decimated one planting of cauliflower and broccoli, my new columbines, chewed all my Shirley poppies down to stubs, munched on the pink allium (leaving the ugly yellow ones alone, naturally), chewed our Explorer rose to twigs and defoliated the climbing rose, bitten off my Spanish poppy blooms, the flower stalks on our heucheras, massacred one asiatic lily and the leaves along the lower foot of every other one, started on the portulaca as appetizers, munched off some immature yarrow blooms, the scarlet runner beans down to the ground, eaten half a green pepper plant, and that's just the beginning.

Cute little white head patch or not, I want them gone.

So we surrounded our lovely new raised bed garden with a rusty metal fence. Oh, it's charming. I feel bad, wishing such harm on an animal, but seriously. They are pests. Cuteness will only take them so far. I want to kick one.

Anyway, a plant they haven't gotten to: this anemone. It's my first year growing them, and I didn't know what to expect. The flowers have a definite poppy-like charm, and in this cloudy, foggy weather, are lasting quite a while. They're in the planter in front of the bay window. I love the way the afternoon light hits them.

White anemone

And of course, I forgot to mention, the peonies! My blight-prevention worked (so far), and they smell heavenly.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Fly By post

If I don't post tonight, it's going to be another few days, and my deadline guilt just won't allow this. Just call it a fly-by post.

Speaking of flying! There has been a lot of flying activity in our yard the last week or so. Hopefully you won't mind that the friendly pollinator in this first picture is a little blurry. It's very hard to get such busy insects to sit for their portraits. Although, in my defense, when I zoomed in on the original picture, his "fur" was quite fine and detailed - I think maybe this bee is just so soft and cuddly, he looks a little blurry.

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Next up? Butterflies. A herd of five or six descended on the garden by the basement windows for a week or so (there are still some around now that the allium is blooming). Once they got comfortable with me, I could get quite close. So close, we have a little butterfly mooning going on. Behold, the butterfly 'tocks!:

butterfly tocks

Here, this one is a little less insectobscene:
butterfly eyes

Yeah, that's a little freaky, too. Butterflies are lovely until you look them in the eye and remember, "oh right, this is an invertebrate animal, an arthropod of the class insecta, defined by Googlae Eyepodipous, Creepi Mouthitis, and plethora olimbs. I dare anyone with a butterfly tattoo to get something like that tattooed on their, erm (and that's not a typo, btw).

Okay, okay, I think this one is family-friendly and nightmare-free:


Much better.

Finally, a hummingbird, of sorts - a hummingbird moth! He has been hanging around the house for about two weeks now, and I really like his company when I'm in the vegetable garden pulling up chickweed. He lets me get really close, and I like to hold my hand underneath him as he hovers, and feel the cool breeze off his wings.

hummingbird moth

The common theme in all these pictures seems to be "chives," and as far as the onion family goes, I guess they aren't so bad. Certainly not so invasive as those annoying yellow alliums we have. They're really one of those workhorse plants in the garden. Hey, if the butterflies, moths, and bees like them, they're all right with me.

Up next: Mating moths! Not just little moths, either. Big 'uns! In the rain! It's a veritable Romantic Comedy Happy Ending, moth-style! Stay tuned.