Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cyril the crow

injured crow

Dad found an injured crow in the back yard yesterday evening, picked him up, and placed him in our old bird feeder cage. It was a very blustery night, I could hear the roof and walls creaking and heaving with each gust, and I was glad we were able to give him shelter. The crow was quite calm the whole time, did not peck or hiss. He felt warmer than I thought he would, and his feathers were firm and soft. Yes, I totally want a pet crow now.

He made it through the night and I brought him to the Eastern Shore Veterinary Hospital in Porters Lake today. They are one of the animal hospitals that provide wildlife care for the Hope for Wildlife Society (an animal rehabilitation centre in Seaforth). Hopefully they were able to treat Cyril (that is what Dad is apparently calling him) and he can be rehabilitated. I will be able to call tomorrow to get an update.

I think it is interesting that the night there was a crow under our roof, I dreamed that my cat Willow came back after being gone for ten years. Do crows bring dreams?

Monday, November 24, 2008

I crochet it back

Perhaps my blog the other day was a little premature. It was poorly titled, at least, because I haven't really been blue this November (I chose the colour because of the reference). And second, I have actually been doing some creative things. Cooking and baking, for one, which I consider a creative activity because it is all about knowing your ingredients and I never stick to recipes. But as well as practicing my culinary skills, I taught myself to crochet. Why? For purely self-interested reasons - because I love Christmas ornaments, and I wanted to make them for myself.

snowflake in progress


The stitches are easy enough in crochet - the real challenge is in figuring out what the directions mean. It's a great activity for long winter evenings spent by the fire. The one downfall is that you can't read and crochet at the same time. Maybe it's time to bring back those pre-radio-era evenings when families read out loud while spending time in the sitting room. But not if that means I have to stop watching Lost.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Creative November blues

I have not been terribly inspired since the month started, especially as far as photography goes. I have been making plenty of messes in the kitchen - from cashew chicken curry, to cranberry scones, to apple pumpkin muffins, to rosehip jam, to leek soup - but artistically I am trying to soldier on through until the bug hits me again. Maybe it is some kind of ancient human behaviour, that we put aside art for the month of November in order to prepare our homes and larders for the long winter ahead.

Last night as I was ready to stumble (okay, jump; can I help it that in my mid-20's I still jump into bed? No. Fear of things that grab you by the ankles is timeless, just ask my father and his prankster boss) into bed, I decided to quickly take a picture of a messy little corner of my dresser. Was it inspiration hitting me, or merely a half-asleep delusion?

feather abstract

Who knows, but I am happy with the result - this abstract little feather photo. Past blog posts have focused on the inspiration I find (only somewhat oddly) in feathers. But more importantly, capturing this image reminded me that you can't force anything in November, unless you are forcing bulbs (which is a great way to cheer yourself up in the winter, hint hint - those cheap amaryllis and hyacinth bulbs at the grocery store are worth it).

Maybe I wish I was being more productive getting the garden ready for its winter sleep, painting trim in the garage, editing my semi-abandoned thesis, or sketching new garden plans and doing some watercolour painting. But November is for roosting - for gathering around you all the warm and comfortable things that will help you make it through the winter - and if that means creativity is put on the back burner for a while, you can't think of that as a negative thing. And if you are lucky, while you are off doing other things, inspiration will find you, if just for a moment.

chilling hyacinth

Hyacinth bulb waiting in the dark of the coldroom until it is time to come out

Friday, November 14, 2008


gold allee

Taken at the K.C. Irving Botanical Gardens, Wolfville, N.S. 30 Oct. 2008.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Poxy Foxy

baby arctic fox

Foxes are great. They're one of my favourite animals. And you can't really blame one if he accidentally comes down with rabies and just happens to bite a human, can you? It's what rabid foxes do. Nevertheless, it isn't the fox in this story that deserves all the attention - it's the female jogger who "ran a mile with the animal's jaws clamped on her arm and then drove herself to a hospital."

It bit her foot, and when she went to pry it off, it bit her arm. So she continued jogging back to her car, threw it in the trunk (so it could be tested for rabies, naturally), and drove to a hospital. That woman is badass and street/nature smart. Awesome.

The fox at the top of this post is of course not the fox in question, but rather a totally adorable and absolutely menacing baby fox that was at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park last summer. For illustration's sake.

**Update: I found this story on a couple blogs, and it looks like it is getting picked up now by the news organizations as well. The BBC version is here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Rosy autumn

The foliage of the wild roses has been positively glowing lately. I'm not terribly sympathetic to roses in gardens - they always seem to be so much effort, and I never seem to like the shape of their growth habit. They seem a little too fussy, a little too demure. When I first smelled a rose as a child, I was nonplussed - all it smelled like was soap (I only realized much later that some soap smells like roses). I don't mind the idea of roses, but whenever they appear in fairy tales, it often leads to other flowers getting shorter shrift (note: that's how I fell in love with poppies. I read The Wild Swans fairytale, and I loved that the poisoned frogs turned into poppies, not roses).


I do love wild roses, and crazy cultivated roses that just want to run amok (like rugosas). In fact, I rather like their exuberance. It's like their economic use of petals allows them to direct their attentions to their roots and suckers and, most importantly, their fall foliage and rose hips. I loooove rose hips, so much more than the flowers that precede them. I am desperate to make rosehip jelly, and I don't even know what it tastes like.

If you read my blog regularly, you know where this is going: Pictures!

Wild rose foliage actually makes it to frost, and as a result, you get this lovely autumn rainbow of foliage colour, all on the one plant.

wild rose foliage

And the rosehips look so delectable, I completely understand why birds and rodents like them. Unfortunately, we humans have to prepare them in order to really enjoy them.

wild rosehips