Saturday, January 31, 2009

The cat said...

head in the chair

..."wake me when winter's over."

She made the mistake of looking out the window and saw this:

snow craters

She's right, the landscape does look a bit like one of Saturn's moons right now:


But I'm still optimistic that spring is coming. The Goldfinches are putting on their summer colours, and the bluejays are looking brighter too.

image of Dione, credit NASA/JPL (download here)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Boreal Chickadee soap opera in the works?

Almost year ago I blogged about our first sighting of a Boreal Chickadee in our yard. We saw him periodically through the summer and then not at all in the autumn. About two weeks ago we saw the Boreal Chickadee for this first time this winter. Today as I was standing at the kitchen window I saw a little flash at the suet feeder, and saw not just one Boreal, but another one waiting for his or her time at the suet.

Boreal chickadee

I'm trying not to be too optimistic, but I thought I saw them inspecting a tree back in the woods that has a chickadee-sized birdhouse on it. The pair could be parent-child, siblings, or Just Friends, but I'm hoping that they are teaming up for slightly more procreational purposes (which I think is likely, since from what I can tell of our Boreal, he/she is solitary). This would be very cool, not just because I take an inappropriate amount of interest in the breeding activities of the birds in our yard, but because Boreal Chickadee populations have declined 73 per cent in the last 40 years.

I'm totally going to be the nosy neighbour watching family drama through the dining room window, binoculars in hand. You can rest assured I'll send all the Chickadee gossip your way...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mr. Bear 2 takes a break

Mr. Bear 2 takes a break

You can tell he's Mr. Bear 2 because he still has his eyes. Mr. Bear 2 was allowed to get some rest while my 2 1/2 year old nephew helped KoKo make "apple PIE??" upstairs.

Mr. Bear, meanwhile, was splayed out on the floor like a possum playing dead. He uses a number of coping methods to get by.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Eryngium lost and found

I was looking through pictures from last summer to include in my updated portfolio (it's sort of attempt #2 - I got into the Masters of Landscape Architecture program last year, but was unable to attend, so now I have to reapply). Last summer I was so stressed and distracted by my thesis, that it felt like a pretty creatively bleak time. Going through the pictures now, though, I am finding lots of really neat shots, plus many, many pictures of bees (I love me some pollinators).

Anyway. Here's a crop of a macro of an Eryngium from the front bed. I took this in September:

Eryngium macro

Thursday, January 15, 2009


halifax at night

I regret that I have been neglected this blog for the last few months. November was a creative dry spell, December I spent making presents, and January, well, this month my time is occupied by grad school applications and my thesis. Yes, that darn thesis. I have decided to finish it after all, so I have been immersing myself in 144 pages of not-yet-edited paving campaigns and tourism brochures, plus books about 1930s provincial politics and tourism across Canada. I'm finally determined to finish.

One of the few absolute positives about finishing this thesis is that I am forced to be in town more and therefore guaranteed to have more ferry trips. No matter whether the ferry is packed with people or practically empty, I always love a ferry ride, especially during the sailing off-season. I took the above picture from the ferry one night in November when the light and my shutter speed had a moment of cooperation. The sentence on the next photo is carved into one of the seats on the bottom deck. I often wonder what the person was going through when he or she wrote it. I imagine some desperate, lonely gambler making his way home from the Casino and am reminded once again why I don't like gambling (even when Georgette Heyer makes it a subject of irony and humour in the Regency Era).

Ferry Depression

Of course, that is an awfully depressing photo to leave off on, especially in a post that should essentially communicate my optimism. Between this post and my "Dartmouth Gothic" post the evidence is growing that Seasonal Affective Disorder may have set up camp in my brain - so in honour of the American robin that I saw on the lilac bush on Sunday, I'll end with warmer thoughts:

robin fluffing

I call this one "Robin Fluffing".

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Coconut snow

Marshmallow snowman

One of the things you learn about Nova Scotia very quickly is that it has very changeable weather, no matter what the time of year. In the winter, you might get an arctic blast followed by snow moving in from the west followed by a warm wind coming up from the southeast that turns everything to rain and slush and fog, while 20 kilometres away they have snowpellets and just over the hill from them it is sunny, all within eight hours. There might be 10 knots of wind in Halifax harbour and 54 knots of wind in Cheticamp. Some people don't like this changeability and randomness at all. Me, I eat it up. I love the unpredictable weather. My mother loves the opportunities for amateur meteorology. But I wouldn't complain if just one day, it snowed coconut. I like coconut too.

This snowman - all credit going to my friend Jana - is from the gingerbread house Mom and I made this year, which is a replica (in shape, at least) of the Pleasant Point lighthouse.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Pig Bums for Christmas

pig bums

I don't mean to be rude by forcing pig bums on you right away, but I want to share what I think is the absolute cutest angle of the gifts I made for my nephews this Christmas. I had an excessive amount of fun shaping these two pig butts (as well as the rest of the pigs) out of newspaper and masking tape, before covering them in paper mache.

The idea for my piggy bank gifts came from me and my very thin wallet, insruction from this online tutorial that I found, and the knowledge that every 2-to-4 year-old enjoys dropping money in piggy banks and then shaking it out on the floor - an operation that started within moments of my nephews opening their gifts.

And since you've forgiven the pig butts so far as to continue reading, here is the more conventional angle - the little piggy faces:

pig faces