Archive for July, 2012

On The Lake

I have spent a couple of wonderful mornings bird watching down at the lake with my neighbour Julia. It was great to walk around the whole lake and see a different perspective from each side.  This morning  we went down again, and this time one of our wishes was granted.  There in one of the little channels was something that would give us a whole different perspective.

Brother Tom may call it Snail Pace Contracting but he always comes through.   All it takes is a mention of how nice it would be to canoe on the lake, and ta da! there it is, just waiting for us.

I wasn’t sure what Emma would think about this, but we didn’t have to ask her twice to jump in.  At first she looked at me as if to say “this is a different kind of walk”.

I don’t have much experience with canoes so Julia took the lead, and we headed back down the channel towards the lake.

Once out into the lake we were able to get a lot closer to the loons.  They were still there, three adults, but we didn’t see any young ones until later.

The canoe allowed us to float alongside the reeds and get a close look at the nests the birds had built.  There were so many of them, and it was quite amazing how they had secured them to the reeds.  Very intricate and yet very strong.

The lily pads were a lot larger than I thought.  They are easily a foot across and very thick in places.

There were buds about to open too.  Strange looking things they are…I will have to go back and try to get a picture of one completely open.

It was a bit cloudy this morning, and the sun peaking through the clouds, and reflecting off the lake was stunning.

It was so calm and peaceful, the canoe gliding silently through the water.  Emma was so good, she just sat quietly in the middle space between Julia and me.

Another great start to a beautiful day.

PS.  Happy Birthday to my big Sister…off on her own adventure.  Check it out….


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Recycle and Reuse

A few minutes ago I was sitting on my deck enjoying a cool Peach Cider and keeping an eye on the sheep as they grazed in the field.  As I looked around I was struck by the number of things that were on their second or more round of usefulness.

When Emma was a puppy she used to spend a lot of time in the back yard.  It got very hot in the summer and so I bought a little kiddie pool and would fill it with water for her.  She mainly used it as a large drinking bowl.  I packed it up here in the moving van and it has been sitting under the deck ever since.  The other day the sheep were knocking it around and so I pulled it out into the yard.  Later that evening we had a downpour of rain.  Within two hours there were two inches of water in the pool.  Emma still isn’t interested in cooling her feet in it but guess who is?


Dear Olivia…who used to wear a green collar when she was younger.  She outgrew it and it has been sitting in the porch, until today.  I am always looking for the sheep and wondering where they are so I put a little bell on the green collar and Callie wears it proudly.  I can always tell where they are now.

Olivia and the sheep sleep on a bed of shavings and being the animals that they are, they have no problem with using their bed as their bathroom too. Every so often, I empty out all the shavings and replace them with fresh ones.  The enhanced shavings are going on the garden as mulch.  The worms will love that!


I mentioned that I was sitting on the deck watching the sheep…well I just looked up to make sure they were all there, and yes, there they were, all four of them.  Wait a minute!  Four???? I only have three sheep!  That is no sheep, that is a coyote!  In the same field with the sheep.  I jumped up and as soon as it saw me it took off running.  So did I!  Straight to the gate calling the sheep all the while,  They looked up, saw me, and like the good little sheep they are, they immediately came running as fast as their little legs could carry them.  Callie jingling all the way…hope the coyotes don’t think that is a dinner bell!

The coyote ran out of the field, but didn’t go too far.  It stopped in the hay-field  and there it paced for quite a while.


The sheep are safe in the yard now and I am going to have to be very vigilant in the days ahead.  Those coyotes are getting too brave!


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Biancotto Birding

Last night my phone rang.  It was my neighbour, Julia, with an invite to go birding this morning at Biancotto Lake.  I set my alarm for 4:30 and was awake this morning before it went off.  There was just enough time to make and drink one cup of coffee before Julia arrived.

We headed off across Tom’s field and down towards the lake.  The sun was just peaking over the mountain.


It rained quite heavily yesterday and before long our boots and pants were soaked.  The lake was beautiful in the early morning mist.


Our first sighting on the lake.  I should have been writing as Julia was identifying.  I was too busy switching from binoculars to camera.


It was a good morning for loons though.  We heard and then spotted one at first. The water was so still it created a mirror image of the shore and hillside.

It was eventually joined by a young loon, and then two more adults.

Along the trail there was more evidence of the bird population.  What do you think?  Maybe Canada Geese?

Once we reached the west side of the lake the sun was shining directly in our faces.  It made viewing a little more challenging, but it lit up the spider webs in the trees.


Walking along the south side of the lake I looked up into the sky and there perched on the very top of a dead tree was something special.


We spent a fair bit of time checking Julia’s  bird book and the final conclusion was that it was a Merlin.  It was very cooperative, just sat there watching us while we compared it to the information in the book.

We were now on the last leg of the loop around the lake.  We saw American Coots, Marsh Wrens, Sapsuckers, Robins, many LBBs (little brown birds) and a few BDDs (brown diving ducks).

On a log in the lake were three turtles sunning themselves.  Maybe relatives of Tom’s visitor.  Then out of the reeds came the Canada Geese.  At first there were two adults, and six young.  Swimming along in a row.  They were soon joined by another family.

They swam around for a while and then some of them hopped up on this log to pose for me.


Emma quietly trotted along with us, waiting patiently while we stopped to search and watch.  After close to three hours she just sat and stared down the path…I think she was thinking about breakfast.


I was ready for breakfast too.  My neck was getting sore from looking up, up, up into the trees.  We made our way back home with soaked boots and pants. What a wonderful way to start the day!

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Security Alert!

Yesterday my niece and her husband stopped by to check on Style and Onyx.  They brought fly spray and hoof paste.  I think that’s what it was it was called.  It’s like nail polish for horses.  Strengthens and protects their hooves.  Chris walked up the hill to find the horses and it was a beautiful sight to see him bringing them back to the house.

Someday that might be me…riding Style. Someday!

I took Odin and Emma for a walk this morning, it was cloudy and a wonderful change from the heat we have this past week.  The heat has brought out the daisies though.  There are fields of them!

Late this afternoon I went to let the animals out into the big field for a while.  When I went out I heard Odin barking.  It was his “There is something there that shouldn’t be” bark and I looked all around to see if there was a coyote or some other invader nearby.  I couldn’t see anything, but I trust Odin’s sense of security and decided to leave the animals in the yard.

As soon as I got back in the house my phone rang.  It was Tom giving me a heads up that there was indeed an invader heading my way.  A dinner-plate size turtle!  I put on my boots, grabbed my camera and headed across the field to check it out.

Somewhere hidden in the grass and daisies of Tom’s yard was the turtle.

It took a little encouragement from Tom, but eventually the turtle left his hiding spot and ventured out into the grass.

I kept him in the clover while Tom found a big bucket to transport him in.

We convinced him to climb into the bucket, the bucket was placed into the big bucket of John Deere, and Tom, John Deere and the turtle headed off to the pond.  Emma and I followed on foot.

At the pond the turtle did not need to be asked twice to head for the water.

He swam underwater right away.  We watched him (I’m assuming it was a him) for a while.  Every now and then he would surface.

Seeing us, still standing on the bank, under he would go again.  Tom has lived here for seven or eight years and this is the first time he has seen a turtle.

On our way back to the house Emma and I walked through a patch of clover. It was so beautiful and the smell was amazing.

I can post pictures, and even videos, but I wish I could post the scent of this clover field…better than any perfume you could buy.

When we arrived back at the house, I was happy to let the sheep out into the big field.  It is a good feeling to know I can trust on Odin’s alertness to notify us whenever there is something on the farm that doesn’t belong there.



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A Garden Update

Yesterday I did my first canning of the summer. Six jars of pickled beets.

I wish I could say that I went out to my gardenand pulled the beets myself.  Alas, not this year.  These beets were a gift from Brother Dan’s garden.  And what a garden too…he is already giving away the excess produce and I have yet to eat anything out of my garden.  I still have hopes though…

I do have tomatoes coming…whether or not they will ripen remains to be seen.

My raspberries have lots of foliage and even a few blooms and little green berries.

The potatoes are looking very nice, I’m pretty sure I will be eating them.

My peas are growing well too.

Every year Dan and I have a friendly competition growing our peas.  I used to win when I lived in Chilliwack.  Now he is eating peas and sharing them with me and you can see what stage mine are at.  And…it seems we have another contestant in the pea competition.

This picture was sent by my niece Sara…her first attempt and grown from seed too.  Look out Dan!!

I have kale and shallots.

And carrots too.

There are even a few strawberries every day!

It doesn’t take much to make a green thumb happy!  A few plants growing, a flower or two blooming.

I am happy with my garden this year.  I have things to water, weed and watch grow. (and maybe watch die if we get too early a frost).  My fingers are crossed though and I will wait and see what I end up with.  In the mean time, I will keep a close eye on Dan’s garden and welcome any excess produce he may have.

It has been very hot here these past few days, and the early morning hours are very welcome and enjoyed by all.  Olivia found a patch of daisies.

It didn’t take long for the sheep to notice and they joined her.  They starting eating the flowers and I quickly shooed them away. I want to keep all the flowers I can!!

Onyx and Style were enjoying the early morning sun before it became too hot.

Another beautiful day here at Morris Brook Farm!

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A Sunday Drive

I have always enjoyed Sunday drives.  When I was young we used to go for Sunday drives, sometimes with a specific destination in mind, and other times just for the pleasure of the drive.  Once I was old enough to drive myself I continued those leisurely drives, usually with music playing in the background.  It was very relaxing.

Today I went on another Sunday drive.  This time it was with two of my three brothers, Dan and Tom (we missed you Bill),  and we were not riding together in a vehicle, but separately on quads.  I have used my quad often since I bought it, but mostly for functional purposes.  Hauling hay and grass, packing boxes and furniture from my storage van, cleaning out the animals pen.  Today I used it for pure fun.

We headed up one of the back roads, Tom in the lead, Dan behind him, and me…keeping up the rear.  Dan offered to go last but when he mentioned that he didn’t have any brakes I thought…no, I think I’ll go last.

Off we went, complete trust in Tom as our leader. He said he was taking us to a spot with a great view of the lake.  He was right!

After a brief rest, some iced tea and a snack, we headed back up the trail.  Dan had mentioned seeing the remains of an old cabin on the way and we went in search of it.

There wasn’t much left of it, three half walls, a window sill, and questions.  Who had built it?  When? Why here?  Where did they get their water?

A little further on and we came to an old fence.  Still standing, but beginning to crumble too.

Decision time…do we go left and see what’s up that trail or continue on the one we were on.  Time for a committee meeting.

We go left and find out that the trail dead ends at a gate.  Everyone turns around and heads back down the trail.

I have a hard time staying on the trail, I’m so busy looking around. The sides of the roads are lined with flowers…daisies and lupins.

And the biggest wild rose-bush I have ever seen.

The drive took us beside a beautiful lake.

And a short walk took us to  a magnificent waterfall.

Riding the quads in the open air allowed us to enjoy not only the views but the scents that go along with them.  The pungent scent of pine trees, the dank odor of the swamps, the sweet scent of the wild roses and the green grass.  Two and a half hours later we arrived back at Morris Brook Farm.  This was one of my most memorable Sunday drives, made all the more special by sharing it with my brothers.

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