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Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 4.15

Time for Friday's Hunt after a busy week, but I'm managing to actually do it on a Friday.  I missed visiting the other participants last week but will try to visit everybody this week and comment on the posts I missed last week. 

The prompts for this week are:  Starts with O, Purple, and City/Town.

Starts with O
Orange starts with O.  This week, the rabbits have been eating a pumpkin that I bought.  The outside of a pumpkin is a very bright orange, and the inside is also orange, but a lighter shade.  The sheep also like pumpkin, so I really bought the pumpkins for them, but the rabbits ate almost an entire pumpkin before I managed to find the time to chop up the second one for the sheep.

Here's how it started - some innocent nibbles on the outer orange pumpkin skin.  No, the decorative mouse wasn't responsible!

Pretty soon, we had this situation...

...after which there were just a few seeds left.  No more pumpkin needed for those bunnies!

A bonus orange item - here's a jar of the 3-citrus ginger zucchini marmalade I made for my Dad for his birthday.  It came out very well and he gave it the thumbs up on a taste test!

Purple
This one was a bit tricky for me - I don't have a lot of purple things to photograph.  I noticed that I do not have many spools of purple thread on my thread rack (at least not compared to other colours).

I have some fabric in my stash that includes purple tones - I haven't decided what this fabric will be yet, but I love the colours and patterns in it.

Here's a crochet project that is currently on hiatus while I work on some other items, but it has some touches of purple in it.

City/Town
I was born in a large city - Montreal, in the province of Quebec, Canada.  The population of Montreal is almost 1.75 million.  At about age 5, I moved to Scarborough, which used to be its own city, but now it is an administrative district of the city of Toronto, Ontario.  Toronto has about 2.8 million residents.  When I was about 10, we moved to Halifax, in the province of Nova Scotia.  It's a smaller city, at about 415,000 residents in the greater metropolitan area. 

It wasn't until my mid 20's that I moved to a smaller town - Truro, Nova Scotia, in order to attend the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.  Truro is a town of about 12,300 residents.  That was the smallest place I'd ever lived to that point in my life, which I thought I would really dislike, but I found something charming about being able to drive around and see fields full of cows and sheep.  As I've grown older, I have come to truly appreciate living in a more rural setting. 

I now live on the outskirts of a town of about 5,500 residents.  I love visiting a large city to take in the sights, enjoy the cuisine options and partake of the cultural life, but I am very content to live in a rural setting.  I listen to birds, not traffic and sirens.  I breathe clean air, not smog and exhaust from traffic jams.  I can enjoy the freedom to have sheep, goats, and chickens on my property.  I can see more stars on a clear night than most city dwellers ever see.  I hear the unmistakable haunting cry of the loon on the nearby lake, and the hoots of owls as the sun goes down.  I smell the tang of freshly cut hay on the air, or the fragrance of the pine and spruce trees surrounding my home.  I belong in this setting - going back to live in a city would make me feel cramped and stressed.  Here's a view from one of my recent walks around the streets where I live.  I think you can see it's not city life, but it's a great life for me.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 4.14

I've had a lovely visit from my parents this weekend and nearly forgot to blog Friday's Hunt.

Super quick - only 10 minutes to the deadline!

Starts with N
Totally lost on N and I only have a few minutes.  New starts with N.  Here is a new house I crocheted for our pet rats this week.  They seem to love it.  In a way, it is kind of like a nest.

Sky
I took a picture of a lovely sky earlier this week - the fall weather has been lovely and I enjoy the blue skies and the beautiful fall leaf colours.  In this shot you can just see some red maple leaves in the upper left. I like the little rainbow effect that happened as a result of taking the picture with the sun in it.  It's just an artifact of the camera - it wasn't in the sky.

Silhouette
I had trouble finding a good silhouette pictures, so I ended up doing a maple leaf silhouette in the evening sky last night. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 4.13

I am actually doing Friday's Hunt on a Friday again!  This is not because I'm not busy - I am crazy busy, but I am taking a brief break.  The prompts this week from Eden Hills are:  Starts with M, Cloth and Everyday Things.

Starts with M
One of our cats is Mitten.  He is a long-haired cat whom Marc adopted from the SPCA before I met him.  His name used to be Mitch, but I didn't think that suited him, and he became Mitten.  Marc always just calls him Kitty in any case!

Mitten is de-clawed.  I know that makes a lot of people upset, but considering the costs Marc incurred for the damage Mitten did prior to the de-clawing, I can understand why he did it.  A lot of curtains and furniture were damaged beyond repair, not to mention wood trim in the house needing to be repaired or entirely replaced.  A scratching post was of no use in stopping the behaviour.  I have to say, having an indoor cat who is de-clawed is very beneficial to the furniture!  I did try using the soft claw caps on Izzy for a while, but they would come off within a few days no matter how many times I glued them back on.  She would just work at them and chew them off.  It was pointless, and she caused a lot of damage, but nothing like Mitten did when Marc first owned him.  Mitten really is a beautiful cat and I am quite fond of him.

Cloth
I do some weaving, as some of you know already.  Weaving on a loom is a way of making cloth.  I recently did a piece of weaving that was testing the results of different weft yarns (side to side yarns) on the same warp yarn (back to front yarn).  The pale green is the warp.  The three sections of weaving are each done with a different weft.

This section was done with a chenille blend yarn.  It makes a lovely cloth that is very soft.

This section was done with a brightly coloured variegated yarn with some gold sparkle to it.  The pale green weft is more visible in this cloth.

This section was done with a novelty yarn that has a lot of texture.  It creates a completely different cloth from the other two samples.  You really don't see the warp in this one.

It is amazing how the same warp yarn can be used to create such different types of cloth.


Everyday Things
Before I talk about everyday things, I'm going to have a little rant about the word everyday.  As a person who writes for a living, and a person who loves language, I am very frustrated by the misuse of the word "everyday" as a substitute for the words "every day."
 
Everyday:  an adjective to describe things that are commonplace, mundane or ordinary
Examples: A hurricane is not an everyday occurrence.  Doing the laundry is an everyday activity.

Every day:  an adverbial phrase meaning each day
Examples:  I eat at least 5 vegetables every day. I am glad I do not have to do the laundry every day.

So, in one sentence:
Doing the laundry is an everyday activity, but I don't do laundry every day.

An easy way to tell whether you are using "everyday" properly is to try replacing "everyday" with "ordinary" and see if the sentence still makes sense.

Doing the laundry is an ordinary activity.  Makes sense.  Thus, use everyday.
I don't do laundry ordinary.  Makes no sense.  Thus, use every day.

There is a lovely wool and fibre shop not far from me that has a motto "Create beauty everyday."  I cringe every time I see that motto, which is included on her business cards and on a beautiful hooked rug on her website.  I know what she means...but it's an incorrect use of everyday.  She means "Create beauty every day."  The phrase "Create beauty ordinary" makes no sense.  I wish I could fix it!

Anyway, on to "everyday things" which as we all know means "ordinary things" and not things that we do every day...

Autumn is upon us, so leaves turning shades of red and yellow have become everyday things.  I love autumn colours, but I am not looking forward to winter.  Here are some everyday autumn sights from my yard.

Virginia creeper on the arbour.

Maple leaves turning colour

I love the not-so-everyday heart in this everyday leaf!

And here, just for fun, is some everyday laundry, which I don't do every day!


 




Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.12

I don't think I did very well with this week's prompts.  Just wasn't feeling too creative I suppose. Sometimes my brain doesn't want to translate the prompts into fun and exciting pictures!  Still, I gave it a shot, so here we go with:  Starts with L, Landscape, and Key.

Starts with L
Little starts with L.  We acquired two new chickens for the flock this week, and they are really little birds.  Although they are fully grown, they are about the size of a pigeon, maybe a bit smaller. They are two serama hens.  The serama breed of chicken is wildly popular in Malaysia, where they hold beauty contests for them on a regular basis.  The light coloured one is named Cream and the dark coloured one is named Jellybelly.  I decided to keep the names they came with.

Jellybelly is in the classic serama pose with the tail straight up and the wings tilted down.

Cream is very friendly and will even sit on my shoulder.  This gives you an idea of how little she is.

Landscape
I had to go to Nova Scotia today to do some clean-up at my property there, which is up for sale, but I'm moving the rest of my stuff out of it on Monday.  I intended to take a landscape picture there, but I forgot.  At home, it's trees everywhere!  So I decided to try miniature landscapes.  I took a mushroom landscape and a moss landscape.  These are landscapes from the squirrel's eye view!  See the bird feather?


Key
This is the wire gate on my goat and sheep enclosure.  The rebar is attached to the wire and it slips into 3 large hooks that are in the tree trunk - you can only see one of the hooks in this picture.  The "key" is the bungee cord, which keeps it firmly closed just in case some goat gets an idea about how to open it!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.11

I had my spinning guild meeting last night, so I didn't get around to doing Friday's Hunt yesterday. I do enjoy getting together with other hand spinners to chat about fibre and yarn and spinning.  We have a great tribe!

The prompts for Friday's Hunt with Eden Hills this week are:  Starts with K, stinky, and old.

Starts with K
Well, as anyone who reads this blog from time to time will know, I am a fibre fiend, and that means that among other things, I knit.  I wish I had more time for knitting, but recently I have completed a project that I really like.  I made a purple bouclé yarn vest with an alpaca/wool blend yarn.  I had a lot of the yarn in my stash and wanted the right project for it.  A bouclé yarn is one with little loops along its surface, which gives the finished project a highly textured surface.


One of my current projects (I always have a few on the go) is this cowl, knitted in locally-sourced and processed yarn that my parents brought from a holiday in England - the Yorkshire area to be precise.  The cowl is called Harmonia's Rings and you can find the pattern on Ravelry.


I like the beaded edge on the cowl, which you can see in the picture below.  I'm on the last skein of yarn, so nearly finished.


Stinky
We recently adopted a pair of young rats from one of Marc's colleagues.  Her cat was frightening them, so they were looking for a good home for them.  We love their cute little faces and their funny antics.  The brown rat is Violet and the grey and white one is Ivy.  People sometimes complain that rats are stinky.

I cleaned their cage this morning so it would not be stinky - rats are not very easy to litter train, so they pee around the cage, which can make it stinky if you don't clean it regularly.

Old
I recently unpacked some boxes in the basement that had some of my old toys in them.  One of the oldest is this stuffed hedgehog.  It was one of my first "teddy bears" and was made for me by my maternal grandparents.  Her name was Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, named after the character from the Beatrix Potter books, all of which I also adored!  She has been loved for many years and looks a bit squashed as a result, but she is a very special old toy.

I also found this marvellous finger-puppet mouse bride, which my mother made for me when I was very young.  She is also a very old toy, but also well-loved and often played with when I was a child. My mother is very creative and made me many little animal toys when I was young, many of which I still have.  It's lovely to re-discover them!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.10

Today is a chicken-themed Friday's Hunt, even though the prompts are not necessarily chicken-related.  I am really excited about my new little flock and can't help but share my news about them via the blog.

Today's prompts from Eden Hills are:  Starts with J, Car, and Outside.

Starts with J
I have decided that one of the red hens is named Juniper.  She is blind in one eye.  I don't know how that happened - she came to me that way.  It does not slow her down and she is a lovely hen who doesn't seem to mind sitting on my lap for a while for cuddles.

The hen on the right is Juniper.  The little bantam on the left is Sienna.

Car
So, how to incorporate "car" into a chicken themed picture?!  Well, since the chickens arrived on September 4 (Monday), we have had 10 eggs.  That's 10 eggs in 6 days, which is not bad, especially since the silkies are not yet laying.  How does this relate to car?  I lined up all the eggs on the edge of the sun roof on my car!  My car is a 2001 VW Jetta.  It is my 4th Jetta and I have loved them all.

The five brown eggs are from the brown hen that isn't Juniper, but she hasn't told me her name yet.

The four white eggs are from Sienna, the little bantam hen, although for a banty, she lays fairly large eggs.  The egg on the far right is Juniper's first egg since she has been here.

Outside
A little more work was done outside today.  I was so happy today to have my coop-building guys return to help put up a frame around the coop fence, and install some wire mesh on it (combination of fencing I had laying around plus some chicken wire).  Here you can see that they built a raised framework above the fence so that the wire would be at a suitable height for me to walk around inside the coop yard.

This means that the little flock will be safe from hawks, but will be able to enjoy the outside environment.  I am not entirely sure if any of them had been outside before.

They did not seem to know how to scratch around in the dirt, except for Sienna - you can just see her in the picture above, next to Juniper, already with her eye on the dirt area.  The guys lifted a row of patio stones for the chickens to have an area to make their dirt/dust bath.  By the end of the afternoon, the red hens had caught on.  The silkies are still bewildered.  I think they have been kept in a cage for most of their life so far.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 4.09

I've been busy with a short term new work contract, so I didn't have time to get to Friday's hunt yesterday.  I am doing it on Saturday instead, which seems to be par for the course these days, although it's a bit better than doing it on Sunday.

The prompts from Eden Hills for this week are:  Starts with I, bowl, and desire.

Starts with I
Izzy starts with I.  That is our outdoor cat's name.  She has trouble with consistent use of the litter box, so that is why she is our outdoor cat.  She likes to perch on Marc's snowmobile, which has the "Arctic Cat" logo on the cover.  I don't think she would do very well in the Arctic!

Bowl
Ah, bowls!  Teresa unwittingly picked one of my favourite topics this week.  I am a tremendous fan of all sorts of different bowls.  Truth be told, I prefer my meals in a bowl, rather than on a plate.  I have no idea why that is the case.  However, you can see from my dish cupboard that I have more bowls than plates.

I like bowls of all different sizes.  I use a lot of ramekins, which are little bowls, for things like ice cream or bed-time cereal snacks.  The blue ones are Emile Henry and they are oven safe.  I bought those while living in Iowa.  The golden ones are Paderno (made in PEI) and the green ones came from World Market in Kansas City.  I forget where the white ones came from.

This is my favourite bowl for supper.  It is a shallow bowl, and works very well for pasta dishes or anything with gravy or sauce.  I love the pattern around the edge.  I bought four of these bowls when I was attending the 2-year Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner course in Toronto, back in 1999 or 2000.  I used to have to go past a shop called "Kitchen Stuff Plus" on Yonge Street in Toronto.  I looked it up on the web tonight, and it's still there!  I loved that shop!


I have some lovely triangular green bowls that I also bought there in 2 sizes.  You can see them on the top shelf of my cupboard picture, at the right.  Here is the leaf pattern on them.  I also got triangular plates that match.  I've had that set for ages and I still love it.  The lime green bowl is a more recent purchase.

These interesting bowls with the spiral design in them are a favourite for soup.  I think I bought these at Crate and Barrel in Chicago.

In particular, I seem to be drawn to bowls with fish and ocean themes.  This little set of three fish bowls are just perfect for veggie sticks or other snacks for guests.  They're really cute!

 Then I have these fish and seaweed themed bowls...which I could not resist.  Coldwater Creek sold them, when it still existed, when I lived in Iowa.

I also have this very large bowl with hand-painted fish on it.  This is in my guest bedroom.  I love the colours in it.

 Of course, it is also important to have good mixing bowls in one's kitchen.  Depending upon my mood and the requirements, I either use this set of colourful mixing bowls...

...or this heavy stoneware set of pastel pink bowls.

So yes, I think you could say I am a little bit bowl-crazy, but there is something so inviting about their round, open shape, and they can hold so many delights!

Desire
Obviously, I desire more bowls.  I didn't know what to show as a picture for this topic.  I thought about what I desire....

I desire a little more time to knit and spin and weave and enjoy my passion for fibre arts.  I just don't have enough time for that lately.

I desire a kinder, more peaceful world, less divided by things like politics and religion.  I wish we didn't have either one of those things in this world - they are both the root of much suffering and I believe we'd be better off without them, and with more acceptance and tolerance and love.

I desire ice cream, in many different flavours.  In bowls.

I desire a great-tasting pasta without calories.

I desire a long and happy life with Marc and my critters and my gardens, and the gift of good vision and use of my hands so I can create things.

I desire more time with my parents, and wish I had more time to visit with them.

I desire more time to spend watching the birds, walking in the woods, and feeling the wind in my hair and on my skin.

I desire fewer mosquitoes.

I desire a world where everyone can find their passion and make a living from it and inspire others with what they do.

I desire a bit more ice cream.

I desire more yarn, but I try to keep that desire under control.

Most of all, I desire the knowledge that I have made a difference in this world in my lifetime - that I have put a smile on someone's face, that I have given of myself when I could see that it was needed, and that somehow I have made the world a better place than it would otherwise have been.  If everybody had that desire, and lived it out, this world would be a far better place.