Saturday, 20 September 2014

A Problem With Flying Monkeys

It was a shocking discovery to find the Flying Monkeys from The Wizard Of Oz were hanging around my house.  Wherever they go, no good will follow!

The first fall decoration I added to my front porch was a scarecrow.  I perched her on a bail of straw and a few hours later came out to find this! ~

My poor straw lady. I felt so bad for her.  All her body parts where no longer in the right places. How well I know, from personal experience, the trauma that causes!

I knew right away who the culprits would be. Haven't we all seen what they did to the straw man? ~

Or ....... might these rascals be the culprits? ~

Maybe I don't have a flying monkey problem after all.

Straw lady thinks I have a definite chicken problem. ~

She's got herself pulled together and is keeping a good lookout over her shoulder for whatever it is that rearranges female body parts.

In fact, she has the same look on her face that I have on mine!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Would You Give Away Gold To Inspire Someone?

What would any of us be willing to give if we knew it would inspire others to rise above adversity or put past mistakes behind them and strive to be the best they could be?

Like all teenage horse loving riders, my daughter dreamed of making it to the National, a premier Canadian equestrian event.  Life went in a very different direction for her but she never lost her interest in the sport and was delighted to be able to attend the National at Spring Meadows, in Calgary, last weekend.

It was an unexpected and special treat to get to meet Eric Lamaze, a rider who's accomplishments and personal story have been an inspiration to her and her family. ~

Eric had risen above a childhood in a troubled home and worked his way up in a sport that is usually only accessible to those privileged enough be able to afford participating.  It's not for nothing that horses are considered the 'sport of kings'.  He made his way to the Canadian National Equestrian Team and was making a name for himself as a great competitor.  But, he made mistakes.  Serious mistakes and it seemed his career was over.  A great many people must have believed in Eric, though, and he was given a second and even a third chance to redeem himself.  He did that by going on to win Canada's first Olympic gold medal in equestrian.  He is somewhat of a poster boy for never giving up, never giving in and everyone deserving a chance to try again.

My daughter was so happy she had the opportunity to tell him that he has been an inspiration to her children, several of whom have come from similarly difficult backgrounds or have physical disabilities. She told him that his personal and athletic achievements have meant a great deal to their whole family.

He turned to leave, after they had chatted and had the photo taken, and turned back to say he had something he wanted to give her.  How wonderful to have a key chain or some kind of souvenir from Eric Lamaze on the day he had won another gold medal!

The quiet spoken, press shy man handed her the gold medal he had just won! ~

He would give up his gold to inspire some kids to become everything they dreamed of being!  He would give it up as a daily reminder that your circumstances are not what determines who you become in life.

Back home at the farm, the medal was proudly worn by a rescued horse aptly named Never Lose Hope. Just because she's not pretty, it doesn't mean Hope doesn't have the heart of a winner! ~

My daughter found that dreams do come true.  Not always when or in the way we expect, but they do come true.  You can devote your life to rescuing abused and abandoned animals.  You can spend your days caring for children that might not have had a chance in the world without you.  You can put aside your own wishes in the service of others and still come home from the National with the gold medal!

Thank you Eric Lamaze for your selfless act of kindness!  Thank you for showing us all that where we are today is not where we must stay, as long as we have the courage to point our faces in the right direction and take that first jump!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Rescue Burnout

I have had to admit I have a bad case of animal rescue burnout.  Of the three old chickens I took in last month, only Vivian is still with me.

A week ago Camryn died and Josie followed her this weekend.

I work very hard at healing these chickens and spent countless hours taming them and making them happy in their new world.  They respond so well to fresh air, nutrient rich food and, most of all, individual attention that it is truly heartwarming.

But, the down side is that I get attached to them as pets and it's wearing me out with sadness and worrying over them.  Losing Josie and Camryn leaves me with too few chickens to keep the coop warm over a Canadian winter.  I need at least four chickens in there so their body heat adds to what the heat lamp does to keep them from frostbite.  I had to make a decision quickly on what to bring into the coop, so I can get them integrated into the flock before cold weather sets in.

I'd also like to get a reasonable number of eggs for the money I spent on feeding and housing the ladies. Of the three gals I have left, only Kay lays eggs.  The other two are more in the decorative end of chicken farming.  sigh

So, today I picked up three, white leghorn pullets.  Yup, I have brand, spanking, new lay hens from a reputable breeder!  They are about 4 mths. old and have just come into laying.

They were a bit traumatized from the move, so I just snapped a quick shot of a couple of them in the quarantine coop. ~

It feels positively lazy to not have to treat any wounds, overgrown nails or lice on these gals!  All I had to do was feed them, water them and say, "Good night, girls".

Oh, and I did have to apologize to them for making their move more difficult than necessary.  I told the farmer I would help him catch them, since I'm an excellent chicken catcher.  He declined my help and brought me the three stuffed in a feed bag.  Of course, I wouldn't subject them to a car journey in that! Just as I took the third chicken out of the bag to put in my cat carrier, the first two made a break for freedom.  The farmer had to catch them all over again and I'm sure he complained aplenty about me to his wife when he got back to the house!

Queen of the coop, Kay, hardly bothered to kick up a fuss to establish herself as boss this time. As long as they don't touch her supper food, she doesn't seem to care about the youngsters being there. ~

Maybe she's just relieved that all the responsibility for supplying my breakfast won't fall on her shoulders any more.

I know I will take in more rescues in time.  For now, it feels wonderful to have nothing but happiness in the coop!

ps - One of these girls will be named Rukmini and one will be Elizabeth to fulfill friend requests. Any ideas on a name for the third girl?

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Accepting The Challenge

The last weekend of the summer has come and gone.  As if to compensate us for a cold and rainy summer, the weather was beautiful.  My nephew and his family came to make the most of it and spent as much time as they could on the river.

I was particularly glad for the heat when my daughter and grandkids nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Just when I thought I was nicely ducking out of that one!

Kay volunteered to do the challenge with me.  We thought we could support a good cause and bring attention to the plight of factory farmed chickens at the same time.  I'd say 'kill two birds with one stone', but Kay takes exception to the phrase.

I gave a little blurb on the video about Kay having first hand experience of suffering and her willingness to do this to raise money for the cause should make us more willing to pay a little more for cage free eggs.

I'm not sure Kay understood what she was letting herself in for. Even though I shielded her from the worst of it, she was one mad chicken!

DO NOT leave this challenge up to teenagers to execute. They will make sure the water is as cold and plentiful as possible! ~

Luckily, Kay loves me and came right back for treats. But, the new girls were having none of that treatment.

Josie was looking for anything to hide behind ~

and weeks of trying to gain Viv's trust were destroyed as she headed for cover! ~

I wonder why she cringes when I come in the coop to tuck them in for the night now?

Farewell to summer and welcome fall.  It's on to canning and preserving, savouring the aromas wafting from the kitchen and revelling in the vibrant colours of my favourite time of year. ~

The sun has set on another season and I look forward to all the joys and challenges of the one that follows!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sometimes Life Is A Rose Garden

Today is a rose garden day, full of sweet scents and brilliant colours. ~

It is a day full of cheers and laughter and sharing with loved ones.

After months of threatening to come too soon, my newest grandchild was taking too long to arrive.  He's a boy who will set his own pace in life it seems.

Today was the day he decided to share his life with his adoring family.  He must have known that "the child that is born on the Sabbath day, is bonny and blithe and good and gay".

Welcome to the world little Leonardo! ~

Baby is not the baby of the family anymore.  She seems just fine with that! ~

I'm so grateful for everyone who has helped him get here.

A special thank you goes out to our favourite delinquent teenager.  Remember the girl that was sent here to the country to get a taste of real life? Somehow I don't think she really needed that.  She has spent a big chunk of her summer vacation caring for Baby so my daughter could rest.

I may not have been 'Promised A Rose Garden', as the song says, but I sure got one today!


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Time To Get Some Corn In The Freezer!

Some garden produce I freeze I'm so so about.  It's okay, but not great.  Corn does not fall into that category.  Farm fresh corn, blanched and frozen, tastes exactly like ... well, like ... corn on the cob! It's a 'must have' for the freezer for me each year.

All it it takes is the time to boil the water, six minutes to blanch and you are ready to cut those niblets off and bag 'em! ~

For the full instructions on how to blanch your own; click on  How Easy Is It To Freeze Corn?

The only mucky part of the business was cutting the corn off the cobs with a knife.  Not anymore!

This amazing Oxo Good Grips Corn Peeler made the job a breeze. ~

It took about 5 rows of corn off, neat as a pin, with each swipe.  You can tell I've been using it already by the bits stuck on the blade.  The niblets were nice and even and there was no cutting into the cob by accident.  Bit of a bumber for the chickens, who didn't get to pick off all at the corn bits that were left over as usual.  Don't go feeling all sorry for them and reporting me to the chicken branch of PETA!  I threw them a few cobs to make up for it.

My Oxo Good Grips Corn Peeler was a gift, but I'm so hot on it I went looking for it on It's $9.99 and shipping is free if you include it with another $35 order.  Amazon has a whole bunch of discounts on orders over $25, so it pays to look for the Add On labels when you are shopping on that site and combine orders with friends whenever you can.'

I'll be ordering one of these for all my organic food loving friends and any of the kids in the family who wear braces.  Yay, they can have corn on the cob again!

I feel ridiculously good at this time of year, when I see nature's bounty going into jars and freezer bags. ~

I have to put a little disclaimer here.  As of today, I'm an affiliate.  I'm not totally sure what that means, but my blogging friends told me to do it.  If you bought a gazillion of these things I might get rich, or at least make enough money to pay my blog hosting fees.

I sure hope this doesn't bother any of you and I promise never to link to a product that I haven't used and loved myself!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Playing Hooky

It's been a very rainy, cold summer in Ontario and there haven't been nearly enough days for this.~

Yesterday was so cold you had to wear a jacket to go outside in the middle of the day.  So, when the sun shone bright and warm today and my sister and brother in law suggested we head out on the river, I was all for it!

Sure I meant to keep doing this, but the sun and waves were calling my name. ~

In fact, it looks like the whole village put down their sealer jars and headed out into the sun!

I thought you just might want to play hooky with us!

While most people like to go down to the busy end of the river, where all the camps are, you need traffic lights to negotiate the boat traffic.  ~

We're going to stay up at my end of the river where very few daytrippers venture. ~

I hope you brought a camera because it's teeming with wildlife up here.  Great blue herons watch us from the shoreline and the Grand River snapping turtles sun themselves on fallen logs, without bothering to turn their heads as we pass.

On the next dock over from mine, a neighbour baits his fishing rod. ~

I see his wife and daughters are taking time off for a little glide up stream. ~

Instead of chatting over the fence today, neighbour after neighbour waves from their dock or boat.  Not a lawn mower runs in the village.  Not a house has an industrious person working away inside.

The sun sets and I don't feel the least bit of guilt.

If ever there was a day to put in a gratitude journal, this would be it! ~

And, if it's sunny again tomorrow, I'll do it all over again!

I'm sharing the fun with:  Inspire Me Monday