Tag Archives: birds

June 2018

Yes, it’s June. I realize I haven’t posted in a month so I’m here now to work on that. This is going to be a mish-mash of several things.

So Dave, how is the Earthship coming? Unfortunately, the answer to that is not pleasing. The engineer we’re working with is now fully licensed and has his official engineer’s stamp now. The problem we have now is a financial one. My employer is in some dire straights, as it were, and I am owed a large amount of back pay that has yet to arrive. With this being a single income family, we don’t have a lot of extra funds for building projects and applying for building permits.

One might ask if I am doing anything about my lack of income and I can say “yes” to that. I have been in talks with the local college to possibly do some teaching for them. I now have two degrees to my name (one in Computer Science and one in Biotecture) and the range of topics I feel qualified to teach people covers some fair ground. The only bummer is it’s summer right now and there won’t be any teaching until the fall term starts.

But enough of that, let’s move on to other interesting things. As some of you know, I do quite a bit of cooking here. Our usual setup is I cook the meals and Kat does the dishes. It’s a good partnership.

I recently made my very first vegetable terrine.

The bottom layer was carrots, the middle was spinach and the top was parsnips. The sauce is parsley based. I found the recipe in one of the Canadian Living cookbooks we have. It was quite different to eat, but quite tasty. It was also more filling than I thought it would be.

Kat’s birthday was last Tuesday, and as per tradition around here, I made her a special birthday dessert.

That, my friends, is a chocolate brownie turtle cake. Here it is again from the side.

I didn’t cheap out and just buy the caramels for the gooey layer either; I made caramels. Well, it actually turned out to be more like toffee as it came out a little harder than it should have. Fortunately, if you melt it down and add a bit more cream, it softens up really nicely. It worked well for the cake too.

The main cake layer is just like it sounds: chocolate brownie. I put in some chocolate nibs and chopped pecans into it to add some excitement. Covering that is the caramel layer and then the chocolate ganache to cover it all. This is one of those cakes that you cut into 16ths because an 8th would cause you overload.

From food we move onto wood processing. Yeah, we’re still working on that. I did get my replacement chains for the chainsaw in and it’s been running smooth ever since. The wood pile at the back of the trailer is coming along really nicely. The basic process is to head up into the forest, cut down some dead elm and haul it back to the trailer. Often I just cut it into logs and do the rest of the processing down at the trailer using the saw buck.

Kat is my log loader and we can process quite a bit with one tank of gas. From there, we toss it into the to-be-split pile and then go at it with the axes. I say axes, but to be technically correct they’re splitting mauls, but I don’t like that word cause it conjures up images of large crowds of people moving from store to store expressing their blatant consumerism.

Some of the pieces of wood are easier to split than others. Take this one for instance.

I had buried two wedges in it trying to get that thing to split. It did, in the end, but it was a lot of work. I also broke the handle off one of our splitting axes today after I buried it in a similar piece and I couldn’t dislodge it. Yay, another thing to replace.

The spring time is a great time to be a bird watcher. We always have a huge amount of birdie activity at our feeder. Sometimes we get some unexpected visitors too.

That was a wild turkey that was hanging out under the feeder. She kept coming back for almost a week, but we stopped putting seed out near mid May and it didn’t take them long to clean the place out.

Which really aggravated this guy.

That is a rose breasted grosbeak. After the regular bird feeder ran out, he decided to try the hummingbird feeder. He was very determined, but just couldn’t figure out how to get his beak in those yellow plastic flowers while still holding on with his feet. He was a little big for it. Fortunately, he didn’t try that for too long.

I know I’ve posted a lot of pictures of autumn, winter and spring but I don’t know how many summer photos I have taken of our land. I do realize it’s not quite officially summer, but it sure seemed like it here today. It was bright and sunny and no clouds at all the whole day. This is what it looks like looking out from our trailer.

This one is a forest path that leads over to the neighbour’s place to the north.

Our pond is doing very well. It is full of life. You can’t see them in this picture, but there are a tonne of tadpoles swimming around. The spring peepers have quieted down so we’re on to the next stage of growing the new batch. You might say we’re working on creating our own plague of frogs.

This, of course, is the picture of the road heading up to the top of our hill. Yeah, it’s a lot grassier now.

This is a nice one showing the rest of the driveway heading down to the road and the beautiful blue sky we had today.

Green canopy shot with solid blue sky.

There are so many things we should be doing, but are put on hold due to funds. We’re also behind in our gardening, which we should get moving on. As soon as things change, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

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It’s April, Right?

We’re not really sure what month it is any more. The weather just keeps getting more erratic. In this case though, it allows me to provide a plethora of beautiful nature photos for all of you wonderful people.

Things have been falling out of the sky all weekend and when I woke up this morning, this is the view that greeted me.

Everything was covered in thick, heavy wet snow.

As you can imagine, many smaller trees suffer when this happens.

It does, however, provide some really awesome scenery and the chance to go out and spend time in the quiet of the forest.

We live in a fairly isolated spot to begin with. Once you cover everything with a large blanket of snow, it gets really quiet.

I think all of these trees have frosting on them 😛

With all of the noises muffled by the snow, your footsteps end up sounding extra loud. You have to stop often just to let the forest’s atmosphere sink in.

The snow didn’t seem to bother these two massive white pines.

Tunnel of snow silence.

It was overcast, but the pictures make it look ominous. It really wasn’t, it was fairly bright actually, not that we ever saw the sun today.

Back up at the pond at the top of the hill. There isn’t much of a difference in height to indicate where the pond actually starts. (It’s just in front of the bench).

Surrounded by balsam fir trees, the sounds of the outside world just disappear.

There was hardly a breath of wind, so you can imagine how quiet it was out in the forest. You’d think you’d hear more birds and there were some, but the vast majority of all of the tweetering going on was back at the trailer.

This next picture was taken just outside and you can see all of those little feathered forest denizens up in the tree.

Yeah, the ones in the tree were just waiting for their opportunity to head down and raid the bird feeder.

I caught a number of them in that picture, but a video would be better as they move in and out so fast and in so many numbers. In case you were wondering, we have golden finches, chickadees, dark-eyed junkos, purple finches, nut hatches, blue jays and a few variety of sparrows.

Unfortunately, the forest wasn’t the only thing to suffer damage from all of the heavy snow.

That is our truck shelter tent thing. The heavy snow made the canvas split. I put in an impromptu patch by working a tarp in under the metal rails. It’s not perfect, by far, but hopefully it will get us passed all of this snow.

In the mean time, when I’m not out trekking around the forest, I melt snow on the wood stove.

It comes in handy for washing hands and dishes.

Anyway, I need to run and rescue my socks as they are being attacked by a kitten right now.

It’s Official

It’s official that I am now and official Earthship aficionado.

I don’t quite have that piece of paper in my hands yet, but it’s in Kat’s hands so I figure that’s close enough. She will be receiving one of these herself at the end of the month. Then we’ll both be official.

In other news, I found our very own ice wall on our property as I was wandering around it a while back.

It’s not that tall, maybe 3m (10′) but it is a lot of fun to look at. If I were more adept at image manipulation I’d put some Lego persons doing the ice climbing thing on it.

It’s April and that means highly erratic weather up here in this part of the world. Some days it’s nice and sunny and all of the snow is melting, then the next day you get this.

I also managed to snap a shot of a chickadee in mid-flight on his way out from the bird feeder. (Left side of the picture)

Mix in some rain, ice rain and heavy wind with all of that and you never really know what the next day will bring from mother nature. It hasn’t been very cold, so I guess there are some good parts.

As you may know I’m up here at the trailer taking care of things while Kat is away down south. While some might imagine this means wandering around in my underwear eating hot dogs and KD all the time, let me put those thoughts to rest. This is what I had for dinner tonight.

Those are baked chicken thighs in a peanut/salsa sauce with mashed sweet potatoes (with added pecans) and some sweet and sour purple cabbage. For those who know me, you know that I do most of the cooking when Kat is here, so eating well isn’t a problem. The only difference now is I have to do the dishes as well 😛 I’m sure I can handle this burden that has been placed upon me.

Stay healthy!

Australian Safari

This morning, Kat and I were picked up at the very late hour of 07:10. The tour bus seated 15, plus the driver and all seats were filled. There were a number of us Canadians, some Americans, British and Swiss.

Today was our safari tour of a rain forest up here on the northeast side of the continent. There was a lot of driving, not only to pick up everyone. The drive up to the rain forest probably took close to two hours.

The safari started with a boat cruze down a river in the hopes that we might see a crocodile.

Crocs, as they call them here, don’t like clear water because they can’t hide and surprise their prey. This is why the river is so muddy. The muddiness actually comes from the tides going in and out, as this river is connected to the ocean. When the tide is in, the water is salty. When the tide is going out, it’s fresh water.

If you look closely at this next picture you can see a small bird in a nest on the dead tree. I believe they said it was a type of kingfisher.

Here we have a funky red plant that I don’t remember the name of.

This next one is of an actual crocodile.

No, really. The tour guide even brought the boat in closer so we could all see it. I couldn’t see anything except brown water and trees. There were a few others that were spotted as well, but it was either on the opposite side of the boat or it disappeared before it came into my view. I am sorry to say, we don’t have any pictures of actual crocs.

We do have a lot of pictures of the massive ammounts of greenery growing along the side of the water.

Many of the trees are well over 30m (100′).

It was a gorgeous, sunny day so almost any picture will look good.

After the boat cruze, we had a walk through the forest. You might think this to be dangerous, it being Australia and all, but the path was a boardwalk with waist high railings, so unless you decide to wander from the path, you’d be pretty safe. The only real danger were the mosquitoes. They really liked legs, and any time we stopped I spent a considerable amount of my attention on removing them. There was one girl who had so many bites on the back of her legs, she had a welt the size of a grapefruit.

We did get to see some interesting creatures, but many of them were not out in the wild.

This one was, though.

Sorry about the bad focus. This is a medium sized golden orb weaver. We saw another one later on that was bigger but I couldn’t get a picture of it as we were in the bus. Yes, we saw a spider that was big enough that you could spot it from 4-5m away (13-16′).

A snake in a terrarium. I don’t know what kind.

Another snake. This one might have been the death adder, but without seing his head, it’s hard to tell.

A small aquatic turtle.

A really big crayfish.

More snake.

Here we have a big lizard hanging out on a log in a cage.

These are Galah birds.

These bright little guys were being quite noisy.

This guy was just hanging out on the back of a chair, and he wasn’t camera shy either.

There were also two sharing a cage, though the door was open, so they were able to come and go as they like.

Okay, last birdie.

They had a bunch of displays at the visitor’s center showing some of the insects.

A lot of them were butterflies or moths.

This guy was just sitting on the hand railing during our walk through the forest.

I’m sure you would all like to see something cute after all that, so here are the wallabies.

These wallabies are all orphans and can’t be returned to the wild. We were given pieces of sweet potato and we got to feed the wallabies.

I’ll give you one guess as to whether this next wallaby is male or female.

Here is the female with a full pouch.

There was a lot more that happened, but unfortunately I am going to have to cut this short, as it’s getting late and it has been a long day.

I will leave you with this awesome picture from one of the lookouts that we visited today.