Monday, 23 February 2015

A Weekend

Going to the lake for a weekend is such a nice change, during the winter months. This is one of the coldest Februaries ever, and still we were glad to go.
Since we only stayed until Sunday afternoon, we didn’t plan to do much. We did have company on Friday night – so good to see our cousin Jo again, and she was kind enough to bring us some homemade doughnuts! They didn’t last the whole weekend.
On Saturday we dragged ourselves out for a short walk, and it was all I wanted. Slogging along a skidoo track isn’t quite as easy as walking on a plowed road.
002
On Eldon's and Janice's driveway.
Very little wildlife was in evidence this weekend. Besides birds, we saw nothing: no squirrels, chipmunks, or any other mammals. With the deep cold we’ve been having, they must be staying close to their homes.
On our walk we did see where someone, possibly a chipmunk, has a nicely sheltered spot. They tunnel underground for their homes, so this would have just been where an entrance-way was situated. Otherwise, it could have been some other animal, but I don’t know what.
005
Hello in there...

One of last year’s nests is still standing up well. I like the way it is full of little ribbons.
009

When we got up on Sunday morning, everything was covered in fresh snow.
002

The pile of snow on the neighbour’s table makes us wonder: Is there something under it that makes it pile so high, or is that all snow?
005
Of course, it COULD be all snow. It really has snowed that much.

Relaxing in the morning with lots of coffee and goodies, we watched the Chickadees enjoy the seeds and suet. We also had visits from a couple of Blue Jays, a White Breasted Nuthatch and a Red Breasted Nuthatch, and a Woodpecker – I think Dodie said it was a Downy.
015
I like the way this little guy looks in the window.
I’m already looking forward to going up again next month!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Cold, Cold, Cold

That pretty much sums up the winter thus far. We’ve been staying inside lots, recovering from various ailments (colds, infections).
The highlights:
It’s so nice to finally have birds at the feeder. They have really enjoyed eating the Scott’s Wild Finch & Small Songbird mix.

Seriously, this stuff is the best. It’s expensive, but it doesn’t go to waste.
We’ve had Goldfinches,
007
Juncos,
016
and Redpolls!
023
The cats enjoy sitting in the window, where they can see the birds but not disturb them.
010
Snaps is a big cat, but so skittish – here is his “should I run away?” face.
018
The other big highlight of January was having the chance to tour some houses with my cousins as they consider the possibility of moving to town. We looked at a variety of places, including this one where I couldn’t resist checking out the bar. It met with my approval!
002
At the beginning of February we helped a little with Kyle’s move to his new digs. This is the view from the dining room. I think on a clear day he may be able to see Parliament Hill.
009

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Winter has settled in

004
 
The quiet cold of the lake and woods on a winter day: this picture pretty much sums it up, for me.

I have to say that I love this shot.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Well, that was 2014

011
Jezebel and Onyx enjoying a Christmas morning nap.
Just a quick note: I usually like to post more than I have lately, but December flew by, and for the last week and a half I’ve had a really awful cold. Christmas day was very foggy in my brain! I’m on the mend, now, and the New Year looks better.

Wishing everyone out there a very happy 2015!

Monday, 1 December 2014

November endeth

With the cold weather and the addition of good seed to our finch feeder, we’ve noticed more birds in general. The dining room window is the perfect spot to keep an eye on them!
001
Eyeing up the tragically flawed cat feeder.
We had to make one short trip to the cottage to offload some laundry and a bunch of building materials cluttering up the basement. Not much “buildy” stuff gets used at home. The basement is a small space to work in and cold as anything in the winter!
007
You can see all the small branches that have fallen.
We found a lot of branches down, but the only big ones were from the dead tamarack.
004
The bay, mostly frozen.
A lot of the lake is lightly frozen, but there are gaps at the edges.
002
Wah! My tree! Gonna miss it.
Yep, the top of the tamarack blew off! About the top six feet or so. I sure hope we get it cut down at New Years as planned.
006
When it fell, it just shattered to pieces.
It must have been quite a wind, as the top of the tree landed at least 40 feet away.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A November Update

The cottage is all closed up for another year. We actually closed it up the weekend after Thanksgiving – it was easier to just have it done.
001
It was a dreary day when we shut things down; we still hated to leave.
And now November is upon us: in fact, today is the 15th, which means half the month has slipped away already. We have most of the yard work done, and probably that is all we will do, lazy souls that we are. Hopefully it will be alright.
When cleaning out the mess around one of the rose bushes I discovered this vine, which I believe is Climbing Nightshade. It’s a weed – I’ll have to take it out in the spring; but look how pretty the berries are! Not good to eat, though.
001
It would have little purple flowers in the summer.
We have put out two feeders, one with a niger mix and one with sunflower seeds. The mix has been very popular with the goldfinches: it is made by Scott, and though a bit pricey is worth the money, as it attracts plenty of birds.
002
Goldfinch!
Stitches keeps an eye on what Wendy would have described as the “tragically flawed cat feeder”.
005
The birds flew away when I took the picture, natch.
Today a Chickadee had the feeder to himself for a while, but there are usually 3 or 4 Goldfinches on it. We’ve also had some Juncos.
001
The little sticks are improvised perches; the darn squirrel keeps breaking off the plastic ones.
Onyx has been lively and happy for the most part, but he has, in the last year, been grooming excessively on his stomach, and now on his legs as well. The vet had an explanation for it which involved the use of steroids as a possible cure, but we decided that unless he became  aggressive in his grooming (to the point of doing damage to his skin) we would just let him be.
003
Tongue out to lick!
Any spot he can’t reach is thick and soft.
004
This time last year, he was just starting to work on his belly, but he keeps making more bare spots.
You can see how bare his legs look in this picture. He still runs and plays, and attacks Snaps when he wants a tussle, and eats well. We have put all of the cats on a grain-free diet to see if it helps. We were, up until recently, using a grain-based litter, and until all of it is gone we won’t see if this makes any improvement. Here’s hoping.
My spare time – when I’m not goofing off on the computer like this – will go to baking, for the next month: first, baking for the church sale, and then baking for Christmas. Busy times. The snow is falling right now, and there will probably be some accumulation when we get up tomorrow. This should bring on the Christmas mood!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Thanksgiving

The cottage year is winding down. Thanksgiving usually marks the last full weekend at the lake for everyone. Most of us shut down the water and close our places up soon after.
002
Iain enjoying the sunset while barbecuing dinner.
We were blessed with warm weather and no rain (none of the s-word, either).
001
Sheila came to visit!
It was nice to have company for the weekend! Thanksgiving isn’t the same without family. Not everyone could be there, unfortunately, but we were happy to have those who could come. We ate tons of food and visited. I was too busy enjoying myself to take pictures, but you must trust me when I say the meal was amazing. Dodie and Myles roasted the turkey (Mom supplied it) and stuffing, made cabbage salad and cranberry sauce, and made awesome gravy! Iain made bacon-wrapped stuffed mushroom caps, mashed turnips and sliced carrots. I helped a bit and made peas. Sheila brought yummy buns. Janet whipped up some great potatoes, Brian brought tomato juice, and Carolyn provided us with TWO pies, one a deep-dish pumpkin and the other an amazing apple!
picture0001
I took this pic with my phone, so it isn't the best quality, but just LOOK at the autumn leaves crust!
We were so stuffed, but we sat down to the same meal of leftovers on Monday before going home!
012
Mom enjoys sitting in the sun with a magazine or puzzle book.
Mom has had a pretty good summer with us. Since Dodie and Myles were at the lake so often, she spent more time there this year than she had for the last several.
002
There was hardly room for the Blue Jay to fit on the feeder, but he managed it.
Between the birds and the squirrel and chipmunks, we couldn’t keep the feeder full.

003
My favourite view!
006
At the narrows.
007
The Little Lake.
008
This oak gets more beautiful each year.
011
Still and lovely.
The colours were less than spectacular this fall, and many of the trees were past their best by this weekend, anyway, but the views were still wonderful.
010
Hitching a ride.
We encountered a red dragonfly which appeared to be cold and seemed to be having trouble drying out its wings. Iain picked it up and it perched on his thumb, tilting its wings down so they wouldn’t catch the draft as we walked along. After a few minutes it suddenly took flight, finally warmed and dry enough.
004
Now grow, dammit!
We finally got around to transplanting another tree, which we hope will survive the winter. We are told the fall is the best time for this, so I hope this little guy can make it. This one is a Quaking Aspen, and I wouldn’t mind getting a Big-Tooth Aspen and a Swamp Willow as well. Iain is interested in an Olive tree, and we’d both like a Cottonwood (not sure if one could survive in this soil, though – the sand seems most suited for poplars, willows, pine, birch, and tamarack).
Next weekend will be busy with putting away lawn furniture, chimes, and ornaments, and putting some plants to bed. Then the water shut-off, and good-bye to the lake for a while. We are thankful to have had another year to enjoy here.