Monday, November 26, 2007

Mannequin, anyone?

This “Articles Wanted” ad has been in our little local paper for weeks, and it cracks me up every time I see it:

“Mannequin. Must have a head and preferably arms and legs.”

Must have HEAD”?!? I guess they aren't in the market for an Ann Boleyn mannequin, then!

Since the ad has been running for weeks, I'm guessing that there aren't a lot of mannequins available out here in farm country. On the other hand, it's not like Helen and Bonnie are being terribly picky. I mean, limbs ARE optional! I can't begin to imagine what they are going to do if they find this mannequin. Maybe they're two elderly spinster (isn't that an awful word! Nothing wrong with being single. But I like the alliteration.) sisters who are a tad lonely and need a dummy for euchre.

And check out poor Brenda. The 70s were an INTERESTING time for fashion!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Eight more paws on the farm!

Well, this week we finally found OUR dogs, Sophie and Tristan. They speak French, so feel free to say those names with a French accent!

Sophie is mostly yellow Lab, Tristan is a Lab/Viszla mix (part teddy bear... WHAT a suck!) They are both five years old and have grown up together. To cut a long, sad story short, they belonged to a beautiful family of three (young military couple with toddler), living on a hobby farm, until November 4, when this young man tragically committed suicide. Sadly, his wife has had to sell everything, including the livestock, rehome the dogs and move to an apartment. The husband's last request was that the dogs not spend the rest of their lives on a chain.

And they won't, because they are now ours! They are wonderful dogs, loving, affectionate and so obedient. As their foster Mom said, they know what is expected of them. I have never seen anything like it. And although we have not tested them out yet, they apparently gently herd livestock, including chickens! And they have lived with cats and are good with them (although so far our cats think they are filth and won't go near them!)

Although we were not looking for two dogs, we are so happy we took these two in, and are completely besotted. More stories to come, but for now, some photos...

Sniffing down the snowy trail today, with Sophie in the lead!

This public trail is just a short drive from our farm.

Lookin’ pretty in pink!

The moon setting early this morning, while I stood freezing in my pajamas and robe at -15 Celsius. And Miss Sophie!

Gordon and his new kids, on the trail through our woodlot.

My face needed a thorough washing.

One happy farm dog!

Taking a brief rest.

Tristan likes to explore the barn.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Beer child

Guess who! Why yes, it's me, the amazing BEER CHILD, c. 1971, or possibly 1972. Nothing like throwing back a few Carling Black Label in stubbies while you're working on a tough Lego project! (I adored Lego.) And isn't 1970s treeless brick-box suburban Toronto (Agincourt) ENCHANTING? (she says with immense sarcasm!) Do you wonder why I've been wanting to live in the country since I was a kid?

Now, before you go thinking that my parents were total reprobates who let their kid guzzle booze, let me just say that it was my PARENTS doing the guzzling (hey, hot Canadian summer = beer!) and the bottles I'm holding in the photo were empty. Mostly. And besides, I have NEVER needed to get drunk to act crazy. Anyone who knows me well knows that. Although Ishould mentioned that my mother loved to tell me that when I was a baby, I once cried for sixteen hours straight, and when my mother had given up and run screaming from the room, my paternal grandfather gave me a little whisky in my bottle, which put me immediately to sleep. Did I mention this was the 70s? Oh yeah, my parents chain-smoked around me all the time, too, so I can't see much harm in a wee dram of whisky.

Truth be told, I have always been a pathetically lightweight drinker, one 1990 evening involving six shooters aside (thanks, Gordon!) For some reason, I could hold my shooters without an ensuing hangover. My two adventures in tequila (thanks, Gordon!), while great fun at the time, left me with one hangover from hell that ended my exceedingly brief drinking career (which encompassed a few incidents in the early 90s.) I still can't smell tequila without wanting to toss my cookies.

ANYWAY! I ascribe my lack o' interest in alcohol (the odd Guinness or Kilkenny cream ale aside) to the fact that alcohol never held any mystique for me. I never even LIKED beer until I was in my 30s. My parents let me taste beer and all that when I was a kid, and I thought it was revolting! I also thought that certain of my relatives who got habitually drunk acted like total idiots when they did so (disclaimer: some people are fun drunks, and I have no real issues with anyone indulging in occasional drunkeness!), so I decided that I was not particularly interested in tossing 'em back and thus performing great acts of stupidity on the public stage.

Oh yeah, if you're wondering why my skin looks so dark in that photo, it's because kids were encouraged to tan in the 70s (healthy glow!) and also because I tan very easily. I have been told that there is Indian (as in "Asia") blood in my veins, resulting from a certain familial romantic incident back in the days when the sun never set on the British empire. On the other hand, my mother loved to tell me we were direct descendants of Anne Boleyn, so it's hard to know what to believe. I do use more sunscreen these days.

Must go wash some floors...

Beer Child

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ye olde farme

Some pics for you, taken yesterday when I went for a walk in the drizzle.

This is the River Beaudet, which borders the back of our property.

The path through our woodlot to the back pasture, and the river.

The barn, the granary and the house, viewed from one of the fields.

You are going to have to click on this to enlarge it to see the line of turkeys walking across the field! (to the left of the trees at the centre right.) Turkeys looooove leftover soybeans! The water is a municipal drain that runs through our property and into the river. It attracts some nice water birds and other wildlife. The blue herons are quite fond of it!

Another view of the buildings, from farther back.

And farther back, where the fields meet the woodlot.

This is our pond, fed by a natural spring.

I am looking forward to having animals! Some nice sheep dotting the landscape...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The latest scarf

Knit this little baby up for my friend Clarissa, who is having hip replacement surgery today!

Got the handpainted yarn at Lismore Sheep Farm in River John, Nova Scotia. I love that place.

What I really want to know is why Canada Post charged me over NINE DOLLARS to mail it in a bubble envelope from Ontario to NS...


WolfLoverGurl tagged me for this ages ago, so I'll do this while I wait for photos to download (dial-up MUST DIE!)

By the way, we didn't get our Great Dane dog. He bit me once, growled several times, went for my arm, and that was that. Poor guy... he was obviously mistreated in his past, and his issues are more than we can handle right now. So the dog search continues. We suspect he was turned into the shelter for biting, although they did temperament tests and he passed them all. Sigh...

Anyway, on a brighter note...

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Eight facts/habits about me:

1. I have ridden elephants twice.
2. If I had been born a boy, my name would have been "Craig."
3. My parents almost called me "Nancy."
4. My maternal grandmother was named Anastasia (nice Russian name for a Irish girl born in 1902, ha ha!) and my parents thought that name might be a bit much for me (but I like it!)
5. When I was in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, I took the biggest hat size they then had for women (23")
6. I have size 10 feet which do not look good in army boots.
7. I got a silver badge for fitness in the Participaction programme back in the 70’s. My downfall was the "flexed arm hang."
8. When I was a kid, I used to have a book in my hand all the time. I used to read books and watch TV at the same time. I would read at the dinner table when my Mum was feeling generous and would allow me to do so! I would read anywhere including the bathroom. If I had nothing else to read, I would read packaging, labels, pamphlets... I still do that.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cat in a bag, cat in a bag!

I am behind on my blogging for various reasons, including a lingering ear infection (finally seems to be improving after new round of "horse-pill" antibiotics; lots of weird noises in my ear as the glue breaks up), too much to do, putting-the-stupid-#*&$^#@*^%-clock-back fatigue, frustration with dial-up.  Today, I thought you'd enjoy seeing a visual progress report on Alex and Julius. I think they are now officially friends!

“What? What?? Nothing going on here. Can we help you?”

“Hey!There’s something in the bag.” “Hey! There’s something outside the bag!”

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! “Anyone home?”

“Good grief! It’s alive. It’s aliiiiiive!”
(“Doobie doobie doo, just having a little bath! Tra la la!”)

And then the PAW OF DEATH reaches out to impale its next (not terribly impressed) victim.

The game ended after Alex decided to stick his entire head in Julius’ precious paper bag. Result? Small hissy fit, followed by rapid exit of orange fluffy man cat.

In other news:

I will continue blogging about the rest of my UK trip soon. I'll try to get my *ss in gear next week.

Today I went for a little walk around our fields and found an anvil and two old wagon wheels. I need to get me a metal detector.

Oh, we have a quasi-permanent flock of wild turkeys (perhaps 40 at present) on our land right now, enjoying leftover soybeans, not to mention several resident deer who know they won't get shot here.

I have planted a crapload of garlic (red inchellon and Polish white, from the fabulous Richters Herbs) but I did it a bit late this year, so cross your fingers that it grows. In Nova Scotia, I used to mulch it with seaweed but here I used straw from the barn. I couldn't find my work gloves, so I had to wear an old pair of mittens. My life is so tough. Not.

In our barn, something unknown ate what looks to have been a pigeon, leaving a lot of feathers on the floor!

In the meantime, here are a few photos of MOI, cuz I know y'all can't get enough of MOI. (Like I'm fooling anybody with the "y'all." Y'all know full well I'm a Canadian! Eh?)

The London Eye. Rock on!

My Uncle Kevin making me laugh my butt off at Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Uncle Kevin is my Dad's youngest sibling, my godfather, and my favourite relative (although my cousin Steve is awesome.) Kev's wife, my Auntie Lis, is also marvellous. She has to be, to put up with my family. Kevin has a killer sense of humour. I am not worthy, I am not worthy...

Here we are in Burton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds, pointing out a sign for the one meal we people with English blood simply cannot live without. (I have introduced my Yank travel buddy Phyllis to the joys of malt vinegar, and she will never go back to white. You Americans are so DEPRIVED!) My word, this place made EXCELLENT chips. (CHIPS: that's French Fries to my American friends. Hey, your dollar is tanking, people! You gotta stop that. I was all happy about being paid book royalties in US dollars, and now the US dollar is worth less than the Canadian. FIGURES!)

Mmmm, chips.... so artery-clogging, yet so unspeakably delicious. (Fresh, not frozen!)

Kiss kiss, bye bye! Have a lovely weekend!

Thanks for all the photos, Phyllis!

Is it just me... (RUDENESS ALERT!!!!)

...or is this placemat not subtly obscene?

Is it me and my filthy mind?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Call the SPCA, we're being tortured! ;)

Julius says: “They force me to sleep in this undersized basket!”
Mother cat says: “Uh, that basket is for the papers on my desk. Do you MIND?!”

Alex says: “I have been beaten into submission!”
Mother cat says: “Gimme a break. You were asleep when I took this, and you spent almost all day zonked out on that chair!”

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More Bath...

Let's finish off Bath and get moving along! I've been sick with an ugly ear/sinus/eye infection trio that developed from the cold I brought back from the UK. Thus I am sadly behind on my blog...

This is the Saracens Head pub. Charles Dickens reputedly lodged, wrote and/or drank here:

And here we have the only remaining bit of medieval wall in Bath:

Here is the lovely Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon. Both sides of the bridge were lined with shops when it was built. It was finished in 1773.

I love chimney tops in England:

Crap tacked-together photo of the Royal Crescent, a highly impressive piece of Bath architecture:

Homes in the Crescent ain't cheap!

Okay, so technically this was taken in York but it's funny and I needed some filler. Hi, Phyllis!

We'll move on from Bath in my next trip entry!