Category Archives: Animals

Toasty Coasties

We’ve been warned for a week or two that  north winds are coming to give us one last icy kiss before we waltz into spring. What a blow to us west coasters who are mostly used to (relatively) warmer temperatures and wind and rain.

The night before the chill was to hit,  our one sunny day disappeared as our prevailing southeast winds brought in more rain clouds. It almost had me doubting the weatherman’s prediction.

But overnight, the skies cleared and the stars sparkled like crystals over frosty lawns.

The next day the clouds moved in again, but this time from the north. They sat heavily on the hills, waiting for night when the sneak attack was to occur.

Sure enough, in the wee hours of the morning,  a biting cold wind blew flakes in every direction. Some flakes even spiraled upwards as if to undo the snowfall. A coat of white fluff barely covered the ground, but more is on the way.

I rushed out to refill the birdfeeders and put suet out for the fussier birds. When I went out onto the deck later to take this picture, the birds scattered into the shrubs, and I was too chilled to stand there waiting for them to return.

Across the street, my neighbours’ lovely willow is calling for spring, but with this ugly turn of events, the fuzzy buds are lucky to have a fur coat. They’ll need it to weather the chilly week ahead.

 

So  it seems that no one in Canada, not even this Toasty Coasty, is escaping the deep freeze  after all.

Three Cheers for the Weather – “Raw! Raw! Raw!”

I thought it was pretty at first, the way the fog rolled in over the bay and completely hid the water from view.

Foolish girl!

It rolled onto the lower beach areas and the land close to the water.

Smugly, I thought, “How pretty it looks, and how lucky am I to be living on higher ground in the clear blue sky.”

But pride comes before the fall. You might be able to see the mist lifting ever so slightly, rising up, looking for me.

Here it comes…

and here it stays, full of tiny droplets of ice water that almost freeze the air.

Carl Sandburg’s Chicago poem, “Fog,” made an impression on me the first time I heard it. He says it so simply, so “on the mark,” and with beautiful imagery.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg

But …

I’m sorry, Carl. I find that very often, the last line of your poem doesn’t work for me, so I’ve had to change it.

 

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and stays and stays and stays and stays and stays… .

Anneli Purchase

New Year’s Outing

A trip to the beach? There’s no better way to start the New Year.

Emma and Ruby were happy to get out of the house.

“Yahooooooo! It’s so much fun,  so much to see.”

Ladies and Gentlemen  we have “Liftoff” (with all four feet).

Emma thinks she’s Superdog. She’ll just swim out to the ducks and bring them home to “Dad.”

But she has forgotten that ducks can not only swim, but also fly. The ducks on the other hand, seem to know that dogs can’t fly.

“Any second I’ll have them, ” Emma bleats.

And any second, the ducks will take wing, after which, Emma does the sensible thing and turns back to shore.

Refreshed and well exercised, she comes ashore, looking for someone to shake by.

Not one to give up easily, she’s already scouting around for more targets.

No ducks were harmed in the making of this blog post. Fa-a-a-a-ar from it!

 

The Dreaded Post-Christmas Pounds

People are not the only ones who put on a pound or two over the holidays. It happens to our pets, too.
This morning the Captain took Emma, our field cocker spaniel, to a nearby farm to hunt for ducks. This photo is from yesterday, when we were just out for a walk. Ducks were everywhere.
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Ruby, the springer spaniel, was upset that she didn’t get to go. Nearly 12 years old, she’s almost completely deaf now, but she still knew she was being left behind. She felt better after I gave her a little treat and pulled  her doggie bed right beside me by the laptop.
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Last night when the Captain was getting things ready for this morning’s outing, he hauled out the little neoprene vest I made for Emma a couple of years ago.
“You’d better try it on her,” I said. “She’s put on a couple of pounds.” (After all, it’s just after Christmas).
Sure enough, it was VERY snug.
“You can’t have her wear that. She won’t be able to breathe.”
I looked high and low and luckily found a piece of left over neoprene  (from the old wet suit that I had used to make the vest).
I cut a 1 1/2 inch strip the length of Emma’s suit. It didn’t take long to cut the suit and sew in the strip. With a zigzag stitch and the piece butted up to the edges it was easy to insert a strip. No need to overlap neoprene to make a seam. Just laying the edges snugly side by side and zigzagging them together works fine.
You can see the post I did about the original vest a couple of years
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Here she is in the original vest.
I was going to take a picture of Emma in her expanded vest to put at the end of this post, but I was shocked to learn that she came home without it.
It’s lost! Somewhere out there in the brambles it got hooked up, the velcro parted, and there the vest stayed.
In the next day or so we’ll have to launch a search party for it.

Wind and Rain

Yesterday, on a rare sunny day I was coming home from town when I had to make a quick photo stop. The mist and cloud formations across the bay were ominous, warning of the next weather system coming in.

*Warning* Wet camera lens was an ongoing problem.

I turned the camera back towards town. The spread of the clouds stretched along the far hills. In the water is a long row of posts that has been there ever since I can remember. Not sure what purpose they once served, unless it was a  navigation guide. The posts still stick out at high tide and warn boaters of the bar.

As you can see below, some posts still show in places where the bar is farther below the surface, and the trunk of a long-dead tree is hung up on the gravel. This is not where you want your boat to end up. Seagulls and a heron sit on the log like sentinels warning of hazards to navigation.

After a slightly deeper stretch of water, the bar comes up again and continues into the bay. A river flows along the side of the bar that is closest to us (at the bottom of the photo), while the water beyond is a shallow bay that is a mudflat at very low tide. If you want to bring a boat up the river, you need to know where the channel is or end up with seagulls sitting on your hull.

The sandbar is a popular place for birds to dabble and sun themselves. Sometimes you’ll find ducks and geese there; sometimes, like this day, seagulls.

The sun came blasting through the clouds for one last look at me. I clicked the camera as I looked back into its blinding light, knowing I might not see this light for days ahead.

This morning I see that I was right. Looking out my living room window, I saw what was behind those first clouds I saw yesterday – a blast of southeast duck weather.

It’s a good day to stay home while the Captain goes duck hunting.

*****

Winter on the coast is wet,

Wind and rain is all you get,

Sometimes there’s a glimpse of sun,

Just five minutes, then it’s done,

Back we go to wind and rain,

Hope by spring I’m not insane.

 

The Monster Sink

After 27 years, the taps and faucet in our bathroom sink needed to be replaced. Not only was the calcium residue winning the battle I waged with it all those years, but the material in the collar around the base of the taps was breaking down. It was time for a change.

The Captain bought a new faucet and taps and set to work. Ruby was very interested in what was happening to the sink, but Emma, at the bottom of the photo, was not at all sure where that gray monster as big as herself, had come from or what it was doing there. She kept well away from it.  Who knew what it could do, especially with those metal feelers reaching out towards her?

She tried barking at it, but it stayed there, apparently unmoved, so Emma stayed in the corner near the door so she could beat a quick retreat if necessary.

Eventually, and not without a lot of extra problems, the Captain finished the job. The O-ring that came with the new set was the wrong size. Then the plastic of the drain pipe under the sink broke and had to be replaced with a new piece. That new piece had threading that was a different size from the old one (we thought it might be the change from the standard measurements to metric, but no, the supplier told the Captain it was just that different brands have different specs). Can you imagine trying to plumb a house with those inconsistencies?

At last, the new faucet set was installed and everyone was relieved that the job was done, especially Emma.


I made a short video clip of Emma’s interaction with the monster sink. The Captain growled, mean of him, and Emma looked for safety.

 

A Flicker of Light

Sitting in the dark in my living room at about 6:30 this morning, I was surprised by the contrasting colour of the two levels of clouds — one layer of light gray and one of very dark gray. It gave me the shivers to think of the wind and rain that were coming our way.

I was not disappointed. It blew and dumped rain on us. Once the moisture had been thrown into our faces, the clouds lifted (that’s not the same as going away) and the sky brightened up.

The flicker looked up from his perch in the black walnut tree and called to his buddy who had just flown away, “What do you think, Dear? Is this it for today, or is there more coming? Should we find a more sheltered tree to peck on?”

 

Flicker eyes the roiling sky

Shakes himself and gives a cry,

Shudders at the force of storm,

Sodden feathers, not the norm.

Hoping sun comes shining through,

Flicker asks, “What will I do?

If the next storm is as wild

While I’m wishing it were mild.

Friends will fly away from here, 

I’ll be left alone, I fear.

Wait! I see a glimpse of sun.

Surely I’m the happy one.”