Thursday, February 26, 2009

Peggy's Cove

Lately I have been running across "Peggy's Cove" in blogs and conversations. We haven't been to Peggy's since we moved to Nova Scotia, and it's been almost 2 years since we last visited. We've never been there in the winter, only during the summer months...sometimes as late as October...but always when there are lots of people around. So yesterday morning I woke up John from a sound sleep and told him I wanted to go. I brought all our camera equipment along for the ride, but took only the necessities out to "the rocks". Left the tripod behind. Left the remote control behind. So this photo was taken with the camera sitting on my gloves on a rock, setting the timer, and running to get into the photo. Sometimes you just have to do things the hard way.
The lighthouse.The warning on the lighthouse: "Injury and death have rewarded careless sight-seers here. The ocean and rocks are treacherous. Savour the sea from a distance."A few shots from around the cove.A photo of lobster traps is a must.I am kicking myself today. Yesterday I spent all my time taking photos, and missed my favourite thing to do at Peggy's.
I didn't sit on the rocks and listen to the silence. By the time I finished taking photos, my frozen shoulder was aching and I couldn't think about anything else. I love sitting on the rocks, looking out at the ocean, and listening to the wind and the waves crashing on the shore. So now I have a sore shoulder and a sore toe...a sore toe from kicking myself.
Next: monuments from in and around Peggy's Cove.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One World One Heart Wrap Up

Finally, finally my photos are on the way to the winner of my One World, One Heart draw.

Nancy selected her choice of 3 photos from my etsy shop:
Forgotten, Doilies & Icebergs, Touch of Blue
First there was a snowstorm, then the machine at the Photo Lab was broken, then one of the enlargements came back with a spot on it. What else could go wrong? But now they are all ready to be put in the mail.
And looky, looky what I got from Nancy! A lovely card...photo taken and card made by Nancy herself. I love the detailing on the card....the photo here doesn't do it justice. It has lovely red paper stitched over the angel photo. And boy, do I love to receive things in the mail! Thanks so much Nancy. You are one talented lady. Hope you enjoy your little gifties too!
Make sure you check out The Evolution of Nancy when you get a chance...you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Going Batty

On Sunday we not only put up our owl boxes, but we put up a bat house as well. G and DIL gave us a bat house for Christmas (made in Nova Scotia, of course) and we put G to work on Sunday mounting it on one of our telephone poles.

According to the tag on the box, bats' needs are simple: a place to roost and a steady diet of mosquitoes (yes, we have lots of those in the warmer weather!). This house will act as home to dozens of bats at a time. The grooved backing provides a place for them to cling while roosting. The house should be placed between 10 and 14 feet high on a building, pole, or tree. If you want females, the house should have a south-east exposure (which is what we did) or a west exposure for males.

I checked the internet to see if we should prefer to have females or males. Females will have their young in the box, so we went with the exposure for females. (figuring that they might need protection more).

Of course, John read that owls eat bats. So now that we have 2 owl boxes up, I guess we've also given them a food supply if we have bats show up. Our fields have plenty of rodents though, so hopefully the owls will leave the bats alone. Time will tell.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Boreal Owl Project - Part 2

Our instructions on erecting the owl nest boxes were:
Materials
12 foot or taller ladder
Nest Box
30 foot quarter inch rope
electric screw driver
three to four-inch screws
dead leaves or wood shavingsWe were to locate the box near an open area where mice, voles, etc are likely to be. Also the stand of trees was not to be too dense. The first box we put up is located in the huge rock pile that runs in a strip across our field...the strip of rocks and trees cut our large field in half. In the picture above, you can see John's son G climbing the ladder (he was the lucky one that had to do almost all the work), John at the bottom of the ladder, and DIL (daughter in law) holding the nesting box. Cassie is there sniffing at the box that's holding the wood shavings.Here are DIL and Miss M holding one of the nesting boxes. The boxes are quite large and heavy. The local college makes the boxes in one of the woodworking courses. The boxes are given to the people who volunteer for this project...we even had them delivered right to the door!The rope is used to pull the box up into the tree. We put the rope around a tree branch. At the end of the rope is a stick. You put the stick in the owl hole, and pull it up....saves someone from having to climb the ladder holding the big, heavy box.Here you see G putting the box in place on the tree. The box is screwed in place, and then filled with wood shavings (or leaves if you have them, but all our leaves are covered in at least a foot of snow). Once the box is approx 1/3 filled with shavings and/or leaves, the front flap is lowered and screwed into place.Voila! Our first box is in place. The photo below shows John and Miss M heading back towards the house. This gives you an idea of the distance between the rock pile where we mounted the first box and the house.We located the second box on the other side of the house, down the hill towards the "lower" field.You can see the roof of our house through the tree limbs.We went through the process again, and our 2 boxes are now in place.The last step was to go out with our GPS and get the exact coordinates of the boxes to send to Randy Lauff, the person running the project. This photo is taken from our house, down towards the first box.

Rumour is that the Boreal Owls are currently in a bidding war to see who gets to move in. We're ready!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Boreal Owl Project

We subscribe to a magazine called Rural Delivery, which arrives in our mailbox periodically and is filled with articles about country living. Not one of those fancy magazines with beautiful photos of designer homes. This is filled with practical information for farmers...sometimes way over my head in technical farmer type stuff, as well as lots of articles that are just plain interesting. The magazine is published in a town about a 1/2 hour drive from where we live, and focuses on the Maritime provinces.

The current magazine arrived a couple of weeks ago. The editor talked about many things, including a project about Boreal Owls. Randy Lauff is an instructor with the Department of Biology at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. (commonly known around here as St.FX) In 2004, he discovered the first two Boreal Owl nests in Nova Scotia. He's working on a project to prove that the owls exist in other parts of the province. You can read about his owl project here.
photo taken from Randy Lauff's website

And this is where we come in. We have volunteered to be part of the project. This involves mounting 2 nesting boxes in our trees and monitoring the boxes. If we're lucky enough to get some owls nesting, then Randy will be paying us a visit. If we get some Saw-whet owls, then he'll come down to band the birds. If we're lucky enough to get Boreal owls, then he'll be down more frequently to take growth related measurements, extract nest material (to understand their diet), etc.

Fingers crossed we'll get some owls!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mayo Jar and 2 Beers

I received the following in an email from a very special person. I don't know where it originated, but it's a good read:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed...

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'

The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Art book update

Walking the dogs along our drive... Not much new to report around here. On Saturday, we did get out and about. Met some friends in Mahone Bay for dinner at a pub, then John and I went on alone to a sold out show in Petite Riviere....Garrett Mason was playing. We met some very nice people from along the South Shore, and have been invited to drop by their place sometime. It was a great night of blues! We didn't stay until the end, but still it was almost 2:00 bedtime. Takes me longer to recuperate from nights like that! (no, I wasn't drinking...it's lack of sleep I'm talking about)

My days are consumed by the Paws for Charity Art Book project. I'm producing a book of photos and artwork to raise funds for breast cancer. I had originally thought the book would be restricted to 20 artists. But I discovered that I can include 38 pages of artwork for the same base cost. Yahoo! I've been busy on the internet inviting people to join in. It's been a very time consuming project since we only have dial up internet access. I've run across some fantastic artists and photographers.

So far there are 30 participants from Canada, US, UK, and France. 14 photographers and 16 artists. Still room for about 8 more. Know anyone who would be interested?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Australia

I have been thinking a lot about Australia, and our friends there. One of my high school friends and her husband moved there a number of years ago. Every few years they get back to Canada and drop by to see us. I'm hoping they'll come to visit us again sometime. They have never been to Nova Scotia, so I can bribe them with that. Unfortunately, I don't think we will ever visit them in Australia. One of the downsides to retiring early (and hence a limited income) is that we can't do any globe trotting.But...Andrea sends me photos every once in a while. The scenery is so grand! This photo was taken in a national park 5 hours north of Adelaide...5 hours away from any city in Australia and is truly the middle of nowhere!
And how cute is this? A wallabie and her joey.
I truly don't know what to say about the drought and fires and aftermath that the Australians are suffering through. Other than...our thoughts are with you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

A few weeks ago I was in the kitchen with my camera.
John: "what are you doing?"
Sara: "taking a picture of a potato"
John: " a potato?"
Sara: "yep"
John: (smart enough not to question) says nothing

Happy Valentine's Day to the love of my life. Thanks for loving me just the way I am (weirdness and all!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Winners

An interesting day! First, our driveway (which is 1/2 mile long) is completely ice. The whole length is like a skating rink. John managed to get the car down the drive this morning, but couldn't get back up when he returned. So he had to walk up to the house with 2 of our "girls", slipping and sliding. Then we had to go back out this afternoon for my physio appointment....which meant a walk down the driveway to the car. A very, very slow walk...gingerly all the way. But we made it, went to physio, got back home (with newly purchased sand)...made it up the driveway...yay!...to find the power out at home. The good news is that we have a generator that kicks in automatically when the power goes out. The bad news is that the generator overloads when our heating system is on. So we trucked outside to the generator to reset it. All is well now...our power is back on and so is the heat.

On to some better news....a list of winners! First of all, the winner of my One World One Heart draw for 3 prints of their choice from my etsy shop is....Nancy from All Pulped Out! I touched base with Nancy yesterday, and she will be picking her favourite 3 prints shortly. You should check out her blog...Nancy is quite the talented artist!

The next winner is ME! I won something in all the One World One Heart giveaways...quite surprising, since I only entered a very few draws. I did visit many of the participants, but waiting for our dial up internet access to load the comment forms was just too frustrating, so I gave up after a while. I will be visiting the participants through the year. There are so many talented people out there. Anyway, look what I am going to receive from Char at Pawsn2stamp!Char calls it a flip flop scrapbook album. I call it gorgeous! Love those colours. Thanks Char, I'm looking forward to receiving it!

And, yet another "winner"....me again! This photo: was selected by CoolJewelryDesigns to be in her beach treasury on Etsy. She called the treasury "Get your BUTT on the Beach NOW!" and it will be available to see until 1:44 pm on February 15th. You can see the treasury by clicking here.

Time to go sit by the fire, and have a nice salmon dinner cooked for me. My luck continues...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blue Rocks

Last week, someone from the local photo club had a photo on his blog about cottages in Blue Rocks. John and I have been to Blue Rocks quite a few times but we had never seen those cottages. When I saw that photo, I knew I wanted to head back. So we turned down a road we had never travelled before (called "The Lane"). Even on an overcast day, there is lots of colour around here. This is some of what we found:Photos available in my etsy shop.

For participants in my One World One Heart giveaway....the winner will be announced on my original OWOH post.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Halifax Farmer's Market

I'm a little behind on my posting. I've been very busy with my Paws For Charity art book project. I'm happy to say that people are jumping on board, and I've been receiving some wonderful artwork and photos, and reading some heart felt stories. I hope to share some of them with you soon.

On Saturday, we went to the Halifax Farmer's Market. Don't let the photos fool you. It is still snowy and cold in this part of the world. The market is held indoors, and you can find just about anything you want. The sights, sounds, and smells are wonderful.There was potted rosemary for sale (as well as other herbs). I love the smell of rosemary when you run your hands down the plant. Reminder to self: must plant a windowsill herb garden.Fresh flowers, and fruits and vegetables,and baked goods (boy, did they smell good!). And the smell of fresh coffee. Mmmmm. There was a room full of Nova Scotia wines, and even some scotch from Cape Breton. Jams and jellies...And musicians.Lots of music. These guys are the Moonshine Ramblers. I love bluegrass!Miss M spotted this spider web, way up high. (call me weird, but I love this photo). Here's a close up of the web:Spiders freak me out, but this web is quite beautiful. After the market, we headed to a photography store where we picked up some toys (a monopod and some camera cleaning equipment). Then, on we went to a pub for lunch. A fantastic day!

Friday, February 6, 2009

This and That

These are what's left of our Amaryllis plants. Both of them bloomed beautifully in December...just in time for our Christmas visitors.Today seems a good day for updates.

First, my frozen shoulder. Unfortunately, it's still frozen. In fact...getting a little worse despite physio a couple of times each week and a daily exercise regime. A lot less mobility in my left arm, but we'll keep plugging away. I am hoping, really hoping that everything is back to normal by gardening time. That's a long way away, so fingers crossed on that score.

Next, the One World One Heart event. Wow. What can I say? This is the third year for the event (my first year participating). First year, there were 85 participants, then 426 last year. This year...911! Bloggers from all over the world are giving things away. You have until February 11th to visit them and post a comment. Last count, I think there were 162 comments on my giveaway post. I've visited some of the participants and have been amazed at the artistic talent out there. One of the participants is submitting a piece of art for my Art Book project!Benedetta is creating a brand new piece of art specifically for my Paws for Charity breast cancer fundraiser project.
Anyone have a name suggestion for this art book? I'm drawing a blank.
Anyway, I'm excited to say that I've received emails from quite a few people wanting to be involved. So far there seems to be a good mix of photographers and artists, dogs & cats. I'm very excited and look forward to sharing some of the images and artists with you in the coming months.

One last bit of excitement for me...my poppy painting on Ebay was sold! It has been shipped off to it's new owner.

Enough with the updates. Tomorrow we're off on a new adventure. We'll be meeting G,DIL, and Miss M in the big city for the Farmer's Market. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Close to home

Last year, when we were telling people that we were moving from Ontario to Nova Scotia, the first question always asked was "oh, will you be living on the ocean?". No. We live in "the country". But did you know that every single place in Nova Scotia is no more than 50 kilometers from the ocean? We actually live just a short drive away from many spectacular beaches.

But, we do live in the country. And it has a beauty all it's own. When we drive home from our nearest town (15 kilometers away)...and we turn onto the road we live on....this is the first thing we see.This red barn sits almost on top of the gravel road. And this red barn means that we are just a short drive away from home.
There are always sheep around, and this day was no exception. One day when we drove by, there was a sheep just inside the door, peering out. Of course, I didn't have my camera with me. I would have loved that shot.The sheep are looking at our car. Cassie and Mulligan were with us, and Cassie was barking like crazy. John pulled ahead so that the barn blocked her view of the sheep. Notice the ram in the back? As I moved around to take the photos, the ram moved too. He made sure that he kept all "the girls" between him and me! Not very gentlemanly, I'd say.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Early morning and yesterday afternoon

What a difference a day makes. As mentioned in yesterday's post, I rose with the dawn (not too hard to do in mid winter as dawn shows up rather late at this time of year) to take some photos. It was a lovely morning, with a few brave birds chirping and not another sound around.A far cry from today...it has been snowing hard for six hours...so hard that you can barely see out the window. No drive into town today for my physio appointment. And we might just be snowbound tomorrow. Can you see the line of mist through the trees? There is a lake down there. At this time of year we have a "lake view". Some people can see the lake (a very few) through our trees. Most people try to peer through the trees, squint their eyes, and can't see it. Too bad we can't convince the neighbours to cut down a few trees. Oh well, I know it's there.One of my devoted readers (aka husband John) has brought it to my attention that I left out an important part of the story in describing our afternoon at Risser's Beach yesterday.As mentioned in yesterday's post, it was a glorious day full of beach and sunshine and crashing waves. I was feeling happy and ran up to John from behind. My intention was to give him a big hug. So I bounded over (not at a full out run, but as close to that as I ever get) jumped up to put my right arm around him (my left arm still being frozen and I can't lift it that high) and instead of a big hug....I walloped him in the face with my right hand. Whoops. The story is getting a little exaggerated, with John talking about having to pick himself up off the beach after getting slugged. So I just thought I better beat him to it and get the story out. (ha, beat him to it...get it?)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter Afternoon at Risser's Beach

I was laying in bed waiting for my morning coffee to be delivered (yes, I know...I know I'm spoiled!) and looked out the window. That was the end of the coffee in bed. The dawn was glorious and I had to jump out of bed to get outside and take some photos. I might share some of those tomorrow....haven't had a chance to take a look at them yet.

Back in the house for breakfast, and then we headed out to the shore. We decided to stop at Risser's Beach today (we tend to head to Crescent Beach).We had the beach to ourselves most of the time. I love the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. The dogs loved the smells.Here is a photo of the two of us on the beach:If you look closely, you'll see my reflection in John's sunglasses! And my favourite photo of the day:Cassie. How can you not feel happy when you look at that shot?