Sunday, March 29, 2009

The guineas are free!

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will know about our guinea hens. The one bad thing we discovered when moving to our "farm" in Nova Scotia last year was that the area has ticks. Fortunately, the ticks we have are American Dog Ticks, and they don't carry lyme disease (the other ticks do). However, we thought they were horrible because they latch onto the dogs and I spent months "tick checking" the dogs and us everytime we came indoors. We were actually devastated by the whole tick scene and wondered why we had ever wanted to move to Nova Scotia! The good news is that the ticks go away in the hot weather (which happened to be mid July last year). Other good news is that we raised two batches of guinea hens last year...they are our weapons in tick control. The poor guineas have been cooped up all winter. Saturday was their first day of freedom since Christmas Day (believe it or not, I spent part of Christmas Day cleaning their coop and some of the guineas escaped, but that's another story). We have 7 guineas and the three bigger ones came out as soon as they got the chance, but the 4 smaller hens were a little hesitant:
They all stayed up on their shelf in the coop...probably blinded by the light! But eventually they all came out and started their march around the yard. Too bad they can't do it quietly...they are loud creatures. But we're counting on them to eat all of the yummy ticks!
And they are ugly devils, don't you think?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unique Jewelry: LTCreates

I mentioned the other day that I have plans for another piece of window art...something a little bit different from what I've done in the past. I've taken my first step and these will be arriving in the mail soon... I'll be creating a "kitchen window"...an old wooden window with coloured glass and a few kitchen items grouted in. I've never used anything but glass before on my windows so I'm excited about this. And aren't those forks totally cool? (does anybody say "cool" anymore?) LOVE them!!

I found a shop on etsy called LTCreatesJewelry. Linda creates the most wonderful and unique jewelry from pewter items...spoons, forks, etc. Here are some samples from her shop (with her permission). Not sure what my favourite is...I think the watches. But the earrings and necklaces are great too. Definitely going on my favourites list for future purchases! Can't wait for my forks to arrive. I'll show you my "kitchen window" when it's finished.
Here's the description from Linda's shop. Go check it out!

LTCreatesJewelry's Shop Announcement
Welcome to my shop! I have started a new line of Pewter Jewelry that I'm very excited about. Over time, I will be putting it in my other shop, http://ltaylordesigns.etsy.com , but since this shop gets more exposure, we'll start here. Please take a look at that section of my shop for some very unique, exciting and affordable jewelry. You may never wear sterling again! For those of you who have retail shops, I do quantity discounts for large orders, so please be sure to contact me if you are looking for larger quantities of my items. I love custom orders, so please contact me if you want something special. I will do hand stamping of your favorite saying, initials, names, etc. My custom orders always get special attention. I have been making and selling Spoon Jewelry for a long time. Others are too, so I try to create unique items for you to enjoy - a little different than all the rest. Don't get stuck in a rut with your jewelry collection. Try something different! I guarantee your satisfaction, or your money back. I pride myself on great communication with my customers. You will never be in the dark as to what is happening with your order, and, you won't wait forever either. Oh yes, I only charge one fee for shipping, regardless how many items you buy. Have fun

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Window Art

Last week, I alternated most of my time between my window art and my Paws for Charity projects. I am patiently (ha!) waiting for the first copy of the 2009 Paws for Charity Art Book to arrive. I'll be anxiously waiting for the mail to arrive each day this week...hoping to see the first edition of this art book.

I've also been working on a second project for Paws for Charity...the initial stages of a "Photo Collection" (I was originally calling it a contest, but "collection" describes the project much better)...raising money for Canines with a Cause. I designed a promotional postcard to advertise this in the Ottawa area...and I even managed to find a sponsor to pay for the printing of the postcards! Yay!

On to the window art....
Most of my time last week was devoted to preparing some windows...sanding, painting, etc. But I also spruced up a couple of windows I made a few years ago. I decided to experiment and added grout between the coloured glass. I think the windows look much better with grout....the colours seem to pop more. Here are some "before" (on the left) and "after" (on the right) photos. What do you think? The window below actually got broken on our move from Ontario to Nova Scotia...the bottom half of the window is now without a pane. But I think it looks good enough to hang outside in a tree somewhere....a mission for John!This week I hope to be working on a couple of new windows. More on that in a couple of days.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An afternoon at Hirtle's Beach


What can I say? A beautiful drive, a beautiful walk, a beautiful day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

PAWS for Charity Photo Collection

I am involved with two large Paws for Charity projects this year. The first (as you know) is the Art Book Project, which is well underway. The book will be uploaded to the online publisher tomorrow and should be available sometime in April. All funds raised will go to breast cancer charities.

My second big project will benefit a small registered charity in Ottawa, Canada called Canines with a Cause (BN # 85755 0735 RR0001). CWAC trains assistance dogs for people with mobility disabilities. Their 2007 budget was only $20,000! It's such a great cause, and they really need our help. So, I'll be collecting your animal photos to produce a "2009 Friends of CWAC Yearbook" and 2010 desk top calendar. Here are the details:

All photos will be printed in the 2009 Friends of CWAC yearbook, a professionally published book. In addition, 12-25 photos will be selected to produce a 2010 desk top calendar. All funds raised are donated to CWAC.

Important Dates:
September 30th - photos must be received by this date
October 15th - calendars will be available for purchase
October 30th - yearbooks will be available for purchase

Available Photo Sizes:
Regular Photo Insert: $5 Three Regular Inserts: $12
Half Page Insert: $30 Full Page Insert: $50
Preorder your desk top calendar: $12 each (includes postage)

Your Photos: Minimum resolution is 230 dpi. Please size your photos to 4 x 6 maximum size (unless you're purchasing a full page insert)

How to Submit Your Photo:
1. Name your photo: YourFullName-PetName
2. Email your photo to: saraharley(at)sympatico(dot)ca
Include your full name and mailing address (this information will remain confidential, and will not be shared)

Payment Instructions: When your photo is received, you will be sent instructions by email to pay your entry fee. Payment is due within 24 hours of receiving payment instructions, or your photo will not be included in the yearbook, and will not be considered for the calendar. Once I receive notice from Paypal, I will acknowledge receipt of your payment. All funds are donated to CWAC.

Photos selected for calendars: will be contacted by email in early October.

Photos will be printed in the Yearbook: in the order they are received. (the earlier you send your photos, the closer to the front of the book they'll be!)

Calendars and Yearbooks: will be available for purchase in mid October.

How can you help? Please help get the word out! Feel free to use the photo above and blog about this project.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Life of Riley

I wonder who Riley is, and what makes his life so good? Well, I don't know about Riley, but I do know that life around our place is good...for the animals, at least. I had to take this photo...it is a first. Usually we keep the door to our bedroom latched with a hook to give a big enough space for the cat to get in (our bedroom is attached to a bathroom, which in turn is attached to a utility room...which is the cat's room). On this day, the door wasn't latched so Cassie decided she'd sneak in and join the cat on our bed. Phantom wasn't too concerned. As you can see, he gave a great big yawn as I snapped the photo.

Life around here is good for us too, not just for our animals. Today I headed out to the studio to work on some windows for my glass art. The only windows I have left to work on are in very poor condition. They need to be sanded and recaulked and painted before I can start working with the coloured glass. So today was sanding and caulking day. Several of the windows have panes that are completely dislodged, and I couldn't get the glass back in place. Somehow I have to find a new supply of old wooden windows. Mission for John.

I've also been working on finishing up the Paws for Charity Art Book. Everything is put together and ready to upload, with the exception of my intro page. I'm having a tough time with it. (Thanks, Jennifer, for your input). I need to have it finished tomorrow...we're heading to G and DIL's place on Saturday and I'll be using their high speed internet access to upload the book file.
I was working on the book yesterday too, which brings me to a funny story...

Yesterday I decided to make a salad for our lunch. I popped some eggs on the stove to boil, and ran upstairs to quickly check my email. I received quite a few emails from the Art Book participants and got totally distracted. A while later, I heard a big bang and jumped up to run downstairs thinking my egg water had boiled over. Well, the water didn't run over. They had been on the stove for so long that the water had boiled away...two of the eggs had burnt to the bottom of the pot...and one egg exploded, throwing off the pot lid. Egg and egg shell was all over the floor and the dogs were trying their best to eat it. John had made it there before me, and started cleaning up. John: "how long did you have the eggs on for?" Sara: "um, quite a while. 45 or 50 minutes?" Yikes. No more quick email checks for me! The funniest part? John put more eggs on the stove and hard boiled them, and called me when they were ready to put into the salad. The eggs had been cooling for 10 minutes and I looked over to see that he had left the burner turned on! Good thing we have each other to muddle through together.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More this and that

Yesterday we headed over to the Fundy side of Nova Scotia and visited with some relatives of John's for lunch....a very nice young couple who are the son and daughter in law of John's cousin. Now does this make them John's second cousins, or first cousins once removed? I never did understand that whole cousin thing. Anyway, it was a lovely visit and we didn't arrive home until 6:00. Not much work got done yesterday.

Today, yet another physio appointment. But a big surprise today. I have a new physiotherapist (she's not new, but she's new to me...my previous physiotherapist decided it was time to have her baby). Sue tells me that my arm is much worse than when I started and my movement is much more restricted. (this is what I kept trying to tell the previous person, but she kept assuring me everything was going along as it should). I have now been told to do no exercises for the next two weeks, and no physio appointments. She sent an email to my doctor saying I need to see an orthopedic (sp?) doctor asap. Well, my doctor has been trying to get me an appointment for the past 2 months so we'll see how that goes.

Tonight is a photo club meeting and I'll see the results of a photo challenge. We were to take photos that illustrate the lines from 10 songs. I didn't complete the challenge (I think I got 4 I was happy with) so maybe I'll get to judge everyone else's submissions...they always have a hard time getting judges. Here is my photo for "Signs, signs, everywhere signs..."
Not my usual type of photo, but one of the reasons I joined the photo club was to stretch myself a bit.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

This and That

Thanks to everyone for leaving such kind and thoughtful comments on my previous post. We have been reminiscing this week, and thinking back on all the good times we had with our Cinder...definitely helps us to get through the rough times.

But...some good things did happen last week. First, our son Cody called with some great news.For those of you who don't know, Cody is living in the big city of Toronto and is trying to break into acting. He had his first paid acting job last week! He spent a day filming a commercial...he had auditioned for the lead roles, but was only cast as an extra. But, hey, he was paid more than he receives for more than 3 days work at his regular job. And he got to see how a commercial is put together. If we actually want to see the commercial, we'll have to fly over to England. Apparently it is a pop commercial that will be released in the theatres in England. Don't ask me why! A step in the right direction as far as an acting career goes.
After my emotional blog posting on Thursday, we headed out on a drive with our 2 dogs. It was glorious and sunny, but cold and blowing. We stopped at Beach Meadows Beach and let the dogs have a run. They had so much fun, and it was great to watch. Thank you, John, for dragging me out. You always know exactly what I need.

And...look what came in the mail:My One World, One Heart gift all the way from Char in Oregon. The album is made with the most beautiful papers...burgandies, greens, and golds. Char calls it a flip flop album, and it folds out to about 3 feet wide with several magnetic sections to keep all sorts of goodies. She promises a tutorial about how to make your own flip flop album, so make sure you check out her blog. Thanks Char, it's beautiful!

The Paws for Charity Art Book project is coming along well. February 28th was the last day for accepting submissions. What a great success for my first year doing this...99 submissions were received (I originally thought the total was 93, but miscounted) All the participants have been contacted (I hope) and I'm working on putting the book together. It's going to be great!

One last good thing happened to round out the week. The library called to tell me one of my reserved books was ready. It's a new release, so I only have the book for 7 days. It's the new book by Maeve Binchy, one of my favourite authors. You can always count on Maeve for a feel good read....something good for me to tuck into for the next couple of days. Speaking of which...I think I have some reading to do...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cinder

Cinder
January 11, 1996 - March 3, 2009
How can a few words express my love for you? How can I use only words to describe 13 years of loyalty and love? From the first day we brought you home, you were a trooper. You had a rare disease, and it took us several weeks of vet visits to figure it out, but we got you all fixed up. After we had you with us for 4 weeks, the breeder wanted us to take you back and trade you in. We refused.One of my first memories was taking you for a walk along the Ottawa River. It was very cold and windy. You walked so closely behind John that he kept clipping your chin with his heel as he walked. You trucked along and never gave up. You were a wonderful family dog. First with Cody, then with grandchildren. You never complained when they grabbed you or sat on you. Never a growl or a snap. Sometimes a sigh.When you were one year old you had both hind legs operated on. You couldn't run and play with other dogs, but you had your big sister Bailey to walk with.You wore silly hats for us every Canada Day.You joined us on family vacations, and let the cat snuggle next to your tummy for 18 hours on a trip to Cape Breton.You loved to walk yourself with your own leash in your mouth. After a while, you'd spit it out and let us take it for you. You loved car rides and sticking your head out the window.And when Mulligan joined us, you were a great big sister. You were the enforcer of the pack and always kept the others in line with your great big bark.You loved to swim. You'd fetch a stick until we got too tired to throw it.
And then something wonderful happened. We discovered a natural diet for dogs. After a few weeks on a natural diet, you could run and play. You were like a puppy with your new freedom.You loved to roll on your back in the grass. Every spring and fall I'd complain as I had to brush off all the dead grass from you. Then in the winter, I'd complain about all the snow you brought in.You were a great big dog with a great big bark and a big, big heart. You were my best employee for ten years when I owned a dog biscuit company. You loved to taste test, and you kept me company in the cold garage when I packed bags of biscuits.You loved to cuddle.And the years went by. And your eyes got cloudy. You got confused sometimes. But you loved to eat. You would bark and bark at meal time and drive me crazy.
When your legs didn't work right you would look at us with fright in your eyes. We'd hold you up to steady you. You trusted us.
And then your eyes weren't happy anymore. We took you for one last walk. And one last car ride. You couldn't stand up for your car ride, but rested your chin on the seat and looked out the front window.We went into the room at the vet's office. You laid on the floor with your head in John's lap and we whispered in your ear. We love you. We love you. Good bye, my Doo Dog. Who will fix this hole in my heart?

Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.
from "September" by Rosamunde Pilcher

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Boys and their toys

John's son G bought himself a new toy. Since he and his family are city dwellers, it was delivered to our place on Saturday. We'll be storing it at our place for some weekend fun for G.It was a rainy and dreadful weather (my photo club outing was cancelled), but that didn't spoil the fun for "the boys". I'm not sure what was funnier to see...The fun that the men had with their new toy....or the reaction from the dogs, who thought this was a new chase game.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Peggy's Cove #2

William E. deGarthe was an artist and sculptor who lived in Peggy's Cove. The gallery is open from May to October. Love this sculpture with the all the fishermen and angel watching over them. The sculpture is huge, and cut right into the rock beside the gallery. Here is some detail:Just down the road from Peggy's Cove at Whalesback is the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial. Here are the details from the info board in the parking lot:
"The communities of Peggys Cove and Blandford were central to the recovery operation following the crash of Swissair Flight 111. The Whalesback and Bayswater Beach sites were chosen for their proximity to those communities and because they have view lines to the crash site and each other.
The Three sites combined - Whalesback, Bayswater, and the actual crash site - make a triangular shape, which is reflected in the design of the memorials. Whalesback is at the eastern tip of triangle. As you stand at the monument, facing the ocean, the line on your right is a sight line to Bayswater Beach. The line on your left leads to the crash site, which lies on the horizon.
At the request of family and community members, the quiet, modest memorials are consistent with the coastal environment. The names of the passengers and crew are inscribed at the burial site at Bayswater." "In memory of the 229 men, women and children aboard Swissair Flight 111 who perished off these shores September 2, 1998. They have been joined to the sea and the sky. May they rest in peace."The facing stone says:

"In grateful recognition of all those who worked tirelessly to provide assistance in the recovery operations and comfort to the families and their friends during a time of distress."

The land is barren and desolate. I was alone at the memorial taking these photos, with just the sounds of the ocean and the seagulls. All I could feel was a deep sadness.