28 March 2011

Monday forest photo: March 28, 2011

8:45 am -3C cloudy
When will the freaking wind stop blowing? Not only is it unseasonably cold here of late, the wind is making any outdoor activity quite unpleasant. Especially since things look so pretty in the sunshine and everyone (well, me) is itching to get outside and into the dirt. The forecast is for above freezing temperatures starting tomorrow and I hope next week we'll be down to a few shady patches of snow and some unfrozen ground.

25 March 2011

Seedy inspiration

An awesome selection of seeds in amazing little folded packets
I received a really nice package in the mail today from Ottawa Gardener over at The Veggie Patch Re-imagined. In one of her blogs she mentioned that she had too many seeds and would send some to any local gardener who sent her their address. I was happy to help, but I am quite floored by her generosity. There are some very interesting and even rare seeds here (I spent a pleasant hour googling them). I haven't really saved seeds so far, but I am newly inspired to figure out how it's done so that I can share seeds too. Thanks OG!

24 March 2011

Nothing to do with me

I don't know if I've ever felt so disconnected from the world at large as I do now. The news is filled with stories that highlight the limits we're starting to butt up against with increasing frequency. One thing that seems to have no limit is our ability to convince ourselves that it's ok to place entire ecosystems in peril so that every form of consumption, no matter how frivolous, can continue unquestioned and unimpeded. Witness deep water drilling, nuclear plants on fault lines (or anywhere else for that matter), tar sands development, gas fracking, and mountain top removal coal-mining. Meanwhile, I take my daily walk in the woods with my dog and plant seeds, secure in the knowledge that none of this has anything to do with me. Somehow, it doesn't even seem to have anything to do with me when I make yet another trip to the big box hardware store to pick up something else for a home improvement project. We seem to have finished all the absolutely-necessary-for-health-and-safety repairs at our new house, and have moved onto far more satisfying bathroom updating and painting and lighting improvements. All of which generate a surprising amount of waste and shopping.

I was able to have a serious discussion about emergency preparedness with my husband as a result of all the news this week, including a local story about a neighbourhood we once lived in where the residents were being advised to stay inside with all doors, windows and ventilation closed because of plumes of toxic smoke from a hardware store fire. Likely the city's tiniest hardware store, but crammed with paints and chemicals and a fresh delivery of self-lighting barbecue briquets (the fire has been deemed accidental). So we talked about what measures we should take to protect ourselves in case of some natural or other disaster. And we even talked a bit about living in a world with too many people, using too much stuff, with margins that are just too thin. Then we went to Home Depot.

21 March 2011

Monday forest photo: March 21, 2011

9:00 am -1C snow
Yay spring. I've enjoyed reading the blogs of all the pea-planters out there. The ones who plant peas on St. Patrick's Day or the vernal equinox while I poke at completely frozen dirt and weep. Actually, the past week was lovely, with much snow melting and chicken free-ranging, but late winter/early spring can be very cruel around here. As a matter of fact, it's rather comforting to just have normal weather, rather than the unusually warm springs we've had the past couple of years. Really.

14 March 2011

Monday forest photo: March 14, 2011

3:45 pm DST 1C severe clear
Spring is in the air! It was barely above freezing today, but the sun was spectacular and snow was melting. The forecast for the rest of the week is high temperatures above freezing every day. Perfect sugaring weather, and most welcome after the late winter misery we endured last week.

10 March 2011

Doggie tale

Meg's kind of camera shy, so it's hard for me to take a decent photo of her and I together. It doesn't change the fact that we've become pretty good buddies over the last couple of years. The two-year anniversary of her arrival was on Tuesday. To mark the anniversary, I rescued her from a tree. Yep, Meg, our intelligent little border collie, managed to get herself stuck in a tree.

We had just started out on our daily walk, me on the trail and Meg running everywhere, when I heard a horrible, pained yelping and coming from the trees. My first thought was that she had encountered a porcupine, but when she didn't come running to me (as I was running toward that awful sound) I worried she may have got into a coyote trap. Occasionally, we hear about traps being set and dogs getting into them, but the theory wasn't really computing in my little racing brain as there are no livestock near our property. When I found Meg, she was standing on her hind legs with her left front leg wedged between the two trunks of a large red oak. She was a little twisted as she had tried to free herself. I ran over and picked her up to relieve the weight on her leg and shoulder and tried to release her. Nothing moved. I was nervous that her leg was broken and shoulder dislocated, so I was a little ginger at first, but even with more effort on my part her leg didn't budge. Meg had calmed right down and was letting me fix the situation, but I was starting to get a bit worried that I didn't have a good solution. I was holding her up and I didn't want to set her down as I didn't want to put more stress on her shoulder, and I certainly didn't want to leave her there while I went for help, but I was feeling a bit out of options. I took a little while to catch my breath and figure out what to do then tried freeing her once more. It worked! I guess the trunk of the tree moved in the wind just slightly, and her leg just popped out.

I checked her leg and shoulder and set her down, and she took off running as though nothing had happened. I thought at least she'd be a bit sore, but if she was, she didn't let on. She didn't explain how she had arrived in her predicament, but I'd wager there was a squirrel involved. There's probably a lesson here, but sometimes things just happen. I am very happy I could help.

07 March 2011

Monday forest photo: March 7, 2011

9:45am -11C cloudy
This is one of the more wintery photos this winter. It's never safe around here to get too excited about spring when it's only March, but we've had a few years recently when spring came early. The weather guys have been torturing us with forecasts of above freezing temperatures then changing their minds.


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