The Homestone

Friday, July 27, 2007

pleased as a smiling pickle

" I'm as pleased as a smiling pickle! (which is pretty splendid if you like relish)." This comment was from a fellow in response to a long overdue email from me. He who is 'pleased as a smiling pickle' is about to begin the process of designing his wooden rings.
New folks wandering into our lives, beginning a process with a purpose, enriching our lives with their thoughts and ideas and always touching our hearts and making us smile. 'Our smiling pickle' just made me grin. The people who appear in our in-box and come into our lives are good humans :)
It's a warm day today. 27 celcius, 80 F. David and I made a quick and early trip into town the other day to take care of some business. Morning is the right time to travel our 30 dusty miles of logging roads and 'town' these days is hot and socked in.
A day when we don't have to go to town is always a much better day. We just like it here. Fortuantely we are self sufficient enough that we normally don't go to town more than once a month. We're back and forth a bit more in the summer months but the majority of our days are spent blissfully on the meadow.
New life on the meadow. Our robins hatched.
And we are, to borrow a phrase, pleased as smiling pickles.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Swallow babies take flight

Another pic of our two baby swallows who were prematurely ousted from their nest when it came down in a wind storm. We made this ‘guest house’ for them where they were tended to by their mom for a few days and now they’re up and off, and attending flight school with all the other swallow babies. It was a satisfying moment as we watched them take to the air after two nights in their makeshift nest. It appears as though our cool days have come to an abrupt end. Clear blue skies this morning and quite hot already at 10am. It will be time to hay the meadows very soon now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Swallow tales

Our rough counts have numbered 300 swallows at any one time. We've always encouraged them nesting around the house and out buildings and we welcome their arrival like Capistrano. Cleaning up after the birds is just part of the deal. Before they arrive, David builds ledges so they have secure footholds for their nests. Barn and cliff swallows live side by side. Not always the most relaxed of neighbours ~ the barn swallows are generally on guard as the cliff swallows are ruthless in their take overs. The 'cliffs' will move in on a nearly finished barn swallow nest and carry on building it up to the conical shaped nest that is a cliff swallows trademark.
It is a happy co-existence though; this one between the swallows and the humans. We try to look out for them without interfering and we delight in their day to day lives.
They eat huge volumes of mosquitoes. For this we are most grateful. Living as we do surrounded by boreal forest, bordered by hay fields and a sizable creek ~ mosquitoes thrive. And we grow them big up here. Our hundreds of swallows are always working ~ feasting on every new hatch that appears on the meadow and making the area around the house quite comfortable in the thick of mosquito season.
We have two little ones right now very nearly out of the nest who had a bit of an early shove when their entire nest came crashing down yesterday. We placed them back under where their nest had been and where their mom is feeding and tending to them.
It gets cold and wet here through the night and so last night we set up a wee bucket on it's side and stuffed it with straw. We gently tucked the baby swallows into the straw and there they survived the night.
Today they ventured just a few feet from their guest house but an hour ago we found them tucked up, side by each, back on their straw. And mama is still keeping a close eye on them.
Our whole community of swallows often gather together along the fence line and gather in the nearby trees. David planted a spruce tree just outside the kitchen a few years ago that we call our Christmas tree. In winter we hang a little string of solar powered lights and enjoy the tree on snow white nights. Throughout the summer it is used by the humming birds and blackbirds but rarely by swallows. This morning, quite suddenly, the little spruce tree was thick with swallows. A beautiful sight. The young ones appear to be attending flight school on the tree. .

Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer on the meadow and July skies

This is the back road towards Quesnel overlooking the Fraser River ~ David and I recently took a day trip with my sister, brother-in-law and their two delightful girls to the Historic town of Barkerville. Their stagecoach ride through the old town was a definite highlight of the day. It's a wonderful place ~ a living museum. Founded in 1862, Barkerville was “The Gold Capital of British Columbia”. The town is now the largest historic site in the province.
The girls did some artwork for us while they were here :) Below is one of the pics that now adorns our fridge ~ of our sheep and the ram who currently resides on the other side of the pasture. The girls helped to feed the ram (who we call Mister) the ends of our asparagus from dinner one night. He loves asparagus and enjoys the attention.
It was a lovely visit with family ~ and over too soon, but we're so glad they came!
And it's back to quiet meadow time now. The swallows are raising their young, the robins too. The hummingbirds continue to enjoy the easy energy boost of always full feeders.
After the hot weather of early July come the thunder and lightening storms we've been seeing the last few days. Spectacular skies. Never a dull moment on the meadow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A little alone time

A few pangs of guilt as I log in to my blog after a day of work and before going to make dinner. Guilt, because if I am on the computer I really should be answering emails. My backlog of emails is a bit daunting. I am ever thankful to all the folks who write to us for their patience and kindness.
But, it is the end of the work day and I do want to share this photograph that David took yesterday afternoon. It could be titled ' Do you ever feel like everybody is talking about you?' or ' I would just like a little alone time, thank you!'
The lads are off to assist our neighbour with a hay rake and I am about to go and put some chicken on the bbq. And make some of those oh so tasty pan fried spuds. Way too warm to use the wood stove tonight!!
However, 'way too warm' is all relative. We worry about our neighbours in the states who are in the midst of a dreadful fire season. Our high mountain meadow is considerably cooler too than Southern BC where folks are sweltering under the full hot sun.
It always cools down beautifully here through the nights. That's when the windows get flung wide open (screened of course from the hungry mosquitos) and we feel blessed, as always, to live where we do.
Okee dokee. Time to shut down the computer and get some dinner happening.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

a lichen bouquet and a couple of blogs

This beautiful 'rock with lichen' was placed on it's cradle of fence wire by my beloved David a couple of years ago when the lichen was tiny. When he was out mending fences a few days ago, he brought me home this photograph ~ like a lichen bouquet.

Blogs ~ oh! So many blogs, so little time. Being uber busy is the only thing holding me back from spending hours and hours visiting and getting to know fascinating people all over the world. A couple of blogs I happened on this afternoon while looking up some totally unrelated item... breedemandweep a blog written by Jenn Mattern, a mom among other things :) and her Canadian husband David Lane who has a blog called Porchlight Paintings. One of my favourites; moon pie a blog by a gal named Kate ~ I love her writing and photography and she shares a whole pie (or is it pile) of recipes too. This is just a wee thank you to all the online folks who inspire and delight me from time to time. Till next time. Nicola