Collecting eggs for Easter

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We were lucky enough to visit my family’s farm over the March break. The hens there lay beautiful blue/green eggs. Of course we collected some, boiled them up and displayed them proudly on our dinner table for Easter.

Collecting eggs for Easter

 

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Simple, Inexpensive and Fun Valentine!

I got this idea from a Design Mom post last year and we had tonnes of great feedback from the kids and families who received them. They are simple, and inexpensive costing only $3.50 for 20 valentines (10 cents per print plus $1.50 for 20 suckers at the dollar store).valentine

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Take a photo of your child holding out their hand like they are holding something (obviously).

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I made the title in Photoshop which I tried to set up as a download for you but for some reason WordPress wouldn’t allow me to upload a .psd file. Anyway, you can easily make your own or even just write on the front of the photo with permanent marker.  The kids helped cut holes in the card for the suckers and wrote their names on the back but since their faces are already on the valentine, they don’t even need to do that if you are to strapped for time.

Admiring their valentines before handing them away.

Admiring their valentines before handing them away.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Well-Loved Playhouse

This is the story of a well-loved playhouse. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived on a lake and her grandfather made her a beautiful playhouse. Eventually the little girl grew up and was to big for the playhouse so she passed it along to her neighbour who was a little younger than her and could enjoy it for a few more years. Eventually this girl outgrew the playhouse as well. She had two little neighbours who were sisters and she knew these little girls would just LOVE a playhouse of their own and to their great delight, she offered it to them. One of the neighbours owned a crane and was hired to move the little house to its new family. The girls were thrilled the day their new home arrived, flying through the air. The sight of which further adding to its magic. The little house has been shown lots of love and attention and continues to today.

Below are pictures from various stages of the playhouse’s evolution.

The day it arrived. A flying playhouse!Image
Watching it in the air.ImageImage

It received a new exterior paint job and a deck made from a pallet.  
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Interior walls used to be exposed particle board but were re-painted with paint from Home Depot’s bargain bin of unwanted colours people didn’t like after they were mixed. There were signatures of previous guests to the house written on a small wall which were left exposed as reminders of all who visited.Image

We hung a crystal in the window to catch the sun and cast rainbows all over the walls.
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The girls basking in more rainbows.Image

The girls drew some pictures which were framed with inexpensive Ikea frames that have plastic instead of glass so they can’t break.
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Just painting a piece of plywood and drawing some circles on it became a quick stove top. They also get to keep all our used spice jars to add to their kitchen.Image

Dishes are Ikea and tray was $1 in the bargain bin at Ikea as well.
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The play structure is next to the playhouse. This helped us soooo much when we were working on our house. The girls can spend hours here!ImageImageImageImageImage

Some Wildlife from the last 2 Days

Just been snapping some pics of the neighbours yesterday and today and thought I would share.

The Great Blue Heron always leaves me breathless.


This little mink has decided to take up residence in a nearby rock pile. It was running back and forth yesterday gathering some meat from something dead and returning it to the rock pile. It was difficult to get a good photo since it is so quick.

This Hare was making many laps circling the house for some reason. It stayed still just long enough for me to get this shot. I noticed it still has a couple of small patches of white winter fur remaining.

Osprey Hunting

Of all the birds and wildlife I see every day, I am always breathless when I watch the Osprey hunting for fish. They are truly spectacular birds. With their expansive wings, they hover when they see a fish, then tuck them in and dive right underwater from great heights. Somehow they effortlessly go from complete submersion to high flight in a matter of moments, shaking the water off their wings mid-flight upon ascent. I have tried to capture the spectacle but feel my photos do not do justice to what is witnessed by the eye.

Hunting
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Hovering
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Keeping an eye on the fish
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Beginning the descent
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The plunge
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A closer look
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Hunting again
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Coyote bait

So back in October we had an “incident” which made me question living in the country. At moments I am still somewhat shaken by what happened many months later so I thought I would share my experience.

First of all, you should meet our little dog Daisy. We got her about 6 years ago from a family who didn’t want her anymore. She lived in a little house with a little yard which I don’t think she had ever been out of because when we got her, she was covered in her own feces and she didn’t even know she was able to run. We had to teach her how to play as well. Basically she was a depressed little dog with a lot of love in her which was unleashed by our little family and country life.Yup, she is a cutie – but then again I am a little biased 🙂

Daisy knows she is small and vulnerable when it comes to the numerous wild animals and birds who also share her surroundings, so she is pretty careful not to go far and keeps at our side when we are out walking. As you can imagine, we don’t put her out when it is dark and if she really is desperate, we let her out on the water side of the house and make noise first and turn on the flood lights for her to scare any critters away. This time was different though. It was 5 am and still very dark. My husband was getting ready for work and Daisy was doing the tap-dance and her eyeballs were floating so without a second thought, out she went. Moments later, her screams (like none heard before) let us know she was in serious trouble. My husband ran barefoot and in his underwear blindly into the brisk, black morning toward her cries and retrieved her relatively intact (the hubby was also intact in case you were wondering). As I am sure you can guess by the title, she had been attacked by a coyote!  Daisy was in shock and had punctures on both sides as well as in her chest which pulled the skin away from muscle and also tore muscle in her shoulders, but with the help of a neighbour vet/friend as well as some emergency care, IV, heavy painkillers, antibiotics and a hefty vet bill, she has made a full recovery. Mind you her pride is a little hurt since she now requires bodyguards when she is outside.

Here she is waiting to see the vet

Here are all the lovely meds she was on

She spent more than a week not wanting to leave her crate 😦

Note the punctures from the coyote’s teeth

Starting to feel better but chose other “safe” places to hang out  like in the girl’s dollhouse.

Back to normal and getting spoiled as usual and loving it!

Battle scars – such a toughie.

I grew up on a farm in the country and never had to many fears of nature but I suppose ignorance is bliss. Now that I am a mom and trying to be “responsible” I have developed concerns. My main fear when I moved here were the bears. We had a territorial one who, days after we moved in, climbed our 5 ft deck, put its rump against our door and left us a nice little parcel on our doorstep (but that is another story). Yes, bears were my biggest concern and coyotes were not really much of a thought. I have seen them frequently close to our house and take down deer on the lake so I  always knew we had to watch out for our dog, but when something actually happened, it shook me to the core. My first instinct was to find the coyote and shoot it. How could a creature that would do something so violent be allowed to be out there lurking with the potential to attack again? It was when I had to explain to my daughters why a coyote would do this that helped me put things into perspective. I told them the coyote has to eat and coyotes eat meat. The coyote doesn’t know Daisy is a loved pet, it just sees food and maybe it hasn’t eaten for many days and is very hungry. A coyote has to eat just like we do. Nature can sometimes be cruel but it is the natural balance that has to occur in order for life to exist. Actually, I have told them this many times when they see how cruel nature can be, whether it is a snapping turtle eating a gosling, a snake eating a frog, a pack of coyotes cornering a deer. As gruesome and cruel as it seems, it is just, well, natural.

I will end with this photo I took a couple of years ago. Whenever I think of that beast in the dark night that attacked Daisy, I try to think of this image. A beautiful creature who can miraculously thrive independently in the wild.

Skip spring, it’s summer!

Last night I was returning from the grocery store (where the air conditioning was on) and found myself swerving for frogs on the road, watching white rabbits scatter frantically unamused their cover was blown, and arrived home to the full chorus of spring peepers. Is this March?!

Hard to believe about a month ago we had 20″ of ice. Here, I was skiing on the lake while pulling my 5 year old on her sleigh when I came across this deer carcass frozen in the ice.Deer bones frozen in lake ice

I also snapped this pic and later noticed my daughter looking like she thinks she may be a little to close to the creepy thing in the ice! 
I shutter to think about what happened to the poor thing and hope it didn’t suffer much. It sparked lots of conversation later with my daughter. The kids learn a lot about the cycle of life and death when living in the country.

Anyway, I began with these 3 photos to make a point, and that being this is how the lake looks today,
looks like summer

and about 2 days ago.

I have a feeling the ice may completely be gone by Friday if not tomorrow already which is about one month ahead of the usual annual thaw. I must admit I am LOVING the weather but also a little leery about what this means for the lake and the summer ahead.