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Monday, February 27, 2017

"What's with you?" & Blueberry Cake.

Standing at the feeders, filling the broken one with a mix of seed and nuts, I turned to leave and got a wonderful surprise; one, like when you unexpectedly bump into an old friend.
There was Simon, halfway out of his winter den, squinting in the sun-light and looking around as if he wasn't sure where he was.
"Simon", I yelled. I can do that because neighbours weren't out. He never moved, but looked over my way, slowly emerging and sat next to the opening.
"Simon, my little man. It's so good to see you again."
I couldn't get close, as the ice was thick between us, so I threw him some seeds and nuts...and a kiss. :)

*humming*

"What's with you?", retired-guy later asked.
 "Simon's up, HE'S ALIVE :) ...and he looks great. I gave him breakfast." 
"Aw...good for him", he said. 
Haha...I'm not the only wackadoodle that fell for a chipmunk. 


                                                     =^..^=
"And that little varmit will be so spoiled." :( 
"I wonder what he tastes like....hmmmm"
                               
             "A girl can dream"


I am now buying fresh brown eggs weekly from a neighbour up our road who cares for eighty laying hens. Eighty hens that are free-roaming and get to lie in the yard and bask in the sun-shine three seasons a year. It does my heart good to never have to purchase eggs from a supermarket again. It's the best way to protest the unacceptable treatment that factory-raised chickens endure; something that has bothered me very much for a long time.


With my free-range, fresh from the farm eggs, I just had to bake something yummy. I often make this recipe but bake it in muffin cups. I call them blueberry mini cakes.

                                   Best Blueberry Cake
1/2 c butter melted and cooled slightly
2 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c fresh blueberries
Set oven to 350 degrees
sift flour,sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl
In a small bowl, whisk butter, milk, eggs and vanilla.
Stir wet ingredients into dry just until mixed.
Fold in berries.
Either scrape the batter into prepared pan or into muffin cups.
I then sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top.
Bake 55 min. for cake
or 28 min. for mini cakes in muffin tins.

These mini cakes are a bit denser than muffins and oh, so delish.

Great with tea.

We had +10C by noon today. The birds were so active; especially the darling little chickadees.




chickadee

And I spotted my first red-winged black-bird of the season. It sat in our maple tree and sang it's heart out.
Spring surely is just around the corner.

hugs, Deb



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Melting snow and violets

(resident chickadee)


The itty-bitty teeny-weeny mouse-house

The weather has been gorgeous for February in Ontario;
above freezing,
bright most days
or soft rain falling.
Snow is beginning to melt but we have a long way to go.
Last night we got quite a down-pour that put a dent in it
and got rid of the last of the snow on the roof.

"Bye Bye,  Snowman"

There's been lots of shoveling where 'ol Nellie can't go
and 
keeping the feeders dry have taken some doing
but in all,
things have calmed down.
Long walks are more frequent now.

Just having blooms in the mouse-house
bring thoughts of bright flowers in the gardens
and budding lilac trees.
It won't be long now.
We have two lilac bushes at the entrance that will bloom in April.
I planted fifty bulbs of a variety of spring flowers last fall and can't wait to see them grow.

The indoor violets are looking good.




Blooming violets always lift my spirits.
My favorite thing about violets...
all the pretty purples.

=^..^=

These are favorite photos of Annie and the violets at our old home.
She's such a poser.

Hope the sun is shining your way.
Have a good weekend.

hugs, Deb

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Two well-loved Maggies.

A photo of Tasha Tudor showed up on a favorite blog of mine http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/ today and it instantly brought a memory back to a time when I could see my grandmother in her garden choosing the best of everything for that night's dinner; her tabby cat, Maggie, always by her side.
It would be a sight that was to remain etched in my mind forever.

Tasha Tudor
(source)
My grandmother resembled Tasha as her long grey hair was always tied up in a knot and she would garden in a dress and her apron that  hung in the old summer shed right outside the kitchen door.
She, too, had a kind face.

Tasha Tudor
(source)
This is my favorite photo.
Tasha Tudor
(source)
Many of Tasha Tudor's fabulous illustrations included her trusty little tabby cat.
all images from internet

Tasha Tudor
(source)

I loved my gran's little Maggie.
Back in those days, country cats did not get spayed very often so dear little Mag had a litter of kittens every summer.
As kids, we were more than thrilled to find a pile of sweet little kitten faces peaking out of a basket that my gran would have prepared for them in the attic.
It just added to the excitement of staying at the farm for two weeks once school was out.
City-slicker kids in the country.
The kittens always found good homes; my gran made sure of that.

I don't remember now how long little Maggie lived but I expect she had a nice long life.
Most of it was spent on my grandmother's lap, lost in her apron.
My gran cried when she died.


Many, many years after those lazy, hazy days of summer I brought home a wee ball of fluff from a rescue; an eight week old silver tabby persian.
Her face would melt you.
I named her Maggie.

She was my special girl for eighteen years.
=^..^=

hugs, Deb

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bear

(source)
(source)
Images above from internet

Here's what I found while shoveling at the back of our property today.
That's my foot next to it.
Yogi on left...me on right

Not quite like the googled image but what else can it be?

Dum..dee.dum.dum

It traveled up and over our snow-covered stone wall.

I expect this is a bear from the images I found on-line.
I never thought we'd have them so close.
Wait 'til I tell Audrey.


"Two of those fat doves on a biscuit for dinner 
and your bear worries, lady, will be no more."

"really!"

:-)
hugs, Deb

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Family time

It's been a busy time at the mouse-house.
Thursday was the first day in months that I was serenaded by the resident birds while I shoveled snow. They sang their hearts out; spring is not far off.
 Having our grand-dog visiting meant shoveling out a few paths for him to run around and I chose that to be my exercise this week. Mornings have been calm, warmer than normal for this time of year and sunny;  the chore of shoveling made much easier by the bird-song and the sun on my face.
I filled feeders, suet cages with fresh home-made suet and gave Red a treat of peanuts and a few grapes.


The chickadees were first to indulge. Would you just look at those teeny tiny feet. :) The crows cleaned up some old sugar-free cereal I had. Everything seemed content with the offerings.



 I often wonder as I fill the feeders if I will see Simon again. He would be four years old now; old for a chipmunk. I have watched his den opening over the winter but have never seen him pop out on the warmer days. I wonder why? I hope he's survived another cold, Ontario winter and gets to enjoy a daily breakfast of seeds, nuts and fruit again this spring. 

All the shoveling made me hungry. 

Time for coffee in a tea-cup and a muffin.



Fun at the mouse-house
Family Day was celebrated early as my son's family came out today to play in the snow. Since we've not had one snowman built all winter, Riley, Brad & Tenley (and daddy, too) created Frosty. 


                              great day for making snowballs


Tenley's contribution



Bradley looked very proud of his creation.
It's pretty awesome and I can see it from our back window. 


Forrest was a complete goof-ball today; helping as best he could with the masterpiece. A fun 'last day' of his stay with us.
He is heading home as I type this.

                                     "So long, Dork Dog"

Wishing you all a Happy Family Day.

hugs, Deb



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More hair at the mouse-house.

It's a little busier around the mouse-house today because of this guy.

He takes up a good portion of the mouse-house at 100 lbs. or so. He is part Bernese Mountain Dog, Black Lab & Pit-bull. 

                                  Bernese Mountain dog
                                       (from Swiss Alps)
                                                  (Source)
He loves his kong with pb for a treat. This goes down to the garage.

"Geez...that was good."
This is Forrest, our grand-dog.

He'll be with us for a week.

                              "Dumb.as.a.rock."
She's the hostess with the mostess. ;-)

We had another snow storm all morning so I made a batch of home-made suet for my deserving birds because, well, you know I feel sorry for them in this weather. 
Once the storm stopped I cleaned off the closest feeder to the garage and watched the action for a bit.
Then the temps went up and it was a gorgeous day. Forrest loves the snow and couldn't wait to get a path blown out for him.
I expect to be playing in the snow a lot more this week. :)

Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day.
hugs, Deb