A Great Day For Wild Flowers

We’ve made it a part of our late spring rituals to share in a wild flower walk out at Many Springs Trail in the Bow Valley Parkway.  My dear Ya Yas and I shared a delicious pot-luck picnic after enjoying the beautiful blooms along the trail.  The water wasn’t as high along the boardwalk as I had expected and it was a day of extraordinary beauty.  Summer is here.

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Feeling Bad For Dad

It was just yesterday that I photographed Mr.’s beautiful family…three babes and his lovely Mrs.

P1170607However, last evening held a huge wind storm and a driving rain.  This morning held no cries and demands from the nest.  I noticed as I was pouring my first cup of coffee.  It appeared that Mr. and Mrs. were hanging onto the duct tape searching into the nest, when an angry male (actual Mr.) swooped in with tremendous aggression…the female flying away and the male battling with Mr. and falling to the ground.  Mr. then moved in to his territory…but, alone.  It was such a sad sight.  I’m imagining that some situation was encountered in the night that left Mrs. fighting on behalf her young ones.  For some reason I’m not imagining a positive outcome and I feel a sense of loss.

Dad made himself as large as he could at the entrance to the nest all morning long and still calls out redundantly from the eve’s trough.  Instinctively, his role has disappeared.  I wonder how long before he accepts his loss.

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Fledglings

Alright, the neighbourhood is booming with fledglings of every sort and Mr. & Mrs. of every nest, freaking out about the flying faux pas!  Blackbirds…maybe grackles…whatever-they-are are not my favourites when it comes to their demeanor at the bird feeder.  However, they too, are struggling with their youngsters.  I couldn’t understand what all of the ruckus was about, but then found that Mrs. was yapping away at this youngster, sitting, paralyzed with fear on my backyard fence.  Enter Kath into the back yard and the loud Max-barking from inside the house, and this wee guy left the fence to light into one of May’s branches.  In taking a look at the fledgling’s tail feathers, I’d say that something is terribly wrong and that he isn’t doing well with flight, as a result.

The community of blackbirds is taking great interest in the poor guy’s foibles.  When I left them, he was sitting atop another neighbour’s garage roof, storm clouds gathering to the west.  I learned recently that it is a major accomplishment for a magpie to live beyond one year…there are so many natural and person-made challenges that await them.  I suppose it is a good thing for the parents to hatch as many eggs as possible to increase the chances of any survival at all.  I continue to be amazed by the happenings in nature.

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Mrs. Feeding Her Little Guys

Early morning was magical.  Max and I took a stroll of the neighbourhood…checked out the recent blooms and took our time honouring the beauty of the quiet and the light spilling over everything.  The magpie babes are growing in independence, three of them at one point, lined up on a garden fence squawking at us.  Even as we stood still, they stared us down and in tandem, belted out their annoyance with us.  Their tail feathers are growing longer.

At our own nest, the first siting of at least two young ones.  They bopped their heads out of the nest to meet the offerings of Mrs.  She astutely pushed them deeper into the nest again and again.

A cat was sitting boldly on our front door step, but Max quickly took care of that.  The neighbourhood is alive with energy, struggle and beauty.  Life is a marvelous thing.

(by 2 in the afternoon, I had seen a line up of two fledglings being fed by both Mr. & Mrs, but only caught two at any time in photographs)P1170606

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Days Like Yesterday

Be mindful when taking on a Freecycle item OR a Kijiji item…just sayin’.

It begins with this. This is a 3/8″ bolt.  It doesn’t look like anything too too problematic, but stay with me.

P1170542This is one side of a conversation outside of an Airdrie garage.

“Oh, you have a bolt missing on this one bracket.  But, never mind…this one is loose enough; just take it out and take it to Home Depot and they can match it up for you.”

Next morning…some time around 10, I go to unscrew the aforementioned bolt, to have it drop out of the hole and into my hand.  I pop it into the upper and lower of two holes to learn, sadly, that it is totally too small for the job.  Ok…the bolt isn’t threaded, so this must mean that both holes (not in the bracket, but in the baseboard of this cool antique hospital bed) must be threaded.  Here begins my DIY dilemma.

First gent meets me in the hardware isle of Home Depot where I learn that there are some standard bolt sizes, 3/8″ being one of them.  As well, there are 1/4″, 5/16″ and 1/2″.  I was supposing I needed something like a 7/16″.  Hmmm…I leave with these, thinking, just maybe the holes were larger than I imagined them.  Folks, there’s a big jump between 3/8″ and 1/2″.  Don’t do it!

P1170544I know. Ridiculous…even if able to fight them through the base board steel tubing, there is NO WAY possible to get them through the thick bracket!

I tell the same gent on my second trip, WE HAVE TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION!

He gives me these…are you kidding?

P1170546Standing out in the parking lot, even anticipating the EPIC FAIL on this possibility, I have the foresight to go into the Home Depot for a third time and get washers.  Will you look at the size of the heads on those screws?  Compare them to the size of the heads on those Hex bolts!  So, I buy these.

P1170548A number 8 leaded super duper picture plugger IS NOT GOING TO DO IT!  Not large enough to even explore the possibility.

I decide to try Lowes.  The guy who is spread out and changing oil under his car across the street, comes out from under the car and inquires, “Just what project has you going today?”  I give him the short version and he adds, as he’s slipping back under the car, “Your neighbour is a welder.”

The guy from Lowes knows what he’s talking about, I think.  He starts talking to me about Tap Kits and walks me over to the tools section. He is talking…but I’m not really listening.  The voice in my head is saying, “What the heck? Is this really happening?  How the heck am I going to learn how to use a Tap Kit??”  When I come out of my apparent fog, he says the only other thing to do is to call Calgary Fasteners.  They have the solutions and the hardware for pretty much everything.  I appreciate that I am, at least, going home without more tools and bits in my pocket.

I call Calgary Fasteners.  A very nice guy entertains my story over the phone, but in the end repeats the common story about what sizes of bolts are available, but promises that if I bring all of the pieces over to their location (somewhere in la la land), they might be able to show me how a Tap Kit can modify things.  He says that I might not require a 7/16″ bolt, but something metric.  It’s a precise art.

I thank him and put down the phone.

At this point I’m well into the day and feeling hopeless.

I look up the Husband-For-Hire number and leave the directory open on the kitchen counter and decide to pour myself some cold water and go over the natural consequences that surface when making less than ideal decisions.

Logging in to Facebook, I put out a helpless plea.

I’m in a bit of a fix-it conundrum presently. If you have knowledge of hardware/bolts/tapping new holes etc, please private message me.

It isn’t four minutes when I receive duo responses from two wonderful guys.  Pretty much, in tandem, they respond with the exact solution…not necessarily the most aesthetic, but very strong and relatively easy.

Mack and JonI calculate the diameter of the steel tube and off I go, back to Lowes, where this time I feel confident that I’m going to resolve the function of the bracket for the bed.  I purchase these items, as well as two lock washers and hex nuts.  I purchase 2 1/2″ long bolts to account for the thickness of the tube, front and back, the washers and the nuts.

P1170551 P1170552 P1170553I do the job.

P1170495P1170561 P1170556 P1170554Next time?  Yes…go ahead with the instinct that tells me, “Please, sir, will you put this thing together in front of me, so that I might see the pitfalls before I bring the pitfalls home with me?”  A big day of learning for me!

While in the back yard, with tools and things scattered about…I quickly put together my bean-bed and decide it’s time that Max have some company.

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Art on the Rocks

I struggled with two bolts from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00.  Between 5:00 and 6:00, I constructed another raised bed in the back yard and I had sheep manure edging my finger nails, when I headed out with Max for a quick round about the neighbourhood.  It was so nice to float in the bath tub for fifteen minutes before gathering my things and driving down to the Glenbow Museum for the surreal experience of having a former student guide me and a packed house of keen participants in a night of figure drawing.  I feel so proud of Tim Belliveau, for so many reasons, but especially because he’s always had such a big heart.  He is a true gentleman.  It’s time I head for bed, but I’m going to publish a few photos of a variety of exercises Tim gave as challenges.

I enjoyed the music…the opportunity to draw from life…wine…conversation…new people.  Thanks to Penny of the Glenbow.

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Wood!

That’s it…three sessions of scrubbing down my sanded furniture and I’m ready to apply the primer.  I thought I’d capture a photo of the living breathing wood before I seal its pores again with paint.

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After some discussion with daughter #2, I’ve decided to free-form the pieces for my bedroom to capture the feeling of autumn.  So…forget Marc Chagall.  Onward and outward, Kathleen Moors!

I used this furniture for healing.  It took me a long time to recognize that…but it is so!  Alzheimer’s disease steals layers of memory so incredibly slow.  My heart goes out to every reader who has had to find strength through years of watching your dearest loved ones make this journey…and I pray with everything in me for families who have just received a diagnosis and who need to find creative and accepting ways of taking this same walk.  I came to discover as I peeled back the layers of paint over so many nights and weekend afternoons that GRACE is what helped me…GRACE is what healed me and the quiet of hours picking away at paint in the warm light of my studio.  Mom, you remain, with all of your memories, inside of me always.

 

I picked up the green vanity on September 12 of 2011 and the other pieces August 22, 2013. The fronts and backs of every piece were totally suffocated in multiple layers of paint.  I will not be removing paint from furnishings again…let it be known!

Vanity Headboard Stripping Paint

 

 

 

June 23, 2014: In the Backyard Garden

Looking out the kitchen window, I was witness to a full force magpie attack on the nest of Mr. & Mrs. a few moments ago…ran out to grab the hose, but the predator shot out as soon as I appeared on scene.  Mr. & Mrs. were strategically squawking from the eaves trough across from the nest.  I sat on the front step and watched the entire drama until Mr. tentatively entered to check on the little guys.  It seems all is well because the babes began to shout for snacks shortly after.  I can just imagine the horror of a magpie’s beak pressing in from the outside world.  As I sat, I noticed the magpie’s babe, bopping along on a neighbour’s lawn; the cat from across the street, belly low to the ground, stalking it.  Great patterned fans opened up and the mama, with loud assault-call, swooped down and then up into the safety of a tree branch, dive-bombing the cat over and over again.  Hmmm…tough life out there for the world of birds.

In the garden today…the first Oriental Poppy blooms.  I spot asparagus, finally, sprouting from seed.  The carrots appear and lots of radishes.  The lettuce is looking healthy.  A beautiful afternoon for a little gardening.

Asparagus

Asparagus

Radish

Radish

More Radish Seed Tape...Like it!

More Radish Seed Tape…Like it!

Carrots

Carrots

Yummers!  Lettuce

Yummers! Lettuce

Peonies in full bloom now.

Peonies in full bloom now.

Columbine

Columbine

Poppies begin.

Poppies begin.

Picnics and Bees

A group of my dearest friends and I drove out to Chinook Honey Co. yesterday and shared in a picnic, an educational tour about the life of bees in a colony and a tour of Chinook Arch Meadery.

P1170423The weather was blustery, after four days of challenging weather, but the sun peeked out and our lively conversation and good food made a great start to the day.  I haven’t grabbed permission for any public photographs, but will give some highlights of the day.

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2014 retirement picnic. I’m missing an archive of Pat’s to-die-for chocolate cake and fresh berries.

The educational tour was enlightening.  I have become really interested in the life of bees since viewing the film, The Vanishing Bees at the Marda Loop Social Justice film days.  You can access the entire documentary on YouTube.  I learned more specific information about honey bees, their specific hierarchy and the roles of each type of bee in the hive.

Sharing the details that I learned may show my ignorance…but, I’m also pretty excited to be continuing to learn.

I didn’t know that the worker bees are all female.

I didn’t know that the queen bee that emerges first, kills all other prospective royals and even the existing queen (if weak, old and unproductive).

I didn’t know that the life span of any given bee is only six weeks and that the constant production of new bees is paramount to the life of the colony.

I didn’t know that bees prefer to forage canola more than alfalfa.  Alfalfa is structured in such a way that when gathering from the plant, the bee is bopped in the noggin over and over again.  So, if in close proximity (within five kms. of the hive), the bee will prefer to forage canola.  The unfortunate thing, however, is that canola is being genetically modified while the alfalfa farmers seem to have made a commitment to sustain a natural crop.  Once the bees engage in genetically modified plants, there seems to be an issue with pollination success rates.

I was amazed by the size of colonies and the activities within the colonies, in the production of wax and honey.  I am awed by the specifics of the various processes and the overall industry of the hive.

P1170381 P1170383 P1170384 P1170385 P1170386 P1170387 P1170388 P1170391Beekeeping is an art and it was interesting looking at and seeing the specialized purpose for each part of a hive.

From this session, we went on to the meadery and learned about the process of making mead, an art that has been perfected for centuries.  We had opportunity to test from a generous list of mead produced on site.  This was a fun event!

P1170394P1170400 P1170401 P1170402 P1170405 P1170407 P1170408 P1170409 P1170411 P1170412 P1170413 P1170414 P1170415 P1170416 P1170419 P1170420 P1170421 P1170422I’ve posted an archive of the equipment here, just because I think it would be of interest to our family friend, Dave, of Cold Creek Winery’s in Frankford.  A good explanation was given about the process of making mead and the delicate balance that is required, given the ever-changing variables of honey.  It was a yummy treat to then sample the existing list of meads, my favourites being Melissa’s Gold and Bodacious Black Current.

Top the entire day off with a bit of gift shopping and yummy honey and Saskatoon berry icec ream scooped into the cone and it was an excellent day.  I cherish my friends and wish them good health and many adventures on their retirement.

P1170426Here’s a little clip from a British Columbia, Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery, (very well done) just so that my readers can take a look at the equipment, rather than having me write about it.