Thursday, December 12, 2013

Footprints

Well, the time for the snow and ice is once again upon us and I just had to share this cute photo.... Remember Squirt our Pekin duck? Well, today we went out for our first walk in the snow together!! Some of the snow melted and then it turned to ice, creating these wonderful frozen footprints!! As you can see, I was dragging my heels and Squirt was dragging her toes!!  It was a great day...........

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good Morning Sunshine ~

Our regular morning visitors, including this darling little Gray Jay, patiently waits for his breakfast every morning.... If you would like to see some more fun-feeding antics from our feathered friends, you can visit them here

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall Findings In Our Backyard ~

These yellow stems remind me of the old fashioned wax candles
that were used to decorate Christmas trees

Never ending blanket of moss and lichen....
soft bedding for the backyard bunny rabbits


And little hiding places for the mice....

Came across this very bright fungi

This fern has stems, roots and leaves....
but do not have flowers or seeds....
Hope you enjoyed the nature walk with us today!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bobcat Track

This very large bobcat came through our property a couple of days ago just after the noon hour....Bobcats are not usually seen by humans and are shy....Their average weight is around 30 pounds, but this guy was pushing 50 pounds without a doubt....We think he is the same one that visited our farm a couple of winters ago!! Our Pekin ducks were in the pond at the time and half of our flock of free ranged chickens were just on the woods edge by the pond!! Everyone was making a lot of commotion as he made his presence...He stopped in his tracks when he spotted our feathered family and crouched down for only a moment and then darted off into the woods!!  We rounded everyone up and housed them all to safety and haven't seen the bobcat since!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Out on a Limb !!

This little Red Squirrel ''went out on a limb" for me today.... literally!!!!  He could have made a jump for it, but, he chose to stick around so I could capture a pose or two !!
He sure was curious.... 
Did you know that squirrels have four front teeth that never stop growing?....Northern Red Squirrels eat seeds, roots, tree sap, and insects....In the wintertime, some Red Squirrels hibernate in little tunnels or burrowing holes....That's not the case here; we have lots of visitors feeding on our homemade suet trays that are filled with lots of peanut butter, raisins, nuts and seeds to keep their cheeks pudgy and their bellys full and warm during the long winter months!! Speaking of which....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cover Photo Publication ~ Canadian Geographic Magazine !!

Canadian Geographic Pets Photography 2014 - Special collectors edition
We are members of The Canadian Geographic Photo Club and also subscribe to this well-known magazine.  I submitted this photo of our cat Philly for the "Your Pets in Focus" photo contest!!

I received an email a couple of months later from Canadian Geographic senior editor, Aaron Kylie informing me that my photo was shortlisted from hundreds of submissions, and that a special upcoming magazine collecting the most adorable photos of Canada's pets was being published.  He said my image was being reviewed for inclusion by their editorial team.... (that was exciting)

I just found out that my photo has been selected for the back cover!!  I am honored to have my photo chosen for the feline category and am looking forward to receiving our copy in the mail!!!! This special collectors edition is available on the newsstands Oct 29, 2013 or can be ordered online here

Monday, October 28, 2013

Old Man's Beard

This hanging shrub lichen is also commonly known as ''old man's beard''.  It is a species of Usnea and it grows world-wide.  It resembles coarse hair and is a combination of algae and fungus and grows on branches of trees.

Did you know:

There are health benefits of Usnea
(Old Man's Beard):
  • It has antibiotic properties which is effective against the tuberculosis bacteria
  • Usnea has activity against fungi and is an anti-inflammatory
  • It is an immune system enhancer
  • It can be used the same way as Echinacea and is very good in treating respiratory infections (pnuemonia and bronchitis)
  • Usnea can be used as a wound dressing in the wilderness by compressing it and applying it to the wound

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mourning Doves ~

This adorable pair of Mourning Doves are waiting patiently for the backyard feeders to be filled....

A Mourning Dove in the morning sun....
Mourning Doves are not very easy to photograph as they are shy birds.... They can fly very fast and their wings make a whistling noise after taking off... Their call sound resembles oooo-OOOOO-oooo-oooo-oooo

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

After the Rain ~

Many species of mushrooms appear overnight and this one sure did... pretty color too!! Did you ever hear of the expression "to pop up like a mushroom"?

Here is another form of a mushroom, except these ones were growing out of a rotten tree stump ~  If you look really close at two of them, It looks as though an early morning visitor may have been there consuming some of this fungi for breakfast!!

If you like mushrooms and would like to see some giant ones, I found some here!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall is Here ~

Fall is our favorite time of year and the time
when mother nature spreads a little magic all around us...



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chicken Photobomb !!

“Really, get the heck out of MY picture!!”
I was in the process of taking a snapshot of our four year old Rhode Island Red chicken (left) and someone (our feathered friend to the right) decided to play a joke on me and jump in at the last minute!! For those of you who don't know what ''photobombing'' is, this would be a good example!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Yellow Butterfly ~


Butterflies are nature's beauty.... Yellow butterflies symbolize energy and growth, and to some people, serenity. The color yellow reminds me of calm and peaceful.  In this photo, the butterfly's proboscis (or feeding organ) is clearly visible as well as the shadow of her abdomen against the approaching sunset.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Where the Smurfs Live ~

These images I captured of very large mushrooms, about three apples tall, took me back in time to the 80's when the popular Saturday morning cartoon, ''The Smurfs'' was aired....

Some of these photos reminded me of the little mushroom houses that they lived in....

Up close.... you can see the gills collecting the morning dew....


We didn't see a smurf but we did find a little ''bunny ornament'' that hopped in for a quick photo!!

Did you know....?
  • that mushrooms keep your lawn healthy and promote forest growth
  • are high in protein and vitamin B (the edible ones)
  • that mushrooms can be used for dyeing wool and other natural fibers
Some mushrooms are edible and some are very toxic and poisonous!! Know and identify what you are picking before consuming.... When in doubt, throw it out!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Introducing ... & Remember Me ?

The 3 newest and ''unexpected'' members of our feathered family
These baby chicks are just under a week old....

Here is how it all began....

We free-range all of our ducks and chickens and we can't forget ''skittles'', our year old Barred Rock rooster.  They are really good to go to bed, especially when they see us coming with their food! At the end of July, one of our hens went into the woods one day and never came out at bedtime with the others.... we were devastated and thought that a predator came in contact with her....It was a sleepless night worrying if she was ok wherever she was... The next morning, she came darting out of the woods and ran to the coop, and I'm thinking to myself that she must be thankful to be safe with the others... NOT!!!! She got a drink of water and helped herself to some lay pellets then darted off to the woods again... A day went by, another day, a week, another week.... and we said if she is not out this week, we have to think the worst! Then, one afternoon, we looked out of the window and saw these little balls of fluff tip-toeing along the edge of the woods with the mother hen....we could not believe our eyes!!


And here they are with the mother at 4 weeks old, and as you can see, they are getting their brand new feathers....

It will be fun to watch them continue to grow....and find out if they are boys or girls or a bit of both!! Stay tuned....


AND .... REMEMBER ME.........
Squirt.... 3 days old
Wow, Look how much she has grown....She is 4 weeks old here!!
She is just leaving the pond from a bath and a short visit with the other ducks....She is our "little baby" and still sleeps with her two teddy bears every single night, and Lucky duck is sleeping in his house right beside her!!!! Remember this photo and story "My Name is Squirt":
Squirt is 5 days old here and snuggling up to her teddy bears

And now look at me.......................

All grown up at 8 weeks old....
Squirt loves playing with the other ducks and is enjoying her life here on the farm....


Thursday, September 19, 2013

~ Harvest Moon ~

The full moon closest to the fall equinox got it's name the ''Harvest Moon'' and last night, Sept 18-19th, it was full and shining all night .... This full moon also marks the beginning of fall, and in this house, it is our favorite time of year !!
September 18, 2013 ~ 8:50 pm

I am glad that I followed and used all of the tips that I read to prepare for these moon photography photos!! And I am much happier with the results compared to yesterday's "eve of the harvest moon" post
September 19, 2013 ~ 6:18 am
It's going to be another spectacular night tonight to view the 'full harvest moon'... Enjoy the evening and Happy Fall

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

~ Eve of the Harvest Moon ~

This is what happens at 5 a.m. when your camera is #1 .... "NOT" set to the proper settings to capture what you would hope would turn out to be a nice photo and #2 .... thin layer of clouds and fog (both in this case) !!
But, it certainly was a 'wow' moment to watch this moon set with the naked eye and it looked as if you could reach out and touch it....  !! We are looking forward to tomorrow's full harvest moon.... I have my camera ready, do you?

Some camera tips and settings to capture the moon:
  • Tripod
  • A DSLR camera with a 200mm+ telephoto lens OR a point and shoot camera that would have optical zoom
  • A timer in your camera or a remote camera trigger (reduces camera shake)
  • Set your camera to full MANUAL mode
  • Set your ISO to 100 and make sure "auto ISO" is turned off
  • Set your Aperture to f/11
  • Shutter speed to 1/125
  • Lens focus: set to manual focus and increase it to infinity
This is just a standard guide and starting point to adjust your settings.  You can increase or decrease each one slightly until you are satisfied.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Polar Bear Skull




The polar bear is native to the Arctic and is the largest bear and land carnivore in the world.  It can grow up to 1500 pounds.  They have a great sense of smell and can live to almost 20 years.

The polar bear's favorite meal is seal meat and blubber.  Polar bear molars are smaller than the other bear species because of their soft diet... Some researchers have created computer simulations on the brown bear and polar bear to test the bite strength and the stresses put on the skull by biting....They have found that polar bears were less capable of chewing harder food than the brown bear and their skulls are five times weaker.

As the Arctic ice starts to disappear and the foraging for seals becomes more difficult, this will be significantly challenging for the polar bear to survive.

We were very privileged and learned a lot about this majestic creature and it was certainly a rare opportunity....A very special thankyou to the owner(s) for allowing me to photograph these amazing images.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Antique Disc Harrow

This rusty, retired disc is a beautiful piece of old equipment ....I took advantage of this photographic moment in combination with this morning's sunrise....

This horse-drawn disc harrow was used for breaking up and smoothing out the surface of the soil before planting.  Harrows were commonly used before modern tractors were invented.  If you know where we can get a seat to fit this now garden ornament, you can contact us here!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kiss and Release

This goldfish was caught in our outdoor pond.  We have hundreds of them that live here year round and can easily be caught with a net (as seen in the photo above).  In the spring, we watch as the males chase and ''bump and nudge'' the females which prompts them to release their eggs.  The eggs then attach to the aquatic vegetation.  With 48-72 hours, they will hatch.

During the winter months, the goldfish stop eating and often stay on the bottom of the pond.  Plants are essential because they raise oxygen levels in the water and are part of the filtration system.  The plants are also a food source for the fish.
 
Ever since Skye was a puppy, she looks forward to 'kissing' the fish before it is released back into the water :-)

 
Goldfish are very hardy and colourful and make a great addition to any pond.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dragonfly - Mealtime in the sky


What appears to be stars in the sky, are actually tiny flies and are prey to this dragonfly.  With the sun shining on all of them at that moment, it made for quite the spectacle....

Did you know a dragonfly will eat roughly 15% of its own body weight in prey each day, and larger species can easily consume much more than that. They are also the fastest flying insect in the world!!

Did you also know that dragonflies symbolize strength, courage and happiness? They also bring good luck for many years if one lands on you!!