Sunday, December 23, 2007

Those French Canadian pie makers are at it!

The calm before the storm. The eldest will be here shortly and then we'll have the three of the girls together at home again. I hope she's healthy. I'm down with a cold and have been fighting it for a week. Boo and Snoot are slumped on hormones. Mamie and PU are on fire. Today it's tourtière!

I cut and ground the venison this morning and then made myself a broth from the bones for lunch. I don't think I could have tourtière too often. Years of begging have finally produced some of this stout sustenance. Like fish for breakfast I crave this some mornings where there is likely to be a lot of physical work done before lunch.

Now if I could just stop blowing my nose and clearing my throat long enough not to look like some kind of wounded deer killer I'd make good on some wood cutting.

Snow removal and fitness levels to be grateful for

Snow blowers die. Life's like that sometimes. The snow gods could care less. The scoop was in use for more than two hours last night. It's lonely at the bottom. It was still snowing this morning. Now it's just all about the cold arctic front and those ever popular winter high pressure domes. The chickens still squeezed out four eggs. Tomorrow spells new belts for the old girl and then let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! HoHoHo
Mr. Aerobic Engine

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My folks are off to my brother's sea bound retreat. I shovel light fluffy snow with kids squealing. Not little squeals and not little kids. I'm grateful.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mars video

Mars is a wickedly unrewarding subject for those interested in amateur astronomy. The atmosphere is a fickle and capricious foe. The dust storms on the surface of Mars can add to the frustration of trying to see the subtle details offered up by the red planet.

However it will be a good long while before we get any better chance to test our skills in finding some detail to ponder than right now. It's close to us! So grab your chance and find a telescope near you soon if you need this sort of thrill.

I saw a link to this short download animation of Mars rotating and thought it would help in keeping me motivated to haul the scope outside in the wind and cold that is our winter in The Great White North.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hemingway on moving on

I've been enjoying literaryquotes@lj as they come by. Watching my children grow and my immediate family scale various feats of diplomacy, or not, I'm sometimes pained by the weight of the negative. OK, that's a lie. I'm often pained by that weight.

Hemingway came along to reassure me last night.
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." -Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

drycleaning wool?

I was looking at a new find on the web for shopping and I found this, which is not my first choice by the by.

Why would they suggest that you dry clean it if it's wool? Is Bernat wool somehow special in it's properties that makes standard cleaning methods damaging to garments made of this type of wool?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Update before Christmas

It's not that life isn't busy or anything. I do like to post here. I have brothers that actually know what busy means, but I'm not often effective enough to qualify as actually busy. This fall has been filled with productivity and that's not a bad thing. I'll pick up parts tomorrow and clean up the last of the paying work. I can't believe the back log is completely cleared up.

The fall was so gentle and easy to live with as far was weather is concerned. It was very late in November before ice was covering the local livestock dugouts, but when the cold weather came it came hard and it came fast. It's maybe a prairie thing to be so aware of the weather. We spend a lot of time outside so it seems that it's as important as any of the other pressures of life.

It feels luxurious to squander time in writing an update here. Blizzard conditions this morning kept Manon and PU home. PU of course tried her best to attend her conference, but every other sane soul involved had abandoned the cause and then the principal phoned and instructed her to stay put. Delores is such a team player.

Before I snapped a belt on the snow blower I emptied a tank of fuel onto the ground via a breech in the fuel line. Fortunately I was almost finished the job at hand and spent a scant 15 minutes behind the snow scoop. I would bet there are quite a few reading here that couldn't identify a snow scoop if their lives depended on it. :D

I've been solidifying my training goals for the coming couple of months. I intend to make a concerted effort to better my half marathon time with a lot more high intensity work. After my first couple years of running, I determined that if I could break the two hour mark on a half marathon I would tackle a full. So far I have not come close to having to make good on that threat so an idle threat it remains. I've spent quite a bit of my reading time allotment studying the latest habits of some serious distance runners. A good number of my friends from use the coaching services of Mike Booth's company, Endurance Matters. I wish I could feel that affording such luxury could pass muster, but maybe if I mind my manners... Dwayne Sandall got me into the Polar Bear run last year and he's been a thorn in many a side throughout the running community. His account of the run across the lake got me hooked. He coaches for Endurance Matters and the Holiday season party at Natalie and his new home was great fun last week. I didn't get home until 2:00, but life could be worse.

So training is eating away at my thought process in a big way. I went for a massage last weekend in an attempt to address some of the minor aches and pains that come along with the aging process. The young woman was known to me from the time she was a young one in 4H. She's had several years of schooling and practice now and she did not disappoint me in her ability to influence my body in good and short order. I just wish she was closer. Cathrine Dyck has found a work that she's able to shine with. I'll have to cut my desires back and find something locally though. I have an appointment with a woman in St. Pierre on Monday after I see the sea hag that passes for a family physician here. Rate an MD is an informative site. Check my commentary from October for Wassef in St. Pierre for a peek my skill set in fence sitting 101.

The good news is that my neck and upper back are much improved already. Best of all I'm not waking early due to upper back tension. Rest for training recovery is key to advancing much on what I've managed to train for previously so this extra sleep is a step in the right direction. The Christmas baking is another matter all together. PU used my Dad's tried and true whipping of fat and sugar for the traditional short bread this year and life could not be sweeter.

Today I wrote an article for the MHS newsletter about one of our more prominent breeders, Ruth Hanney. The afternoon was spent outside. I might have to cut some wood soon. If this wicked weather keeps up we'll be out of wood in no time. Funny the things you think about while you clear snow. The chickens are not producing. I've changed feed and it's been ground too finely and the birds are not interested in the majority of it as powder. The feed was a good price, but it was really aimed at the hog industry and certainly not layer chickens. Live and learn I suppose. Or is that lose your money learn to lose?

Last weekend I enjoyed a brief but thorough hands on introductory workshop on collimating Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. Mine is a newtonian, but hey, I learnt to star test from an expert. There are so many more variables with mine, but it's a whole lot more tolerant of error of alignment so it all balances out eventually. I've been toying with the idea of springing for a couple of good eye pieces so I want to ensure the alignment is as good as it can be so my judgement of my current eye pieces is as honest as it can be. Tonight might be a good time to do a field test instead of using the round holiday tree ornament in the basement trick. The wind chill by morning is supposed to be down to -44C. I'd best get cracking. Or maybe just stay close to the fire? "Do not go gently into that good night...."

Tomorrow is the peak of the best of the meteor showers of the year, the Geminid's. Here's a fireball captured on video that's part of the build up.

I was talking to another enthusiast of astronomy this week. He was describing, with all animation settings on high, the details of his plans to put to work a small catalytic heater of recent garage sale thriftiness on his part, under a lawn chair and cover to watch the shower. This was the same guy that talked me into testing our camping strengths at -22C one winter long ago. I'm such a sucker!

If you need a 32T 1" diametrical pitch gear on short notice because you ripped a third of the teeth out of the one in your main spring winder, talk to Roman at in Winnipeg. He's got that small order thing all figured out.

If you have to know what time it is and I don't mean maybe, this would be your source.

If all goes well, we'll have our Boo home for dinner tomorrow night. She's sure to enjoy a bit of wood cutting!
Cheers all. I hope your holiday season is gearing up to be a good one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

lj theme change

Ah hot ribs for lunch and a change of face for my live journal. I'd looked enviously at some others and finally decided any change in mine would be a change for the better.

I've got an issue I'd like to straighten out with this theme though. In both browsers I have loaded the pages do not load to be visible completely in one window. Scrolling left and right to see the whole of the display is irksome at least. If anyone has any suggestions on how to get beyond this irritation besides bailing out on the theme altogether, please make yourself heard here. I could use the help. Is this just evident in my browsers?

When I view the preview before posting this the page is balanced across the window! My resolution is set to 1024x768 and my browsers are both Linux based, Firefox and Konqueror.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

MHS Holiday Party 2007

The images are up from the MHS holiday party yesterday. It was a lot of fun and a good number of our new members showed up to celebrate the season and our mutual appreciation of critters. The kids dominated the event as we hoped it would.


Many enjoyed having my big guy along. He did so well. He bluffs a pretty good threat to weed out the posers, but again he was a showcase for good behaviour.


If he's anywhere near something he can tangle himself up in it's going to pose some problems.



The love birds


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Making Mum proud

Another addition to the collection.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Torres Is Getting Older, but Swimming Faster

I've been hammering away at how I'm going to go about training for a half marathon in the spring. I've been up to my little ear lobes in the bleeding edge of keeping the body in full recovery mode to take advantage of every corner of opportunity for this aging and somewhat reluctant 48 year old body. Then this!


Torres Is Getting Older, but Swimming Faster

Marc Serota for The New York Times

Dara Torres training in Coral Springs, Fla.

Torres, a nine-time Olympic medalist, set the U.S. record for the 50-meter freestyle this summer.
Dara Torres, the fastest female swimmer in America, plunged toward the bottom of the pool, like a child scavenging for coins. She came up for a breath, grinning. The lanes next to hers pulsed with swimmers pushing themselves through 100- and 200-meter timed sprints, but Torres was under orders from her coach to rest, the better to let her 40-year-old body recover.


And much more...


This is posted privately to you only. If and when you see it, please respond to this so I know it's working. This way you can respond without public notice.

Monday, October 29, 2007

P17 Holmes comet

RASC Winnipeg's own Gerry Smerchanski, got a little prize this morning for his sketch of this most unusual comet, P17 Holmes. He's taken the leap to digital sketching to more closely reproduce what the digital cameras seem to struggle to capture accurately. There is a long and rich tradition of pencil sketching at the eyepiece and this seems to be one of the few subjects where a digital sketch has been a better tool than a pencil.

Astronomy Sketch of the Day for October 29th 2007.

These images give a very good idea of what it was like to look through a telescope at this comet.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Comet P17 Holmes

It's been a little while since I have had my telescope out. It was comforting to be out tonight among the stars again with a tool well suited for exploring the night sky. The Winnipeg RASC email list has been a buzz for a couple of days like I've never seen it before.

A comet that increases in brightness about 400,000 times in 24 hours is kind of cool. There are a number of oddities surrounding the unpredictable nature of Comet 17P Holmes, but the most obvious to me is that there is almost no tail to this comet. It's heading away from us apparently. I can't say that the thought hasn't crossed my mind that we are on course for a deep impact and that it's headed directly for us. I wish these things didn't occur to me just before bed! I have a rich inner life.

The astrophoto crew seem to be having some difficulty capturing the visual appearance accurately in an image. Some of the local crew are saying that it looks like a super nova.

Boo was home tonight so I had company to ooh and ahhh over it. If it's clear tomorrow, I'm open to entertaining others at the eyepiece. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Morelia spilota cheynei - jungle carpet python

The mating season has begun and this guy is now cruising actively seeking a mate. I'm not brave enough to team up with someone and share a batch of these, but it's not that it hasn't crossed my mind. It's fun to have him out while he's so interested in being active.

Snoot - lonely skinny chick

Boo and JC


Snoot cringing and JC

Varanus exanthematicus - Savannah monitor

I have had this guy home for a month or so. He's settled in and seems to be content to maintain his feisty monitor self. I'm here to attest to the truth that when you get these guys outside they can become quite a bit more direct in their conversation. :0 I wish I'd been better prepared with a video camera to capture some of the threat responses I saw from him outside.

I used to wonder what the big drawing card was to animals with a lot of attitude, but I'm really in deep with this guy. I love him and feel quite comfortable with him. I've had him out and about as you can see.

I must thank Rich at Red River Arboreals for making it possible for me to have this guy. As is usually the case, Rich was informed and sold me a healthy excellent example of a savannah monitor. Thanks a lot Rich, he's a huge attraction here.

Some videos

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kelly Joe Phelps

I wish I had time to gush through a few drafts of a thrilled to be alive type review of the Kelly Joe Phelps show last night at The West End, but I don't.

A single draft will have to suffice! :P

As I scarf down my late lunch, I'll do what I can to fill you in. I've not seen Phelps before, but admire his recordings on a number of levels. My favourite recording so far, has been his Shine Eyed Mister Zen, It's got a ruthlessly articulate exposure that I find attractive. I don't need a performance to be perfect, but I sure appreciate the sense that a human is playing. This is one of those recordings where I know the player is of the highest calibre. Nothing in the studio got in the way of keeping every subtle note variation clear.

I've waited a number of years to catch his live show and my expectations over time had climbed to unrealistic proportions, or so I thought heading into the city last night to see him at the West End.

Jodie King was on stage first with what I thought was a darn tight rhythm acoustic guitar accompaniment. She described being freshly back from a western Canadian tour of Roots mall stores. I have to admit that lyrically she seemed well suited for insipid rubber stamp type branding and might have stepped a hairs breadth over from the canned mall music enough to have nobody notice. It just wasn't my thing. When she finished up she reminded us of her name and neglected to mention who her flawless and rhythmically interesting guitar player was the tipping point for my bad mouth reviews inspiration.

Phelps doesn't seem to require much warm up. By the end of his first song he had capped it with a signature style invention that traveled the journey up and down the neck of his guitar with a kaleidoscope of inflections that brought me to a fine place, all goose fleshed and grinning from ear to ear. Even though I had built up his expertise in my mind, he did not disappoint me in any way. I think my commitment to being a fan of this man's work is increased by at least an order of magnitude today after being so well satisfied last night.

I was a little disheartened to see the room not filled to the rafters, but he had just been here this summer with Lucinda Williams, but I don't care for the music I know of hers so I passed on the date, knowing he'd be back for this show. Then again, I tend to the negative and know that many are satisfied by pablum served up by spin doctors playing the odds with our culturally vapid taste in so many things. Here is not the place to wax eloquent in the negative though. Last night's show was intimate, gracious and intense in such good ways.

Here is a man that I can believe aims to balance what he knows is right and good with women while being a man with a full compliment of the best of a man's characteristics. He's got enough fire for two at least, and possibly more. Lyrically he's a proven story teller. He's studied at the feet of the masters before him. Names like Dave Van Ronk and Leo Kottke came up in Kelly's rambling chat with the audience. Phelps played a tribute of his own to Dave Van Ronk and although it's been a few years since I've listened to any of Ronk's recordings, Phelps made his tribute sound like every Dave Van Ronk song I'd ever heard. It was brilliant.

He comes across as humble and I suppose it would be tough to do otherwise playing to a modest showing of support in an out of the main stream stop like ours. He made it seem like he drove out from Portland Oregon specifically to play this show. From all appearances he was happy to be playing and carried a professionalism that was virtually indistinguishable from a simple unsophisticated love of playing anywhere at any time.

Stupidly I sat, stage left for a right handed one man guitar show so I missed a lot of details of his hand work and have to assume the instrument was a Martin dreadnought of some kind.

He played with virtuosity I've seldom witnessed live. He did it, providing many obvious layers to both the rhythm and melody. Our middle daughter tagged along last night. After the first song she leaned over and said, "I don't even know how much of this I'm not appreciating!" and that's about how I felt too. I was simply grateful of his care in committing so much of himself to the show last night. I'd go and see him again without hesitation and I'll certainly be having his latest recording. A couple of fine Canadian musicians, once again grace the studio with him.

Facebook provided opportunity for unexpectedly being joined by some friends to enjoy the spectacle. I hope it was as good for them as it was for me. Spectacle might be over stating it in some peoples eyes. A chair, a microphone, a plaid shirt and a very big musical foot print were all there, but no hype could be seen for miles.

Wish you all could have been there.

Please pardon whatever editing remains pending. Life is short apparently!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Christmas cactus

Every year I set this plant out beside the willow behind the out house and every year that I remember to bring it back in before the frost, it explodes into bloom. I never tire of the beautiful and exotic nature of the offering. I cracked a couple of large branches on it when I moved it in. I didn't take into account that it was a bit cool that day, the plant was fully hydrated and the fact that it had used the willow's trunk to support a lot of new growth and it suffered.

I cobbled together some large "O" ring gaskets that could be looped above the main breaks and then wired those off to the pot to help support the breaks until after the flowering had passed. I'm not sure just how I'm going to put humpty dumpty back together again, but I'm sure it will be for the best one way or another.

Once the flowers are all out I'll count them. It sure is a showcase for the species.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

More fun than a face full of porcupine quills

What's more fun that your dog's face full of porcupine quills? Both your dogs with their faces full of porcupine quills. I'd so glad this day is over.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Run for the Mouse

Yesterday evening hundreds gathered at the duck pond in Assiniboine park to celebrate one of the running communities fixtures by participating in a 5km fun run and fund raiser. Marilyn F. known widely as "Mouse" is almost finished her chemo therapy and will have to be off work for a while as she gathers her strength again. I was happy to be able to participate in such a lively show of support. The running mania crew got the ball rolling and have held events across the country to help her out. Many others stepped in to make it a huge effort and success.

Natalie took a bunch of images. Although I was sick and had to break and find refuge in a washroom before the finish, it was worth the effort to get into the city and join in the fun. Boo came too and as we got out of the car a friend of hers and main rival for academic achievement was there to greet us with her running team. Kim's a speedster and it's great to see her continuing her running at the University level.

Here is the thread on with peoples comments on the evening in Winnipeg.

I wish Mouse the best of luck with her recovery.

Colleen (eme), Cheryl (runcherylrun), Ian (clocker) and Boo

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chickens and turkeys

Yesterday was butchering day for the chickens. We had them done at a government inspected plant this year again. With a fifty four dollar invoice and some driving it's very difficult to do anything but be happy about the choice. Doing them ourselves is fun in it's own way I suppose. It's a bit like washing dishes by hand with others. It's a social time that is lost in most of modern day hyper activities. I don't miss the labour of it, but I've only really ever embraced hard work for fun rather than profit anyway.

Just behind me in line there was a fellow picking up some turkeys. Twenty three of them he said there were. The staff there were interested in which one of us was the guy with the turkeys. Once I got a look at the size of them I understood why. The first shopping cart could hold only four of this man's birds. A young guy came out from the cleaning room and grabbed the first one off the top saying "I've got to know what these weigh" and proceeded to the scale in front of us. The bird he chose to weigh was by no means the biggest, but it did qualify for the designation of big irrespective of it's mates. It topped out at just over 45 pounds. I'm thinking that I would likely need a bigger oven for that size of bird.

I wish I had taken a camera with me. When a shop that sees about 600 birds a day, every day is remarking on the size of some bird, I know it's a monster. The staff were all commenting, because none of these turkeys fit any of the equipment they had to deal with their butchering.

Our chickens this year look great. They are a nice size and hopefully not too fat, but we'll see that once we get one toasted up. That's another benefit of not doing the work ourselves! I can eat chicken right after killing day! Otherwise it takes me a couple of weeks before I can stomach the thought of eating them.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Winnipeg Tracks for Glory 10km race


I spent June, building up to running a similar mileage as when I left off running in March after the Polar Bear 30km run across the frozen Lake Winnipeg. I had some trouble with my left foot that got attended to by some highly technically produced inserts for my runners and some great physiotherapy.

July and August were both high mileage months by my standards. I was able to straddle the 20 mile week for several weeks in succession and survive them without blowing up in one way or another. I haven't been able to do that previously so I'm happy to be pushing that threshold.

This was my first 10km race. Having the maniac support was great. KBO was a wretched tease picking up early that I was pretty focused prior to the horn. After I gave her a shake I felt much better. :P Mouse, eme and NewFinnLoper all offered their cheers to help us all along. Having a cheering section was very much appreciated!

Some time trials for the 3 and six mile distances earlier this month lead me to believe I have a sub 60 minute 10km in me, but yesterday was not my day. I woke up feeling sluggish and sleepy. I guess my body isn't use to getting two solid nights sleep in a row! Sheesh... can't win for losing. It was also a warm humid day which was taxing to say the least. I'm a cold weather guy through and through.

I can be a really poor judge of pace, but fortunately yesterday was one where I was right on the money. If I had been feeling my oats, I might have had more trouble with pace I suppose.

It was a warmer day than I had hoped for and much more humid than I realised at first. I wasn't disappointed to be across the finish line just shy of my goal because I managed as well as I could and left everything I had to offer this race on the course. Having nailed the pace alone is a good cause for celebration.

Thanks to all the maniacs and family that helped boost my spirits along the way.

Lamb to the slaughter


Giving Karen a shake


Two cups and a sock




Tilting in reflection


Karen's 5km loop - still smiling (brightened up a bit from her original)


KBO got these shots of me on the go

Still smiling
Still smiling a little closer
The bald guy 200 meters from the finish line

Anyone got a freezer for sale locally?

I need another freezer. The abattoir called and will take the chickens tomorrow instead on the tenth of October! Good for feed costs, bad for freezer space! Help!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

bullies be gone

This is the type of thing that should evolve into a formalised approach to the problem of bullies. Making it public and blowing the lid off the secrecy is admirable. There's a thesis paper in here somewhere.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

pizza and spinach

Now how good is this? Late planted spinach so rich and green that you would think it was summer. In my real life, as opposed to the rich inner life I so often dwell in, I lit the first fire in the stove today. Not a big one. Just a tiny one to ward off the damp chills that had gripped my prairie bones today.

I must make an appointment to have the meat birds cleaned up for the freezer. Not that there is any room in there for chicken, but one must live with a strong faith.

Tonight I got my pizza crust down to manageable levels. Usually it turns out to be far too much dough. Tonight I only gave myself .75 of a cup of water to play with and all was well.

Why is the mozzarella so different on commercial pies? :( I want that cheese!

Meite phoned for a tune up on making pizza dough this afternoon. I called her a bad name after I realised I too would have to make pizza now that I was drooling at the thought.

Thinner crust pizza on the baking stone - broken pie


Thinner crust pizza on the baking stone - whole pie


Late planted spinach a gift!


Sunday, September 2, 2007

firewood, pizza, freckles, ultra coach

I cut wood two days last week and didn't run at all, but managed to log 61 miles running this month anyway! I was bucking for seventy some, but I'll settle for healthy and raring to go.

Boo and Snoot helped fell, limb, buck up, load and unload on Tuesday. It was all we could do to fill the half ton twice and make it to dinner. On Wednesday Boo was off to the bright lights of the big city to begin settling in for her first year of University so Snoot and I were on our own. We decided that we would finish up what we started and split and stacked about a cord of small poplar.

With the salvage from the old summer kitchen being almost all cut up and stacked and the new poplar now safely under the eaves, we'll have enough to begin the heating season. Once the leaves are down Snoot and I will go back into the east bush and begin clearing around the east garden and then onto some trail making that I've always wanted to do, but never go around to.

The small poplar we cut on Tuesday was standing dead for two summers after the Tall Grass Preserve crew had girdled it to make way for more tall grass. If it wasn't so small it would be a great pleasure to help them out. They are charging me $2 a cord for the wood.

My body is still weary from the heavy work. I intended to run today, but it was stinking hot and I lost my motivation and chose to clean up some paper work in the shop instead. Now if I could just get the rest I need. I don't seem to be sleeping with any rest these days which will not be good for me. I've got my eye set on a race in three weeks if I can just hang onto my health as I finish up training this coming week and then begin the taper toward the 10km run in the third week of this month.

It's been such a busy summer. I've read more this summer than I have in years and the shop is rocking just now. The
Lieutenant Governor has seen fit to commission an overhaul of the show piece tall case clock and that's always welcome. I love working with such fine machinery!

Cooking for three won't be too big a change because Boo was gone most of the summer. We celebrated tonight with a big fat pizza.

In other news:

Snoot got a hair cut and a fresh crop of freckles


Thick crust pizza


Sauce fixings. The produce continues to roll in!


My coach and inspiration for running got some press today


Andy got a laser welder! I can't stop dreaming up ideas to make with this thing. What a toy.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

September Reptile Expo poster

See you all there.

Manitoba Reptile Breeders Expo Poster

Hopefully I don't need to buy a table to sell these little corn snakes of mine, but I suppose it could be worse. More will be revealed.

The beardie had a break through day yesterday. The bathing in marginally hot water sure does induce the voiding of waste. I have heard of lots of people doing this for snakes too, but had never had opportunity to do this for any of my critters. Mineral oil is no doubt an asset to the process as well.

She ate some greens on her own yesterday and had two dry and difficult stools pass earlier in the day with one making a mess of a bath. Later in the evening she delivered a moist easy to pass batch of waste and I think we're over the hump now and that she'll make a full recovery.

She loves being out in the heat of the sun. The UV is a must for these guys and she'll require special lighting when trips outside in the sun aren't an option, which is coming too soon although today is a beaut!

These guys make such good pets. I think this has become my favourite already, but that might change tomorrow.

Beardie - Dry crap that was typical of what she was having trouble passing. Macro shots are so others can help learn from mistakes in feeding too much protein.


The first stool that looked like she was getting healthier - day four


Out on the grass profile


Full body in the grass


Close up, shade side profile on the car hood towel shoot


Run for it


Monday, August 20, 2007

travel, running, corn snake babies and a poopy beardie

I'm on a roll. Forty one miles in 16 days. That's something a guy like me has to build up to. I had three consecutive six mile runs this week and I've had a couple of really intense threshold runs in the last couple of weeks. For those that might not be hip to the technical terms, a threshold run is where you run with an intensity that loads up your blood with lactic acid just to the point at which your body struggles to clear it out of your blood and hold it there.

It's a bit like hitting yourself with a hammer. It feels great when it's over. My point is really to say that with a twenty one mile week this week and being stronger for it, I'm learning how to do this running thing. ADHD sometimes makes it difficult to learn from my mistakes, but with the right tools it's at least a possibility for me.

PU and Boo are off to the Black Hills for the week. It's a bit of a tradition here that Mum takes the high school graduate off for a week of camping one on one. I hope they have a ball.

Last night we served 18 or so here in this tiny little place. PU put on a great spread. I over cooked the biscuits which blew bears. I was so mad. Old Joe was over celebrating his 79th birthday and as is usually the case he had a plethora of interesting tales to tell. His new $7000 hearing aids meant that the world had shifted a bit for him after 50 or so years of struggling to hear people. He's always been a good listener, regardless of the struggle to keep the messages clear. What a prize he is. Salt of the earth and all. Not an ounce of pretense about him, but a more generous spirit he has. He's still in love with PU and it's way too cute. PU was giving him a bad time about being neighbours for all these years and he's never once brought her some moon shine. What a gal.

All but two baby corn snakes have shed now. This means that it's time to try and feed them. The fun really starts now because they can be difficult to initiate feeding in captivity. I'm going to do some trials with warm roaches tomorrow from my colony of Blatta lateralis (Turkestan roach). If that's not welcomed with a big green light I'll go back to new born mice as is the proven path to success.

The beardie had another day of crapping a little and eating a little. I chopped up some carrot tops, beet greens, lambs quarters and a bit of cantaloupe that was a little grainy for human consumption and she had some of that. Apparently she should be taking most of her diet from the veggies. Just like me!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

rescue bearded dragon

I was told that this is a two year old bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) with a problem passing solid waste. It's a rescue and so far it's all good.

Warm baths, baby food veggies and a deep massage anyone?

These guys are the best. They are docile and actually seem to enjoy human contact. I've been pining for one for a while, but could not pony up for the cost. This one isn't well, but a friend of mine, Chad, seems to have done the biggest part of the job in getting her moving her solid waste through again.

I had her out in the sun a couple of times today and she really seemed to groove on that. She's had a dump on her own now and hopefully has turned the corner to better health. I'm still not sure if she's a fan of eating her vegetables, but I'll know soon enough. I fed her four big whacking horn worms this morning. She looked like she was hungry. She made a mess later, so with any luck I can just keep the vegetable content up and everything will slip through soon enough.







Wednesday, August 15, 2007

summer corn

The summer is winding down. I know this because PU is off to do some preparation at work before Boo and she head south for a few days in the badlands. The corn harvest is another good indicator of a summer flown by. The deer were held at bay long enough to get most of the garden produce off and the bears have left us some berries. The wild plums and hazelnuts are next. Manon has been busy making apple sauce from the wild crab apples we have in the yard. What a great flavour they give to anything you add them too. Nothing like a bit of character in an apple!

This wasn't all the corn, buy a long shot, but it gives one the idea of the process at any rate. I sharpened knives repeatedly all day. I love the food!

Corn for the freezer


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

baby corn snakes, spiders, and food

I should be in bed so not many words tonight, but at least a few images to fill you in on the most recent adventures. Last weekend Manon and I were out to Spruce Woods Park with the MHS crew hunting the Northern Prairie Skink and the Western Hognose snake. Camping was fun and the weather was fine. Others have posted a lot of images on the MHS forums.

Saturday morning I was double booked. I was supposed to be in Spruce Woods, but was corralled to speak about our local snake population and herpetiles in general at the Prairie Days in Gardenton. The crew at the Tall grass prairie preserve there put an active day together and there were a number of excellent speakers. Apparently I was a hit.

My corn snake eggs started to hatch on Friday night and by the time we got back from camping on Sunday there were several that Pierrette had put away kindly in little food storage bins with a bit of ventilation. When everyone of them had emerged, there were nine snows and five anerys. Snows carry double recessive genes for amelanism and anerythrism. I was hoping to have some of the neonates show signs of hypomelanism too. There is a chance the parents were heterozygous. I have yet to sex them and have a close look at colours and patterns.

These are a jumble of recent images.

Rob made me a sweet deal on five of these little guys, but Rich is going to take a couple thankfully. Green Bottle Blue (Chromatopelma cyanopubescens) These are still really small. In the lower right hand side of this shot is a roach head for scale. Maybe not the best choice, but it was handy.


Bathroom spider at Spruce Woods


Interesting caterpillar



Wolf spider


Wolf spider - in it's burrow


Corn snake eggs with a few yet to hatch


Anerythristic baby corn snake



Anerythristic corn snake baby full crop shot of the head


Anerythristic corn snake baby in hand


Snow corn snake






Big roaster filled with choke cherries. Choke cherries were difficult to come by this year, but Manon and Pierrette managed to even beat Joe to finding at least one spot where they were abundant.