Thursday, May 27, 2010

A cuppa joe

In the middle of the week of madness - had a wonderful sushi dinner with mom, bf, and bf's mom last night... taking mom to the botanical gardens today... and graduation ceremony tomorrow!!!

But I just wanted to pop in and share this lovely treasury that I've been included in - it might give you a little caffeine buzz! Thanks to Cordova Studios!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Bee's Knees

We got back from our vet school interviews on Friday evening. The whole process was, in a word, exhausting. The three of us each had our interviews on different days, but between the 40-minute drive to the interview, a 30-60 minute buffer in case of traffic or emergencies, the 2-hour interview, and the 40-60 minute drive back in Toronto traffic... we were just too exhausted to do anything but open a bottle of wine when we got back. We'd had big plans for exploring the area, going hiking, going to the zoo... but just couldn't do it.

And now..... we wait. It will probably be 2-3 weeks until we hear anything. So stressful!!

But, to take my mind off it, I am starting the week of madness soon.... working a lot, mom coming to town, graduating, a few grad/goodbye parties, and leaving to the west coast soon after.

In the meantime, here are some six-legged creatures I snapped at the arboretum last week whose worries are probably a lot simpler than mine...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday morning adventures with cows

We woke up early as usual today to go to school and play with Davis's pigs - he's also finishing up a research project looking at progesterone levels in sows throughout the day, and he has five gilts on campus to feed and clean up after twice a day. Pigs are really lovely - they're inquisitive and playful, and they really seem to enjoy human contact - and they do not smell nearly as bad as cows!

And speaking of which... when the weather is nice, the dry (aka non-milk producing) cows get a little 'vacation'... they're put out in the pasture to hang out until they're about to give birth, then they come inside the barn until they finish lactating for the year. The fields are near the piggery, so we walked over afterwards to say hello. It's very nice to see the cows in the grass... munching dandelions, rolling in mud, and just generally looking happy

On our way back to the car, we passed the dilapidated old farrier's hut...

Which is now home to some interesting old equipment...

... and dozens and dozens of house sparrows, including this young one, who seemed a little unsteady on his feet!

Because it was such a nice, warm and sunny morning, we decided to drive to the arboretum, passing under the watchful gaze of a red-tailed hawk...

... and had more adventures there with butterflies, but I haven't edited those pictures yet and I really should finish my paper, so I'll leave the butterflies for tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Visit from a Baltimore Oriole

I had an unexpected visitor drop by the garden today as I was outside taking pictures of some new jewelry pieces I'd made. I heard a loud thwap! and looked up to find the birdfeeder swaying and a bright little feathered creature lying below. The poor little oriole was stunned and didn't move as I scooped him up.

I spent a summer working in wildlife rehabilitation - well, one summer particularly with songbirds - and I knew the best thing was to put him somewhere safe and quiet to let him recover a bit... a shoebox was ideal (luckily I had one lying around...) But my little friend had other ideas - while I waited for Davis to get the box, he gave me a strong kick with his feet and startled me enough that I loosened my grip and off he flew! (silly me for letting go - I wouldn't have done that while I was working in rehab but I guess it's been a few years!)

He flew to a tree about 12 feet away, so I had an idea that his wings and legs must be okay, but I was hoping he didn't have a concussion or any internal damage - he'd hit that feeder pretty hard. After standing and watching him for 15 minutes, I went back to my photography, checking on him periodically. He seemed fairly alert - looking around and having a poop - but he stayed on his perch for over an hour. I shooed away one of the neighbourhood cats at one point and kept an eye out for the sharp-shinned hawk that's picked a dove or two off our feeder. Mr. Oriole didn't seem inclined to move, which made me a little nervous - I kept having visions of him toppling off his branch, stone dead. Finally, he hopped up to a higher branch, then a higher one - and was off. His flight seemed pretty steady and I lost him in the trees past our yard, so I'm hoping he's fully recovered or at least that he finds a safe spot until he is!

It often takes a personal encounter with an animal one-on-one to feel a connection to nature. When I worked in rehab, we would get so many people bringing in wounded birds because their cat had dragged it in or somebody had "rescued" a baby from below its nest. Of course everybody feels bad for that downy little robin or gasping warbler, but they don't seem to realize that there are a million more birds out there that they just don't see - that their cats eat without a trace or who hit their windows and die with no sign. I sometimes wish we could be more proactive in our approach to saving wildlife, whether it's each individual or a species as a whole.

Stay safe, Mr. Oriole, and all feathered things tonight...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

When life gives you lemons...

... make s'mores!