Monday, April 30, 2012

mason bees - woohoo!

isn't that the cutest little thing that you have ever seen??? that's my new mason bee house from a lovely company in BC called BeeDiverse. i ordered a mason bee house and bee cocoons from them! mason bees are exceptional pollinators and something that we noticed last year in our garden is that we were lacking bee activity. mason bees pollinate for their whole lives - which is about 4-5 months long. they do not produce honey or beeswax but they do produce more mason bees each year - woohoo!

this is the book, dvd and chart that i received with my mason bee home and mason bee cocoons. the dvd is just awesome, explains everything, and Dr. Margriet has the most gorgeous accent and walks you through all of the steps of what to do, and how to care for your mason bees! she has been doing this for many years - see below!

anyway - here's a closeup of the tiny tunnels in the mason bee house. the female mason bees will start by filling the back of a tunnel with mud - there's a lot of that to be found here at the Manor! once they have made a little mud cave, they will fill it with pollen and when they have enough pollen to feed a new mason bee - then they climb on the pollen and lay an egg. once the egg is laid, they close up the little house with more mud!

a female mason bee makes five or six of these little mud houses with pollen and an egg in each of the little tunnels. once a tunnel is full - they move on to another tunnel. once all of the tunnels are full, if you are lucky, some of the females will then look for holes in rotting logs - something we have a plenty here at the Manor. they spend their whole lives doing this and, again, if you are lucky, you can start with 20 bees and end up producing 5 times that number in your first year!!! another great thing is that they normally stay within 15km of their home/nest. if they like their area, several females will start new nests. after the second year, and with proper fall/winter care of the cocoons - you could have hundreds of these little super pollinators who don't sting. mason bees rock! and learning to care for them is a great way to step into taking care of honey bees. i am in love with these little things!

so here is the little house again. the yellow thing next to it is a predator guard that goes on the front of the house.

the roof of the little house lifts off and that is where you put your mason bee cocoons. the bees will eat themselves out of the cocoons and then find themselves a little home in one of the tunnels.


when i opened the end of the boxes - i saw that the bees had already woken up! they were a little sluggish as is to be expected but they were definitely ready to greet the world! sorry that there are no pics of the bees in the box but we wanted to get them into their home right away!

jambaloney built them an extra box to be sure that they were safe from the elements and from some birds. the chicken wire ensures that no birds can get into their tunnels.

here is the post that jambaloney built to put up against our most east-facing tree.

here is the tree that we put the mason bee home on! isn't it gorgeous? and don't ya love the pile of dirt, the tires and the window screen - which we use to sift all of our dirt - in the pic? man we have gone completely past hillbilly and redneck and are now pure and honest white-trash - bahahahahah!

and be sure to note that jambaloney strapped the post holding the mason bee house to the tree using rope over pieces of firehouse so as not to damage the tree bark in any way - that's the way we like to do things around here! here it is:

isn't it beautiful???

and ya know what's even better???? after only an hour we saw bees! check them out:


they are still pretty sluggish and warming themselves in the sun. but we also saw some of them checking out the tunnels.

i am loving this mason bee adventure! if you have any questions, just ask. the book and dvd are very thorough. as well, there are a lot of sites that i can direct you to.

woohoo - mason bees!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

update on Sci and Mars

hey guys - just wanted to update all of my friends on the current situation with Sci and Mars. it turns out that they found a worthy (and cheap) i mean excellent vehicle that will be reliable for a while...and it was closer to them then having poor MDR and his wife have to drive up to Oklahoma from Texas.

i spoke to MDR on friday night and he gave me the news. i also got to speak to his wife who sounds so awesome that i could probably hug her until she was sooo squished. it was an honour that my friend would want me to speak to his wife. i don't care what he says - i think he is one of the most awesome men i have ever met! and i am filled with pride when i think that he calls me friend. jambaloney feels the same way. but jambaloney just wishes that MDR would slow down a little on his projects - teehee. because when i see MDR's latest project i yell - babe! come and see this! - and then jambaloney gets that look on his face. you all know what i mean!

i just heard back from Sci and she and Mars are very happy with their crap-ass - no i mean awesome - second hand vehicle. she is overwhelmed by the accident, the support, the prayers, the donations, the trying to find a vehicle, the fact that MDR offered his - she has to go into the Big Town tomorrow to register their new vehicle. i can only imagine how overwhelmed she and Mars are - i am overwhelmed and it didn't happen to me!

again - i thank all of my friends who jumped when i called. it fills my heart with joy to know that there are really good people out there in the world. i have always believed that, even though both jambaloney and i have been through experiences with people where we felt used and to be frank - abused. it is so nice to have a community here that you can really count on.

from the bottom of my heart - i thank you all for being here. i thank you all for your concern, your caring, your willingness to help people that you have never met.

my friend Rick said that he helped because he received help once and he believes in "paying it forward". i can't think of a better way to say it. you people have enriched my life and i don't know the proper way to say thank you for that.

so i will leave you with a quote from the movie 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape". Leonardo di Caprio plays Gilbert's (Johnny Depp's) brother, Arnie. at the end of the movie, Arnie says to Gilbert "say thank you, Gilbert. say thank you".

thank you.

Friday, April 27, 2012

i am simply blown away!

i am blown away by the outpouring of love, prayers and support from all of you. who knew that a few days ago, when my friends Sci and Mars were scrambling their brains trying to figure out what to do after Sci wrecked their family's only vehicle - a problem that must have seemed insurmountable at the time - that after only a few days our blogging community would jump in and help them with this problem.

first and foremost - i thank each and every one of you who said a prayer for my friends - prayers always help and prayers from a number of people, some of whom are halfway around the world are the best. to all of my friends who prayed for Sci and Mars - well, it's nothing short of miraculous but your prayers WORKED!!!

to all of you who, although times are tough and money is scarce, sent a gift to my friend - even if it was only a dollar - well - your gift has really helped. Sci and Mars are no longer running around like chickens with their heads cut off, wondering how they are going to fix the truck. i think that all of us have at one time, or another, been in a financial bind wondering how we are going to fix the well, fix the sump-pump, replace the transmission in our vehicles, etc. it is an awful feeling to not know "where to get the money". that weight has been lifted from my friends' shoulders. and i thank you all for being so generous!

next - i am giving the biggest shout-out to my dear buddy, MDR from Modern Day Redneck. i have met several Texans in my life and they are some of the most generous, willing to help kind of people in the world. both Sci and MDR are Texans and listening to their accents on the phone - they sound like they might be cousins - bahhaha!

why am i giving a big shout-out to MDR? well, because in his true and humble fashion, he generously offered Sci and Mars the use of one of his trucks. YES - you read that right!!! oh and if that wasn't enough generosity - he offered to TAKE the truck from Texas to Oklahoma - and he offered to do it this Saturday!!!! he and his lovely wife will spend their day Saturday taking the truck to Sci and Mars!!! in less than a week, because of everyone's generosity, the biggest being MDR's, Sci and Mars will have a working vehicle while Mars continues to fix theirs.

for any of who know MDR, you know that he is not the kind of person to want a bunch of attention. i had to beg him to let me tell all of you about his generosity. in true MDR fashion he told me "I am not doing this for the glory or the attention...I do it out of friendship, love and the generosity through the glory of Christ, because without him we cannot do anything anyway". no truer words have been said, buddy!

MDR - from the bottom of my Big Cape Breton heart, i thank your Big Texan Heart! i won't forget this buddy! and jambaloney and i will always be here if you need us!!!

lastly, i would like to thank one of our readers, Rick, who made a substantial donation. Rick, it was really nice talking to you and i hope that we can stay in touch through the blog and through email. you have lived a very interesting life and i would love to know more about it!

one last time - to all of you, my friends, who jumped when i called - thank you so much. it is such a nice feeling to know that one has reliable and true friends. if there is anything that i can ever do for any of you, please don't hesitate to ask. i promise to always try to do my best to be a good a friend as you all are to me.

make sure to stop in to Sci's thank you post!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

an urgent plea for your help, from me, to all of you!

my friends - i consider all of you that follow this blog and leave supportive comments, to be "actual" friends. the mere fact that you visit here and are interested in our lives and what we are doing, proves that fact to me!

i need your help! i really need your help! i need your prayers, your support and i need your dollars. i knew that would slap you all upside of the head, eh?

i need you to help my friend. she is a dear friend. most of you already know about her from her blog - i have seen quite a few of you visiting there.

SciFiChick has been a very dear friend to me for years. years ago she was my canning partner!!! i learned with her how not to blow up quarts of tomatoes all over the stove and ceiling. for several years now, she has been to me a sweet friend, always filled with encouragement, always a smile on her face, always a source of much laughter.

she and her husband moved out to the middle of nowhere only a year ago. the progress that they have made since getting there is nothing short of amazing. and if you want to laugh your guts out - go and see this post about her "barn" - oh that one killed me and jambaloney!!! Sci and her husband, Mars, are no strangers to hard work!

but they need our help! they need our financial help!

a few days ago, Sci flipped their truck. she suffered a few minor injuries, but her dog, BB, who was riding in the back did not, PTL! Sci and her husband live on a small, fixed income and fixing the truck, and/or replacing the truck is not something that they can do right away. did i mention that they live out in the middle of nowhere, don't know any of their nearest neighbours (who are quite far away) and that the truck is their only form of transportation?

Sci - if i could, i would buy you and Mars a second-hand truck right now! but i can't. i can, however, hit the donate button on your blog and send you $25. i know that there are few others that follow this blog that can afford a $1, $5, $10, $15 or a $20 donation. i also know that some of my friends cannot afford a monetary donation and to those friends, i request that you keep Sci and Mars in your prayers - i know that you will!

please friends...i really need your help!

please go to Sci's blog and donate if you can - but even if you can't - leave her a comment to let them know that there are a bunch of us who pray for them and know that the Lord always finds a way to help people who help others and themselves - Sci has provided much free advice and information on her blog! our donations and/or our prayers can help a friend who gives so freely of herself - please, let's help them. we are a community - albeit an internet one - but we ARE a community!

thank you, dear friends. i know that among all of us - we can really help! i thank each of you from the bottom of my heart!
Edited to add that North, my very dear friend, offered to allow me to put a post up on the GunBlogBlackList - i can' thank you enough, buddy! if you don't already have the GunBlogBlackList on your daily read - then scoot on over - there is much information that you need!

Monday, April 23, 2012

some of my favourite books - 5


okay - i know that i have now admitted to other books being my favourite books but this little book really, really, really is my favourite!

 this has been a go-to book throughout my life whenever troubles seemed to big to bear, or when i worried or wondered if i was making the right decision or choice about something. this book has never let me down.

Dr. Seuss was an amazingly talented man! You can read his wikipedia entry here, as well as visit here, to play games with the Cat in the Hat - teehee!

anyway, like i said above, this book has always held incredible meaning for me. i think i was 4 when my mother first checked it out of the library for me. my mother was allowed to check out 12 books a week and she always let me have four of them. every week for years i checked out this book and 3 others. once i was 6 and could get my own library card, i was allowed to check out 6 books a week. for years, i always checked out this book and 5 others. when i started babysitting when i was 11, i bought myself a copy of this book. that book travelled far and wide with me, had been dropped in the bathtub (i love to read in the bath!) so many times that it was swollen to 3 times it's size! i eventually replaced that book with another which also met a similar fate. i was with jambaloney by that time and so he went out and replaced it the very next day. i guess that you can say that this book has been with me for most of my life.

Dr. Seuss, thank you from the bottom of my heart. whenever people ask me who i would most like to meet, living or dead, i am torn between T. S. Eliot (my favourite poet), Elizabeth the First, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Sappho, Malaclypse the Younger, Pope Joan, Sir General Isaac Brock or King Sejong....and then i remember....the person that i would most like to meet is Dr. Seuss. i would love to be able to thank him in person for all of his wonderful books, but most importantly, to me, for writing "Oh, the Places You'll Go" and "The Lorax" (i will do a different post on "The Lorax" as i believe that "The Lorax" contributed greatly to the development of some of my religious and bioregional animism beliefs.).


"Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!"


"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."


"You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care. About some you will say, 'I don't choose to go there.' With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street. And you may not find any you'll want to go down. In that case, of course, you'll head straight out of town.

"It's opener there in the wide open air."
(i often wonder if reading this book so young, so often, is not one of the reasons that i left the city the minute that i could?)

and for your reading pleasure, here is the rest of the book. take a few minutes to read it and get it's powerful message, won't you?

"Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry. Don't stew. Just go right along. You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up! You'll be seeing great sights! You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed. You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't. Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple, it's not, I'm afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break, or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping, once more you'll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't. Because, sometimes, they won't. I'm afraid that some times you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance, you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go through the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.

On and on and on you will hike. And I know you'll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting.

So...get on your way!"


i guess now you understand why i love this book so much! it is a wonderful book for children to not only learn phonetics from, but to learn about what to expect from life and how to get around the problems that they may encounter. however, i believe this is a book for adults, too. and that is why i am sharing it with you all!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

a bunny, goldfinches and the breakfast of champions!

 found this little guy chowing down on peanuts and clover - we haven't seen a bunny all year. the first summer when we were here visiting (2009) for 2 weeks - we saw bunnies everywhere! i am glad that this little guy is back - and yes, Stephen, if i need the protein, i will eat him! for now he can fatten up on peanuts!


i love these little goldfinches that come to eat at our feeders - sometimes there are 20 of them in the apple trees and they look like flowers!!! we also have purple finches that visit regularly. soon our hummingbirds will be back - that really means that spring has arrived!

jambaloney got these babies the day before yesterday - they are sea-run trout and having been feeding mostly off of shrimps - they have beautiful red flesh like a salmon.

and last but not least - Trouts and Sprouts - the breakfast of champions!!!!


it's another gorgeous day, i started some more seeds. jambaloney cleared an area for our outdoor kitchen (Sue - he promises to do yours too!) and worked on building additional protection for the the mason bee house. as soon as some more flowers and clover appear, we will set out the mason bee house. i'll have a full post with many pictures about the mason bees - i can't wait to set them out. anyway, it's time to go naked suntanning, reading and napping in the sun. i hope that you are all having a gorgeous day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

he's the baker, i'm the decorator

my man is a serious baker! he makes the best almond cookies, oatmeal cookies and peanut butter cookies known to man! but his banana bread is to die for!!! normally we have it plain with just some butter, but yesterday we got a little fancy! i made some lemon cream cheese frosting for the banana bread - it was decadent and yummy! 

i decorated the cake with lemon and lime wedges, cranberries, lemon balm leaves and a sprinkle of brown sugar - mmmmmmm!

i took an end piece to get more of the frosting - man it was good! i couldn't even finish my piece but jambaloney is always good for that!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fishing - Opening Day!

jambaloney here!

when i was a kid - i would always wait eagerly for opening day of the fishing season. it would change depending on species and location... opening day on the Framboise river is April 15th - i was ready, here is my license - i ALWAYS have a fishing license - my dad used to say that they'll take your gear, boat and vehicle if you don't - that was in Quebec, mind you ;-)

here is the rest of the gear - rod, knapsack with lures etc, jacket, hip waders, water and a bucket for the catch:

off i go down the road to the river...

and when i look back, there is the manor...

it was a frosty morning, you can see the effect of frost on the rocks in the mud - water expands when it freezes and then contracts when it thaws leaving these spaces around the rocks that then "sink in" to the ground. it's pretty cool!

the river's edge - spectacular morning!!!!

the canoe has been waiting patiently for this day since last fall...

so in the water and off we go!!

as i paddle out and away, i look back at home - the manor is the white dot in the middle of the red circle..

there is some beautiful rugged shore - it is early in the year the shore isn't green yet..

in a bay around the corner, i found this clay deposit in two feet of water...

perfect for making an outdoor cob oven that kymber has always wanted, i'll be back!!

next i am off the the place where two small rivers empty into the Framboise..

it is a bright sunny day!!

up the river i go..

it is breathtakingly clean and crisp!

it's all about having a good selection of lures - this is my trout kit.. - small lures i fish on light spinning gear with 4 lb test line...

kymber's breakfast:

and mine!!

the morning was amazing and the fish delicious - there is nothing like fresh caught trout. i am proud to be able to go get food and feed my woman ;-))

cheers all!

Monday, April 16, 2012

lost in the land of spring!

we are definitely having a normal and proper spring this year - it has been beautiful and soul-reviving! last year, we had such an abnormal winter, spring and summer - but not this year - this year has been a normal winter...and so far...a normal spring!!! today our temp was 13C (about 60F)...very awesome temps for this time of year!

and we are so far ahead of the game this year! last year was all about everything that could go wrong during the winter - DID! and then during spring we were scrambling to get the raised beds built, filled with dirt and seaweed, same for all of the tires, scrambling to get seeds started, etc. - and this year we are able to take our time and enjoy! we are feeling decadent to say the least!

we have a bazillion seeds started on the plastic-wrapped porch, there are a bazillion more that need to be started and will be over the next few weeks, we are sun-burnt and loving it - jambaloney was naked today shoveling compost and dirt into the potatoe tires (for your imaginative envisionings - picture a well-built, very muscled, gorgeous, bearded guy with a pirate bandana on his head, black rubber boots up to the knees and absolutely nothing else!!!! bahahahhaah!!! i sure did love watch him shoveling 24 tires like that!) - i was not naked as it is still a little cool for me - i wore some underwear and a little tank top! i raked the compost and dirt into the tires as he shoveled them. i also watered the 24 tires with seaweed tea that has been soaking in the hot sun for days.

we did some laundry and hung it out to dry, made our breakfast, dinner and prepped for supper - and now we are calling it a day! i think a nap is in our future.

i hope you all had a wonderful day like we had - ooooooh! thank you spring for going back to normal! thank you sky for being so blue! thank you sun for shining so brightly! thank you Lord for bringing us here!

Friday, April 13, 2012

my gardening prowess - bahahahah!, egg cartons and tempura


i present the proof of my gardening prowess - a couple of spinach seeds have germinated - woohoo! okay, that's not such a big deal but it is to me! check them out:

i have a pile of little seeds coming up - they seem to really like the salad containers!

they'll soon be moved here so that i can start even more seeds:

by moving them from under the grow light in to the little greenhouses, you can start the hardening off process. they will stay in their little salad containers for a few more days and then i will transplant them into cardboard pots. during the day, i will open the plastic that wraps the greenhouses and close them up at night. during the day, we will open the windows on both ends of the porch to let in some fresh air - it sure gets hot out there on a sunny day! eventually i will remove the potted seedlings from the little plastic greenhouses and put them on several tables that we have out on the porch. after a few days of that, the seedlings will then be moved outside during the day. and that will be their cycle until it is time to put them in the ground. i can't wait. but will have to for at least a month and a half!

are you tired of paying for jiffy pellets to start your seeds in every year? a few years ago - i was too! then i found all kinds of nifty things that people were doing - such as using egg cartons for starting their seeds. save up all of your egg cartons from the grocery store:

and voila! fill them with a mix of manure and sifted dirt. these babies are soaking in seaweed compost water - sure is smelly!

plant your seeds just as you would in a jiffy pellet. you can fit 3 of these egg carton seeders to a baggy if you use the baggy method. or if you use salad containers, like i do, they fit together just as well as the jiffy pellets!

and yesterday's lunch - tempura! oh i love tempura!

the pic is blurry and it doesn't show how delicious this really was! we did shrimp, onion, mushroom and sweet potatoe - yummeh!