Monday, September 20, 2010

Glacier Bay and College Fjord

The last two days of the cruise found us gazing at the these spectacular glaciers.  We were so fortunate with the weather - it was the best week of 2010 and apparently for College Fjord - the best in 4 years.

Glacier Bay

We cruised down Glacier Bay and then the ship creeped up, ever so softly, towards John Hopkins Glacier.  She floated there for at least an hour.  The captain turned her starboard for 1/2 hour and then port.  And then we steamed away.















The first time in 4 years that anyone has seen all the glaciers at the same time.  There are over 150,000 glaciers in Alaska and many of them are along College Fjord.  All the glaciers in this fjord are named after colleges, except for Princeton (they didn't like that college when naming went on).  The biggest glacier - Hubbard  - biggest glacier (I thought they said Harvard) are seen here.


Sea Lions, Eagles, Martinis - Oh My!

Rather than do a day by day of my cruise (since I am now boring myself), I'll just do the highlights.
Juneau

Darlene went ziplining and since I am afraid of heights, I booked a whale watching tour with Harve and Marve. It was a 3-hour tour (shades of Gilligan's Island here). The pilot of my boat was Captain Shawn and there was just 5 passengers. I rode shot-gun (since I have experience with piloting my rowboat in my pond). We saw at least 8 whales that day - so many, in fact, that I did not know where to point my camera. I do not have any good photos of my whale watching (I have some great video that I will upload later). Shawn said that this was one of the BEST days he'd ever had for whale watching. In addition to the whale watching, we were privileged to take in the sea lions (they only hang around this rock for about a month for breeding).  Sea lions are not shy, and they readily came towards the boat and waved their flippers - but, man-oh-man do they STINK!

After whale watching I explored the Mendenhall Glacier.  This is a tongue glacier. Breathtaking!


View from Sky Tram - Top of Juneau.  I had a few hours to kill before heading back to the ship so took the Sky Tram.  A couple of shots of Juneau and my ship The Coral Princess.

Skagway

Third and last port of call on our cruise.  We decided to take in the Chilkat Eagle Preserve River Rafting Float.   This was the highlight of our cruise in terms of excursions.  It started off with a ferry ride down the fjord to Haines, so we were able to see where the ship cruised into port (in the middle of the night).  Then a white knuckle bus ride to the embarkment point of the rafts.  Our guide on the bus was Karl (with a K). Karl - well, just imagine some guy jacked up on speed who knows ALL the history of the surrounding area but also wants to tell you ALL ABOUT HIMSELF (because he was an only child).  We did not take Karl's (with a K) raft - we decided to take Paul's raft.  Paul...wow - I almost didn't see any eagles.  Anyway - this float down the braided river was wonderful.  If we saw 1 eagle we saw 30.  And we also saw a brown bear with her two cubs strolling along a beach flat.    After disembarking, we were provided with one of the best shore lunches of the entire cruise - gourmet sandwiches.  I remark on this because all of the excursions we participated all they offered was a stupid cookie and a cup of hot beverage - however, this excursion was a real lunch.  Big sandwiches, fruit, chips and homemade cookies and all sorts of beverages.   The ferry ride back was exciting too because we crossed the wake of a cruise ship leaving port...WOW - that was quite the WAVE!

Oh I almost forgot - the martinis...CHEERS!



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wow!


Just yesterday I was walking out in this field with Sparkle and wondering whether the tracks I was seeing was what I thought it was. Then just 10 minutes ago, I was walking from the garage around the house to the patio and happened to glance out into the field and thought..."why does that cow have a branch on its head?" I am so glad I didn't meet this big fellow yesterday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cruising on the High Seas

Cruising - First Day at Sea
Our first day on the cruise we are at sea the entire day and heading towards Ketchikan, Alaska. The day is a bit overcast and the seas (at least to my limited experience) are fairly smooth. There are some rolling waves, but, I don't really think they are considered rough. We can certainly feel the sway of the ship and do loll from side to side as we walk down the halls, but, we're not being flung around. It's kind of a neat feeling - we can stagger down the hallways without being accused of drinking!


Darlene says something like - I am really sore this morning and now she's not running up and down the stairs anymore. I finally realize the way to deal with my overactive sister is to let her play herself out the first day (she was like a kid after eating all the Hallow e'en candy). So - the NO ELEVATORS of hers is over.

We had breakfast in the dining room and shared a table with two people from New York - The Bronx. We saw several dolphins swimming beside the ship - wow, are they fast! They were zipping along and diving in and out of the water. They could keep up with the ship.

We discovered the Deck 7 - Promenade Deck and walked the outside of the ship. Three times around equals one mile. This appealed to my fitness freak sister and it was much easier than doing stairs.

I guess we spent most of the day just wandering around the ship and exploring all she had to offer.

The evening was the first formal night and the Captain's Champagne party starting at 5 pm in midship around the winding spiral staircase on Decks 5 and 6. We got dressed in our finest clothes and wandered over to Deck 5 to watch all the other formally dressed people. It was sure nice to see all the ladies dressed up and the men in their tuxes. We got several pictures taken and enjoyed endless glasses of champagne.









At 7:45 pm we headed off to our dining room and enjoyed a wonderful evening in the company of our table mates. Once again, we closed the dining room.


I decided that I was not quite ready to go sleep after dinner and we headed to the Explorer's Lounge were there was karaoke going on. I mustered up enough nerve, bolstered by a vodka martini and got on stage and sang The Eagles, "Take It Easy". My heart was just pounding! I was a bit too fast at the beginning - way ahead of the music, but I finally managed to get into the groove. I figured I'd never see any of these people again - so why not just have fun.


Finally off to bed where we found that our cabin steward, Romil, had turned down our covers, arranged our pajama's and put chocolates on our pillows. What luxury!

Ketchikan
We wake up to find ourselves in port at Ketchikan. We have booked a tour through the cruiseline to go kayaking around the Tatoosh Islands. We are to meet our tour guide at 9 a.m. The tour is 4.5 hours long, and our ship leaves port at 1:30 pm.


We shower. I have to mention here that I just LOVE the shower. While it is about half the size of a telephone booth, the water pressure and spray is just wonderful. One of the best showers I've ever encountered. I do wonder though how "people of size" manage to use these showers?


We have breakfast at the buffet in Horizon Court (Deck 14) and all I can say is WOW - food is abundant.


We disembark the ship around 8 am and head into the small shopping centre. The night before we were tricked into attending the shopping show onboard. We thought it was going to be about where to shop, and they lured us in with promises of a free bracelet. Well, the show is a high pressure sales pitch to buy diamonds. Yep - that's the reason I went on an Alaskan cruise - to buy diamonds. In order to get the bracelets and charms, we had to go to the diamond stores in port and collect them. Now, one doesn't think that jewelry stores would be the most ubiquitous store in Alaska, but, there must have been about 15 in every port. We collected the "junk" at the first port and never bothered in the other ports. It is absolute junk.


We find our tour and around 9 am get on the bus that will take us to the dock. Once at this dock, we are given life jackets and heavier jackets to wear. We get in this inflatable zip boat and are off to the Tatoosh Islands, but, the boat operators suddenly turns around and heads back to the pier because he'd forgotten the smaller life jackets we need for kayaking. On our way to the the kayak start point we see several eagles.


We arrive at the kayaking station and don our smaller life jackets and are given a brief lesson in how to kayak. They are two man kayaks and Darlene takes the stern and she is responsible for steering as she will be using the rudders to turn right or left (the bossy one is supposed to go into the stern). We are a small group - 6 kayakers plus our guide Mark. It was a gorgeous day - a bit overcast, but in the lee of the islands there was hardly any wind or chop and we had a great time marveling at the beautiful scenery. We saw a few more eagles. Coming back we had to cross a small channel where the current was stronger and we were paddling against the tide - so, we had to do a bit of work. The entire kayaking trip was 1.5 hours. Once back at shore we had our "snack", which was a cup of hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie.
Back into the zip boat and a quick trip back to the dock. I was looking at my watch at it was around 1 pm and we had to be in port at 1:30 because that is when the cruise ship leaves port. Well, two people on this trip wanted to souvenir shop and I guess the tour operator wanted to make more money so he opened up the shop. 15 minutes later these two come back out. I have no idea what they bought except for pepsi. We kept reminding the bus driver that we had to get back to port and she was like..."oh, don't worry there are always lineups to get back on the ship, we have plenty of time." Finally, around 1:15 the bus starts back to port. And you guessed it! We were late and the ship was waiting for us. Talk about embarrassing knowing that all the people peering over the railings are wondering why these bozos cannot make it back to port in time. We were no sooner on the ship and the doors closed behind our butts.


After having a lunch at the buffet, we went to the Crooner's Lounge (which became our favourite lounge) I think this is the afternoon I discovered I liked traditional martini's and also olives. The waiters were wonderful there and when they brought the martini's they'd do a dance while shaking the brew. They also put down bowls of big olives to eat.


And then it was time for dinner again and this time both Darlene and I are very played out. We didn't do anything that night and went straight to our stateroom after dinner. There we discovered that Romil had arranged Darlene's pajamas in a lovely pattern on the bed. Mine were simply folded because I didn't have nice pjs like Darlene's. She was so impressed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Anchors Aweigh

My sweet sister gifted me with an Alaskan cruise (inside passage) and we embarked on September 4 from Vancouver harbour.

Prior to leaving (she asked me in June), I spent much time planning my outfits and just obtaining all the little things (according to Cruise Critic) that I would require to make my cruise enjoyable. Poor Peter, every time I would come home I would have some item and all he could see was a debit in our bank account. Of course, now I know what one really needs and I will make some post about what is absolutely necessary and what is just fluff.

Anyway - after much research about Alaska, reading forums, blogs, etc. the day finally arrives and I am on my way to the airport in Saskatoon to start my journey.

Day One -The Night Before

I have carefully packed all my luggage and make sure that I have the essentials in my carry-on and that my checked bag does not exceed 50 pounds. It weighs in at 45 pounds. I go through security and I don't know what it is about the Saskatoon airport but they must be VERY BORED or I have some kind of sign on me that says..."I should be strip searched". Well, I go through when there is absolutely no one else in security, and of course, Saskatoon has just received all those lovely toys for scanning people and I am chosen out of a line up of ZERO. I have a choice - either be searched by hand, or I can go into the new fangled body scanner. I chose the body scanner - only takes 3 seconds. I did want to ask for a picture, but I thought that would probably not go over well. And then they had to go through every item in my carry-on.


Since the only thing I was packing was shampoo, body lotions and a sparkly belt, I was allowed to proceed.

The flight to Vancouver was wonderful - clear, blue skies and wonderful views of the Rockies.


















I found my sister at the baggage claim area and we saw people at a Princess Cruise kiosk and stopped to talk with them. Since we were not sailing until the following day, we were simply stopping to ask them what we should expect for tomorrow. Well, since we had booked our hotel through the cruise lines, they were waiting for us and after we collected our baggage, they whisked us off in a taxi to our hotel..://www.westinbayshore.com/">The Westin Bayshore. Talk about being pampered -and this was just the beginning.



We spent the remainder of the afternoon walking the harbour - absolutely gorgeous. Saw the 2010 Olympic Torch sculpture and did the obligatory pictures. We had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant that was perched over the waters. We also found the most important thing...a liquor store and bought 8 bottles of wine to take onto the cruise (this is important as you will read further on). I have no idea what time we finally went to bed, but tomorrow would be THE DAY to board.




















Day Two - Boarding the Ship and Setting Sail

We wake up around 6 a.m. and it is shaping up to be a glorious day. I peak outside the curtains and see our ship, The Coral Princess, sailing into port. What a fantastic sight. We are supposed to have our BIG luggage ready and waiting at the hotel door so it can be transported to the ship. This is an important thing to note - you want to keep and have your most valuable items in your carry-on since you have no idea when you may see your main luggage on the ship. This means, have your toothbrush, a change of clothes, make-up, contact lens stuff, any medications and anything you do not want to lose (such as jewelry) in your carry-on. We packed all that important stuff, plus...the 8 bottles of wine - precious stuff, sure didn't want it to be broken in our checked luggage.


We were transported to the ship on a bus. Our bus driver was hilarious - he was German and it was like Arnold was driving and commentating. We get to the port and have to go through US Customs and Ship Security. Well, once again that target is gleaming on my back and the Ship Security were quite concerned about the corkscrew I had in my carry-on. They asked me why I had it...well, as I pointed to the 8 bottles of wine I had in my carry-on, it was so I could open them. They scrutinized my corkscrew and determine that the blade was only to open the packaging surrounding the cork (and not to commit mutiny on the high seas). After tossing my underwear and bras about the security area, I was allowed to continue.


At US Customs - all they did was scan my passport and say Welcome. And then we were on board the Coral Princess!

Once aboard we found our stateroom P615 - on the Plaza Deck 5 about midship. It was a really cute room. We had an oceanview and there was plenty of room and storage space for all our stuff. All we had was our carry-on, so we quickly dumped that in the room and set about exploring the ship. Darlene, of course said we were not allowed to take the elevators...EVER! and she like a fitness freak started running up the decks. We explored the Plaza deck first - that had the pursers counter and some shops. Decks 5, 6, 7 and 8 - amidship around the lovely winding staircase had all the shops and bars. Then we walked up another 5 decks to find the Lido Deck (Deck 14) and came upon this amazing buffet in the Horizon Court. So we did what comes naturally...loaded a dish with food (that is one of the main themes aboard a cruise ship - eat the amount you paid for your ticket in food).


After stuffing ourselves, we found the doors to outside and came across the outside pool and hot tub and more bars and a grand view of the Vancouver Harbour. Here we settled into deck chairs and next thing we know we have a Ceasar in hand and are now officially "crusin'"!



Our checked luggage arrives around 4 or 5 pm and we unpack. We ready for our first dinner. We chose late seating the formal dining room at a table of 10. We met our dinner mates - Ron and Diane from Southern California and Helen and Matt, Bruce and Glenda all from Perth, Australia. The other 2 never showed up.

During the course of the conversation that evening Ron was telling us that if we order 3 bottles of wine it's cheaper over the cruise. I said, we don't need any more wine as I brought on 8 bottles. He was stunned and said what? You can't bring wine on board. I said the only thing you can't bring on board is hard liquor. Well, Ron was just so upset with this revelation and spent the remainder of the cruise hunting down wine stores in ports so he could bring onboard extra bottles!

We were having so much fun at dinner that we closed down the dining room - the waiters standng there and staring daggers at us to vacate the premises. We finally left and went up to the Princess Theatre and took in one of the shows. And finally back to our stateroom and into bed.

The end of a great day and only the beginning of a great cruise.



Fantastic Voyage!

I'm back from my cruise up the Alaskan coastline (inside passage). I have lots of stories to tell and pictures to share. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend at Fernie - Part 2

Up fairly early on Saturday and after a lovely breakfast we head off to the Timber Lodge chairlift for a ride up the mountain. Now, although I was a skier for about 25 years (but have not skied since moving to the prairies), I am afraid of heights and am not a happy camper on the lifts - especially when they go over gorges that plunge about 100 feet down. I once was suspended over such a gorge -(Whistler Mountain) the chair had stopped for several minutes - my seatmate - evil B that she was, took great delight in swinging the chair and watching me cry. So anyway - it had been many years since I last took a chair lift (I have no problems skiing down though). So, I rode the lift with my Dad and my sister and I hung on for dear life while they wiggled around in the chair and asked me "what was wrong"?

Despite me being frozen in place, I did manage to look around a bit (moved my eyes). The temperature slowly dropped while we ascended the mountain. It was a bit foggy at the top, but the views were still spectacular. Thankfully, the little chalet at the top had a small restaurant and I got the best mug of hot chocolate laced with real whipped cream that I have drank. I savoured that heavenly brew while I silently worried about the trip back down the mountain on the chair. That is way scarier because there is no mountain in front of you - only sheer drops. We spent about 1/2 hour drinking in the sights and then it was time to go back down. I took the chair down by myself - no way was I going to let those two wiggly things on a chair with me. After the initial drop at the top, I managed to open my eyes and finally relaxed and enjoyed the glorious scenery. I would have loved to have taken a few photos while on the chair but between my frozen state and contemplating moving I was also worried that I'd drop the bloody camera - well, I did manage to take some photos at the top of the mountain.

Of interest - the mountain bikers are amazing - they take the lifts up and then scream like demons on their bikes down the mountain not only do they pit themselves against the sheer gravity of plunging downhill, but they also weave in and out of the trees as well as going over jumps and all manner of apparatuses. What an amazing sport!

I made it down the mountain with my sanity intact and now it's time to get ready for the wedding. Off to bathe, primp, dress and perfume myself. The wedding is at 2 pm and so far it is shaping it to be a beautiful day.

It's a small, intimate wedding of about 50 people and because the weather is cooperating the ceremony is performed outside. Leanne is gorgeous and I cannot believe that I am crying my eyes out (big wracking sobs) - I always thought people who cried at weddings were just putting on a show - but I could not stop the tears from flowing. And now my dear nephew is a married man.

The bride, groom and wedding party went off to places unknown for their pictures - I understand they took pictures on the chairlift! So - the wedding guests were left to amuse themselves in the lovely Lizard Creek Lodge. A light lunch came out with these amazing appetizers made of a melted cheese basket filled with brouchetta (sp?) and then some chicken skewers, veggie rolls and some lime flavoured shrimp...YUM!

The wedding party returned around 6 pm - and the common area around the huge fireplace was transformed into a dining area and hardwood dance floor had been laid over the carpet. We dined on a buffet of roast beef and chicken accompanied by many vegetable dishes, pickles, olives and of course an assortment of decadent deserts. A few speeches and then finally the first dance - again I was choked up watching the lovely bride and groom have their first dance together as a married couple.


The DJ was spectacular - not only did he surprise us with many dances and costumes but he took any requests and had all the music -he was never stumped. The music was fantastic and I danced like a woman possessed. Finally after several "last songs" the DJ finally declared it was OVER and I stumbled into bed around 1:30 am.

Well, morning arrived (way too early) and OMG! I was so stiff I could barely walk. My hips! My hips! What was I thinking? I cannot do the low rocking to the floor dance anymore - did I think I was 25 years old? I was paying royally for the dancing - but it was worth it!

I left around 9:30 am and made it to Medicine Hat around 2 pm. I could just manage to drag myself out of the truck and limped to the front desk, where the clerk took pity on my broken body and upgraded my room and assured me that I would not have to climb any stairs to get to my room.

I suffered for several days and was only able to walk kind of normal around Thursday.

Cheers Gord and Leanne - may you have a wonderful and prosperous life together. Thank you for including me in your celebration - it was the best wedding I have ever attended!


Weekend at Fernie - Part I

It's taken me a whole week to recover from the extravaganza that was my nephew Gord and his stunningly beautiful bride, Leanne's wedding. They were married on July 31st against the extraordinary background of the mountains in Fernie, BC.


Unfortunately, our dog sitter was unable to take care of our dogs, so I went by myself and Peter stayed home. Poor guy - he missed a wonderful time.


I headed out on Thursday, July 29th and was planning on staying overnight in Medicine Hat, but since I got an early start, I decided to drive all the way through to Fernie in one day. I had a wonderful time - the weather was perfect and I had a caseful of CDs that I had not listened to in ages so, I set the cruise on around 110 km/h and sang at the top of my lungs. The highways were great - the only construction was on the Trans-Canada at Maple Creek (due to that washout in June) but that was only for a couple of klicks - it was practically double lane well past Lethbridge - where Hwy. 3 intersects Hwy 2. After that, it was a steady climb into the mountains going through Crowsnest Pass (not as spectacular as Kicking Horse). Franks Slide was jaw dropping - hard to believe all that mountain came sliding down - what a tragedy.

I had been calling my sister all day (she was already in Fernie) to tell her I would be a day early - but there was no answer. I had no idea where anyone was in terms of lodging, so I figured I'd either find a place to sleep, or worse case, sleep in the truck. My nephew actually lives in Elkford (which is about 70 kms away from Fernie). I was well past Sparwood, when my sister finally returned my call. She had been white water rafting all day, and they had just returned and were going out for supper in Fernie. I was about 18 kms away, so just continued on and met up with them at this lovely little Japanese Sushi restaurant (I HATE sushi) - just don't find raw fish and seaweed appetizing. So, I had a stir fry.

Well, I guess the rafting trip was amazing and I wish I had of known as I would have left a day earlier to join them. Probably about as amazing as the party in Elkford the night before - I understand that the cops came twice and something to do with emptying the hot tub due to hazardous substances...hmmm. But that was for the young folks anyway - not these old bones.

After the supper, we drove back to Elkford and I stayed in this little mom and pop hotel - quite nice, very clean - sharing the room with my sister, Darlene and Lennie (my step-niece). My parents were there - they did not go on the rafting trip (they are in their 80s and used that as an excuse not to go...imagine that?). I was a bit tired after driving 9.5 hours and it really didn't hit me until I was finally relaxed at the hotel with a drink in hand. No problems sleeping that night!

Up fairly early on Friday and my parents accompanied me to Fernie. I was having a bit of a problem locating the Lizard Creek Lodge (reading comprehension problem). I phoned my sister to ask her where was the Lodge and she says, it's where we took the bus for rafting at the ski hill. I say to her - I don't know where the ski hill is. She again repeats it's where we got on the bus for rafting. I remind her that I was not with her for that trip. I end up calling the Lodge and get directions. I had apparently passed the turn-off. Well, let me tell you what a spectacular spot this is - breath taking. The Lodge is located at the base of the ski hill and one can literally strap on their skies and once out of their room and simply step onto the lift. It is a beautiful alpine lodge with vaulted ceilings, huge timbers and a stone fireplace that reaches the 30 foot ceiling. Very rustic. My room - wow! I open the door to find that I have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room with fireplace and a full kitchen. And a balcony.

Since I've plenty of time to kill, I find the Curves Gym and go for a workout - then head back to the Lodge for a shower and change of clothes and wait for the other guests to arrive. The wonderful thing about this wedding is that we had the entire Lodge exclusively - fantastic. A meet and greet happened on Friday night with everyone mingling around the huge stone fireplace in the common area. An open bar and well - it was a splendid night with many toasts. At one point my nephew Gord tells me - that they not selected a song for their first dance . Well - I suggest that I might have the perfect song for him and I take him to my truck to play the CD that has this song. Gord says "it's perfect!". I am so pleased. On that note - it's time for bed. My sister and Lennie ended up staying my BIG room - Darlene and I sharing the loft bedroom (2 queen sized beds) and Lennie got the master bedroom (with an actual door) with the king sized bed because she claimed that Darlene and I make too much noise (hard to believe, I know).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Lola!

Happy Birthday to my girly-whirly, Lola. CKC. Ch. Mountainair's Lullaby of Kimberlite. She's a big two now.

Move Over Dumbo

I was out clearing and cleaning up the caragana bushes that surround our house, when suddenly my right ear lobe is on fire. I've been stung, by what I presume is a wasp (could be a hornet) and I go howling into the house and put an ice cube on my earlobe. WOW! Does that ever hurt. Now, my earlobe has blown up. Fortunately, I am not allergic to stings, but, I've kind of lost my interest in clearing any more brush. I went back...sneaking like a thief in the night, least those little buggers were still around, but I could not find a nest. So, maybe this was stray wasp, or maybe the nest is in the ground. Or maybe, this is retribution because I went and cut down a wasp nest this morning on the other side of the lawn. Perhaps I am being targeted now?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Working My Butt Off and Getting Fatter

Sigh...I was weighed and measured on Thursday, July 22 and I was SO SURE that I would be a winner. My scale showed a loss of 8 pounds and my clothes are not so tight anymore and my sister said I looked different. However, Curves said I was bigger by 1 inch EVERYWHERE!!!! and what's more was 1 percent more FAT than what I was when I joined, and I'd only lost 2 pounds according to their scale.

I've been literally busting my ass for the last month and apparantly burning at the least 400 calories per workout - yet, no results. This is just not making sense to me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

King Birds

Imagine - no posts in over a month and then two in one day!

Two years ago we had a pair of Western Kingbirds nesting in our Blue Spruce Tree. They are highly entertaining to watch and are very territorial about their tree. They would fight off anything that was around their tree, including us, the cats, and other birds. This pair successfully raised 4 babies. Both mom and dad care for the babies.

Last year they attempted to nest in the same spot, unfortunately something ate/destroyed their eggs.

This year, instead of the Western Kingbirds, we have a pair of Eastern Kingbirds, nesting on some dead willows out in our pond. I've been watching them, and apart from not having the yellow breast colour of their western cousins, these birds are very similar. They are also extremely protective of their nest and both parents care for the feeding and toilet duties of the babies. Today I spent the better part of an hour (while sitting in my hot tub) watching the parents feed their four babies - about every 30 seconds these babies received some sort of bug. And when the babies pooped, the poop was quickly scooped up and dumped about 50 feet from the nest. When I went down to take these pictures, the parents were VERY upset with me and dive bombed me screeching! The babies remained in a "frozen" position while I snapped these shots - I am sure the parents were screeching...DANGER! DON'T MOVE!








No, I Have Not Fallen Off the Face of the Earth

So, it's been over a month since I've last posted. Perhaps some are wondering about "Tweet"? I've not had the pleasure of "Tweet" since my last post - I have seen a young robin flying about and I am hoping it is "Tweet", but he doesn't come to me. But, I should be happy about that, as it means he will make his flight down south and be a real robin.

It has been super wet here and all we've been doing is mowing lawns. It grows so quickly that I actually create "wind rows" when I mow. The lawns look wonderful - lush and green, but enough already. Luckily our property is on a hill so we have no worries of flooding, unlike many unfortunate people throughout the Prairies, including the farmers, who are dealing with this unprecedented wet weather. Hoard your flour people - the price of bread will be sky rocketing.

Peter and I went on our first vacation ( in 8 years) away from the dogs last week. An overnight in Regina - we went to the Science Centre and saw the amazing and extraordinary exhibit: "Our Body: The Universe Within" and also went to the Kramer Imax Theatre and saw the show "Mummies". Wish I had that flat screen in my living room.

My friend Lynne looked after our dogs and cats and did a fantastic job. She is going to look after them when we attend my nephew's wedding at the end of July. This time we will be gone a whole 4 days!

I have joined the gym "Curves" and it's been just a month now and I am already seeing results. I will be getting weighed and measured this week. I will certainly be posting my progress.

Lastly - perhaps the real reason for the inactivity on my blog is simply having nothing to say. After losing the 4 dogs this year and no luck in breeding, I am still trying to regroup and just figure out what my future holds.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bath Time and Tweet News

I've been wanting to give everyone their spring baths, but it has been so wet here (May being the wettest on record) that there was no sense in waiting for a sunny day to bathe the dogs outside. They were so dirty - I just couldn't stand them anymore. So, into the tub they went. I was hoping to blow dry them on the deck, but, the mosquitoes put a stop to that - clouds of them - so, blow drying in the back room.

Of course, each one of them had to shake all the way through the house and into the dog room (after the bath)...oh well, it wipes up and the floors needed to be washed anyway.

In the past, it has taken me at least 2-3 days to get all the dogs bathed, but, now that we are down to 3 dogs - well they were all done this morning. I could probably make a small garden out of the dirt that washed from their coats.

Lola was sure blowing coat - once I applied the forced air blow dryer , The Master Blaster (18 amp - two motors) her old coat came off in sheets reminiscent of felt. I am sure she feels much better. She carries such a heavy coat for a female - she rivals males.

Now all the dogs are groomed and smell sweet. I love the feel of freshly bathed berners.

The Tweet Beat

I get the Tweet Greet every morning when I go outside and off Tweet and I go to the garden; I turn the soil with the shovel and Tweet finds the big juicy worms. He also greets Peter on his way to the garage in the morning. And, lately, we are finding Tweet hanging out on the deck waiting for someone to come outside. I think he's lonely. Most likely he's way too snobby for those "other raised" robins.

Aw Tweet - rain and perhaps a T-storm tonight...hang on tight to those tree branches.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Free Bird

No - not Lynyrd Skynyrd, but, Round Robin is now a free bird. For the last 3 days I've been putting him in the bushy part behind the house, and when I go back there I 'TWEET' (real tweeting, not twitter) and he comes flying over to me for some food. Last night he spent his first time out all night and I was relieved to see him fly over to me this morning for breakfast.

Yesterday, he was hilarious. I was in the hot tub and he kept hopping in the tub and then I'd fish him out and he'd flutter his wings hummingbird style to dry them. Then he'd hop around the deck looking for bugs. He was quite content to spend time on the deck with us. Here he is perched on my head.






Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Expert Observations

Now that I've "owned" (really s/he owns me) for just over a week, I think I've become a Robin expert! When I go - "tweet, tweet" - the Robin answers me. If I look at it and go "tweet, tweet", not only does it answer me, but it also does stretches. Stretches the legs, then stretches each wing, and then fluffs out its feathers. If it is really hungry, it will chirp incessantly (because its asking me to pull-eeze come up and feed it). I don't do that now, so after about 5 minutes of nonstop chirping, s/he will fly down and perch on my head..."Hello - remember me? - I think it's birdy num-num time."

I had to go to work today, and left Round Robin in the backroom (behind closed doors so the cats could not get it). I left a pan of chopped earthworms on the floor. I was gone about 5 hours and when I returned, it didn't look like Round had eaten any of the earthworms, and boy - did I get a frenzied welcome when I opened the door. Much flapping of wings and chirping. I stuffed about 10 worms into his mouth and brought him into the atrium and put him among the plants.About 15 minutes later, he came down perched on my head and demanded I feed him more. So, he got 3 blueberries and some Fancy Feast cat food. That seemed to satisfy him. (I know I'm going between him/her/it - I have no idea what sex the bird is).

I think I'm going to have to get tough and put him outside in the big evergreen tree. He can fly. I'll go out every hour or so and see if he flies down for "birdy num-nums". He has to learn to find his own food, get along with other Robins and make his trek south in the fall migration. Wouldn't it be cool if he comes back every year for a visit! Hope he brings back more than a lousy t-shirt.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Round Robin - 1 Week Later

Hope you enjoy this video of Round Robin One Week Later. I phoned a licensed rehab wild-life person (Jan) and she told me I can put a plate of worms (shiver) down on the floor and he will learn to self feed - it's instinctive. Then, I will release him outside. I've been having a lot of fun with him. He flies down for feedings and perches on my head, squawks like crazy when being fed and then once he's done, he has a poop, and then flies back up amongst the plants.

video

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tweet!

Well, Round Robin - or Tweet is still around and totally taking over our lives. He (?) is quite demanding and when hungry chirps incessently until fed. We have allowed him free reign of the house (when the cats are outside) and he just sits up in the atrium among the plants (pooping). We have been fetching him and bringing him down for feeding, but today, he has decided that he will come down when he's hungry. He now flies down and perches on my head - signalling that..."HEY - I am hungry - FEED ME!"

When we cannot watch him and guarantee his safety from the cats, we have put him in the back room. When I open the door - he CHIRPS loud and then flies towards me - and perches on my head.

I have to go and find live crickets and teach him how to feed himself. I am hoping to get some "cool" video of him flying down and perching on my head.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Round Robin Day 2

Round Robin had a peaceful nights sleep in my office (tucked inside a puppy crate). This way none of the cats could terrorize him (her). I draped a towel over the crate and within no time he had tucked his head under his wing and went to sleep.

He greeted me with enthusiastic chirping this morning when I removed the towel...."HEY, I'm hungry!". He gulped down his catfood. I changed his bedding. Then I brought him outside and he perched on my finger chirping away. I was hoping that maybe Mommy Robin would hear him and fly around, but, no robin-red-breast came round.

I brought him back inside and secured him back in the office, as I had to go to town. I bought him some blueberries and raspberries, along with two tins of catfood (beef and chicken). I figure he needs a variety of food.

Birds certainly have a quick digestive system. Within 1/2 hour of eating a raspberry - the colour comes out the other end.

He's quite the character - chirps when he sees me and opens his mouth...FEED ME! FEED ME! - mouth gaping wide in hopes that I will poke food down his throat. He will perch on my finger and then run up my arm and perch on my shoulder.

Lola is quite fascinated with him and was just drooling up a storm while she looked at him. I am hoping to get some great pictures later on. The cats figure I'm just fattening him up for their pleasure.

I really don't know what I am going to do with Round Robin. If I don't feel he can fend for himself in the next week, I guess I will take him to the zoo in Saskatoon - hopefully, they have a bird section he can live in.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Round Robin

video

Baby Bird


A baby robin must have fallen out of its nest and into the dog yard. I found this poor little fellow being carried around in Lola's mouth. I brought him inside and tried to dry his feathers (I should have washed him first) since dog siliva is quite sticky. He's recovering - sitting up and will even perch on my finger. I suppose I could try and climb up the tree and put him back in the nest, but I don't want the mom to abandon the entire nest (if I disturb it). The little guy has some feathers missing. He's sitting in a bowl on my desk while I write this post.


Anyone know what I can feed this little guy? I tried to get bugs off the front of my car, but, he didn't want them. I wonder if he might eat tinned cat food?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Busted, Flat

Where toys go to die.

Lola's New Toy

I bought a basketball today and Lola immediately claimed it as her new toy. Within 3 minutes of playing with it, she had managed to puncture it. She then spent the next minute eyeing it suspiciously as it hissed - getting down and barking manically at it. Since the ball did not retaliate, she determined it was not about to bite her and resumed playing with it.

Even though this ball will be quite deflated in the next 24 hours, it will still be a great toy. We had a "yard" basketball before and despite it being flat and I think being wedged one winter in the blades of the snow blower - it still served as a fabulous dog toy.

UPDATE: Just looked outside and the ball is totally flat! (see next post).