When the Deer Move In

I beg your pardon,
But I am eating up your garden.
- The White-tailed Deer -

Odocoileus virginianus Alberta winter

We spent part of our winter in the sunny south. We returned to our Alberta home yesterday and were met with the carnage that happens when white-tailed deer move into a yard. They had eaten all the tulip and grape hyacinth shoots,  the top two feet of the raspberry canes, most of a honeysuckle bush and a cedar shrub. There may have been other plants that were up, but they became deer fodder too. The deer dug up and ate many of the bulbs and shortened the willow hedge by a foot or so. Their sharp little hooves chopped, diced and trampled most of the flower beds.

trampled flower beds deer scat uprooted bulbs

Trampled flower beds, uprooted bulbs, deer scat

yellow spring Alberta

The sole survivors were the Daffodils. This specimen was nibbled on just once, then the deer left it alone.

This is the first time in twenty three years that the deer have caused this much damage. Mostly they stay on their side of the fence. Sometimes a few juveniles will enter the yard in the summer and mow down a row of young beans, carrots or lettuce. I then embark on an attitude adjustment program, and they eventually decide that there are friendlier, quieter places to have lunch.

Hard winters, like this one was, caused them to ignore the danger that lurks inside my fence. My absence reinforced the wisdom of their decision.

All that will change now. It is spring training time. The deer’s big bambi eyes will soon register looks of surprise, then amusement and finally concern as I assert control over my back yard again. They will have to go back to foraging on the hundreds of acres of woods and farmland on THEIR side of the fence.

It’s one thing if your hobby is to put ships inside a bottle, but a deer in the headlights!… That’s a real talent.
― Josh Stern, And That’s Why I’m Single -

How is your garden doing this spring? What ‘pests’ do you have to contend with?

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Previous strategies to deter the deer: The Browser War

 

Simple Nutella Dessert

There are many Nutella Desserts, but none is simpler than this!

dessert

Ingredients:
1 jar Nutella hazelnut spread

Equipment:
2 extraction tools – a spoon and a rubber spatula

Directions:
1. Open the lid of the jar.
2. Use your spoon (size optional) to scoop out the Nutella.
3. Put the spoonful of product directly into your mouth. Enjoy! Repeat until your conscience tells you to quit, or you don’t feel so good any more.
4. Switch to the rubber spatula when the jar is nearly empty.

Nutrition:
Nutella has NO artificial colors or preservatives and is a source of Fiber, Calcium and Iron.
It does, however contain oodles of sugar and saturated fat.

Conclusion:
I really like Nutella, but because foods like this are going to migrate directly to my hips, I agree with the following observation:

Nuts just take up space where chocolate ought to be.
- Author Unknown -

Do you stock Nutella in your pantry? What is your favourite way of eating it?
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For all my other Food posts click this link:  COOKING.

On Antelope Street

Our cabin, along with 305 other residences in Hidden Valley Alberta, was destroyed in the flood of June 2013. All that is left of it is rubble, but we have many wonderful memories and hundreds of photos taken by our family – the Antelope Street Photographers.

poplar trees road golf fairway Alberta

I chose the name Antelope Street because that was the street where our cabin was. It was a gravel road that branched off the main drive. At that intersection it was a broad thoroughfare lined with grand old poplar trees and pretty little houses. By the time it got down to where our house was, however, it had narrowed somewhat. Past our place, it rambled on a bit further, then turned into a path that wandered down to the river. I can’t begin to count how many times we all walked that road, either westward to the privacy and serenity of the river or eastward to join family and the community.

The spirit of the cabin lives on in the LEGO world, thanks to the thoughtful creativity of my youngest daughter! She has not only recreated the building,  she has captured the essence of the forest and of each of the five people who are our immediate family.

LEGO house minifigures

Meet the people – on the far left is our Youngest Daughter. With her nurses scrubs and hairless hairstyle (she survived chemo, but her hair didn’t) she was, and always will be the go-to gal for all our owies. Next to her is The Car Guy. Master of the BBQ,  he has a hot dog ready to grill. In the doorway of the cabin is our Eldest Daughter. With a Chef’s hat and a measuring cup in hand, she is the Queen of the Kitchen.  The light haired lady is Me – note that my legs are shorter than any of the rest of the family. My wheelbarrow is nearby. To the far right is our Middle Daughter. Her long hair is in a pony tail and she has a cup of cabin coffee in her hand. She knows what fuels some members of this group in the morning!

The trim color of the cabin was a beautiful blue. The main entry into the cabin was a sliding patio door. Surrounding the cabin were huge old poplar trees – many with bare broken branches where the Canada Geese landed  in the spring.

A few brightly coloured LEGO bricks and simple minifigures have captured the essence of this special  place in a way that all the photos never could. Thanks so much J!

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.
- Swami Sivananda -

Have you ever built a diorama and if so, what part of the great big world were you trying to capture?

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My greatest LEGO story: The Businessman and the Oranges

Oil Field Dodge and Stalking John Dillinger

The Oil Field Dodge was the star of a Dodge Brothers promotional film that was apparently filmed in Texas in the 1920′s. (The piano music in this video is “New Walk” by Dave Hartley, released 2006.)

The vehicle used in this video would probably have been produced after March of 1919 (when a four­ door enclosed sedan was introduced into the Dodge line) and before the 1924 model year when the wheelbase was extended to 116 inches, louvers were placed on the hood, and the entire car was given a lower appearance.

Oil Field Dodge

Oil Field Dodge

The Dodge Brothers (John and Horace) began building motor cars in 1910. Initially they manufactured and assembled Model T’s for the Ford Motor Company. In 1913 they began designing their own car, and on November 14, 1914 the first Dodge Brothers vehicle rolled off the assembly line. In just three years Dodge became the fourth largest American automobile manufacturer. By 1919, the company was producing about 106,000 vehicles per year and in 1925 they sold their one millionth car.

The Dodge Brothers both died in 1920. In 1925 the Dodge heirs sold the firm to New York investment bankers Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million. Dillon then sold it to Walter P. Chrysler in 1928 for $170 million.

DH 4 Door Sedan movie ‘Public Enemies’

1931 Dodge Brothers Sedan

This 1931 Dodge 4 door sedan was owned by Hurley County, Wisconsin, Sheriff Frank J. Erspamer. The original purchase price of the car was $950. In 1934, the Sheriff supposedly accompanied the FBI to the Little Bohemia Lodge where the outlaw John Dillinger was.

The car sold at the 2014 Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona for $19,250.

Last, but certainly not least, is The Car Guy’s Dodge Dakota:

2000 Dodge Dakota snow

While it probably could not navigate the mud like the Oil Field Dodge, and it certainly isn’t used to hunt down famous criminals, last month it started (without being plugged in) when the temperature was -30C (-22F).

I’ll be glad to reply to or dodge your questions, depending on what I think will help our election most.
- George H. W. Bush -

If you can’t Dodge it, Ram it.

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We are Canada – We Are Winter

Many places in Canada have more than 80 days a year when the temperature never rises above freezing – day after day after day. Here at the Red House in Alberta, the coldest month of 2013 was December. We had an average daily low temperature of -17°C (1.4°F). It is no wonder, then, that Canada kicked off their 2014 Olympics campaign with this video called ‘We are Winter’!

It has been a very successful Olympics for Canada. When the ‘snow’ cleared, we were third in gold medals and fourth in total medals. The most hyped  event was Hockey, and Canada won both the Women’s and Men’s events.

red mitts white Canadian maple leafThen there is Curling. For many Canadians (like me) the Olympics didn’t really start until we were parked in front of the TV with our red Maple Leaf mitts on, watching the first stones thrown down the curling rink. To our utter delight, the Canadian rinks of Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs took both the Women’s and Men’s Gold in this quirky sport.

The best story of the Sochi Olympics, however, was this: The Russian cross-country skier, Anton Gafarov, was an early medal favourite in the men’s cross-country skiing, but he crashed after one of his skis broke. He tried to limp  into the grandstands with his damaged ski. Suddenly, Canadian cross-country skiing head coach Justin Wadsworth rushed up onto the course with one of his team’s spare skis. Justin quickly removed the Russian’s broken ski and slid the new ski into place. Anton was then able to finish the race.

Helping others get through winter – it is how Anton and Justin and all the rest of us survive cold weather – We are all Winter.

All sounds are sharper in winter; the air transmits better. At night I hear more distinctly the steady roar of the North Mountain. In summer it is a sort of complacent purr, as the breezes stroke down its sides; but in winter always the same low, sullen growl.
John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866

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Tom Brokaw explains Canada to Americans during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada:

amazing circle, orb, marble, maple leaf

The Canadian Flag in front of my house made into a Marble (Amazing Circle).

If My Aumakua was an Owl

Many cultures believe that if an animal makes an appearance (physically or symbolically) in an unusual way or repeatedly in a short span of time, then that animal is the spirit of a deceased relative. This spirit is attempting to guide you, protect you or get a message to you. The Hawaiians call this spirit your Aumakua.

If I believed in the aumakua, or any of the many other gods, goddesses, demigods, saints, divine forces, deities, and spirits that inhabit mankind’s mind, then my aumakua would be the Owl.

We frequently hear the hoots of the Great Horned Owl, and we often see it – though seldom very close.  Last week, however, in the midst of a string of bitterly cold days, Owl took refuge on a sunny branch of a big spruce tree by the garage.

Alberta winter

The Car Guy spotted the owl as we were getting ready to drive to town. Owl was not particularly concerned by our comings and goings as we packed up the car. It wasn’t even bothered when the Jeep was backed out and was within twenty feet of the tree. Then, silently, it flew off ahead of us down the driveway.

Although this was an awesome event, I don’t believe that Owl appeared in my yard with a message from my ancestors. Owl was just there looking for a sunny, windless spot to perch on a very cold day…and perhaps hoping we would throw another dead mouse out onto the snowbank nearby.

Thanks to A.A. Milne, though, it isn’t hard to imagine what an owl might say!

When we asked Pooh what the opposite of an Introduction was, he said “The what of a what?” which didn’t help us as much as we had hoped, but luckily Owl kept his head and told us that the Opposite of an Introduction, my dear Pooh, was a Contradiction; and, as he is very good at long words, I am sure that that’s what it is.
The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne

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Here are a few of my other owl encounters: The Owl and the Windmill