Friday, 27 February 2015

The Duchess in Smiths Falls

Not THE Duchess, but non-profit Duchess Boutique.

Last year, before health issues compounded our schedule, I was volunteering with the Susan Shirley Program in Smiths Falls. I was popping in one day a week to tutor them.  Some were still in high school and others were preparing for college. Having volunteered facilitating a Creative Writing program in Beaver Creek Institution, I thought it would be a good use of my training and skills. Sadly, life got in the way and I couldn't commit to the weekly visits at Susan Shirley.

Nicole Anderson, Executive Director, runs an amazing program for young mothers. Staff take the pregnant women in, and provide them with training in many facets of a healthy life: nutrition, child rearing, as well as working on their own self-esteem. I have an M.Ed. in Curriculum, and I was astounded with the creativity of the women who created this program.
The Susan Shirley Program is currently accepting referrals & self referrals to our support program. If you or someone you know needs a supportive environment as they progress through their pregnancy or in the first few months after their babies are born, call today for a tour and information regarding the program. We currently have one opening, these will go quickly!Call 613-205-1643 Or for an application.
The store profits are intended to be a sustainable income source for the program. We were very pleased to purchase some products. (I can't tell you what they were as they'll be 'Close Eyes' for our girls!)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

iPad App: A new game, Never Alone - tribute to heritage and native culture

The Mac version is out today!

I'm all for promoting new ideas. This is a fabulous new company. This game app comes out in the fall. Another new one, Art Alive also sounds exciting. It comes out in the new year.

Colin Campbell writes: A great company:
Inspired by media interest in a game about Alaska Natives, indigenous groups around the world are seeking ways to bring their own cultures to video games.
E-Line Media, Upper One Games and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council are putting the finishing touches to Never Alone, a game that draws heavily on the Inupiat culture of rural Alaska. Following heavy publicity for the game, including NPR and the Los Angeles Times, other groups that represent indigenous communities are looking to tell their stories through games.
"Our stories tell us how our world is ordered and our place in it, but what good are old stories if the wisdom they contain is not shared?"

Never Alone - Game Trailer from Never Alone on Vimeo.
Players will control young female protagonist Nuna and her arctic fox as they try to rescue her homeland from an endless blizzard. Upper One calls itself the first indigenous-owned video game developer and publisher in the U.S. and Never Alone's inspiration comes from the centuries-old stories and folklore of the IƱupiat people native to the region. Priced at $15, it comes out this fall for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. More here
This is a company with heart:
Pangnirtung gaming firm Pinnguaq has announced the creation of a scholarship in support of Nunavummiut students studying technology.

Pangnirtung-based Pinnguaq uses Inuit art prints as basis for iPad game that is scheduled for launch next spring.

The depths of winter...

blankets of snow
It's been so very cold. The temps range from -25 C. at night to -5 C. in the sunny days. The sun is warmer in its equinox.

 The snow piles up, wrapping a blanket around sleeping spring bulbs. Evergreens have icing sugar dollops on their branches.

In the dark nights, which are getting shorter, I still have lights on a timer. They are so pretty.


  • Hubby's back is bad. Not as bad as it's been, but we're mothering him. I have several blog buddies who are in caregiving roles. We have to take care of the caregivers!
  • I'm still taking physio for my Achilles tendonitis, but flexibility is increasing. I'm still able to manage my chores. After I snowshoe, I have to stretch like stink.
  • The deer with the broken ankle is still managing in the deep freeze. No coyote tracks around, what with the roadkill down the highway.
  • No sign of my Saw-whet owl. I've ordered a nesting box, which I'll get next week. I'll keep you posted.
  • 38 cm (15") of snow cover
    My metre stick behind the bird bath.
  • Queen Sady cat's chronic rhinitis, which Hilary aptly named, is about the same. Lord Buster Brown is fed up being indoors. He's trying to play with Queen Sady, and it's not going well. We are sequestering the two of them at various times of the day. They are more trouble than the other three combined.
  • The cats watch the squirrels from indoors. They going nuts ('scuse the pun), wanting to get out. I open the door, they sniff the air, shake a paw knowing the cold, and withdraw. We spend much time grooming them, playing games, and keeping them amused. I videotaped Annabelle and Daisy (below).
  • The chickadees have changed their tunes. A harbinger of spring. March will bring us some goodness, and promises, I'm sure.
Red squirrel stares back!
Three cats in the window

Lady Annabelle watches squirrels

Feline Playtime from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Princess Daisy is under the footstool. Lady Annabelle of Ashton wants to play. The footstool has a hole in the top where we drop toys in. It's Daisy's favourite spot, we call it turtling. She's done it forever. We drop toys down the top.

They were more easily amused in the old days

In 2013 simple games worked

grooming her big bro
turtling in 2013
Feb. 2013 snow playtime

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Scotties curling tournament in Moose Jaw 2015

Hubby has been watching the Tournament of Hearts. They use the Page playoff system. It requires a cheat sheet! It's a good hobby what with our endless snow and - 20 C. (-4 F.) temperatures. Also, hubby's back has been bad. He'll pause the play, and get up and do a chore, and then sit back down!

Rachel Homan, who has been Team Canada's skip for two years (winning the year's qualifying Scotties Tournament), was playing Saskatchewan. She just wasn't on her game. She is the fave around here, since she leads an Ottawa team. A petite young lady, only 25, she is calm and controlled, but fires that sucker like stink when she needs to!

Rachel Homan losing "could be the end of curling as we know it", says Vic Rauter, the 'Voice of Curling' in Canada. What a nut!

Teams come and go. Skips come and go. Truly, they are all fabulous, dropping the rock as if placed.  Our new Team Canada is led by Jennifer Jones, Team Manitoba. It is Jones' 5th Scotties title.  Next: Calgary, Feb. 28, 2015 Tim Hortons Brier.
With the win, the Jones team not only will go looking for Canada’s first world women’s championship since Jones prevailed in 2008 at Vernon, B.C., she also will play at the 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup in Grande Prairie, the 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup in Las Vegas and return to the 2016 Scotties in Grande Prairie as Team Canada. 
The other commentators aren't so sensational. The Saskatchewan fans HAVE been sensational. Saskatchewan was playing Team Canada. The Saskatchewan fans applaud a great play, no matter who makes it!
Hubby's notes

upcycle a ledger!
The statistics make for good math, especially for a retired accountant!

Then there are the other stories. The mascots are a hoot! Scottie Softy, of course. I saved up Kleenex coupons and sent in for a Scottie hand puppet. I have used it with my students, and now grandkids, for years.
Little Scottie!

The story was that this dude so loved the mascot he had them go to his wedding.
The bride is player Lisa Weagle.

Sady and her daddy adore their curling! This is a photo from 2008!
Sometimes we watch while working out!
Sady, JB in Bala
Camera on the timer!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lovely walkies on a cold, cold day

 I had broken my axe on a big stump, and we'd gone to buy a new axe. I explained my difficulty, and they suggested I buy a maul instead. Somehow, we always get wood somewhat too large for the fireplace insert. The maul works wonders. It's part sledgehammer and part axe! It's not for chumps, weighing 8 lbs.

Somebody at my house needs to cut up some more kindling, as well!

I relaxed by going into the forest. The big, old pines are amazing.

 Another very cold day, Monday, but feeling cooped up I decided to amble down the driveway (100m) to fetch the post. Instead, remembering the deer carcass along the highway, I decided to go for a walk first. It was a brisk -20 C. or so, but I had on my long, down-filled yard duty coat, warm hoodie and mittens.

The hawk is way up in the furthest tree, beyond the pine. You really can't see it, but that's where it was. The carcass is under the snow (5"), with lots of coyote tracks going back and forth from the forest.

Red-tailed hawk by the side of the road

Redtailed hawk from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
I went for a walk along the highway. I knew there was a carcass, likely roadkill, along the way. As I walked, a hawk flew along beside me, and up into a tree. There was a lot of snowfall, about 5", on top of the carcass since I last saw it. The hawk flew off. There is a piece of deer hide up in the tree. It's the cycle of life!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Cats to the vet...with limited success

Dorah's first visit to the vet!
She can't do this in 2015!
The two carriers, intended for Queen Sady and Dame Dorah, were brought upstairs. Lady Annabelle saw them, and ran full-tilt boogie, losing traction on the hardwood floor, but made it to the basement. She didn't want to go back to the vet!

First up, Sady, who loathes being picked up and will fight it with tooth and claw. Literally.

Sady Attempt #1

I sat beside her, usually, if she is hungry, she will sidle up like a normal cat, if I use only one hand. Two hands means that there is a risk she'll be picked up, and she'll run away. She didn't bite, so to speak.
Next, after she kept eyeing me, eyeing JB, who was ready with the carrier, she was deeply suspicious.
I gave up.

Attempt #2

JB tried. She ended up sitting on a chair, beside hubby's chair. He sat there, doing a bit of paperwork. ("Don't mind me!") He tried to grab her and missed, getting just a part of her. He hung on for dear life. I approached with the towel, ready to wrap her. She hissed, snarled, used claw not tooth, and Lady Annabelle of Ashton ran over to help us! She went after Sady trying to defend us, I think. It was quite a moment. We are still using gentle breathing trying to calm down our blood pressure. (It's high in both of us!)

We couldn't find Dorah, but grabbed Lord Buster and Princess Daisy, in two carriers, and hustled into the vet, having washed our scratches and applied 2 or 3 bandaids each.
Lady Annabelle, who we just took in from an Ashton barn last month, has just been fixed and poked and didn't need a visit.

Lord Buster was not amused. Princess Daisy fought and pulled at the carrier door so much she drew some blood on her nose. Lady Annabelle went over to the carrier, trying to help her. (They are becoming friends!) Daze was determined to get out, especially after the chaos of a few minutes ago.
Dame Dorah high-tailed it to under the bed.

Buster, I think, still has worms. He had a treatment, a little pill. Dr. Sarah opened his mouth, said, "Look up, waaaayyy up, to see Rusty." (I had to ask the reference-Friendly Giant!)  His weight, important in cats, was 13 lbs., which is up a pound from last year. Not so bad.
His broken tooth is looking fine, and doesn't need to be removed.

Daisy's weight has gone from 6+ lbs. to 7+, she is fine in terms of weight. She does have a tooth (upper right) that is disintegrating, and it might need to be pulled. They can contract aspiration pneumonia, as Mitzi did, from bad teeth. I have to watch her eat and signs of distress. This may be a challenge.
Back home with the two.

Appointment #2

Dorah like the high ground - this 2014!
The next appointment was for 11:00 a.m., and Dorah was still under the bed. We were still in shock from the big attack.
I grabbed a broom, and gently scootched her out. She sat in the doorway, saw me coming for her, and tore down to the furnace room. Closing doors behind me, I was able to snatch her.

Dorah has a weight problem. She's gone from 13 lbs. to 14 lbs. 10 oz. Not good. Normally we just leave crunchies out over night. We're going to have to lift it and go to 3 meals a day, not munching.

Sady's nose is still blocking up with muccous. There is nothing to do for her. Dr. Sarah suggested we watch her resting breathing and take a count. (I.e., count her breaths for 15 sec, multiply by 4). It should be less than about 30/minute. That done, she is fine. She's sneezing her face off many times a day.

Buster wasn't co-operative, and was reluctant to put all four paws on the scale at the same time. Amy won that round, though!
Back home, Annabelle was willing to go into the carrier, despite not needing to go.