Monday, April 15, 2013

Bat houses, bird houses... Everything AND the kitchen sink!

Another week in paradise! Too bad the flippin' weather can't make up its mind! 

    This weekend turned out to be both beautiful AND productive!

      Kids and I had a nice day Frida puttering about the house. I managed to actually fold and PUT AWAY a week's worth all by myself. The rest of the house went to rat shite but hey, I'm only human!
Nick's Dad and Step Mum came over Friday night to deliver Elias' new big boy bed! Got him a double so that one of us could crawl in with him and the other have a good night's sleep.... so far the plan is only working so so... Ruby still manages to sneak in our bed!  

He looks SOOOO tiny in the dang thing. I got all emotional making it and putting him to sleep. ....*sniffle* .... And then our 42 year old neighbour, bless her heart, had her third child this weekend and I have NO QUALMS about closing the 'baby' chapter in our lives. (Love ya B but NO thank you!)    

Nick threw out his back cleaning the exterior of the RV trailer. Ladder broke from underneath him, as he leaned too far over. He didn't get too hurt but it was SOME shenanigans! Had another neighbour help us remove the canopy from the truck so as we can get some river rock and soil for the sailboat project.... if ever we get the money together!                        

Nick pressure washed the patio under the back deck for my 'Cabana!' SOOOOOOO excited!!!!!!! Then he made us some bird houses and Ruby and I spent a lovely afternoon painting them in the backyard while Elias slept and the Canadian SnowBirds ROARED overhead practicing their aerial manouvres!!!

I'm investigating some 'Bat Houses' as well.  Bats are actually an INTEGRAL part of the eco system, but being nocturnal they are often overlooked and practically forgotten. Much like frogs, which numbers (like those of the bats) have been mysteriously decimated in recent years.     Well perhaps not so mysteriously, we humans continue to destroy habitats and poison the ones we don't destroy leaving little behind for our fellow creatures. And then we find out usually too late that the species on the brink of extinction we actually NEED for one reason or another. Plus having a bat house just sounds freakin' COOL!

Now I know what some of you (mother and mother in laws) are thinking.... RABIES!... But you all need to relax.... Rabies is a virus carried and spread by many mamals including; cows (which live up the street at the dairy farm), pigs, dogs ~ we have one but she's vaccinated, cats~ have 2 they're vaccinated and the raccoons living under our shed. The likely hood of the bats (which are also mamals) contracting the virus is rare and the probability that myself or the children will ever touch a bat is like 0.1%

There are any one of three kinds of bats found in North America  which may inhabit our 'Bat Houses' aka roosts. The information I've been able to gather from  indicates that on average it can take 9 months to 2 years for our bat houses to become inhabited. But the three kinds of bats in our region have the ability to individually eat up to 1000 mosquito sized insects per HOUR. So if you're having issues with mosquito's in your backyard, perhaps think about adding some bird or bat houses. Nature has it's own remedies, no need to look further than what options she already provides!

We'll have our work cut out for us... er... Nick will.... the dimensions of the roosts have to be quite precise for optimal occupancy. As does the temperature, colour and humidity level of the bat box. We may have to make  3 or 4 boxes and test them in different areas to see what is preferred. Because of our microclimate in the Valley I am unsure what will be necessary. The bats will want to remain cool in our warm summers but warm in our cold winters for hibernation, finding the ideal location in the yard which provides both will prove an interesting mystery. I have half a mind to contact some local wildlife resources for someone who might be able to come look at the yard and give me some intel.

I'm kind of giddy with this project! Can ya tell?

We'll definitely be adding more bird houses. I've seen some great plans on Pinterest for a row of 4 bird houses, on a pole but the neat thing about them was the back panel on hinges. Underneath was a piece of plexiglass and by lifting the panel one can view the birds nests inside without disturbing the birds. Pretty cool!

I've also seen on Pinterest ~ yes I know I'm an addict~ a Ladybug habitat!!!! Using 1 ft length of 4" diameter PVC pipe (painted brown or red), stuffed with some bamboo rods and twigs of the same length and suspended from a tree. I believe adding one or two raisins is essenial to attract them. Ladybugs are WONDERFUL little creatures helping to pollinate and eating the aphids which can decimate veggie crops, especially tomatoes.

I need to make a hummingbird feeder also. Several have come up to my kitchen window in the last week, leading me to believe at one point a feeder was hanging there. Hummingbirds have memories and return to food/shelter sources year after year.

Nick has been following our local farmer's market via their facebook page. From it we've met a woman round the corner with an AMAZING front yard. She herself blogs and has the facebook page  Well we technically haven't met her, but we'd LOVE too! We see her posts and walk by her house to the park all the time. From one of her posts Nick saw she had made an outdoor kitchen sink to wash veggies in... AND she had extra sinks! So we made sure to stop by and pick one up! Following her instructions Nick made a BEAUTIFUL sink! I'm THRILLED! Eventually he plans to run some copper pipe under the lawn 10 ft so we can have a spigget on the sink but for now we'll be just using the hose line.  The water will then be recycled and used to nourish the veggie garden. UBER coolness!

For now I'm home with the kiddies... Ruby woke up with Pink Eye so we couldn't go to gymnastics. We'll just wait for Elias to get it and then we can resume life! We're enjoying the sunshine!

Bird House Plans

Other project on the list
Elias's Race Car Track   Should only cost about $65 and an afternoon!

Please leave a comment I'd love to hear from you!
The kidlets being 'goombas.'

Helping Daddy put together Eli's new 'big boy' bed.

Ok, excuse the language but that's some 'Redrum,' shit right there.

The beginnings of my 'cabana!'

The 'kitchen sink!'

Hmm pics are out of order but I'm too lazy to fix it... this is the clean patio that hubby power washed! Ain't it purdy?



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring 2013 Pictures

                                                     Helping Mummy vacuum!
FAVOURITE part.... emptying the bin!
Camping Easter weekend.... Gypsy found a new place to sleep.... her bum is on Ruby's bum....

Egg hunt at Grammie and Papa's!

Being a 'goomba.'

More 'goomba~ness.'

The bugs from Grandma Mo and Papa Dan!

Mexican Dress from Grandma Mo and Papa Dan.


First time eating Daddy's favourite ~ "Dippy eggs and soldiers."

Swings while camping.... had the entire place to ourselves after Easter Monday!

Our family trip to MARS!

The 'Mysterious' Pink Turtle

Our trip to MARS, Strawbale Gardening and the 'Mysterious Pink Turtle'

Celebrating our first anniversary in the Valley!!! So excited! April 2nd we moved in! One year later life is still good!

It was spring break for the kids. I was a bit concerned about how it would go, the kids being easily bored etc, but alas my heavenly father had other plans for me!

Sunday the 24th of March, the kids both came down with fevers. I then promptly rolled my ankle and Nick packed his suitcase... he shipped out first thing Monday morning. And I spent the next 72 hours glued to the lazy boy chair, kid on each knee watching Disney's 'My (freaking) Little Mermaid' 15 million times. AAAAAAAHHHH!

I don't even think I got a shower on the Tuesday! Managed to get myself dressed and shoot the kids full of IBprofen Wednesday to take them grocery shopping because the fridge was bare! Nick came home, I threw dinner on the table at him and the children and promptly left for an hour long dog walk just to breathe fresh air!

Thursday their fevers spiked to 40 degrees, and I was just plum lucky that the Dr was able to get me in as THAT was the very day they were moving offices!

Mother in Law arrived, kids were happy for the distraction and the hub of activity she is. I was grateful to get 5 minutes peace! Nick and I packed up the trailer for our first camping trip of the season!!

Poor Mother in Law got home Saturday and promptly came down with whatever the kids had. Sorry Nana! You never seem to leave without being afflicted with some ailment!

Easter Sunday down and my mother's house in Victoria! What a show! Truck was acting funny on the way down, before we even left I accidently broke a bloody cupboard in the trailer and it was just RIDICULOUS! But the cousins showed up, the food was AMAZING! Turkey, lamb AND ham! Grammie's famous 'Petite Pots Aux Chocolat,' Aunty Sarah's warm cheesy artichoke dip, Aunty Chantelle's TO DIE FOR, pineapple graham cracker pie whip thing. HOLY heck I filled my face and then felt awful for the rest of the night!

Ruby slept over at Aunty Sarah's and she and the cousins climbed Christmas Hill before heading back up to  Chemainus to meet us for a weinie roast.

Spent the next two nights at the campground, surrounded by eldery people who adored my kids' antics as we were the only ones left in the park! It sure was nice to do NOTHING! Lots of family naps, movies, a trip into Chemainus where we were able to get Gluten Free pastries at a local bakery. I think my favourite part was just letting Elias navigate around the campground... he'd climb up into the golf carts of the maintenance men, go barefoot in a diaper on a 'walk about' and knock on random RV doors just to say 'Hello!'   UUUUBER cuteness!

Ruby had an awesome time riding her bike down 'hills.' She's really very good at riding her 'Run Bike' which is essentially a bike with no peddles. Sit on the seat and push yourself along, at the proper speed lift up your feet and VOILA! Kids learn to balance on a bike, skipping training wheels entirely!

Nick's dad and step mother came for a quick visit over dinner to give the kids presents from their recent trip to Mexico for Nick's brother's wedding. The coolest gift was a mesh 'box' filled with 'bugs!' Kids have had an absolute BLAST with it!

We were booked in until the following Saturday but the forecast called for rain and being cooped up in a 23 ft trailer with two kids in the rain didn't sound appealing. So Grammie and Poppie, my mum and dad, brought up frozen pizzas for one last dinner and we headed home Thursday afternoon. Stopping in Nanaimo for me to pick up some fabric paint and stencil at 'Michael's' for my 'cabana' under the deck.

Friday we didn't do much, I did a flippin truck full of laundry, and went grocery shopping GASP ... alone!

Saturday I did a massive clean up of the trailer, lifted mattress' to vacuum underneath, scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed. And it is beautiful!

Today, our last day of spring break we took the family to MARS.

The Mountainaire Aviation Rescue Society's open house! Where the kids saw a wolf dog, horned owl, red hawk and more. I think my favourites were the ICU cabin where they had displayed yellow bath duckies in a bathtub filled with wood chips to simulate rehibilitation. A stuffed pelican with tinfoil 'fishies' under a heat lamp, and a stuffed white owl inside a cat crate with bandages on it's feet. Made for a wonderful, vigniette for the children. I also liked the craft of a pinecone 'owl' that Ruby made!

Came home and mowed the lawn and started some yard work...

Nick decided that the 'hugelkultur' bed wasn't going to be ready in time for planting. In hindsight we should have made the bed in the fall so it would be ready for this spring. So instead he has researched, purchased and now has our 'straw bale' garden well underway.

Here is the info

Nick has used a 'Urea' Fertilizer, which I'm not thrilled about as we wanted to be organic and not used synthetic anything, but we couldn't source anything organic for under $200. He's pretty certain that it's made from horses urine but who the heck knows? It's 'high nitrate' fertilizer. Like I said, not thrilled but we're not made of money and I still can't find where to buy seeds for a 'moneytree?'

I think we plan to plant tomatoes on the top, but I'm unsure of what we'll be planting on the sides... can you tell who's the 'planner' in this household? Cause it sure as heck ain't Nick!

I have shown him a pinterest picture of using stair risers to hold rectangle planter boxes for my herb garden. Today he made me the seat I asked for, on the corner of the strawberry bed so I can sit with the kiddies.

Then he made the sunflower bed, in between the raspberries and the strawbale garden. Ruby and I planted the seeds that she'd started in her green house a few weeks back. Most had already started to sprout!

And then Elias woke up from his nap, I put them both in the wheelbarrow and had fun pushing them 'rickshaw' style around the yard while Nick used his saw. The pink paddling pool was lying in the yard. Elias discovered that not only was it an EXCELLENT hiding spot but he was also the PERFECT size to carry it on his head, turtle style!

I LOVE my kids!... But where did they get their weirdness from? ;p

Couple of small projects I'd like to do include a ladybug feeder and a racetrack for Eli. Should be fun!

                                                    The Strawberry bed, with new 'seat.'
                                         Rhubard has taken off! The black pot was covering the whole plant just a                          few                                      weeks ago!
                                          Raspberries, starting to shoot.
                                          Sunflower bed!
                                                 Strawbales overtop of the hugelkulture bed.
                                            "Redneck" slide... woodpile has two uses!                                                         ...........................More pictures in the next entry!