By DAMI - Last updated: Sunday, October 27, 2013
A warm sunny day in October! It is probably one of the last nice days of the season and we have to go to the zoo and see the creatures and wish them well before winter sets in. It will be great to see our friends, these lovely animals!
What a beautiful creature! Sitting in the grass surrounded by leaves she was so lovely enjoying the October sunshine! The Arctic Wolf natural range is Eurasia & northern North America, their habitat is the tundra & forests. They live from 10 – 18 years.
I read in the paper that the Moncton Zoo had some new residents, a pair of Condors from the Calgary Zoo who had lost their habitat during the flooding in Alberta and had to relocate. It was a beautiful sunny warm Autumn Sunday and we decided to go to the Magnetic Hill Zoo to visit the animals and see the new Condors. Any excuse to go and see the animals is good for me!
The Sika Deer. Resting in a sunbeam on a mattress of fallen colored leaves this little dear used a hay bale as a pillow and contemplated, it seemed the wonder of such a beautiful day. These members of the deer family originally from Southeastern Asia have been domesticated and introduced elsewhere worldwide. They are a popular park animal and are kept well in captivity as Sika Deer are considered insensitive to weather. (unlike me)! They live from 8 – 10 years.
We just strolled along the paths of the Magnetic Hill zoo and enjoyed watching the animals. We brought our binoculars and often stopped to just watch the animals go about their business. Having the binoculars is great because we can spot far away beasts and more intimate moments.
The Barbary Sheep
A group of sheep climbed on the rocky pile in their large meadow, they liked to climb their “mountain” and perch on the craggy rocks with the sun warming the rocks. Barbary sheep, also called aoudads, originated in the hills of the Sahara and have inhabited all the major mountains of North Africa. In the late 1800s, Barbary sheep were introduced into Europe, including Germany and Italy. Around 1900, the first Barbary sheep was transferred to the United States to be placed in zoos. Surplus zoo stock was sold to private parties who eventually released some to the wild in New Mexico in 1950 and in Texas in 1957. This allowed a wild population to develop in the southwestern United States. They live up to 15 years.
All the animals seemed to be enjoying the Halloween spirit, many of them had pumpkins in their habitats! The black bears were so awesome munching their pumpkins! The fall colors were superb and many of the creatures were lounging on their grassy plots enjoying a sunbath!
The African Lioness.
It was feeding time and we had a great overhead view of this majestic feline as she enjoyed the marrow from a bone. Seeing her tail stretched out and her spine through her fur with alert head surveying the distance made me think Alaska our female cat who is a much smaller version of this lioness! They live from 20 to 25 years.
The River Otter. There was a floating log raft in the Otter pool and the little thing kept pushing it around then climbing on for a bit then going to push it around. Seemed to want to wander to adventures like Tom Sawyer! Otters are specially designed for life in the water with features such as webbed feet, ear canals that can be closed off when diving, and vision that quickly adjusts from land to underwater. Their whiskers provide information on current and pressure changes in the water, helping them detect prey such as fish. They live up to 22 years.
The Marabou Stork
When we last visited the Marabou Family at the zoo they were standing upright and looked quite regal, almost like wearing formal tuxedos! Today they are sitting in the warm grass enjoying the warmth of the sun on their feathers. They remind me of the vultures we saw in Florida, at first they seem what most would say is ugly but there is a kind wisdom in their eyes that touches me. The Marabou stork, considered by some the ugliest of the stork family, is often compared to the vulture. It’s featherless head and carrion feeding are just two common characteristics. Like vultures, they soar in rising currents of warm air to conserve energy. The Marabou stork has a wing span of almost 3 meters. They live up to 3 years.
The Squirrel Monkey
These tiny creatures seemed very curious when we approached. This little guy cocked his head and followed me as I walked beside his cage. When I bent down he began chattering to me and he seemed to follow me as I moved and I could almost hear him asking questions with his eyes . The Squirrel Monkey is thought to be one of the most intelligent species of primate and is known to have the largest brain to body mass ratio of all the monkey species in the world. Squirrel Monkeys have incredibly good eyesight and color vision which means that they are able to spot fruits amongst the dense vegetation with ease.. They live from 15 to 25 years.
The Plains Zebra
Aren’t Zebras mind-blowing?! Their stripes always trip me out! What a wonderful world that could create such an awesome patterned creature and what could be the evolutionary reasoning for creating this black and white striped horse?! Plains Zebras are social animals, living in permanent small family groups. They live up to 25 years.
Such handsome animals with what seems to be a gentle and kind temperament. Their big eyes and lovely coats make them so adorable. They were simply tickled to have such a lovely sunny day to strut their stuff in the fields of the zoo. Alpacas are the smallest member of the domesticated camelid family that includes camels and lamas. They were first domesticated over 5,000 years ago, and became a cherished treasure of the ancient Incan civilization. Their fine cashmere like fleece was reserved solely for royalty. These amazing animals provided the food, fuel, and clothing for a civilization that thrived in an otherwise hostile environment. Alpacas produce one of the world’s finest and most luxurious fibers, known for its fineness, light weight, and insulating quality, which is eight times that of wool!. They live from 15 to 20 years.
The Pygmy Goat
This handsome fellow was friendly! He let DD scratch him under the chin and he had a big smile on his face the whole time we visited. I’d love to have a little goat as a pet! Pygmy Goats are very clean and particular animals, testing their food for taste and scent. They are very independent animals, however, they do not like to be alone, and enjoy the company of other animals. They live from 10 to 12 years.
The Wild Turkey
The sun shining off the feathers of these birds made them look like charred firewood charcoal. They have strange iridescent black bodies with a goat-like beard hanging down from their chests and reddish blue colored heads of folded skin! A group of Turkeys is called a “rafter”. They live up to 8 years.
The Black Bear
The Black Bears fur was shining in the sun and they enjoyed a little snooze after munching on their Halloween pumpkins. Bears are amazing; people have witnessed bears in the wild partaking in unusual behavior such as sitting still for long periods of time in one spot doing apparently nothing but staring at scenic vistas such as sunsets, lakes and mountains. There is very little explanation as to what use or purpose is in this behavior except in theorizing that the bears merely find such views to be aesthetic and “beautiful”. They live up to 30 years.
The African Lion
What more can you say about such a majestic beast. It is simply awe inspiring to see the King of The Beasts sitting in the sun looking into the unknown horizons. They live from 25 to 30 years.
The Magnetic Hill Zoo has a Remembrance Garden with a large stone memorial headstone with a beautiful poem inscribed in the granite. It brings tears to my eyes as we read the engraved poem and see the small tombstone memorials for the animal residents of the zoo who had passed away.
Moncton Zoo Remembrance Garden
There must be a heaven for the animal friends we love.
They are not human, yet they bring out our own humanity ~
sometimes in ways that other people cannot.
They do not worry about fame or fortune ~
instead they bring our hearts nearer to the joy of simple things.
Each day they teach us little lessons in trust and steadfast affection.
Whatever heaven may be, there’s surely a place in it for friends as good as these.
– Author Unknown
By DAMI - Last updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
There’s a project goin’ on right here
A renovation to last throughout the years
So bring your new tiles, and your fixtures too
We gonna renovate the laundry room
thanks to Kool and The Gang & Home Hardware
It’s not exactly as exciting as a trip to Prague or as much fun as a train trip to Montreal but sometimes the next best thing to travelling is doing some renovations at home. Our laundry room had been one of the last rooms of the basement that needed updating. The floor was cement painted grey and we had foam exercise mats on it to make a carpet over the chipped paint and gouged concrete. There was a buzzing neon light overhead and a piece of cardboard covering a hole in the ceiling.
We added a great built-in shelving unit to store food, and the pine panels go great with the new tiled floor and follows the theme of the rest of the basement!
When we moved in we had installed some brackets and added cheap shelving for storage but the walls were a hideous yellow and full of holes where the previous owners had put up odd hangars and storage shelves. The space was nasty and hard to keep organized. Basically it became the room that we only visited when we needed to do the laundry or to grab some canned goods that we stored beside the tools and camping gear.
It was finally time to do something about it!
We tiled the floor, painted the walls, put in a pine built-in shelving area along one wall, added a new utility sink, patched the holes, changed the lighting fixtures and suddenly…wow! We have our dream laundry room and food storage pantry!! We love it! Renovation is so great!
Changing the lighting fixtures, painting the walls, adding ceramic tiles and putting in a custom built in shelving unit turned the room we were afraid to go into to the room we now enter and hear the sounds of Angels singing!
Come on now
Let’s all renovate and have a good time
It’s time to make it better It’s up to us, what’s our pleasure
Everyone around the world Come on!
Renovate good times, come on!
By DD - Last updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Picking Chanterelle Mushrooms on the Little Prince Trail at Big Hill Retreat.
During our last trip to Baddeck, Nova Scotia we discovered a new passion for mushrooms. There were so many colorful mushrooms on the trails of Big Hill Retreat where we were renting a cabin. It all started with sending pictures to Dami’s friend who was able to correctly identify the Chanterelles. After further investigating – to make sure they really were Chanterelles and not look-a-likes – we went back to the woods with our bag and gathered some for our dinner. We were amazed that such bright mushrooms were edible. They were delicious and the best tasting mushrooms we’ve ever tasted. We tried them first cooked in a butter and had them in a beef stew that day.
The White Pine Trail was another great trail for finding the beautiful orange mushrooms. In the rain it was easier to spot them in the ferns, leaves and moss.
We went back twice to gather some more and had them with ground beef and egg noodles, and with a pesto pasta and chicken dish. We brought back the rest home in a lunch paper bag and had them with a shrimp and vegetable curry and with a kale, pumpkin and potato soup.
We had been planning on going on a drive to see the Cabot Trail or visit the Sydney area but when we came outside from the cabin it was so beautiful we decided to just stay put!
While visiting The Highland National Park we bought a field guide on mushrooms although we weren’t able to identify the ones we saw on our walk to Benji’s lake. The field guide is a great addition to the two other books we have of the same collection that will most likely grow: Peterson Field Guides on Medicinal Plants and Herbs, and Edible Wild Plants. With the book we were able to identify the mushrooms we have growing on our own property, the poisonous fly agaric (amanita muscaria) that our squirrels and chipmunks just love. The red squirrel gathers them on top of our spruce tree and the chipmunk brings them in to her nest; both of them pick the mushrooms when they turn black and start fermenting.: kind of like cheese for them!
So many amazing mushrooms along the trails!
We now have a better understanding as to why we were always told as kids that all wild mushrooms are poisonous. Many of the dangerous toxins in mushrooms are odorless and tasteless and are not neutralized in cooking. Some of the deadliest mushrooms even have a sweet smell! One interesting fact is that we have more mushroom varieties in North America than in Europe and that Europeans that visit North America often get ill while mistakenly picking look-a-likes. Needless to say we had dreams of mushrooms for many days…
On our hike in Highlands National Park we took the trail to Benjes Lake for a Picnic lunch on the dock. The landscape in the Highlands is awesome and we saw some mushrooms as well as a new bird!
On our hike to Benjes Lake we saw this lovely bird…some sort of Grosbeck?