Thursday, June 30, 2011

Clepsydra - Water Clock

A few weeks ago, Lulu and I went to the airport in Abbotsford to pick up my mom and dad who were coming for a visit.

First Lulu inspected the flower bed and the airport sign.  Lulu then sat in the car to wait while I went in to snap some pics of their water clock.

The clock is known as a Clepsydra Water Clock.  Clepsydra is Latin and means "steal water".  According to the handout it is "an ancient time-measuring device worked by the flow of water".

The first modern water clock was created by Bernard Gitton who created a 6 metre clepsydra and installed it in a shopping mall in Paris in 1979.  This clock was purchased by the Sevenoaks Shopping Centre in Abbottsford, BC and was installed there from 1991 until 2000 when it was donated to the city of Abbottsford and displayed at the airport.

The fluid is pumped from the bulb at the bottom to the top.  It falls from there and continues to pass through various tubes and columns. 

The fluid accumulates near the bottom and empties every two minutes which lights up the numbers on the right hand side of the clock.

Every sixty minutes, the fluid from the minute column drain causing the number on the left side to add another hour to the time shown.

This Clepsydra was only the second such clock on public display in North America.  In fact, at the time of its installation, there were only twenty-one other such clocks around the world.

Most of the previous information was found in the brochure available at the airport near the clock.

If you are interested in seeing an animated version of a clepsydra check out the following link. Halfway down the page is a link to click on the animated version showing real-time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby Bird Visitors

We have had a number of baby birds visit over the years.  Most often we have had cute, fuzzy robins that still have that fat, fluffy baby look.

This youngster has started to get red feathers but still has some baby spots left.

They sometimes look a little ragged and scraggly just as chickens do when they molt.

Isn't he so cute and cuddly?  I just want to grab him and hug him.  What a sweetie!

This one almost looks lost and forlorn with that look on his face.  "Where's my momma?"

While you're checking out this sweet robin, I'll tell you what happened last week with a baby bird that I wasn't able to photograph.

I went out in the backyard and saw several crows around the sorting table where I sort the produce that I get daily from the grocery store.  I walked over to find a baby crow had fallen in the wheelbarrow and the sides were too steep for it to get out.  Mom and dad crow were causing a big ruckus trying to encourage junior to get out.

I lifted out the baby bird, who was about the size of a fat robin and he scooted away.  I saw that he couldn't get off the ground so was going to lift him up onto the fence so he was higher in the air for lift off.  (We've had to do that before for robins.)  Well. I should have thought of that when I was holding him because he hopped along too fast for me to catch him.

In the meantime, the crows started swooping and diving at me.  I've seen this happen with robins when the parents swoop to distract you and to protect their baby but never to this extent.  I had between 6 and 10 crows swooping and cawing and causing a big fuss.  In fact, the chickens all hid in the bush because of the racket.  This went on all day.  Any time I went outside, the crows started up again.  What a fuss!  It was as if they were waiting for me to come out so they could show me how annoyed they were with me. What an ongoing racket when all I tried to do was help.  Dumb crows!  Poor chickens spend alot of time running for cover that day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Here It Comes

Here comes summer

Here comes summer

Chirping Robins, budding roses

Here comes summer
Here comes summer
Gentle showers, summer clothes
Here comes summer
Here comes summer
Whoosh-shiver there it goes

written by Faith Long

Monday, June 20, 2011

Herb Garden Update

This is the third season of my herb garden.  Many of the plants have survived but I had a few casualties.  My garden map got better looking over the years as well.  This is the first years plan with comments.  I use the abbreviations (p) for perennial, (a) for annual, (tp) for tender perennial and (bi) for biennial.  I also mark the plants that need to be covered in the winter.

Last year's plan took on some colour.  I have added comments or reminders in each square.  Many of the annuals reseed themselves each year.

Here is this year's plan with a few changes.  I have added a few more flower seeds as I wanted to keep track of them and didn't want them in my flower beds that need overhauling.

I will describe the herb garden beds clockwise from the upper left corner.

Here is the first square of my herbs.  It contains apricot coloured poppy seed I was gifted (they are coming in spotty due to chickens), chives (a perennial that I already removed the flowers so it wouldn't reseed all over), basil (an annual that I start from seed in the house and transplanted when weather is frost-free), and thyme (a perennial woody shrub-type plant).

The second square contains sage (p) just getting ready to bloom, Nicotina (a) that self-seeded but was chicken scratched so I planted a few basil plants, spearmint (p) and fennel (a new annual that I was going to try but again I had a couple of bad girls who would get out and scratch up the herb beds.  I may have a couple of fennel plants that survived).

The top left is Lavender Bergamot (p) that gets quite tall, Oregano (tp) that is doing wonderfully, a package of mixed seeds called Pollinator Blend that is (a), (p) and (bi) and is supposed to attract bees and butterflies, and lastly my Greek Oregano (tp) that is doing poorly.  In fact, it looks like the regular oregano has dropped seeds there that I will let say to fill up the square.

My lavender (p) is doing very nicely, the dill (a) continues to reseed itself and had given me several crops last year, my Lady Lavender plant died so I seeded light purple poppies in its place, and finally my beloved Chocolate Mint (p) that makes wonderful tea.  Last year I cut it back to dry several times as the tea was in demand to anyone who tried it.

This thyme bush (p) did not winter as well as my other one so may need to be replaced, the Lemon Bergamot (tp) is sharing its section with red poppies I seeded, my garlic chives (p) are not as robust as the regular chives and have not yet bloomed, the last section contains marjoram (tp) that looks very sad indeed.

My Evening Scented Stocks (a) reseeded quite well but were disturbed by chickens so I added plants started from seed indoors, the peppermint (p) is doing great, I started the Parsley (bi) indoors and transplanted them outside, a second section of evening scented stocks (they smell heavenly when I pass by to shut the chickens in for the night.

Here is a view of the whole herb garden looking north.

And here is the view looking south. 

I do not use all the herbs but I enjoy all the different scents, colours and textures of the plants.  I love to pass through the herbs on my way to the rest of the garden or to the chicken coop and be able to stop and pinch off a leaf and sniff.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lulu Visits the Ocean

On one of my visits to White Rock, my sister-in-law and I went for supper at an ocean view pub for fish and chips and beer.  It was too cool to eat outdoors but I stopped to snap some pics of the ocean.  It was gray and choppy and very cold looking.

You can see no one was walking along the shore on this cool evening.  I couldn't make out what that was in the water in the distance and after eating I forgot to look again to see if it was still there.

The clouds were breaking up and it looked more promising for the next day.  We didn't stay for the sunset because Lulu was home alone in a strange place.

The next day was warm and sunny so we returned to the ocean before I left for home.  This time Lulu accompanied us.

She sat on a driftwood log and surveyed her surroundings.

Since there were broken shells at her feet she decided to try some of the local cuisine.  "Hmm," Lulu said, "Maybe its the fresh sea air but these taste better than those old oyster shells you feed us at home!"  (We have a supply of oyster shell available for the girls to nibble on if they feel the need for extra calcium to build strong eggshells.)

Lulu gazed off into the distance.  "What's so special about the ocean?" she queried.  "It doesn't seem so magnificent and awesome - just alot of sand and rocks and very little water."

I explained that it was low tide and that the water last evening was almost up to where she was sitting.

She looked at me in disbelief and said, "What do you take me for - a bird brain?!  You're trying to feed me a line and I'm not taking it."

Since we had to leave, Lulu never got to see high tide.  Poor Lulu.  But on the other hand - how many other chickens do you know you got to see the Pacific Ocean - even if it was a low tide.  ;)

 All photos taken in White Rock, BC.

Monday, June 13, 2011


How must it be
to be moss,

that slipcover of rocks?—

greening in the dark,
longing for north,

the silence
of birds gone south.
How does moss do it,
all day

in a dank place
and never a cough?—

a wet dust
where light fails,

where the chisel
cut the name.
By Bruce Guernsey

All photos taken at Bridal Falls Provincial Park, BC, Canada