On the Trails

Living in the middle of a large city with 2,500,000 people has many benefits. Living in a house with a backyard big enough to plant vegetables in this large city is even more special. Harvesting sour cherries of my own tree in the front yard is a dream come true. Going for a very short walk through what is known around here as the "dog-park" with its trees and perspective that shows no other parts of the city is a quick escape in any season. 

Missing from this is a long walk in the forest, not a park, but a real, wooded forest. To have an experience like that we gather up food, water bottles, a first aid kit, swiss army knives, cameras, extra clothes, hiking boots, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, napkins, snacks. We empty our wallets of too much weight, remember the bug spray. Then we get into the car and drive. And drive. And drive. Usually upwards of an hour to an hour and a half. At the end of this long drive, we get to a part of the Bruce Trail. We calculate a day to go hiking. 

For the swiss-raised child in me, I find this horrific. I grew up in a small town where there was forests around, a short sunday walk entailed almost always a jaunt through the forest, along a stream, sitting down on a bench for a rest. As a snack, we took an apple along, but more often than not, we just put on our shoes and walked out the front door. We'd be back home within a couple of hours. Hiking meant taking a train into the mountains, climbing some hills. We even had a nice "hill" just up north of our town, within walking distance from our front door, with a restaurant on top, a playground and a view that was heart stopping. Still, we never took more than ourselves, and of course my dad and mom brought their money to purchase a drink and a snack up on the hill. 

If I am asked why I live in Canada when I had all the beauty of Switzerland around me, I often reflect that it is the landscape and of course my family and friends that I miss. The mountains, the Sunday afternoon walks, the hikes. Here in Toronto, I have many other things that I could not have there, so I guess the payoff is that it takes a day to go hiking. 

We try to go onto the trail as much as we possibly can. Usually between June and October we manage to go about six to seven times. It is bliss. The forest and the trail does feed my soul and I hope to feed my son's soul there too:


There is a froggy in this picture, and in the ones he took. 


Here are a few of my froggy images:




We’ve got babies…

Two of them… 

But before we got the ones we have now, we tried one of these (see below), but it just didn't work out. He didn't want to eat the hay, or the pellets, he also kept spilling the water dish, so in the end we decided to let him roam free again…


Last Friday I drove many miles/kilometers to get the other type of babies we had been waiting for:


After a 3 hour drive they arrived home safe and sound, but of course quite nervous. 

On Saturday afternoon my niece came for a visit and the kids had a lot of sweet moments with the baby-bunnies. 


This is Eddie, he is a chocolate brown Polish dwarf rabbit. He is 6 weeks old now and the sweetest little soul. Very calm, yet adventurous, and soooo soft. 


My niece is holding Alice, a 6 week old Mini-Rex. Alice is a cautious bunny, but very curious and already is showing her smarts, by understanding that we mean her no harm, even though we make her still a bit nervous with all our new smells and noises. 

My DH and Eddie bonded right away. So lovely to see.

Eddie and Alice where raised in the same litter, so they are brother and sister by heart. When Eddie is old enough, we will have him neutered to make sure he lives the best possible life he can. We are very fortunate that one of the vets recommended by the local Rabbit Rescue organization is located just a few minutes drive from our home.

Preparing for the arrival of these two sweeties has taken much of my time over the last few weeks, and precluded me from doing other things, as well as my finger still healing as well.

The breeder the bunnies come from is Annette from At Home Pets, just north of London, Ontario. She did a wonderful job handling and socializing the bunnies. I am proud to say that our little guys spent some time at a homeschool meeting with her and her son. They also encountered the house cat, which means that they are not traumatized from smelling our two cats.

Having pet bunnies has been a long-term wish for Huxley. When he was about five and we went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and saw the bunnies, he couldn't stop telling me how much he would love to have a pet bunny. I knew though, that he was still too young to handle them safely. As he has gotten older, his love for animals has not diminished, so we felt that now would be a good time to get bunnies. (Ehmm.. I thought so, there was a bit of convincing of my DH involved… but he is fully on board now, and his concerns where all justified too). 

Owning a bunny is not a new thing for us though. In 2003 I had an ectopic pregnancy and was very upset, as we had been trying for a baby. Because bunnies are also viewed as fertility symbols, and because I felt very bad, we decided to get a bunny. A lovely bunny named Luna joined us:


She is a Netherland Dwarf and has one blue and one brown eye. In September that year DH and I went on a 3 week vacation to Greece and our bunny-loving friend Gary agreed to take care of luna. Two things happened while we where climbing up to the Acropolis and philandering around Santorini — I realized that I was with child, and Gary fell hopelessly in love with Luna. To simplify all our need and changes in life, we gifted Luna to Gary, and the following May I gave birth to Huxley. Luna is living an amazingly happy life with Gary, she is now 8, and still of very good health. We visit her when we can, but sadly, she is only attached to Gary, and I can't even pet her now. 

Gary is coming to visit our baby bunnies soon, but we will make sure that there is no more falling in loves, because, these babies.. they are ours!



… and humbly said also darn proud…

Challenge: medieval day at my nieces' school

Her wish: to be a jester

Total cost $5

Time: about 1.5 hrs.

Materials used: 2 long-sleeved mens t-shirts, some bells.

Tools: 5-thread serger, scissors, niece on hand to keep trying it on.

Skills needed: not much.. but willingness to try, to cut, to have fun.. and then to giggle like crazy… who would have thought that half a long-sleeved shirt worn on your head sideways could so easily turn into a jesters' hat.. not me.. 







Today it happened! I've arrived at a chippy that I'm truly happy with. I also drafted the pattern for him and hope to do the detail photos for the instruction sheet by next week. 

But here he is in all his chippy-glory…


I couldn't resist and had to make him a little tiny acorn…






The pattern will be suitable for immediate/advanced knitters/needleworkers I think. Would you be interested in testing my pattern for me? If so, please leave me a comment with your e-mail and in a bout 2 weeks I will e-mail you my instructions for your feedback. 

Knitting the "hide" of the chippies is not that difficult. You'll have to be able to cast on, knit, purl, cast on within the knitting, cast off,  knit an I-cord. The shape of the chippy becomes apparent through "sculpting" with needle and thread while sewing him together. 

When the pattern is finalized, I would like to offer it for free as a pdf file here on the Olive Sparrow Blog. I might also sell an extended instruction sheet that has additional animal instructions on it.

Do you like my final version?