Winter Barn Owl

Winter Barn Owl
Life's a Hoot !

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Glimmer of hope for feral cats

The food pictures you will see today will not whet your appetite.  What I hope they will do is make you aware of a sad situation that is all too common, and not only in my neighbourhood.

It all starts with someone who buys a cute kitten or gets one as a present.  It is loved for a while but then something changes.  Though no fault of its own, the now grown up cat is no longer wanted, so the owner tries to get rid of it.  

How you might ask?  They take a nice drive out to the country, open the car door and out goes kitty!   Oh, and while kitty was loved and wanted, they never bothered to spay or neuter it.

Poor kitty is now alone, scared and hungry in an unfamiliar area with no safe or comfortable place to call home.  Most of these cats end up in colonies.  They have kittens, who have kittens who also have kittens.  With no human interaction they become fearful and are classified as feral.  Some of the colonies adopt stray or lost cats that hope to be found.      

If it wasn't for charities such as SPAY NEUTER KINGSTON INITIATIVE, life would be grim for these cats.      Solely funded though donations, cats are live trapped, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, ear tipped (top of the ear clipped to recognize cat has already been fixed) and returned to the colony.  In some cases if the cat is friendly or young enough, they are placed in foster homes until 'furever' homes can be found.         

Each colony has a caretaker who tirelessly goes daily to provide food and water.  The cats wait patiently for their supper to arrive and one by one they come to dine with tail wagging gratitude.

    Small shelters are built to provide some protection from the bitter cold.        
If you are an animal lover, such as me, think of these poor cats as you give love to your own 'furries'. If you can find it in your heart to help, through the good work of SNKI, all the cat colonies will eventually get smaller and smaller.  

They did not ask to have this happen to them!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A visit to Victoria, B.C.

Going back in time to last fall, my sister joined me a week long visit to our father, who lives in Victoria.  Our family gatherings  always seems to revolve around food, so this trip did not disappoint.
Our first lunch took us to the south of France with a hearty Cassoulet, studded with duck confit, Toulouse sausage and white beans.  Having traveled through much of France, specifically the south, this new (to me) version was made with tomatoes allowing it to 'lighten' the normal heaviness of the dish.
We decided to 'go light' the next day with healthy salad, albeit the bacon.
My step-mother is a avid (and scratch) golfer so treated us to a visit to The Victoria Golf Club.  I was amazed to see an eagle's nest high up in a tree in the parking lot.
Although it was a foggy day (we WERE on the west coast, eh!) there still were blooms adding a splash of colour.

We sat overlooking the golf course and tucked into seafood chowder, a burger and fish and chips.

We felt that a walk was in order after lunch, so drove along Beach Drive and stopped for a stroll on the stones at Kitty Islet.

My sister and I are confirmed 'foodies' so decided to treat everyone to a home cooked meal of a local west coast fish, Black Cod, also known as Sable fish.  We prepared it in a white wine broth, serving it with a potato/cauliflower mash and spinach.  Melt in your mouth.
A good friend of mine moved to Vancouver Island recently so we arranged a lunch rendezvous to get caught up and enjoy a traditional Koren BBQ lunch.

After a quick visit through Chinatown, where we came across an unusual shop (guess what kind), we hiked up to the top of Mount Tolmie which overlooks Saanich.  We needed the hike to work off a week of wonderful repasts!

A final toast for my sister's birthday and sad goodbyes until the next visit.

Stay tuned for the next installment:
  The saga of Jett and the sock! (see cute dog at top of my blog)

Monday, March 10, 2014

A weekend in Montreal

Given that we have been surviving through one of the worst winters we can remember in many years, my creative juices have been frozen, but are now awakened and I am ready to share stories and meals enjoyed.  I will start with the most recent and work backwards to make up what was missed!

I grew up in Montreal and go quite often, but when V-Star Lady (see to the right) suggested a road trip to Montreal, I enlisted the help of my sister and we acted as tour guides in our own city (she still lives there, I have been gone for 30 years).

Our first day took us to the Bio-dome,  which is part of the original Olympic village, the site of the 1976 summer games.  One of the pavilions has been turned into climate controlled sections housing everything from simulated tropic to antarctic temperatures.

 Here are some of the residents we visited with.....

 Meet the underwater creatures

Don't forget about the birds and ducks!

not to mention the baby lynx and the penguins...

Our next stop was a stroll down St. Laurent Blvd, which divides east from west and is affectionately known as 'The Main'.  Walking is hungry work, so we stopped into a local hangout (funnily called 'The Main) and tucked into the proverbial Montreal delicacy, 'smoked meat and poutine'...yummm.

 Graffiti artists have been busy adorning the buildings.

St. Laurent Blvd boasts many ethnic shops with wonderful selections of culinary delights!

The following few days took us to Mount Royal and the Westmount lookout to capture scenic vistas, but not before fortification in the way of brunch at a local hipster spot call L'Avenue!
 Check out the neon bathroom and motorcycle hanging from the ceiling!

A quick trip through Jean Talon market (one the oldest open markets in Montreal) gave us a chance to stock up on fresh veggies for dinner!

We rounded out our trip with shopping on Ste. Catherine St and final lunch downtown at 'Deville', which is a throwback to the diners of the 1950's.

No visit to Montreal would be complete without a stop for 'Montreal bagels' (boiled in honey before baking in a wood fired oven) and french bread for the trip home.

A waterfront stroll as a final goodbye to a wonderful weekend getaway.