Insights into life with Rhichard, French Bulldogs, Motmots, biology, books and thoughts about life in general.

"Hello I am alive!" is what our website designer, Rene, put down as a beginning for this blog and I thought . . . okay, I can work with that!  

Over the years that Rhichard has been involved with the fibre world, I've been intentionally supportive, as a partner should be, and intentionally in the background, as I have wanted to be.  It's been interesting, watching, helping, supporting, occasionally engaging with knitters, store owners, woolen mill personnel, but I am a biologist by training and though now retired from active involvement in that field, I keep tabs on certain things and hope to use this website to share.  For example, I've purchased at least 30 copies of 'The Global Forest' by Diane Beresford-Kroger and given them to friends, teachers, First Nations.  Forty essays on forty ways trees can save us.  It's a great read!  Published by Penguin.

And, on French Bulldogs, I just have to share with you that, last Tuesday night, Rhichard was busy in the dye studio, intending to stay up all night and I'd drive him to Toronto Airport at 3AM to catch a flight to Vancouver for the Knit City event.  I'd driven thirteen hours that day - from our place to Ottawa and back - on a family matter and desparately needed some sleep, so put the dogs out at 11PM for the last time and . . . all six made a mad dash for the back of the property, attracted by something, and, being a biologist, guessed what it was instantly, and shortly smelled what it was.  Yup!  Skunk!  And all six came back smelling . . . substantially.  So, not up to cleaning them up, I told Rhichard they'd have to sleep outside, which they did, while I got three hours sleep, while Rhichard dyed, and stayed outside while I did the four hour drive to Toronto Airport and back, and then another two hours while I got 18 tubes of toothpaste from a department store, and then I spent most of the day rubbing the toothpaste all over each dog, waiting for the toothpaste to dry, brushing it off, then washing each dog, while Rhichard was flying to Vancouver, likely sleeping all the way.  This past Wednesday, I didn't like French Bulldogs much!  And, yes, the skunk survived, pretty much unscathed, and was back the next night, happily (I guess) digging for more grubs in the back field.  And, dogs being dogs, I didn't test to see if our six had learned their lesson.  And I could hardly have let Rhichard near the dogs and then catch that flight to Vancouver!


Many years ago, while visiting the Toronto Zoo, in winter, so that I could bask in the heat and humidity of the Zoo' pavilions, and see some exotic wildlife, upon entering the South American pavilion, I came literally face-to-face with a male Blue-crowned Motmot, sitting on a branch less than three feet from me, not caring the slightest.  As a biologist, and former aviculturist, I was instantly stunned by the bird's plumage and its behaviour.  A close encounter of the fourth kind (positive emotion).  Then, about six years ago, the Curator of Birds at the Toronto Zoo contacted me and asked me to investigate the possibility that there was a Blue-crowned Motmot in a pet shop not that far from where we live.  I did investigate.  It was a motmot.  I purchased it with the intention of donating it to a zoo, but, when I learned zoo protocols prevented that, I decided to keep the bird that, then, I called Michael.  I talk to birds, so I didn't want to say 'Hi bird' and I've always been partial to the name Michael.  So then I spent about $5000 on summer and winter facilities for Michael and, since acquiring him, I've been searching high and low for a mate for him, so far unsuccessfully.  So Michael has an 'outside flight' and entertains himself observing all of the songbirds I feed all summer.  One summer, he developed a bit of a 'thing' for a female Grackle and it seemed his 'thing' for her was reciprocated.  What's so great about Michael, in the summer, is that he wakes before sun-up and starts to call.  Sort of a 'toot-toot', a five-second pause, the 'toot-toot' repeated, over and over and over, until I get up to walk Rhichard's dogs.  Then I call back to him and he flies over to where he can get closest to me, then watches as the dogs and I do the perimeter tour of our property, knowing that, when the dogs are back in the house, I'll come and give him his breakfast of live crickets, mealworms, blueberries and pelleted vegetables.  Before the dish is deposited in his cage, he chatters like crazy.  And my dream of realizing a mate for him before he's too old continues.  For the winter, he lives either in Rhichard's dye studio or the inventory building.  Both places afford him social interactions with humans.  And he does have quarterly up-close-and-personals when I have to catch him and trim his beak, since his diet in captivity is better than what he'd get in the wild, but the downside of that is the extra beak growth.  I swear he knows that the trimming is in his best interest because he doesn't fight being help; he doesn't react negatively to the Dremmel, and, when I'm done and release him back into his cage, he just goes to the first perch, usually closest to me, ruffles his feathers and gives me a look that suggests he's letting me know that that wasn't pleasant.