Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city is hip and urban – and you can, too.

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#ThrowBackThursday: a creative display of random collected objects

Spring is in the air, the first migrating birds (red-winged blackbirds!) have reportedly arrived, and I’ve been remiss in giving you interesting things to read over the winter months. But take heart! I’ve been reconsidering the writing and content I’ve put forth over the years in different places, to collect what’s worth your time, and what’s still inspiring to me.

In fact, thinking of old pics and posts as “content” at all was a change in perspective for me. A few times I thought “but didn’t I share it on my blog?” Nope, oftentimes I did not – we often under-appreciate our shares and creations, unless they go viral. And one of the things I thought reshare-worthy was something I did three years ago.

This was a case – I bet you have a case too! – of having a collection of random objects you don’t know what to do with, but can’t let go. Many of mine are rusty, some of them farm-related, some not – and I had no place but a shelf in a closet and a box in my garage for them. Until I suddenly had a lightbulb about it. They’re now what I call my…

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Like “Rabbits rabbits rabbits,” but “Groundhogs, groundhogs, groundhogs.”

I love marmots sooooo much, and my Fat Sassy Groundhog Babies post is one of my more popular… so here it comes again. My Groundhog Day February 2 Birthday Fundraiser for the Vancouver Island Marmot. And I’m doing it the lazy way. One that I’m going to remember to post to the blog properly in time for it next year (yes, this year I was late, and back-dated it). Here we go, details on Facebook:

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The payoff from my green eco-renovation — results you can see

A quick note to readers from outside Quebec: now that the dams are over 40 years old, our hydroelectricity is probably the cleanest in the world (this acknowledges that dams do produce GHGs and have negative environmental effects by flooding ecosystems).

Electricity is also very inexpensive for Quebec residents. We pay a low rate on the first 36 kWh per day and a premium on the remainder we use to incentivize us to conserve energy. This premium is usually applied in the winter. The premium is more than it used to be, which may be why we predominantly use electric heating.

This contextualizes the value of the kWh expressed in the article. Your mileage will vary depending on your own household energy mix; I hope it might encourage you to switch to non-petroleum/non-carbon-sourced energy for your needs.

Now that it’s been five years since I first published “Saving Electricity in Winter,” I thought it was time to do an update. After all, I’ve installed a pellet stove, added insulation to my attic, and gotten a new Ener-G-guide rating for my home through Quebec’s Reno-Climat program

Last year, I posted the following status update to Facebook to celebrate my results. (I’ve posted a lot of good stuff to FB that I should’ve posted here!)

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How can you protect birds during nesting season? (Short answer: don’t cut trees). And, BirdFest.

Migration is pretty much over now, and all birds are where they want to be if they’re sitting on eggs in a nest, or raising a clutch of nestlings. It might give us an opportunity to have a peep into their nests and niches and see them raise their babies (mostly by web-cam – this is something we all love!), but it doesn’t mean the dangers they face are completely over. There are still things to watch out for in the city…

Tree Felling During Nesting Season

Every spring, members of my local birding club notice incidents of tree cutting and felling in and around Montreal during this period, when birds are nesting. Even trained ornithologists have difficulty locating nests, so we’re concerned that these activities may harm or even be fatal to nesting birds.

Perhaps making matters worse is that while tree felling is an activity a homeowner needs a permit for, the permit process might not take into account the time of the felling  – and the businesses that fell trees, like landscaping services, haven’t needed to have a license from the RBQ – the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec. We can’t know whether a license would necessarily help birds, but it’s at least one avenue of contractor education.

What can you do if you witness tree felling during nesting season in your neighbourhood? One or all of the following:

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