*notcot - 02.24.15 , 22:10 - 1 Notes

Snowy Owl Dog Sledding - Canmore

dogMAIN0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Dog Sledding!!! I’ve always been curious about what dog sledding is like, so when Travel Alberta asked if we wanted to try it, of course we said yes! Today we joined Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours for a 2 hour adventure, and it was eye opening! First, for a bit of back story - Snowy Owl Sled Dog Kennel was created in 1983 by Connie and Charles Arsenault as one of the first dog sledding tours, and is now run by their kids, Jereme and Carlin. They have around 175 dogs, and tend to breed/adopt their dogs. While they are of racing stock, they really train them for tourist adventures - meaning they are all extremely people and camera friendly, and love the hugs and attention from all the visitors. Their website is extremely detailed about the high standards of their kennel, their dog training, feeding, and why their dogs are everything. The love between the dogs and the Snowy Owl folks is apparent as soon as you meet them all - so much playful passion and work ethic from both the dogs and humans! Even though the snow was minimal, and the adventure was not as awesome as it can be (i’ve got to try again in fresh powder!) - the experience was fascinating, the dogs adorable, and Shawn and I learned a lot riding with Jereme.

Take a peek at the stunning adventure on the next page! And of course, tons of adorable dog pics.

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*notcot - 02.21.15 , 19:12 - 0 Notes

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

sheep0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep! Absolutely surreal to see them walk across the highway and jump over the railing towards the frozen lake. Usually the males and female herds are separate unless it’s mating season, but somehow we found the group of females and young on the right side of the highway, only to look up and see the males crossing the highway not far ahead. Remember on our last trip to Jasper we saw SO much wildlife, and Bucky got his first introduction to so many species. Well this trip, perhaps because it’s winter and snowing quite a bit, we haven’t seen nearly as many creatures - so when we came across this large herd of bighorn sheep, our jaws dropped. The backdrop of a frozen Abraham Lake (which is apparently known for its frozen methane bubbles beneath the surface!) and snow falling all around us, made the scene all the more dramatic. Take a look at our encounter on the next page!

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*notcot - , 10:32 - 1 Notes

Athabasca Glacier + Skywalk

glacier0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

If there’s one thing that can truly make you feel small, it’s a visit to the Athabasca Glacier at the tip of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park. While pictures are beautiful, i haven’t found that they even remotely do it justice… they mostly end up very white. It is so large, that unless you zoom way out and the people are tiny specs, you can’t even see most of it in frame. The glacier covers an area of nearly 2.5 sq miles and can be up to 1000 ft thick. Regardless of whether you are there in winter or summer, you have to climb up on it to see how incredibly LARGE it is. When you see the signs of where it USED to reach as you walk up the trails… you quickly realize that this monstrous glacier may not be here for many future generations to see. In the past 125 years, it has receded nearly a mile, and lost over half its volume! Every year it recedes another 16ft or so.

To my surprise, this is really a summer stop to do the full Columbia Icefield Glacier tour and to walk out on the Glacier Skywalk. In the winter, you can still walk out to the Athabasca Glacier on your own though, and its certainly far quieter than tour bus season when we first went by in Sept. Beautiful to see it in both seasons - its so different! Take a peek at the pictures of Sept vs Feb on the next page!

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*notcot - 02.18.15 , 09:55 - 0 Notes

Elk Island National Park

elk0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

You know i’m not one to pass up a visit to see some bison! (Remember the baby ones at Waterton?) When I found out that Elk Island National Park is just outside Edmonton (maybe a half hour drive), I had to go see! While we were warned to keep our eyes open as we cruised the highway through the park for Bison, and as promised, on the highway we saw a good two dozen or so bison along the fences! Both when coming and going! I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that once inside the park, we only found one - seeing as we knew exactly where most of the others were. It was also surreal to see a coyote jumping so high as it ran through the snow across the road! The visitors center is a must stop too - so many funky taxidermied creatures and fun gifts. I adore their stress bisons - see the stress bisons above in lieu of the herds of bison along the highway i couldn’t get pictures of.

According to the Elk Island National Park site, “Elk Park was first established in 1906 as a federal game preserve to protect the declining elk populations of the Beaver Hills. Some of the last Plains Bison in the world were reintroduced to Elk Park in 1907. In 1913 Elk Park joined the Parks Canada family. Since that time Elk Island National Park has been Canada’s source of disease free bison for re-introduction and conservation initiatives throughout its former range.”

On a longer trip (or the next time we’re in Edmonton), we’re definitely coming back to Elk Island National Park - perhaps to camp, hike, or snowshoe around the lakes! See what we saw on the next page!

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*notcot - 01.22.15 , 13:15 - 0 Notes

Moss Ring

moss1.jpg Inspiration comes from the randomest of places… including turning on the garden hose and finding this amazing little ring of lush mossiness! I’ve been fascinated at staring at its growth… curious to see how it decides to spread. I suppose it helps me remember that slowing down… incredible surprises can pop up.

Things have been quieter here as we’re working on some design/development upgrades (SO exciting to bring some features to all of you that we’ve previously had only in our editor’s view) and toying with a lot of secret material experiments and design projects I can’t wait to share with you too! (Hint: Lasers! Leather! Reflectiveness!) Realizing and remembering that real world design, development, prototyping, etc is far slower than the jetset ‘see - shoot - share’ pace of digital. And it feels great to take the time to iterate over the little details and obsess over finding the best solutions along the way. So more to come on all of that shortly… but for now - how awesome is this mossy ring? See more pics on the next page.

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*rugenius - 09.20.14 , 02:23 - 0 Notes

Intoxication Season at Kew

kews.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

Today the The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are launching a new exhibition, Intoxication Season. All about mind altering plants and fungi, the month long program offers a chance to discover how plant chemicals can be used as medicines and intoxicants, with some socially acceptable (coffee, tea, alcohol, aspirin), yet others seen as socially unacceptable “drugs” (cannabis, opium and a host of others!). These mind-altering drugs span across cultures and have shaped our lives, founding the basis of entire economies. The same plant chemicals that can be used to create medicines and save human lives can also lead to addiction and death in the wrong doses. The exhibition and series of talks and seminars throughout the season explore these seeming contradictions in our relationship. See it all on the next page.

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*notcot - 09.14.14 , 21:30 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: Glacier Water Blue…

lakes0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

This trip I may have found a new favorite color: that magical Glacier Water Blue! My first taste was the incredible Moraine Lake. And then i’ve shown you the powerful Sunwapta Falls! Well on the drive up the Icefields Parkway from Banff National Park into Jasper National Park, almost anytime we saw the word lake/creek, we tried to pull over and check it out. Sure, it made the drive a bit slower, but each and every one was worth it! No matter how many we saw, the color really doesn’t get old. The varying shades of minty turquoise of sorts… a greenish robin’s egg blue? a saturated Tiffany blue? As for what causes the unique colors, it comes from the light refracting off the rock flour suspended in the water from the melting glaciers. It varies from lake to lake, depending on the not only the rock flour, but also the lighting/weather/time of day… but the color is always spectacular. See some of the incredible Glacier Water Blues we encountered on the next page.

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*notcot - , 10:46 - 0 Notes

Animals of Jasper National Park

animal0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

As you know, we’re pretty animal obsessed over here at NOTCOT. So when we heard there we lots of critters to see in the National Parks, I was skeptical but hopeful to get to see at least a few! When at Mount Engadine Lodge we were lucky to see a few moose, deer, and a mama and baby black bear… but when we went to Jasper National Park… driving around we found Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Mountain Goats, Black Bears, Canadian Geese, and some monster crows. Far more than I expected, and so many of each! The one elusive creature we tried to find, but will have to come back for? Beavers! Check out the amazing animals we found on the next page…

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*notcot - , 09:19 - 0 Notes

Sunwapta Falls, Jasper, Alberta

sunwapta00.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

Sunwapta Falls - another favorite so far that I definitely need to get back to next time we’re in Jasper National Park (Notice, we haven’t even left, and i’m already planning a trip back?)… We debated whether we were losing too much sun to pull off when we saw the sign, but decided to rush over and see what we could anyhow… and WOW. So worth it, though I can’t wait to see it in bright sunshine! The glacier blue falls come down and around an island then rush into quite the drop before swooping onwards. I could have stood and stared at it all on the bridge for ages… also the tree roots that form steps down to the falls are mesmerizing in their own right. Check it out on the next page.

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*notcot - 06.24.14 , 11:50 - 0 Notes

Old Mucker: Fertilizer Tea Bags

muck0.jpg Justine reported back with so much gardening inspiration in her post about Grow London… and i have been fixatedly curious about those giant tea bags!

So it turns out the giant tea bags are Old Mucker Fertilizer Tea Bags - the hessian bags (most of which “are sourced from a coffee supplier and recycled”) are filled with various chemical free solutions to make magical muck to feed your plants. You steep the giant tea bags over night and feed your plants! There is Triple N: Nourishing Nettle Nectar - since Nettles are packed with naturally occurring nitrogen. Triple C: Classic Comfrey Cultivator - Comfrey is packed with potassium, the essential plant nutrient needed by flowers, seeds and fruit. Triple T: Trusty Tomato Tonic - Sheep muck is packed with potash, the very thing tomatoes, beans and root crops love. Triple M: Mighty Muck Marvel - Horse muck is packed with nitrogen and potassium, the very things that help roses to thrive. Yes. It’s basically manure in a bag… Manure Tea! Fun idea, lovely packaging concept, and great booth display - check out more pics on the next page!

p.s. I wish i had some to try for my avocado tree - it’s finally bearing fruit for the first time, they are nearly golf ball sized!

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*notcot - , 01:43 - 1 Notes

Grow London 2014

grow0.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

Last week we attended the garden party preview of Grow London, the contemporary garden fair at Hampstead Heath. While we love the tradition of Chelsea, Grow promised contemporary new solutions for urban gardeners and we were excited to see what it was all about! The preview supported the Garden Museum and offered a fun mix of installations, contemporary garden products and more unusual items like fertilising tea!

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*notcot - 06.17.14 , 13:28 - 0 Notes

Endless Species by Kathryn Fleming

endless0.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she visits the London graduate showcases. This post is from Show RCA 2014.

Another of my highlights from the Design Interactions program was Endless Forms/Endless Species: Explorations in an Evolutionary Development Park by Kathryn Fleming. I loved her combination of imaginary creatures alongside taxidermy and beautifully illustrated field guides. The almost Seussical creations are the charming inhabitants of a fantastical Regent’s Park. We’d love to find wild High Wire Herbivores, Ground Working Insectivores and Retro Reflective Carnivores! See it all up close on the next page.

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*rugenius - 05.20.14 , 08:45 - 0 Notes

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

chelsmain.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!

This year we were back at the Chelsea Flower Show, which brings together stunning displays of uniformity and diversity through selective breeding, as well as showcasing some incredible design. On a hot, sunny May morning, many plants were flowering early and the displays and show gardens looked incredible. More show highlights including a barbecue-lover’s dream garden, Chelsea pensioner sheep and more on the next page.

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*notcot - 03.12.14 , 14:15 - 1 Notes

Crufts Dog Show 2014

cruft0.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!

This year we visited Crufts on the day of the Working and Pastoral (Herding) Groups. There were no Gamekeepers present like last year’s Gun Dog day, but the day did mark the judging of some amazing dogs, including towering Great Danes, Mastiffs and St. Bernards in the working group, as well as some impressively dreadlocked Komondors and perfectly fluffed Old English Sheepdogs in the herding group. We met some fantastic dogs and dog lovers and as always, the sweetest moments were always, those little interactions between dogs and their people. More photos of Day 1 at Crufts on the next page.

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*notcot - 11.09.13 , 17:15 - 0 Notes

Baby Octopus

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