Sunday, May 4, 2008

Magic moments and little surprises

It was a beautiful day today - not too hot, but bright and warm and a great day to be outside. My project for the summer is to fix up this old property a bit, inside and out. So on nice days, the yard and barn are a priority and on rainy days I have to start the dreaded job of painting the inside of the house (my least favourite job in the world). I'm hoping for many nice days over the next few months!!!

The best thing about working outside is those magic moments that occur when I pause from my work to spend a few moments with the critters. I don't always have the camera handy, but these are some of the images that made me smile:

  • Belle, a velcro dog, snuggled deep in thick moss, so fast asleep under the tree in the front yard that she didn't even notice when I left to empty the wheelbarrow. I think she is rehearsing for a role as a lawn ornament.

  • Martin sitting right in the gateway of his pen, blocking the pasture gate so I can't dump the wheelbarrow, and not even bothering to rise when I try to open the gate! Silly Martin!! He's as bad as the dogs, who lie in doorways all over the house.

  • Toddy, one of the more timid pigs, letting me give him a belly rub for the very first time. He rolled onto his side, closed his eyes and craned his neck in delight. After a couple of minutes, I shifted my position a little and he suddenly realized he was letting a HOOMAN touch him and jumped up, swung around and stared at me from 3 feet away with eyes the size of saucers. Silly Toddy!

  • Derby , also a timid pig, allowing me to stroke behind his ears several times during the day - and making the funniest little squeals every single time!

  • A quick trip to Hearts on Noses to connect with another rescuer as part of a transport of food and med donations headed for Turtle Gardens rescue in Northern BC - and having one of the herds of pigs there (Flower's herd) come trotting up the drive to meet me, snouties in the air, catching a whiff of other piggies from my clothing no doubt.

  • Dropping the food off at SAINTS (another sanctuary) from where it will continue its journey to Turtle Gardens, and having Frodo, the one outdoor cat there, jump into my vehicle and immediately settle on top of the bags of dogfood, sphinx like, king of his castle.

  • Seeing all the piggies tucked side-by-each in the hay as I closed the barn door for the night. They no longer run squealing into the yard when the door starts to close ; they just lie there and blink their little eyes and yawn a big "good night Foster Mama" as the door swings shut.

And then there are the little surprises. One of the neat things about living in a home that was built during the Depression is that you never know what you are going to unearth. The house itself is a nightmare of building materials – my bathroom ceiling is made from those metal “skins” that were used on doors, and some walls have nothing but cardboard and wallpaper covering the studs. Those kind of surprises I don’t like, especially when I’m trying to hang drapery rods or install shelves.

But back to the surprises that I do like. Last year I discovered a lovely pewter windchime of bells and angels which must have long ago fallen from the eaves of the barn and become lost in the dirt below. And the stone wall between my home and my neighbour’s driveway has within it the occasional farming and mechanical implements like old gears from tractors or harrow blades - I see something new each time I look at it.

gear in the wall

Spring flowers pop up in unexpected places. And old concrete work emerges beneath layers of thick soft moss.

I knew there was a rounded concrete/brick “planter” type thing buried in the weeds and moss in the front yard, and last year discovered it once contained a tree since I quickly ran into the stump when I tried to plant a few flowers there. But this year I wasn’t about to be defeated so got around to digging deep inside the container making enough room to transplant some irises that a neighbour had given me. In the process of weeding it out, I ended up working my way down the wall….and from there discovered a base….and two little ledges or steps to the side. It is really quite attractive and will be even more so when I scrub up the brick and clear the surrounding area.

Then I started on some steps descending from a little-used gate – and again discovered lovely brick work under layers and layers of mulch and leaves. I know there is more to uncover – another planter around a big holly tree, another stone and brick retaining wall that started to fall many years ago and is similarly covered with weeds and moss. Looks like I have a few more things to add to my to do list this summer. The big question is: which of the many tasks do I do first?

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