Sunday, June 19, 2011

Birds, Blooms, Bullheads and Bladderstones

It was been a busy week - with the longer days and occasionally drier weather (still more like April than June), I have been enjoying the outdoors and trying to get some projects done in the yard.

It all began a week or so ago. I decided this year I would plant some veggies in containers, but my patio was already crowded with the the flowers and herbs I put in last month:

And money was tight, so other than buying some mismatched plastic pots from garage sales, I really didn't want to buy anything other than seeds and seedlings. I remembered there was a monstrosity behind the shed, among the blackberry triffids who have once again come back to claim my yard.

The white lattice thing used to be a privacy screen/fence around my patio, which I had removed in order to securely fence the yard for the dogs. Figuring it might be useful some time, I had the workers stick it out of the way and there it sat for the past two years. Time to haul it out - eight feet high and ten feet wide, it was a heavy sucker.

Once out, the task of taking it apart began. I loathe nails. Truly loathe them. Everything I build, I build with Robertson screws for a reason - if I make a mistake, it is easy to correct, and when I need to rebuild, it is easy to dismantle. Not so the privacy screen. Danged eighteen inch nails banged in at twenty-six different angles (okay, maybe I exaggerate a little), none of which wanted to come out easily.

The crowbar finally did the job. Some old fence boards, some salvaged 2x4, the lattice for trellis, my power drill and driver, my mitre saw, and a fistful of screws and we were in business.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my power mitre saw?

By the end of the day, I had built an 8'x2'x2' planter box in which to sit the various mismatched containers, thus keeping it looking tidy without paying a fortune for dirt or making permanent changes to a yard I hope to have professionally landscaped this fall. For now, this is 'good enough':

And I still have enough left over for a second one, which will be my project tomorrow.

Sometimes I forget how much I love working with my hands and being outdoors. It was one of the best parts of living on the acreage in Mission - next to the animals, of course. When I began the planter project, I hadn't noticed that the birdies in the little house under the eaves of the shed had just hatched. All day long, I had to back away every few minutes so mama and papa bird could feed the hungry mouths.

And Robin Redbreast also kept me entertained, as he struggled to grab his dinner from the lawn near my workplace:

This morning, I headed to the marina to capture images of the Crofton Annual Father's Day Bullhead Derby to accompany our next newspaper column. Bullheads are catfish-like critters that hang around the dock and are relatively easy to catch. Ugly as sin but easy to catch. The place was alive with colour, and parents were only too happy to give me permission to shoot their kids (um...with the camera, that is). I was delighted to see the number of girls out fishing - in fact, I think they easily outnumbered the boys. Fishing with my dad is one of my favourite childhood memories.

I have nearly two hundred images to sort through now, but here are just a few of my favourites:

Dad shows Ella and Travis how to remove the hook

Sometimes chips are better than fish(ing)

Kassidy concentrates on getting the line just right

Ryan and his mom fishing together

Spencer gives Chloe a helping hand

Busy dock

Mom helps Andrew land a baby bullhead

Kids along the dock


And bladder stones? What are bladder stones doing in the title of this post? Well, Bobbie (the senior sheltie I went to meet a couple of weeks ago) received her much needed surgery for bladder stones on Wednesday, and at last word was doing well. She will remain in foster for two weeks while she recovers and her status is reassessed, and then she will probably come here.

Meanwhile, Sadie decided that if Bobbie can get lots of attention for bladder problems, she would develop some too. Friday night, she started pacing and peeing and passing blood. She is now on antibiotics and much improved - we will xray for stones or other issues if the antibiotics don't do the trick. Sadly, there may well being something more serious going on with Sadie - in the past couple of months, she has had strange problems with her eye, had nasal discharge despite no visible ear or nose problem, has gone profoundly deaf, has collapsed completely on a walk, and now this. Her last blood tests came back normal, but it is likely time to repeat them and check for significant changes. Still, she is such a good girl and never complains - just sleeps and eats and sleeps some more. Sadie is about twelve years old, to the best of our knowledge.

And so that gets me caught up on my adventures with birds, blooms, bullheads and bladder stones. Time to do something mundane, like the laundry or vacuuming. Blech.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Don't forget to take your children fishing.


EvenSong said...

Hey, kiddo! That planter looks just fine to me. Envy your top-o-the-line miter saw (all I've got is Sears Special). I like to screw rather than nail, as well.

I like that all the kids on the dock are wearing [colorful] life jackets--sort of like making sure everybody wears helmets on the horses--just good basic insurance.

I'm buried in farming chores, so haven't gotten any flowers planted [yet], but I got some volunteer poppies out by the gate. And my barn/bud swallows have returned. Yah!

georgia little pea said...

I LOVE FISHING! in fact, i managed to do a bit of that over the holiday and caught more than the other fishermen there with my little handline. [possibly why i'm so knackered now - getting up before 5 to catch the tides.]

never knew you were such a handywoman. i'm sure the other Half wishes i were more like that so he could kick back with a beer while i fix the shed door.

sad to hear about yet more complications for Sadie. hugs to both of you, and Charley too of course xox

Black Jack's Carol said...

As one who has never owned a power tool in her life, I am greatly impressed with your planter project. Your patio is looking really good as well. I seem to remember a post that declared a lack of green thumb, but that must have been in a past life. So happy to read that Bobbie received her surgery, and may end up coming to stay with you. Sending my very best to Sadie. You've added two new "b's" to the ones that keep popping up in my posts - must be a West Coast thing:) Loved those Song Sparrow mouths opened wide, and the robin with its curly catch.