Archive | August, 2013

I’m In A Tree But I’m No Tarzan

28 Aug
Climbing and Pruning In the Trees. It's a jungle Up There

Climbing and Pruning In the Trees. It’s a jungle Up There

Swinging from trees is not my idea of a good time. It’s not so much the height. I just don’t want to end up as a statistical splat on the grass. Or as a newsline: Stupid Old Guy Falls Out Of Tree. The question you are probably asking is, “Why am I up in there in the first place?”

Well  it seem that one of our ash trees was having some trouble keeping  it limbs up where they should be. Several days ago one of its big branches just collapsed. A few days later another one decided to go. Both just hung there, held up by a few splinters, bark and other branches. S-S wasn’t volunteering to climb up with a chain saw and pruning saw, so the job fell to me. Oh joy, six metres in the air with a chainsaw buzzing inches from your face! I can’t really blame S-S for her lack of interest but why was she digging out the insurance policies and taking paparazza pictures? Anyway, the branches were eventually completely detached from the tree by yours truly so I moved on to phase two: painting with pruning paint.

Yes, It's really me up there, not a stunt double. What was I thinking?

Yes, It’s really me up there, not a stunt double. What was I thinking?

Pruning paint looks easy on the surface but there is a learning curve. Memo to self: make sure the paint spray nozzle is pointing away from the face before pushing the  nozzle button. Spray, spray, spray, occasionally hitting the tree. It also helps if you are upwind of the spray, not always an easy thing to do once you are already six metres in the air. Spray, spray, spray again. Smells like black enamel paint. Hhmmmm? Ordinary black enamel spray is cheaper. Hhmmm? If I was really into this stuff I might check it out. Other enquiring minds will have to follow up on that.

Trimming the Maple

Trimming the Maple

Inspired by the success in not killing or maiming myself I decided to tempt fate and remove a few small, ugly, low branches on one of our maples. Saw, saw, cut, cut. Hey, I’m getting pretty good at this. Then spray, spray, spray. OK re-read original memo to self about where to point the nozzle. Slow learner here.  But at least the maple looks good now.

You might admire my cool. official tree-pruning outfit: hat, jeans and t-shirt. You might not have noticed but the t-shirt seems to have shrunk in the wash. Most of my t-shirts seem to have shrunk that way. Another country mystery?

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Aw, Nuts! I Gotta Masticate.

22 Aug

NutsWent to the Doctor in the big city today. She said I had a small case of Diverticulosis. Nothing major, no symptoms apparent, more age related. “What do I do about it,” I asked?

The Doctor said something like this: “No raw broccoli or cauliflower and watch out for seeds and nuts in your diet.”

I heard: “Steam  the broccoli and cauliflower and really chew seeds and nuts well.”

S-S heard: “Ya gotta put your nuts in a grinder.”

Ouch! End of conversation.

Squash Gone Wild!

17 Aug
Escaped Squash Gone Wild in the Caragana Hedge. Look For the Smaller Squash Near the Top

Escaped Squash Gone Wild in the Caragana Hedge. Look For the Smaller Squash Near the Top

I think I made a bit of a tactical error this summer. I planted two spaghetti squash plants instead of the usual one in our small enclosed garden. Usually the sole plant grows in a controlled fashion and produces a gourd or two, enough for us. This year it’s like college kids on spring break. Two plants drunk on sunlight and the other’s company, growing drunkenly wild all over the place. They’ve grown into the hedges and are climbing up two metres into the tops of the asparagus that we have let grow to a seed stage. They are crowding out the tomatoes, shoving aside the beans, and smothering the swiss chard. The picture to the left does not really do justice to the orgy of growth.  The camera cannot capture it all but the pic does show two squash growing in the bushes outside of the garden fence.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like the way S-S, an excellent cook by the way, prepares squash. But it looks like we are going to have squash pancakes, squash fritters, squash relish, squash casserole, squash surprise and lord knows how many other squash thing-a-me-bobs to digest.

S-S says perhaps we should only try one plant next year. Perhaps an acorn squash for variety and give the rest of the garden a fighting chance. Sounds like a good idea, one that shouldn’t be squashed. You can all groan together at that one: 1…2…3 Grooaann!!. There now, doesn’t that feel better.

Honeywagons Determine Where the Wind Blows From

14 Aug

Stinky smell spoiler alert!

JJs Pumpout truck

JJs Pumpout truck

The honeywagon is a wind generator. Neighbours to the north have a pumpout, the wind comes from the north. Neighbours to the south, the breeze wafts in from the south. Septic field to the west, perfume gusts in from the west. Nothing from the east. To the east is the lake. All we get from there are easterly and northeastly gales and rainstorms, a possible topic for another post. However, when the pumpout is mine there is a dead calm, doldrums. The scent then hangs like crazy glue refusing to lift, shift or drift. At times like that I feel like packing up and moving to another time zone.

Pumpouts are expensive in this part of the world, about $100 a poop, er pop. The gentle rumble of the pump sucking up the whatever brings a sigh – low breath intake – of relief. The septic field is still working and a massive and expensive replacement isn’t required.  The grass can thus keep growing thick and lush. Brute is happy about that. J J, the pumpout man, at least has a sense of humour. In his business you have to.

Life and Death Around the House

12 Aug
Northern Flicker Window Victim

Northern Flicker Window Victim

This post is a little more sad and a little more joyful.

Sad news first. All of a sudden, over a few days recently, birds have been crashing into our large windows that face the lake. This picture on the left is of a Northern Flicker. I have also found young Cedar Waxwings among other songbirds. Why the sudden increase, who knows. It seems to be mostly songbirds, never a Crow or Robin.

Robin's Eggs in the Planter

Robin’s Eggs in the Planter

Robin Fledglings in the Planter

Robin Fledglings in the Planter

On the happier side the Robin family is back. Each year year a pair of Robins sets up a nest in a hanging planter on our  breezeway front entrance. The flowers in the planter are artificial since nothing seems to want to grow in the planters on the shady side of the house. So the choice of nesting site is a bit of a puzzle. It’s a bit of a dangerous spot since once the crows find it they are merciless in attacking the nest. But some young ones survive. This is at least the third year of the parents’ return

New Header Pic For Your Favourite Blog!

10 Aug
Dressed for whatever Nature can throw at Me

Dressed for whatever Nature can throw at Me

Rejoice! Two things. Firstly, the fishflies are gone, enough said there. Secondly, on the advice of my financial and business consultant S-S and the the whining of Brute for more on-screen-time on the blog I have created a new blog header. S-S turned paparazza on me and snapped pics while I sweated on the driveway, capturing a picture of me and Brute (he never will get first billing!) at work. In the header pic it’s hard to tell whether I am pushing or following Brute. It’s an ongoing battle as to who is the boss. A titanic clash of wills.

I know I have a pic of S-S behind Brute somewhere. She was smiling so I am not quite sure as to what their relationship actually is. Luckily I am not paranoid. Anyway she told me not to use it, or else. But who knows, it might find its way onto the site accidentally. Caught between a loving prima femina and a conflicted primus res (finally I get to use some high school Latin.) life is not easy here in the wilderness some 45 minutes north of Winnipeg.

The attached pic here is me in all my fashionable glory with fishfly and cobweb carcasses and debris hanging off me. The camo duct tape on the hat is a particularly elegant touch. If you think I am using the site to milk sympathy by trying to add class to this rugged life, you are right. And the pioneers thought they had it tough! I mean life is brutal. Until recently we only had dial up, we still can’t get Netflix and gas is $1.36 a litre!