August 29th, 2006 § Comments Off on The frogs come out at night…the frogs come out at night… § permalink
Work on the cabin progresses. All the windows are in. The house wrap is taped. The siding shall commence shortly…after we get the soffit and fascia finished…which we will…soon.
We got a lot done the last time we were up. But we needed barbecue chips and the sun was going down. It had drizzled all day. Little did we know that the rain makes frogs suicidal. They come out at night to hang out on the road. Not just the little frogs. The big ones too. Bullfrogs, the size of rats. And they jump at all the wrong moments…
I started out swerving around them. But there were too many. And there were cars approaching in the on-coming lane. Brian told me to keep my eyes forward and to ignore the popping sounds beneath our tires. From now on, we bring our chips with us, or buy them before dark.
We did manage to find a survivor the next morning. Or perhaps he slept in and missed the road party the night before. There’s something to be said about following your own path…
August 15th, 2006 § Comments Off on Houston, we’ve got windows…and spiders! § permalink
Who would have thought that installing windows would be so difficult. I don’t mean the computer kind. I mean windows, glass and vinyl things that slide up and down or side to side.
I didn’t want just any windows for our cabin. I wanted something a bit special. So we placed an order through Home Depot. The window guy was funny in an Iggy Pop kind of way, telling us stories about other customers who had ordered special windows and then insisted that they didn’t ask for peacock blue frames, etc., etc. We laughed and talked about his band, then left with the knowledge that we would love our new windows, unlike those other nasty customers.
We were so excited when Home Depot called two weeks later to say that our windows were ready. We picked them up and got them home, clearing a space in the shed to house them until we could bring them up to the cabin. While we were unloading the windows, I noticed that they were all vinyl, not the vinyl-clad wood windows that we had asked for. And some of them had nail fins that we hadn’t ordered.
Back to Home Depot. The girl behind the counter tells me that they may need to charge us a 15% restocking fee. We ask to speak to the manager. He sees that we are in earnest and rings Iggy Pop in the window section. Iggy arrives, shaking his head (he doesn’t even know what the issue is yet). He looks at the order, tells us he wouldn’t have ordered windows we didn’t want, denies our entire conversation and tells us he doesn’t remember us or our exchange about his band. He won’t make eye contact with us as I recount verbatim our order and even remind him of our banter about rock music. He just keeps shaking his head angrily.
Years ago, this sort of thing would have made me blow my top. But I’m different now. I’m less agressive but equally determined. I get the same results with much less shouting.
I told the manager that it was unfortunate that Iggy didn’t remember a thing about our order, but I was quite clear as to what was expected. Realizing that we were not going to leave, the manager offered to reorder the correct windows or give us a discount on the ones in our possession. It would take 5 weeks or more for the new windows to arrive. We took the discount.
Working with vinyl windows isn’t nearly as fun and neat as working with wood. They flex and bow and have excess on the corners and the middle that make it difficult to find level.
But we managed to get all but one installed. It took a long time and a lot of patience to do it properly. Even the spiders showed up to watch our progress.
August 10th, 2006 § Comments Off on Back to the garden § permalink
I couldn’t resist putting a human thumbprint on the land. Just this one little spot…for now.
I wanted to introduce some native plants to the property. I thought it best if I created a kind of nursery for the plants, a small space to help them get their start. Sweetgrass, prarie sage, blazing star, redbud, rattlesnake master, among others. And wild ginger, my favourite.
It only took an hour or two to delineate the site and put the plants in. But what pleasure they give us. And the bees. They appeared as if by magic on the blossoms. Big, furry bumbles buzzing happily away.
Perhaps it was the Phoebes who nudged me in this direction. A bit of latent maternalism. In little more than a week the babies went from screeching chicks to fully functional flycatchers. I thought I would take another photo
when we arrived, car loaded with plants, to mark their progress. The Phoebes were visibly bigger yet all three were still crammed in the nest, the nest looking more like a lichen tortilla than the mossy bowl it was in the beginning. The chicks eyed me warily as I approached. And when I got too close, they shot like arrows in every direction and were gone. They didn’t return to the nest, not even once. So I planted my plants. Ah, wilderness!