Friday, April 30, 2010

Meet A.J.

Yes, he's a llama. A livestock guardian llama, no less. He's only been on the property for about 24 hours, so he's still a bit shy. The Spawn is thrilled. Her very own llama!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ah, the joys of rural life!

Okay, so that was slightly facetious. The Spawn and I departed for the local farm store and library (sequential, not simultaneous) this morning. There were enough chicks, goslings, etcetera to make the farm store a success and the library contained books, which is also a good thing. The return home was where things went awry.

We turned into the driveway to find three LARGE trucks parked there. Missing was the Better Half's car (he went to see a man about a llama). It turned out that, without any warning whatsoever, the local utility company decided to stop by and upgrade one of the power lines and install a sodium vapour light on the power pole.

This was not *wholly* unexpected as both of these things were supposed to happen at some point. It was just Murphic in the extreme for it to happen when no one was home. So computers were running in the house. Hooray for the lowly UPS. Everything ended up shutting down gracefully enough to not leave the smell of smoke in the house. Well, except for the smell generated by my sotto voce comments. They also tripped the fuse for the pump, which was a trifle more difficult to fix. When the Better Half finally returned, he managed to figure out which of the black boxes in the pump house actually WAS the fuse.

Everything is back to normal again, barring my nerves, which are still jangled. The Spawn and I ended up being blocked into the house with no power and no water...right at lunch time. And getting food into a preschooler is no light matter. Thank goodness for frozen strawberries.

Meanwhile, the acquisition of large containers for water is now a high priority rather than a medium priority. We now know how to get the pump running again when the fuse trips. A generator would definitely be a good thing before next winter. And Clark County Public Utilities does not get a Christmas card this year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One of our native plants

Just love these flowers! They are in constant motion with every breeze. Western meadowrue is the common name--Thalictrum occidentale if you're feeling official. We have a small patch growing by the creek.

And a closer view of those same flowers. These, I believe, are the male flowers. As with birds, the female flowers of this species are less showy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flora and Fauna

To date, we've seen far, far too many slugs and snails. Those are going to be an issue when things finally dry out enough to get the garden started. We've seen one small rabbit, much to the delight of the Spawn. We've seen quite a few frogs and at least one toad. There are small fish of some sort in the stream, along with snails and water striders. We have seen signs of raccoons in the form of tracks and droppings. There are a good few trees that have been shaped by beavers. In the woods, there are plants that appear to have been nibbled by something, but I can't be sure if it's deer or rabbits. Birds, lots and lots of birds. There's a blue jay with a nest RIGHT outside the Spawn's window. We got to watch a red-headed woodpecker pecking away on a dead tree trunk. Millipedes, at least one spider the EXACT colour of a dandelion. Lots of fauna of one sort or another.

With regards flora, lots there too. Blackberry and salmonberry are doing their best to reclaim the whole property. That should be fun. Bamboo by the stream--one of my favourite spots so far. There are more apple trees than I'd realized. I'm contemplating the insanity of actually trying to thin the apples and sock 'em to get usable stuff. The trees have not been, for many, many years pruned to a good size. There are supposed to be filberts in the woods. It'd be nice if I could figure out which ones and see if we can beat the squirrels to some of them. I've acquired a book on wildflowers and have identified skunk cabbage, moonwort and swamp buttercup so far. There are many, many bleeding hearts all over the woods and around the house. There is, to my delight, a lilac bush.

All the various flowers are prime targets for the flower removal machine that is the Spawn. We never come back from a walk without a handful or pocketful of flowers which get stuffed into a canning jar full of water. This is her version of a bouquet. I'm attempting to drill into her that you don't pick ALL of any given type of flower. So far we have lip service but no actual compliance. Luckily we have a lot of most of what's blooming....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

We're in!

Oy, but where IS everything. Even more than the stupid packing, I hate the subsequent constant search for the basic necessities of life. Okay, found the cast iron skillets. Found the roasting pans. Found the good knives. We can eat off the bare table with our fingers, no? And clothes might be kind of nice one of these days too....

It rained a lot on the day of the move. So we have lots of nice mud in the house. Don't know where the vacuum is though. That's odd, really, since it's not something that fits into a nice generic box. Maybe it's still at the old house. That's where I suspect the good olive oil is too. Luckily we still have a couple of weeks to go on the lease there. We'll be able to retrieve the various things still there. Like the chickens.

The landlords seem to have missed a bet in cleaning here. Apparently the place was overrun with mice before it went vacant. There seems to be some mouse spoor in the ducts somewhere. We shall be getting that corrected post haste.

Overall though, things are good. Back online, as you see. The cat has not been eaten by any of the wildlife yet. Long may that continue. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.