Job, that man

I am a simple woman with simple needs. I don’t ask for diamonds or emeralds (anymore), I am just happy to know my family is safe, there is wine in the cupboard, no one is yapping at me about politics and my garden is thriving..

Long time readers know that the main reason I like to garden is to watch the birds who visit. Plants I choose to include in the garden are hopefully attractive to birds. Butterflies are a bonus. The fish pond we added, as lovely as it is, also conveniently helps my bird guests.

Years ago, E hung bird houses in three random trees for my entertainment. Between you and me, I am hoping he will make more of them with the left over cedar we have from the bunkie siding. The one closest to the garden has been occupied every year and I noticed that last year it had started to come away from the tree from the weight of the babies. Mom is currently working hard at tidying it up for her new gang. I lamented that the birdhouse might actually crash to the ground as E walked idly past me. I asked really nicely.. and well ,…. now the babies will be safe.

I was more than delighted this morning to see the newest addition to my garden. A new mom, her name most likely, Mrs. Robinson has built a nest on the post at the underside of my garden shed roof. It’s right above the electrified wire so she is safe from raccoon pillaging. I put my camera on video and hung it over the nest when she wasn’t looking and there are no eggs yet.. I am sooo looking forward to watching her progress. Spoiler alert, you are going to be hearing and seeing her progress too.

I should confess that E wasn’t actually idle. He was painting the beds he made for the bunkie and was walking past me to get his brushes.. But, he stopped none the less to fix the bird house. Happy wife, happy life and all that… Patience of,

Job that man

kids all night

Last night, I felt I could not watch one more minute of the news. Every single channel would be more sadness. Any tv show or movie that we would normally watch would, again, be centered around some fictional murder and its accompanying misery. I didn’t want to hear of one more death statistic or moronic statement from the imbecile below… But the day was done and I took my wine and sat on the couch to see what E had planned for our evening’s entertainment..

We had a grocery delivery from the island next to us in the afternoon. It is kind of like Christmas, because we allow substitutions and you never know what you might get. For example, I asked for bars of Dove hand soap, the same type I had used for years. Instead, Pears lemon flower extract, liquid soap arrived and it is lovely. Every 40 years or so, it can be fun to change up your hand soap. This new service, provided by Nester’s grocery store along with the generosity of our neighbours who pick the food up in their boat and bring it to the island, is a game changer for us.

Back in the day, the first piece of furniture we ever bought together was a solid oak kitchen table. It was second hand, from a used furniture store in Steveston. The store owner totally refinished it for us. For twenty three years we shared many happy meals, practiced dictees and built gingerbread houses with our kids at that table in our kitchen.

E dug it out of storage this week and painted it french country blue and I quilted new cushion covers. Cute, right?

The tomatoes I bought two weeks ago were in desperate need of “potting up”. They are now planted in one gallon pots with Pro-mix soil. I was too lazy to bring them back to the spare room in our house so I tented them in the garden with plastic. I may have no green house this year but am not without resources.

One of my readers has asked for the recipe I spoke about in https://deergarden.me/2017/03/02/dont-tell-them/ , for what I consider to be Bran Muffins remarkably similar to those I loved at Binos, back in the day. I am too lazy to write it out neatly but here it is. Let me know what you think…

E can magically access anything and everything we could ever want to watch on TV. We have unlimited options. Last night as his laptop linked to the TV with his latest choice, I was almost missing hockey. I hoped for anything but more sadness.

But he had downloaded Fawlty Towers for us to watch. It seems he was as sick of the world as I was. So we reacquainted ourselves with Basil and Polly and Manuel (E knows every word of the show by heart) and we laughed like

kids all night…..

were aw f*ck

We have lived on this island now for eight years this week. Eight years I have been writing to you and you have read my blog 70,000 times. I thank you. I like to describe my writing style as somewhere between Erma Bombeck and Roald Dahl. You could well describe it, like my grade 8 English teacher did.. Crap. Her advice? Stop writing.

We are trying to get you a picture of Bobby and his mom or Bobby breaching. We really are, but he hasn’t been around much lately. Despite our best efforts to sit on the deck, cameras in hand, doing nothing much at all, ever at the ready.. We haven’t been able to take the golden picture yet. We hadn’t seen him lately. We heard from a friend who heard it from a friend that Bobby was seen on the east side of the island on Saturday. So we know he was still nearby.

This afternoon, as we sat down to listen to Bonnie Henry, I spotted Bobby right in front of us. And here is our story of frustration.. We took two (two!) really good Nikon cameras out on to the deck to get the elusive picture of Bobby breaching. He strolled up and down the channel and then wandered over close to Boat Harbour. We brought our cameras inside (it was kinda cold out) put them on the counter and sat down to watch him through the window. Then whoooosh.. He flew threw the air and breached not once but twice right in front of Boat Harbour. We watched through binoculars, sadly, instead of a camera lens and yet it was magnificent. Imagine.. a humpback whale flying through the air … and we watched it from our living room window. Magic.

E is painting the window and door trim inside the bunkie. It looks great. Apparently if you want to make your walls look clean and bright, paint the trim black.

Piper is probably just like all of your pets, loving having our undivided attention, 24 hours a day. We never go out, we never leave him. He spends a good portion of the day outside with us but if not, he wants to sleep in our bed. His preference is that we are in the bed with him.. His ideal day, I think, would be a few great long walks interspersed with lengthy naps in our bed between us. Picture the grandparents in Charlie and the chocolate factory, add Piper laying between them and that would be his ideal world

Which brings us to why I think Roald Dahl could be a literary influence in my writing. Did you know his famous last words

were…. Aw F*ck

to live dangerously

It was meant to be a reward. A celebration. A wind up party for twenty-two, six year olds at the end of grade one. Miss. Glassow walked the children down the labrynth of lanes behind the neighbourhood houses to Maple Grove park for an end of the school year party. There were no parent volunteers. Just Miss. Glassow and her class. We had our lunches on the vast clover covered grass at the park. I remember two specific things about the day.

One, is that the route we children traveled, as we walked two by two through the lanes, passed right behind my house. I remember looking up to our kitchen window from the lane thinking Grandma was inside and didn’t know I was walking past. The second, and honestly, I shit you not, I remember this distinctly, one of the little girls said to me at lunch that she couldn’t sit on the grass cause her Mom said that sitting on the grass would give her hemorrhoids.

E has finished staining the bunkie. Tomorrow, we start to put the lattice around the underside. We need to discourage cute smelly little otter from moving in. We have a lot of lattice panels. I am hoping there will be some left over for my garden. We were told that if we paint the lattice black it will disappear into the shadows of the building. So we will paint it black and by then I should think we should be ready to also finish painting everything else in the cabin that needs to be painted.

No sign of Bobby at our place recently. We miss him. As a clear indicator that life here has slowed down, I have read two books this week as I have waited on the deck for him. Thank you Jan for the tulips. They are beautiful.

It has been a long time since I have taken that kind of time for such lazy pursuits. But I have weeded the heck out of the garden and there is not much else I can do up there until it is time to plant the rest of the vegetables.

It will come as no surprise that I think that the little girl I lunched with in grade three lived with her parents until she was almost forty. I think of her every time I plunk myself down on the ground to weed the garden, rearrange border rocks, or watch wild life in the water beneath the cliff. I do a lot of sitting on the ground when I am puttering in the garden or watching wildlife.

Every time I am about to plop my little sit me down on the ground to weed, I think of that little girl and her mother’s words of warning. But fifty five years later I continue

to live dangerously

again, in 2021

We have had more good news about Bobby. He is not on his own. We have heard it from a friend of a friend of a friend that his Mom is hanging around Yellow Point. So maybe they are social distancing or she is letting him have a bit of freedom from her parental control. Might explain why there was so much breaching in front of us the other night and why it was so loud. Perhaps she was cavorting with him… anyhoo.. We will try to get a picture of the two of them together if we can..

E is puttering away on the bunkie. What he calls the last 5%. We were able to get another can of stain, so there has been staining, and indoor window trimming and indoor paint finishing…. putter putter… All whistling jobs.. He likes these jobs. His own pace.

The garden looks amazing. What a great place to sit and ignore the world.. It is all weeded. The vegie portion of the garden has garlic, peas, spinach, lettuce, rhubarb and asparagus already doing what they should be doing. Tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, beets, zucchini and cucumber to come.

Thanks to our friends and the new services of the grocery store on the neighbouring island, our freezer and pantry are filling. Supplies won’t be of a concern fairly soon, especially when the garden is producing. Be nice not to be bothering our friends so much!

What is it like on the island right now? Our friends are all taking social distancing very seriously. Most are over sixty and many have underlying health issues. No one is having friends into their house. In the last five weeks we have visited with friends three times. Each time outside, sitting six feet apart for cocktail hour. No more than six people at a time, usually four. We bring our own glasses, drinks and food.

E and I have not had anyone over. To make it absolutely clear how we feel about visitors, in the nicest possible way, we have posted a sign at the top of our driveway.

Piper isn’t handling the new normal very well. He spends a lot of time under the chair..

We fully expect that to keep E (and me) safe, our days will be much like these for a long time. We look forward to welcoming friends and family into our home

again, in 2021

Night vision goggles

Bobby left us for Easter weekend. Had he left us for good? Not to worry, Monday night we had a report of his return. Then yesterday, there were lots of sightings at the south end of the island. Great for my neighbours.

Last night, we went to bed at ten. As usual, we opened all of the windows in our bedroom which is about 20 feet from the waters edge. The water was flat calm. The sky clear. The stars many. And thats when it started..

The air was filled with the echo of a giant thunk, splash. We ran out to the deck and the thunking (?) continued. At least six more times right in front of us. Bobby was back and performing what I can only imagine was an incredible air show. Breach after breach. Is he partying? Is he feeding? Is he lonely for his Mom and trying to get her attention? What a breathtaking sound.

I have officially given up on my tomato seeds. They are pathetic. Seeing as my canned tomato sauce is the base for most of our winter meals, this was as you can well imagine, a tomato emergency. After thirty days safe on the island, we risked life and limb for a trip to the nursery which is located next to our marina, for 23 tomato plants. With E safely in the car and not looking, I snuck in some bedding plants for the deck too.

The grocery store on our neighbouring island has offered a new service. We can put an order in by email on Thursday morning and they will deliver it by refrigerated truck on Saturday to a near-by government dock.

I tried it out for the first time this week and thanks to a neighbour (friend) who made the pick up, the service works perfectly. It is going to make a big difference to us and will allow us, barring any further tomato emergencies, to stay on the island indefinitely.

An opportunity to be so close to a whale show is exactly why we went to all of the trouble to build a new deck. It is perfect. But if Bobby is going to continue to save his best shows for after dark, we are going to need to get some

night vision goggles

Can become five

Hi, and welcome to your Covid news free zone. I promise to not mention “it” here. Any more that is, after that one time. That is it. No more.

We have been puttering. E finished the fascia on the bunkie and tried to finish the staining on the siding but ran out of stain. So that job isn’t going to get finished for a good long while.

He also helped me build a formal bed for my asparagus and a couple of other small ones with beach logs. I seem to have a lot of good soil this year. My composting has been successful along with all of the sea soil I recently added. The lower garden is now fully weeded and ready for May planting.

Had some more interesting news about Bobby. With the photos we were able to provide the research group, they were able to identify him as the unknown calf seen on January 23rd off William Head outside of Victoria. Isn’t it fun to be able to contribute? Other than April 5th, we have seen him every day since March 27th. That said, we haven’t seen him yet today. I imagine all of the Easter boat traffic isn’t helping. It is early, though, so I remain ever hopeful.

I have a nature (spy) cam which my son gave me. I checked the card this week to see how the little bunny is doing who is living in my bamboo. The bunny arrived last summer on his own. I assume he was dropped from an eagle cause why else would he have gone past the yummy unsecured vegetable garden to take up residence on the driveway at the house.

On the camera are lots of pictures of deer and unfortunately also an otter walking past my studio.

But then dear readers, I was confused with the nighttime videos.

Now, I have always been more than honest with my lack of ability with the finer nuances of arithmetic. But Noah, of imaginary Ark fame, could not explain how my one bunny has now become two. I now have two bunnies where there has always been just one!!!!!

I suspect I will see very soon how two

can become five.