Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sticky the Crow

We were out for a walk last evening with Loki the Dog when we met some friendly crows.
We had just turned up Camp Road, a semi-rural stretch lined with ramshackle character homes and potters' studios when a crow soared straight towards us at eye-level before alighting in the canopy of trees above us. We regarded it curiously for a few moments before walking on because it had struck us as quite unusual behaviour from a wild bird.
Loki and Jeff and I had walked a little further when a golden-coated lab came onto the street barking at us. Loki was so well-behaved!
Anyway, the owners called out to us from their yard, saying Goldie was quite friendly. I couldn't help but notice that the man had a beautiful black bird perched on his arm.
I love crows. They may be a common sight but I've had a fondness for them for a long time. Back in high school my friends and I would go out to the field at lunch hour and share our food with them. We got quite a black-winged following that year.
They have an intelligent, cocky, mysterious air about them, and I've always privately thought of them as a little bit magical.
Sticky the Crow hopped readily onto my arm as we talked with his human about how he had come to have two pet crows. (The crow that had swooped low over our heads and into the trees was Sticky's nest-mate.) I loved the feeling of his little black feet on my arm. His little black eyes seemed to regard me curiously, and I suspect he was definitely eyeing up my shiny earrings too.
A few years back this man had been crossing some recently-cleared land and had come across a fallen tree which had taken its load of crow chicks to the ground with it. The two beautiful birds we saw tonight were the survivors.
We talked a few minutes before moving on. Sticky's friend says that it's nice how everybody who passes through has a crow memory to share.
As we walked away, the two crows kept up with us for a while, hopping along the telephone wires above.
I love meeting interesting people (and birds) by chance. Obviously dog-walking has its benefits, at least in sunny weather. Thanks to Kim for letting us be dog-sitters this weekend! :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Deer (Lilies on the Menu)

Now if this were my garden, I probably wouldn't have stood by in delight, watching all the little deer nibble their way through my lily patch.

No, I'd probably be clapping my hands and making all sorts of hissing/shooing sounds and motions. I'd probably have smoke coming out of my ears.

But this was not my garden, and so I just wandered by the little darlings in peace as they grazed and as I killed time waitng for the Pacific Jazz Festival to begin last week at the Filberg Park.

P.S. I am adding more to this post after reading gnightgirl's comment about deer being rather unpredictable. Once upon a time, not very far away from these lily-eating deer, my friend was driving slowly by a golf course with his car windows down. And a deer jumped through the window and into the car.

Yes. It happened. And my friend vacated his car as quickly as he could. The beast was not at all happy about its new location and had sharp, panicky flying hooves. Fortunately, it all ended happily with my friend just being scratched up a little and the deer escaping and furthermore swearing off jumping in small automobiles thereafter.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Murder Party

"Oh, it's been SO long since we've had a MURDER!", sighed my mother-in-law recently. "We should get together for another one."
And so, soon after this rather eye-brow raising remark (at least outside of my family), I was invited to another (I think this might be the fifth) Murder Mystery Dinner Party .
The guests cheerfully sit around the supper table pretending to be embezzlers, wealthy low-lifes, snobs with something to hide, and other ne'er-do-wells. Then, following a loose, highly ad-libbed script from our character manuals, all eight guests enthusiastically hurl calculated accusations back and forth over a four-course meal.
If you've never tried out this form of evening entertainment, I do recommend it. Meet new people, accuse them of heinous crimes....
I got to play the character of the rich, flashy, bitchy businesswoman who played watchdog for the public relations of her family's company.
I had at least two people figuring I was the one who did it! It was quite a lot of fun. And, just to add extra entertainment value, one of the evening's guests was the family's female pastor who was playing a suspicious character who happened to be heavily pregnant. Her waddling was very convincing. . :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Los Lobos on the Wind, and Reaping the Rewards of a Garage Sale at the Garden Centre

If you stood on my deck about eleven o'clock on Friday night, you would have heard the band Los Lobos performing down the street in my neighbour's garage.
Well, that's what it sounded like. You could hear the song they were playing, but the sound was a bit muffled.
Actually Los Lobos were playing Clear Across Town at the Island Music Fest, but acoustics in my neighbourhood seem to spookily funnel the sound right down my street. I wonder how many streets in my town got a free concert this weekend.
Of course, every time a car went by, the quality of my listening experience went down, but I lay in bed with the patio door open and fell asleep listening.
So I was up late, and then up again early for my garage sale.
A few posts back (you may recall), my previous garage sale was rained out, but this one absolutely wasn't.
I was out there on my front drive hawking junk by quarter to seven in the morning... Oh,sure, my advert in the newspaper claimed I opened for business at nine, but I'm not willing to turn away people giving me money even if it's at an ungodly hour.
So, after a busy sale, I had some Guilt-Free Spending Money ear-marked for the garden and burning a hole in my pocket, and today Kim and her mom went to the garden centre with me to help me spend it.
I really REALLY wanted to buy oodles and oodles of plants, (I was all geared up to casually drop a hundred bucks or so), but (alas ) Kim's mom lately remembered that the back of her van was actually full already and I had to cut my spree short.
Nonetheless! I emerged with two large pots of gallardia (blanket flower), three pots of golden tickseed, and five containers of a campanula called Carpathian Bellflowers.
And I still have plenty of Garage Sale money left to spend.....
I spent a warm July evening out planting and watering my new additions to the garden.
On Friday evening (before the Los Lobos concert), I actually went to another (proper) concert with my mom. But before we went to see the Cantiamo choir sing, Mom took me on a tour of her own garden.
It's looking fabulous! It has a sort of Mediterranean theme going with lots of lavender and coreopsis and creative use of gravel. I thought I'd post some photos of it.
Ahem, also pictured is the fat black bunny that lives under the cedar tree in her front yard. Yes, my mom has a beautiful garden, but it is fraught with munching bunnies.


Oh, I thought I'd post this picture too as I've just met this plant.
I saw it for the first time last weekend when I was wandering around Victoria with Tai, peering admiringly into people's front yards.
This is a tree poppy, and it's taller than I am. Absolutely magnificent.
I mention it particularly because I saw a much younger and less impressive version of it at the nursery today. I would've have gasped at the price tag of the specimen if I hadn't recently seen its potential.
No, wait, I still gasped....
Drat, but plants are expensive. (Either that, or people just want to give them to you for free. There is seemingly no middle ground.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Four New Things

New Baby

As I said before, I'm an auntie again!

My niece is tiny and pink and waves her fists in the air while making gurgly sounds. Quite lovely, as babies often are.

But probably a bit more lovely than the average baby, I think....

She also came into the world after only (not to diminish the actual work involved) forty-five minutes of labour. My sister-in-law almost didn't make it to the hospital in time. When I mentioned this at work, my co-worker gushed, "Now doesn't THAT make YOU want to have a baby!?"

Well, in a word, NO! I'm sure 45 minutes can still seem a VERY long time....


New Chair

I may not want to have a baby, but I did want to have this chair.

Circa 1910. Victorian-style channel-back armchair. Reupholstered in the 1940's.

I pounced upon it in an impulsive fashion while browsing in an antique shop this weekend in Victoria. It's amazing what one can stuff in the back seat of one's car if one is motivated.


New House
As in the new one that Tai is renting and moving into in a couple of weeks. It's gorgeous. Really.
I'm experiencing pangs of friendly, happy jealousy. I especially love the wooden floors, high ceilings, the stained-glass windows, and the little built-in details like spice cupboards and china hutches. The house was built right around the same time as my newly-acquired chair, but has just been extensively renovated.
(Later, I spent a happy evening on the MLS real-estate pages pretending I was shopping for a character home in Victoria, but I couldn't find anything this nice that was under three-quarters of a million or so.)
The yard needs some work, but after a morning making sure Tai had her very own Weed Pile of Doom with the clippers I'd brought from home, my friend and I wandered around a garden center (one of my favourite things to do) and made plans....


New Window the daycare where I work. We had to have it replaced after the Lawn Mower Man sent a rock pinging like a bullet all the way across the playground and sent it into our tall glass door where it shattered top to bottom into a spider-web like mess of cracks.
Thank goodness for safety glass (and that we don't let kids outside when the gardener is there). We could hear the door crackling for the next half hour as the cracks got bigger and bigger.
The rock that hit it? Smaller than my little fingernail!
Me and the children were very impressed.