Saturday, June 11, 2005
Driving north yesterday about 15 miles north of Eugene, I saw a cat prowling around on the side of the road. It was in the large grass easement strip between the edge of the freeway and the fence. Nothing special about that, really, except that after I'd gotten past, I realized that you don't normally see cats with fur that sticks out like that and with paws that are really big... so I think it was a cougar. Cool.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Okay, so it occurred to me that I've only got a couple of pictures of the garden posted to show what I've been doing out there, so I went and took a few more snaps today to expand on them.
In addition to the two barrels of flowers, I have two other barrels of flowers (which I wasn't able to get good shots of today because there was too much sun – heckuva deal, I have to say, given how cold and rainy it's been the last couple of weeks). I did, however, get a photo of one of the hanging baskets I did. All three of them are in ripping good health, but this one's exceptional.
The backyard itself is pretty dazzling. I have just a few photos of it but it is actually over twice the size of what you can see from these. (I'll have more photos at some point, but I have to get them early in the morning because the sun overexposes everything on the leetle cell phone digicam.) You can see part of the deck with the trunk of one of the fir trees (they're about 130' tall and there are four or five in the backyard and another three in the front yard). There are eight beds of impatiens planted around the base of the two fir trees that come through the deck itself.
Off to the left of that photo is one edge of the backyard. Some of the dwarf rhodies are still blooming. They're not my favorite flowers, but they're nice enough for low-maintenance shrubs.
One of the coolest things about the backyard is the seven-trunked maple tree. The maple tree is about 100' tall and the previous owner had very graciously wired the trunks together at the 60' level so they won't split off in high winds.
What identifies this backyard for me is that I have the man-eating clam hiding behind some ferns and at the base of Yet Another Fir Tree. The clam is something I got from my paternal grandmother's garden when she moved to Tucson to live with my father and stepmother. It had been a fixture of her garden for decades and I always had loved it. Dad very graciously snagged it for me (it weighs about 66 pounds) and I've had it in my backyards ever since. When I was married to my first wife and we had it in our backyard, she put a large plastic pearlescent ball from the handle of an old umbrella in the clam like a big pearl. It was perfect. I'll have to find something like that again.
And, just because I finally managed to get a good photo, here is a shot of Willow. She's outside and it's light out but you simply would not beLIEVE how much I had to stop the camera down until she was visible in the photo. It almost looks like it's night outside; this is not the case.
I'm on the road to Portland on Friday for a client visit, so I'm off to bed now.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Here's what the new house is looking like right now. The floor joists have been added as well as the foundation gravel for the driveway. There's a lot of embedded piping going in. The framing is probably about to go in, too.
We had hoped the driveway would be less steep than it looks like it's going to be. Drat. I think it'll work out, but I suppose that's part of the hassle of living on a hill: things are frequently steep.
The garage is actually fairly large. It's a 2-car garage with an additional keyhole area that is generally used for a work area. The master bathroom and closet have been expanded somewhat at the expense of this work area, which is fine with me. I'm sure that boxes will end up being stored here for a while, but because this house has a lot more room than the current house for books, there are going to be fewer boxes.
The fence currently ends on the one side at the next-door neighbor's driveway. We've noticed that they store their garbage cans on the side (a logical place for them) but looking at their garbage cans—or anyone's garbage cans—is not a big scenic attraction, so we're probably going to have the fence extended. I hope they like cats and are generally friendly sorts on all sides of us; it's going to be difficult if we have crappy or unfriendly neighbors.
We were a little concerned about feeling like we were in the bottom of a well, but in fact the bottom of the windows in the house are going to be about level with the top of the retaining wall, so we'll have plenty of good view of the plants (read "rock roses and lavender") in the hillside that's part of our back yard. There isn't going to be a lot of backyard, sadly, but that's the way it goes.
The retaining wall and hillside run all the way across the back of the property. There's going to be a board fence at the top of the hill so we'll have a little privacy from the house above us. We're thinking of terracing this. I remember as a boy that the house my parents built in Cheney had a hillside similar to this in size and shape and my parents terraced it with railroad ties and then planted things in it, particularly squashes and strawberries. I'm willing to pass on the strawberries but I love the idea of squashes and the like being planted here. The big question will be access: how to get up and down it without having to climb huge rocks and so on. Don't have an answer for that one, yet.
I've been talking (well, bragging) about the gardening lately and I wanted to show you a few of the results. These are a couple of the flower barrels on the deck, which turned out pretty darned well, I'd say!
The cats have been really helpful with this process and have conferred on the best layout of the garden during the entire process.
Meanwhile, the cats have been enjoying the relatively brief periods of sunny weather (sidenote: I could-a sworn it was almost summer, yuh know) on the deck.
Willow is impossible to photograph in any kind of sunlight; she radiates too much light and overexposes any pictures I take.
BC is moving slower these days, but he's still the same big sweet cat he's always been.
Yang has been a pest lately, largely because he's such a huge cat. When he's not leaping onto the monitor and knocking it askew, he's plopping around and getting in the way of everything.
Bo is getting to be a big guy but he's lost none of his tendency to be full of energy. His tale is huge and it always looks like a Dr. Seuss character's tail. I keep expecting to see a light bulb hanging from the end of it.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Sheesh! I realized that I've not posted anything since last Tuesday. Sonomagun! Okay, it's late and I've been on the run all day but tomorrow I'm going to post a zillion pictures that I uploaded this evening, I prrrromise!
In the meantime, let me suggest that you watch this classic clip from the Stick Figure Death Theatre, a classic site that combines time-wasting with doing truly horrible things that make you laugh and feel guilty. A truly fine example of this--which you should all immediately go look at right away--is the Bungee Rock Climbing Super Death of Doom or Miscalculation. Be sure to watch it all the way through; there's a lot to see. It keeps getting worse. #4 is my favorite for the sheer perversity, but all of them are funny in that "ohhhhhh, nooooooo!" sense that We Love So Much.
Lots to tell you about soon, including a great show we saw on Saturday with the "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" cast doing improv for about 90 minutes on stage. Go look at truly awful things happening to stick figures for the moment and I'll be back witcha shortly.