Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Between the Hedges

Hello again! I've finally gathered myself for a new post, one I've been postponing, nearly as distasteful as the previous one on the spider was, though with the same components of interest- if you're into that sort of thing.
And as a reward, I have some artwork to share with you- finally.

As you may know from past posts, concentrating on anything requiring focus and quietude is nearly impossible from the roadwork that has continued in and around here since the beginning of May.
Sewer Pipes stacked next door

Since the 2nd of September the amount of work on our section has escalated.
"Green" pipes (as explained by a friendly worker) or as the artist in me would call "Turquoise" are for sewage and Blue pipes are for water.

Here a worker moves a water pipe passing by our driveway entrance,
a window on the roadwork between our hedges

The Bulldozer rests his weary bucket on a dump truck's bucket

another bucket, this one with a fork for lifting, comes into view

and the clanging and banging begins

The house vibrates as these Caterpillar machines roll by

Getting a grip on the dump truck bucket the caterpillar drags it along
as another loud tractor rolls by- what fun! (not)

The caterpillar spins on a centre axis to reverse the direction he wants to go in.
(I've never seen one actually do anything but go forwards and backwards, though of course they must be able to turn a long curve hence the 2 tracks)

That evening, our view by the setting sun

We do get reprieves from the noise levels as work carries on in another section over the next day or two, but by the 6th, I am awoken by THE DIGGING OF THE TRENCH.

The grinding of the motor, and the pounding into the earth goes on for hours

as a huge trench is dug deeper and deeper outside our driveway

and where can all that earth go

but alongside our driveway-
all to lay our water and sewer pipes

and our driveway eventually becomes impossible to access

as one worker

after another goes by

goes by

Eventually the pipes are laid and the hole is filled in,
including a gentle clean up of the earth that blocks the driveway

I wander out to inspect our water access

and get a good look at the new manhole that has been installed

getting some context for its placement

I gather up my courage to wander out into the road

and capture this crazy picture
of the tunnelling that continues further up the street 

Here comes Donny, one of the foremen, who has helped to make things as easy as possible for residents and workers alike, in this arduous process

But, wait, what's this? The water main below us has broken under all the vibrating and flooded our neighbour's basement, making a muddy river of the road. I fill pots with water just before we lose pressure (and my camera's battery charge) after the water source is shut off.
That's how we spend the night.

Some of the workers consult at the back of their pick up well after dark, a terribly long day for these hard-working men who showed up back the next morning at 7am as usual.

By the 8th we were attached to a "temporary" water line: free water!
which the foreman kindly arranged to have connect into our water softener and filter so that we wouldn't have to endure chlorinated water for the next month or so.

And as promised:

a little doll in pen and ink

I am pleased I am making again, very much with Wally's encouragement.

A pleasant wind down to September as our temperatures gradually cool here in the Annapolis Valley.

Kindness First


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

beware of spider

Boy I hope I don't alienate you with this post which I've decided to put up with a warning title.
I've left all the pictures purposefully small, but I've worked on them to get the best detail I could, so if you would like to see more, just click on each photo for its largest version.

Wally was about to mount the ladder when he found this huge, by Canadian standards, spider: Argiope aurantia

I don't know where I summoned my courage from to get as close as I did to take her picture

but the truth is she wasn't happy either and vacated her web between the rungs of the ladder

awkwardly scrambling away

Commonly known as Black and Yellow Garden Spider, Black and Yellow Argiope, Garden Spider, Writing Spider, Golden Orbweaver, the Argiope aurantia is pretty abundant everywher in the USA and southeastern Canada but is not common in parts of the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains. Its range extends as far south as Costa Rica in Central America.

Argiope is Latin for “with bright face” (Cameron 2005); aurantia, in Latin, is an adjective meaning “orange-colored.”
While I wonder why the Latins didn't have a word for yellow, I can see where our word "orange" stems from the pronunciation of the Lation word "aurantia".

"Little" Miss Argiope makes a slow run for it.
Except that she was large which I think is common for female spiders, I don't know why I thought this was a female but sure enough:

the adult female has a carapace silver or white, top of abdomen boldly patterned in black and yellow, while the underside of the abdomen is mottled black with two vertical, parallel yellow stripes. Adult males are typically shades of brown and much, much smaller than the female.

She has a total of eight eyes. The median eyes are grouped together in a trapezoid shape, while the lateral eyes are some distance away. I guess there are 8 eyes her in and around that triangular hat shape.
The legs of mature female specimens are yellowish or reddish brown at base and black distally. Immature specimens have entirely banded legs. Legs of adult male mostly brown with faded black bands. So again, another reason she is decidedly female.

Each tarsus (tip of leg) has 3 claws, but I can't make them out.

Argiope aurantia is one of the largest members of the orb weaver family Araneidae in North America. Because of its size and bright coloration, this species is one of the most commonly known and recognized by observers.

Two more interesting facts:
It takes almost all of its potty breaks at night, and often leaves its web to do so.
This spider will rapidly shake and vibrate in its web as a defensive strategy to scare predators off.
The shaking blurs the spider and makes it appear bigger than it really is, though ours didn't try this strategy on us.

Anyway, I was thoroughly creeped out after this session, not only of photographing her, but of preparing this post. Even so, I found it and what I learned in research fascinating.

I hope you have survived this and forgive me,
for after all, when we say we love nature,
she is part of it.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Deer in the Hayfield

It's not always noise and dust around here.
One evening Wally called me out from the kitchen to see the deer in the back field.

While my little camera couldn't capture them up close

here are the best blow-ups I could get of a doe and what appear to be 2 fawns

It pleases me to see them safe and
so far from our garden

Mom retreats her little family back into the ravine

and I turn to come in, capturing the old shingles that Wally removed from the other side of
Forget-Me-Not Cabin's roof

while Muji waits patiently for my return

The next morning I capture Babu in the Roma tomato box
(or, rather, he put himself there)
after freezing most of the tomatoes for this winter's use.

After a particularly hot week here in the Annapolis Valley,
wishing you a particularly pleasant weekend.

(I can't help but laugh to myself these days when I use the word "weekend" in this public forum, assuming everyone knows what I mean when there was a world, once, that didn't...)

this quintessential quote by the  Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith)
from "Downton Abbey"

Friday, 2 September 2016

Slipping into Autumn

So here we are in September. How could a summer go so fast?
There has been some change in the maple trees, always the first to show their colours.
The nights are colder and energy seems to be in a state of flux as the harvest swings into higher gear.
The first local apples- MacIntosh- are in the stores and the produce is coming so thick and furious that we are lucking in to some incredible sales like a case of corn in their husks for 99 cents. We counted 17 ears, all fresh and sweet!

Towards the end of last week, I wandered into the garden
capturing the clematis festooning the composter with their resplendence

The garden is getting away on us, but we still manage to use what has bolted in our juicing

The peaches had to be rescued from marauding blue jays

It helped the slim pliant trunk that we relieved it of some of its weight

after taking a few appreciative pictures. The fruit is luscious.

The cucumbers bailed on us, getting fatter and fatter, so Wally picked them too.

We're managing to keep up with the cherry tomatoes

Here, from left to right, are chard, carrots, beets, and kale
with broccoli bolting in the back

We still make the most of our broccoli by juicing it along with a big bowl of other veggies:
and always Cilantro

Many other things make it in from time to time like:
Romaine Lettuce ends
Parsley stems
Kale stems
well, you get the idea

Here a busy Bumblebee works on a Broccoli Flower
Note the Pollen Sac that appears to sit on its abdomen, looking like a pale egg.
(The pollen basket or corbicula is part of the tibia on the hind legs of certain species of bees. They use the structure in harvesting pollen and returning it to the nest or hive.)

The Bumblebee has to be the friendliest of all the bees

for they allow you to get quite close

Here is a lovely Kale amidst the bolting Broccolis

Our Harelsons are not doing too well this year, most of them dropping from the tree,
infested because we don't spray for the infamous Codling Moth

Here is the beginning of Wally's concrete patio tile path that he has laid with weeping tile beneath to help deflect the spring run-off from melting snow. A Nine Bark bush seems to be taking over.

On the back deck, the cherry tomatoes are doing well as they loom over the potted cilantro

In the vestibule, Babu and Muji are settling in

for a nap

Yesterday I scanned the street during a quiet spell and found this manhole
on the other side of our frontage. I can hear it clanging already with future traffic.

A pile of sand to its left

A stack of water pipes waiting to be laid sit on my neighbours frontage
and on it goes....

and now, for no reason in particular except that I've been humming this tune lately,
here is a fabulous early recording of Alice Faye from 1936- that's 80 years ago.

have a lovely slide into autumn