Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Moving Our Fish

When we moved to our present home in Muskoka the backyard was like an empty artist's canvas. The previous owner had two young daughters and there was a sandbox in the center of the backyard. The structure had a roof and corner posts which didn't look all that stable. So upon tearing down the structure I got to thinking that spot would be perfect for a pond.

My hubby had already turned over the earth for several perennial beds as I'd brought some plants with me from our previous apartment. We were fortunate there to have had a small garden so I dug up some plants from it. Our new backyard was empty of plants so I could design away. Well, my gardening plans usually run to buy what I like and find a spot for it.

Hubby went along with the pond idea and he started digging. He said he could get his hands on a black barrel which he proceeded to cut in half lengthwise. Sunk into the soil, it became our first pond. I arranged all the rocks around it and started planting. After several years we felt we needed to have a larger pond so bought a ready made plastic one from our nearby Home Depot Store. One fine summer day dear hubby and his son dug up the space for the new pond insert.

This meant I had to rearrange all the rocks and rethink my planting. Actually the planting and rethinking is ongoing as all gardeners know. We have had some adventures with the pond, some great, some not so great. We have had wonderful resident frogs that have put on some great shows for us, especially the one dear frog attracted romantically to a plastic frog I bought..alas, the romance waned when Mr. Frog found out his mate wasn't real..

On the sadder side of things a beautiful Blue Heron decided to clean out our pond one day while I was away and I think even breakfasted on my dear resident frogs..We replaced all our goldfish and Koi but were not so lucky with the frogs. We get one or two now but we had more in summers past and enjoyed them so much.

We hope very much to have a similar sized pond in the front yard of our property in P.E.I. where I can keep an eye on it when around. I hope to take down some rocks from here as there is so much beauty in our Muskoka rock. Transporting the fish will be somewhat of a challenge if they survive this summer and proceeding summers from the Blue Heron.

We thought it such a lark when it appeared one hot summer's day on the neighbor's roof. Then later in the afternoon we ran to grab camera's as it landed on hubby's workshop roof. Then the penny dropped and Jim realized it was after our fish. We ran a rope around some posts hoping he would fear getting tangled up in it, but alas he was smarter than us.

We heard that same summer Blue Herons cleaned out a lot of ponds in a neighboring town, went right down the block, having lunch at each one..and I know P.E.I. has more Blue Herons than we do here. Therefore something will have to be done to protect our fish, or we will be making a lot of trips to the Pet Store.

I know about the term Survival of the Fittest but if I get my hands on a Blue Heron trying to snack on my "fish family" he may be lacking a few tail feathers. Do they even have tail feathers?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Have To Learn to Drive A Tractor

I will not only have to learn to drive a tractor but a riding lawn mower and maybe even a truck! In the above picture I'm getting a lesson on my brother-in-law Frank's tractor around the perimeter of his house. He is not in the picture but I'm sure he is close by yelling instructions at me. It was fun at the time but should I get on it again this coming May, I wouldn't remember a thing.

Being the proud owners of 35 acres, much of it soon to be planted in potatoes this year, there is still a lot of grass to mow. For the next five years until we permanently move down to P.E.I., Frank is going to have to cut our grass along with his own. We will cut our grass and help him with his each time we go down for holidays. My husband Jim has always enjoyed visiting his brother and finding out what all the odd jobs are that need doing.

They work so well together and really enjoy each other's company. I only got really stressed out one summer on the island when my husband was feeding tree branches into a wood chipper they had rented and the branch swung back and caught Jim in the face. It cut his nose and just about his lip where his mustache covers the left-over scar. Men never want to go to a doctor and always say they never need stitches..I tried my hardest to persuade him to get stitches but lost the argument. So he wears the badges of honor to this day.

I've never had my permanent driver's license even after having many lessons over the years and getting my beginners license. There are times in year's past that I wish I did drive but I still never persisted. So it's a big event for me to learn to drive a lawn mower or tractor. I'll start small and work my way up. Possibly within the next five years we will be on the look out for a good used tractor. Frank has a Kubota which he cuts grass with and uses for snow plowing but in the back of my mind I'm thinking of an old John Deere. Time will tell what turns up. I"m sure hubby will make the ultimate decision.

It's just four weeks away until our trip out East to start working on our farmhouse. Friends are giving advice as to what color to paint the house, put on shutters or window boxes, perhaps add on a wrap around porch and yes, all these ideas are wonderful but are a little off in the future yet. We will be concentrating on the inside this trip down. My carpentry skills will improve I'm sure and hope I don't come home with a fat thumb. My husband Jim is getting so excited about our adventure, but also apprehensive about all that has to be accomplished in three short weeks.

Rather than banging a hammer knocking down drywall I'd much rather be outside pulling weeds and starting the design for my future flower beds. I'd love to transport many perennials from here this spring but our truck will only hold so much on the trip down and hubby has a list a mile long. Patience is a virtue so my desire to start my new gardens will have to be on hold for another year. Unless I see some great sales on plants on the trip down and I can get hubby to stop..naw, it will never happen...