Monday, April 20, 2009


Now that the front yard is done more or less done, it's time to switch to the real action -- the back yard. (The vines at the front will need a bit of trimming, but that will take about five minutes, because most of it was looked after last fall.)

The back yard has two major functions. My Celtic Grove is back there -- a place built for reading and meditation. (When I figure out how to put pictures in my posts, I'll send some along.)

The second function is to provide a place of food, water and sanctuary for birds of all types (more or less).

Usually the Dark-Eyed Juncos are the first to arrive in the spring. But so far, we've seen only one; strange there haven't been more. Not only that, our first Robin of the season arrived a week ahead of the Junco.

Clarification about Robins. The Robin of Great Britain is about 5 inches long, with olive brown upper parts, and red face, throat and breast, with a white belly. The American Robin, a member of the Thrush family, is about 11 inches long, with a black head and throat (and a white eye ring), lighter black upper parts, and red which covers both breast and belly. While the American Robin was named after its British counterpart, that's were the similarity ends.

A particular male Robin has taken a liking to a yard, and is hanging out fairly regularly. The house across our back lane has a turret (really!) which provides "high ground" and a good view of the whole neighbourhood. In a week or so, I expect this chap will be sitting on the turret singing his heart out. And, bye and bye, there will be a female, gathering grass and mud, to build a nest in a more discreet location, and then -- well, you know.

In the meantime, we need to clean and re-mount the three nesting boxes we have. We have drippers (which supply drips of waters to our bird baths, thus keeping the water fresh) that have to be re-conected and tested. And rather than have cement walkways through the garden, we cover our walks with large bark chips -- so we'll need to get another bag or two of those.

Then we wait and see who shows up, and what starts growing, and try to get things tidied up before the mosquitos come and drive us inside. The only reason I can think anything good about mosquitos is that they provide excellent fed for may birds, as well as bats. (You see, I try to find a positive angle for everything -- well, almost.)

G3 has begun reorganizing the inside of the house, but that's going to have to wait for a few days. She's doing a presentation on helping families cope with dementia (particularly Alzheimer Disease) -- something on which she's been working for about 20 years. (I'm her technical assistant: I help set things up and operate the equipment.) Then we'll attend to the garden. And when the mosquitos get to bad, we'll work inside. There is a system!

And as I am slowly starting to feel a bit stronger, there may be other inventive things into which I can get myself.

I do hope you all have a wonderful spring (or autumn for those of you who live in Australia or thereabouts).


Gutsy Living said...

I can tell you've had a long winter and that you're ready for spring and spring cleaning. Here in California, due to sun most of the year, I don't seem to get into spring cleaning. It can happen in winter, summer or whenever.
Does G3 do research? Do you have a digital camera?
If so, you can get a program for free called Picasa online, and its easy to post on your blog.

Unknown said...

Rob-Bear, this sounds so much like parts of our yards as we too have set up a sort of bird watching area and a reading/thinking area. Yes, our American Robins are much larger than yours but both are beautiful.

And we've already had some sparrow's eggs hatch so I'm watching deligently so as not to miss when they take first flight!

Glad you're feeling stronger; don't over do it.

Reasons said...

There you are Rob-bear!! I had you down as being off line for a while and then I see you at Natalie's place and a new link and bingo!! Sorry I missed that you'd moved. Am off to have a good catch up now. xx

The Blog Fodder said...

When you said you were G3's assistant in her dementia lectures, I thought maybe you sat on stage as an object lesson.

Reasons said...

Well I've caught up on April and if I can get some peace later I may have chance to read a bit of March! Sorry you've not been well, I hope you feel better. Do take care. Sorry to hear about the drug dealers, don't think any of us are far from them these days! Good to hear about the thaw, I remember the cravings for that from my days as a Montrealer. The worst bit was that once the council saw in the spring they refused to spend money removing anymore snowfalls. Thus the slush!

Natalie said...

Celtic Grove sounds beautiful, Rob.
There is an award for you on my blog. :D

Rob-bear said...

Hi, folks: thanks to all of you for your notes.

Sonia: What? No spring cleaning? How can you possibly survive without that essential rite of spring?
G3's work includes some academic work, not formal academic research. She primarily tells the stories of people -- those with dementia, family, care-givers. etc. It's her ability to combine the academic and technical with human experience which has her so much in demand.
We have a digital camera, but figuring out the appropriate "camera-computer interface" is something we haven't bothered to learn. Our kids, on the other hand, . .

Jane: Glad you've new life in your land. Sparrows or otherwise, there's new life. For a couple of years so Yellow Warblers nested in a bush right outside our back door.

Cheerful friend: sorry if I confused you a bit. I have four blogs for different audiences, and I sometimes shift around. Sorry if I lost you. Note to Bear: tell folks when you're shifting sites.
Actually, for some reason, I'm starting to feel much stronger. I've had problems at the change of seasons before, but nothing like this.
The winter before last our City Council blew its snow removal budget, but decided to spend more money (a LOT more money) to keep the city moving.
Some day I'd like to chat with you about why you had the appallingly bad sense to leave Montréal for some obscure place in Britain, and how often you have brought your "babies" back to the city of their birth.

Natsy: An award? For me? How incredibly sweet of you! Thanks.

Curmudgeon (aka Blog Fodder): I may be a bit demented, but G3 would never let me on stage. She is waaaaay too scared of what I might do. (The Bear writes this with a smirk on his face, while uttering a hideous, demented laugh.)