Posted by: Valerie | July 29, 2010

Breakages, toads, catfights and blue jays


Not a lot has happened since I last wrote – no adventures, trips, wonderful auction bargains, sadly. Things continue to break around here but we have been able to fix them with the help of tech departments on the phone. How amazing is that?

First the much vaunted one-year-old Dyson was making snarly noises and Joe took it apart and of course it wouldn’t go back together properly but the techie sorted us out and it’s now doing well. Next my new laptop seized up in a thunderstorm. Techie to the rescue again – something to do with the circuit breaking. Fixed. And third, the satellite receiver started pixelating itself and was deemed moribund. It sort of lasted until a new one was purolated (new verb – to purolate) over today. Having received the receiver, there was then the question of what to do with it so we decided to ponder the matter over a cup of tea. I picked up the kettle and it shattered in my hand! I should explain that we have a glass kettle as our hard, hard water eats up the innards of regular kettles. Mmmm – wonder what it does to our personal innards? So that’s four – what’s next?

Oh, I know! The cat got beaten up! Our Charlie likes to spend half the night on the prowl and does get a lot of mosquito bites. He came in looking quite a mess and I didn’t pay too much attention but then it became clear that he had infected wounds on his face. Me fix. He’s improving now but needs to grow some new fur to fill in the healed bits. I hope he has learned something and steers clear of the fiercer elements out there. I expect he would claim self-defence if he could speak something other than Cat.

After our super-sticky and humid weather recently we have had a little respite for a few days but I know it won’t last. Still, it gave me some time for a bit of gardening. I am so happy to report that the bugs are gone! Hooray! The black flies and the deer flies have disappeared for this year at least. Still a few mozzies to deal with but we’re tough.

When I was weeding in the perennials yesterday I discovered the tiniest toad I have ever seen. It was only about the size of my thumbnail. I hope it was a baby and that it comes from a large toad family, all enjoying feasts of the insect pests that thrive so happily here. Vive les toads! Munch on!

A larger relative of my toad, no doubt

Sometimes it pays just to stand still and look around one’s own piece of Eden. Ours is looking pretty good right now – never perfect, of course. I would not like to live in a perfect place. It would make me feel inferior. I do not have that problem.

Work, work, work in the garden - I love it!

Intermittently we have help for the heavy work from a local teenager in need of funds. His name is Nikolai and he was adopted from Russia by a local family. He’s a hard worker (when he comes – some days he doesn’t show up). Today he turned up at eleven instead of ten – told Joe he just couldn’t stop sleeping! I know that feeling. Nikolai has demolished our ancient and root-bound rockery and smoothed it all out – looks a lot better or it will when the grass seed sprouts. I’m pleased. Joe was asking Nik about his Canadian family. “Is your Mum working?” he asked. “No”, said Nikolai “she retired when she was 20.” The lad has a sense of humour!

Our yard is extremely noisy right now – never mind the cursed tourist traffic thundering down the highway. The blue jays are here in herds! No, not the baseball team – the spectacular, flashy, raucous, greedy birds. We spotted about six of them in our hazelnut tree, tearing off the nuts in their protective sheaths and flying away with them and coming right back for more. I do enjoy seeing flashes of blue but oh, the racket they kick up. They are also bullies to lesser birds but so it goes. We had another interesting avian visitor recently. I’d never seen one before and had to get out the Bird Book to identify it. In fact there was a pair – flickers, a kind of woodpecker apparently. They stayed for an afternoon and went on their way.

The flicker

Strangely I am writing this on a Thursday morning. I had all sorts of work that I was planning to do this morning but there was a clunk at 9.00 am and everything stopped humming. Scheduled power outage for two hours. Hydro One did warn us but that was several days ago, plenty of time to forget all about it. The files I need to work on are on my desktop computer so nothing doing there but the laptop still has battery juice so here I am tapping away. My Presbyterian ancestors are standing at my back hissing and tutting that I am not making best use of my time so I’d better leave this self-indulgent rambling and pick up a spade or a hoe or some such thing.

Something that you won’t want to miss! This is Bancroft’s Big Weekend. The international gem show, twee-ly named the Gemboree, comes to town. It really is a big gem fair and it really is international. Joe and I usually go and pick up a piece of something pretty. There are all sorts of other activities going on in the town including a pretty decent craft fair, music (country – you can count upon it!) and other shenanigans. I will have my camera at the ready and will report in my next blog. So much excitement! The real excitement will probably come when we try to find somewhere to park!


  1. Hey Val … great to see you guys last time in… love your stuff..gamboree looks like fun!! say hello to Joe
    Luv yea Bob

    • I hope you are still planning to visit in August. It could be fun!

  2. Val you should put your picture of a flicker on flickr!! :o)

    Lovely to hear your goings on (sorry about all the breakages though!) Look forward to hearing about the Gemboree and seeing the pics.

    • You’re right, Sarah, I should. I’ve never investigated Flickr – I usually put my photos on the net via Picasa websites. Hope your winter is not too dreary – when does spring begin? Octoberish?

  3. Good one, it almost made me want to come and visit… Still mosquitos though, I will wait a month or two!

  4. The last time you had breakages –so did I. Well it happened again–this time my stove went out!! Could you take better care of your things please!!

    • Talk about rapport!

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