Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Gift

I'm back! I was just over two weeks without internet and although I did have my iPhone to tide me over it's not the same and I certainly couldn't write blog posts on it. Our move was a success and we are settling in very well, painting, fencing, moving rocks and stones and cleaning up the yard to at least begin to establish what I envision the property will look like in the future. Baby steps are hard when all I want is for the place to be exactly as I want it right away, not a year or two from now. Certainly there is nothing like this to teach you patience, one thing at a time and the value of hard work. I can safely say I have never worked as hard in my entire life as I have in the past 3 weeks. Every single day sees me moving stones, securing fencing, painting, installing hardware, trimming back bushes sorely in need of attention, hacking out paths in the overgrown weeds, cutting back trees and learning how big a branch loppers can cut, when to upgrade to a bow saw and when, at last, to let the chainsaw do the work for you. In this time I have seen the slow but steady transformation of the house into a place that clearly shows my mark.

So what of it? I don't even have one photo yet of the work I've done. I realize now it's because I've been too busy working to take photos. It doesn't help that this summer is turning into one of the hottest on record, almost no rain for weeks on end, and the back breaking work I (and my Daddy) have been doing has been under scorching conditions. At the end of the day I can't bring myself to take photos, mostly because it's too dark, but also because it's just one more thing to do.

Today, though, I took a break from carrying the loppers or the bowsaw into the woods and took my camera. I thought it appropriate that the first blog from our new home include the reasons why we are moved. The dogs are slowly coming to realize that this is where we are now. They are still learning the sounds, or lack thereof, of the country. Blissful quiet and the occasional sound of a neighbour's dog are what we listen to now - that and the cheeky squirrel who lives in the woods right behind us. More on him later. Right now I invite you to join me on a portrait journey of the dogs and their very own wilderness.

The Boy will forever be the poser and it is no trouble at all to take his photo no matter where we are. He will oblige infinitum by standing and looking at the trees for the resident squirrel, he makes it almost too easy to take his photo. Here he is, in his very own woods, gazing up at the treetops in an often vain attempt to spot the squirrel.

Leeloo was likely the first to discover the creek, or brook as it's called here. It marks the border to the back of the property and since Leeloo is a perpetual rule-breaker, she is on the other side of the brook in this photo. The brook is almost empty, per the aforementioned drought, which is why she was happy to pose for me on the opposite bank. Thanks to Leeloo though I did discover that I own an extra half acre which I thought was not mine. In point of fact I own a little clearing in the woods which in the spring I suspect is a little marshy island.

Leeloo has gotten a lot better at posing as she's aged, it must be a maturity thing. It's only taken 4 years to get here. She owns these woods, as if there was ever any doubt, and she doesn't care who knows it. Pity she is not the one fencing it.

Esme, little bugger, is almost impossible to photograph in the woods, much less in an almost empty creek bottom. She never sits still long enough for a decent photo so this was the best I could do. I also had my long lens so low apertures plus low light equals a little red suit with some blurry black cords. She wears her suit in the woods to stop her bringing home half the forest.

Oh Miss Coraline. She is one in a million. She is perfecting the art of not listening, or listening when she feels like it and I am often a millimetre away from a 'Come to Jesus' meeting with her when miraculously she can hear me again. She was the first to learn that right outside the door is the wilderness. The dog yard just doesn't cut it anymore for Miss Cora and every time she goes outside it's to go for a walk on 4 acres, not a pee in the small yard. We are still working out the kinks ...

To my eye Cora is still very much the puppy; in her face, attitude, mind and body. My mom put it best when she said that Cora's elbows were very close friends. Indeed they are! Fortunately I know they'll go their separate ways ... in about a year as her mother's did! Despite her faults Cora has my heart and those eyes ... they get what they want more often than they should.

I was impressed Raimi ventured into the brook, we do own half of it after all, and perhaps he was just taking his fair share. It's quite deep, the banks are actually about 3 or 4 feet high and I suspect with the winter run off it is quite a sight. Must remember to keep an eye on little Esme!

Up near the house the land is cleared and I have about an acre to mow. Oh joy. The dogs think so anyway. We fenced last week along the driveway to prevent the dogs from getting to the road and now they run with gleeful abandon. They adore the pine bushes and do endless loops around their bases, the needles brushing their backs, ridding them of flies and goading them on their way. As if Cora needs goading.

In the days to come I'll be posting photos of the fence, deck and various other projects my Dad and I have undertaken in the last 3 weeks. The good thing about not having the Internet is how much more I got done. Most of the work is outside but I did paint in the house and things are almost as they should be insidefor now - I need a new sofa and a bed but they can wait until winter - too much to do outdoors right now. Some other projects will have to wait until I have the money to spend but many things I can do now myself, it just takes a little hard work. I have a vision of what I want the place to be and we are well on our way to realizing it.

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