Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally back

The past few months have been uneventful reno-wise, but eventful health-wise, hence my absence.

What's new at Deux Hirondelles? A roof, some beavers, some ducklings.

Over the May long weekend, two BILs and a nephew donated their labour and removed the old garage roof. Well, what was left from the late December windstorm anyway! They applied strapping and installed the new roofing. Turns out that the old roofing was in fact steel siding panels, which are thinner than roofing panels! No wonder they bent like toilet paper. They started work at 6:30 AM and the job was complete, with the jobsite cleaned up, by 3:00 PM. DS and I assisted by cutting the strapping to length and pre-dimpling the screw locations on the steel panels before they went up onto the roof. They new roof looks great, we know the job was done properly, and the color now matches the house. We used a fabrication company one village over.
We like to stimulate the local economy whenever we can. For those who are interested in costs, we had 17 panels 18' long by 3' wide each and the total cost, including taxes was $2300.

I'm off work for a bit, so I went up early on our next scheduled trip. I planned for a 9:00 AM departure, but the dog had other ideas.

Because of insomnia, at 4:00 AM I was awake and sitting at the kitchen table. All of a sudden Duster started barking. Like Buddy before him, he does not bark without cause. This was a true canine alarm bark, but interspersed amongst the repeated "Get away from here" messages was the occasional "Reinforcements needed!" yip. I zipped to the back door and knew before I opened it that we were dealing with a striped invader. Duster was clearly angry, but also seemed a little confused and chagrined. I called him in and realized instantly that he had been sprayed already. Luckily, he got about 3 feet before I barked "Out!" at him, and he did a U-turn and returned to the yard.

Of course by this time DS was up to see what all the commotion was. Realizing there was nothing we could do, we both went back up to bed. Duster would quiet down for a bit, then would start barking all over again. Taps in the window would calm the noise, but minutes later, he would be back at it. At 5 AM, I had had enough of the noise, and I'm sure the neighbours had as well, though I'm also sure they were quite able to deduce the situation without even leaving the warmth of their beds.

I put on old, disposable duds and headed out the front door to the side of the house. Sure enough, there was the skunk. IN OUR YARD. Apparently uses the same travel guidebook as the hare who lives under our deck. She is cornered right by the gate in an area about 5' by 5', where there is no egress to allow an escape. I have two choices. One, bring the dog through the house and tie him out front, thereby allowing Ms. Stripes the opportunity to leave the yard by the same route she used to enter it. This option involves getting physically close to an agitated, very furry 90-lb stink bomb and guiding him through the kitchen, hallway and living room area. Hmmm. Not an optimal situation, and fraught with opportunities for the plan to go awry.

The second option means getting the tie-out from the front yard, and clipping Duster to one of the deck posts to prevent him from access to the area where the skunk is having her repeated hissy fits. This will enable me to go back out via the front and try to negotiate a 'free-fire' zone with Ms. Stripes to enable me to unlatch the gate through which she can then make her getaway. This approach, however, places me potentially in the line of fire.

I opt for Plan B. I figure by now the skunk has to be out of ammo, and I can run quickly if she isn't. Also, being less furry than the dog, I can shower all the scent off relatively easily if my top speed isn't fast enough. I approach the gate slowly, talking calmly, explaining the details of the plan to the very puffed-out skunk standing on her front paws facing the gate. She backs up in little hops, scraping her nails on the cement of the patio stones as she does so. As she backs up, I advance. After 4 or 5 hops, she quickly darts forward, stopping just at the gate, stamping her front paws on the ground hard enough for me to hear it. Her attempt at intimidation, I guess. Doesn't she know her opposite end is much scarier? I retreat just as quickly as she advances.

This little scenario gets repeated several times. Finally, she backs away just far enough that I dare advance to the gate to unlatch it and swing it wide, my eyes never leaving the stressed-to-the-max black and white bundle mere feet in front of me. It takes her mere seconds to realize that her time as hostage in our yard is almost over. From the safety of the corner of the house, Danielle watches her leave. Luckily, she turns right at the end of our path, heading towards the neighbours' house.

I secure the gate and release Duster without touching more than 3 hairs under his chin. He is dismayed to see that he is not welcomed into the house and even more so to be served breakfast 'alfresco' on the deck. After all, he wants away from the smell too. Back inside, DS and I make plans for breakfast out at Timmies. She'll head off to work and hopefully the time will allow some of the smell to dissipate. The vet's office opened at 7 and I was their first customer.
With a garbage bag smock and wearing gloves, I approached the dog. Luckily, he had received only a minor dose, and it was limited to his head. The enzyme shampoo worked well enough that we were able to get underway about noon.

This year's beavers are quite an industrious pair. Between our departure May 24 and my return June 4, they had almost completely dammed the water's exit from the lake. I kept at it every day, first thing, until our departure June 14. By the end, their determination had started to wane and there was less and less work done each night.

I am not looking forward to what awaits me Monday, however. The forecast is for rain for the next week, but sunnier thereafter. I hope to be able to extend by stay by 5 days or so. I'd really like to get the new footbridge started, maybe finish stripping the desk. We want to get the drywall up on the inside of the new wall upstairs, and do a trip to the dump, now that DS has the trailer wiring done on her truck.

And finally, on to the ducklings. We get two pairs of ducks every spring, but have never seen ducklings. This spring, while driving up, two friends spotted 9 ducklings trailing behind momma duck. I had been up 4 days and was oblivious to these new arrivals as I had not seen them. A couple days later, though, I was treated to my first glimpse. We saw them several times, and even got a short video. Turns out momma had 10 babies. We are hoping they are still around and we get to see them this next trip up.

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