24 July 2010

Airing my clean laundry

I've posted before on my unnatural fascination with clotheslines. Well, I have not been cured of this fetish and I now am the proud owner of this super-deluxe clothesline. You can't see the silent bearings or virtually frictionless operation, but I can assure you it provides a wonderful clothes hanging experience. I don't think I could really think of a house as a home until there was proper provision for hanging clothes.

My belle-soeur (don't the French have a nice way of saying sister-in-law?), Danielle, was inspired by my previous clothesline post to create this amazing painting. It even has an engraved label saying "Bev's clothesline". I was completely blown away by Danielle's skill and thoughtfulness when she gave the painting to me.

23 July 2010

Early morning walk to White Tail Ridge

Yesterday, construction work at White Tail Ridge, the 100 acre property next door to ours, began particularly early, and particularly loudly. The rock crushing, drilling and blasting that we've become quite used to intruded on our sleep and our early morning walk. This morning I decided to walk up the road to see what all the commotion was about.

It was about this. It was about piling up huge piles of crushed rock to make way for roads, sewers and utilities for a new subdivision. Site preparation has recently begun after years of controversy and financial problems at the site.

One might question the wisdom of plunking a 153 home subdivision on a country road, a couple of kilometres from town. One might ask the planning department if they realize we have entered the 21st century. One might also inquire of the developer how they expect to sell homes at a profit in a declining market while incorporating quite extraordinary site prep costs. And who do they think will buy all these houses in suburban Almonte? 

The developers of White Tail Ridge have followed the time-honoured and horribly ironic tradition of naming the subdivision after something that was present only before development. There certainly were whitetail deer on this property, but between the noise and vibration and destruction of habitat they have no doubt absconded. Perhaps a more accurate name might be White Tail Riddance.

I quite honestly don't believe that we will ever see more than a sales trailer, or perhaps a show home built on this site, but I fear the habitat has been irreparably scarred and the energy that has been consumed to do the scarring has been lost forever to entropy. Sometimes I feel like the only person around (in real life, seems like there are plenty of us on the internet) who sees that we are rapidly approaching economic, energy and environmental limits that make this kind of activity a terrible waste.

22 July 2010

Our odd little pond

When we first saw our new property, it was February and blanketed in snow and ice. There was a spot which was identified as a pond but which we were sceptical, to say the least, was anything other than a wet spot in the spring. Much to our surprise, the pond has turned out to be a lovely spot and a draw for wildlife and birds.

The pond is on the flat bedrock which underlies most of the property. It is very shallow, but has remained filled and clear throughout our very hot July, leading us to believe it is spring-fed. It didn't even exist until a few years ago when the previous owner cleared the soil off the bedrock and piled it up around the edges. It wasn't his intention to create a pond, but a pond appeared and has remained ever since.

19 July 2010

Garden garter snake

This guy does a lot to keep garden pests at bay. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be having any effect on the chickens which make a mess of the garden and especially love seedlings and ripe tomatoes.That shortcoming aside, he's welcome to spend as much time as he likes sunning himself in the beds.

17 July 2010

Early morning walk in the forest

Most mornings, Meg and I take a walk through the woods on our new property. These woods have seen a lot of change over the years. They were no doubt burnt in the Great Fire of 1870 which destroyed much forest and property in this area. A neighbour tells of finding burnt cedar stumps several feet in diameter, now hollowed out, in these woods. There is evidence that there was a maple syrup operation, and like much land around here, it was probably pasture for a while, too. Most of the trees aren't all that big, but they are straight and tall and appear to be healthy.

The sky is revealed through gaps in the trees. The early morning clouds are breaking up.

An old road which was used to haul maple sap and firewood makes an inviting trail through the forest. The sun is now shining beautiful dappled light everywhere.

Our 25 acres is a small part of a larger forest that is unfortunately threatened with development on all sides. There is a 153 house subdivision going in on adjoining land and 400 homes are scheduled to be built less than a kilometre away. We are privileged to live here on such beautiful land and so close to town, but the price to pay is the heartbreak of witnessing the destruction of habitat and biodiversity all around us. It's heavy stuff to contemplate so early, so I do my best to appreciate what's here right now.


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