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slipping the surly bonds of earth (mud, actually)

August 6, 2012

Jude and I just came in from cutting brush to celebrate British Columbia Day, a provincial

statutory holiday.  As best we can tell, we are merely celebrating the fact that there is a

British Columbia, but that’s good enough for us.  She got the day off at the hospital.


Yesterday we did very little, watching other people exercise in the Olympics.  We were

wrung out from preparing for and hosting our leg of the annual progressive garden party.

It’s our community’s mid-summer extravaganza, the can’t miss event of the year.


We start it out at our place around noon.  We’re more or less the warm-up band.  This year

we grilled chicken wings and nuggets for appys.  After two hours we gathered the group in

a circle to toast the population changes since last party: the death of Al the Mayor and the

arrival of Jari the infant.


The rest of the crew went to the next stop down the road, hosted by Jari’s parents.  Jude

and I cleaned up and talked to a delightful family who has bought property here.  It was

great to meet them and put some names and faces to Lot 16.


Their holiday visit was perfectly timed, because they got to meet most of the neighbours

and learn some local history.  They headed back to Alberta, hopefully buoyed by the

contact.  They Blackberried that they missed the sailing they were shooting for, but took

it in stride, explaining “Quadra time rocks!”  Quick learners, those folks from Lot 16.


Jude and I caught up with the party at the third stop and stayed with it until we had to put

the chickens up at dusk.  It was a huge mood uplift for us, given Slinkee’s recent rampage.


If there’s a celestial calculus at play, we’ve just come out a bit ahead with this bird business,

because we have three fledgling barn swallows to “replace” the two chickens Her Nibs killed,

as reported in my last post.

The swallows’ parents built this nest of

mud above our backyard deck.  I apolo-

gize for the quality of the shot, but mom

and dad wouldn’t let me any closer.




You can see one of the babies thinking it over.  All three started flying yesterday, after the

human hub-bub of the party had subsided.  They were ready.  Their toilet training had gone


They would stick their little baby butts out of the nest and let fly, usually missing this bucket,

though thoroughly fertilizing this Chinese knotweed, a plant that needs no encouragement.


Jude and I sat on the deck and watched the young’uns quickly develop their aviation skills.  Of

all the birds here, swallows have the most joyous flight, even if it is determined by the location

of insects in the air.  Ollie and Slinkee, famous in the family for their fondness of our feathered

friends, were not allowed outside.  They took it stoically.


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