November 14, 2009
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Put a hammer and a crowbar in her hands, and my wife transforms into a kick-ass one-woman demolition derby. Many times during the renovations, I came home to find these two tools out and some fixture/structure or another no longer intact. She luuuuuvs to wreck stuff.
Happily these mad demo skills came in handy on the weekend: our old, shaky, unsound side porch needed to be removed in order to make room for the new one that should be going up soon. I think it took her maybe a hour to do this. GRRRRRR!!!!!
November 9, 2009
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We finished hauling the rest of our wood yesterday. We are wood-hauling beasts (12 cords, BOO-yah!) More six+-legged goodness discovered:
From top (my best guesses): Asian lady beetle* cluster (Coleoptera: Harmonia axyridis); Harvestman, aka Daddy Longlegs (Arachnida: Opiliones); more Flat Bark Beetles (Coleoptera: Sylvanidae) (at least 2 species here); beetle larva (Coleoptera: I’m thinking Tenebrionidae?); Crab Spider? (Arachnida: Thomisidae)
The little grey spider at the bottom is a cutie. I found several others of the same species, and all of them had their legs tucked in close to their abdomens at first, reminding me of a cat trying to keep its feet warm. Once exposed to sunlight and warmth, they would stretch out a bit then lazily poke around their logs.
I was really hoping to find a specimen of Cucujus clavipes to photograph (I’d spotted two earlier this fall when we first started the wood-hauling…alas, none were to be found. Maybe next year…
*exotic, and pesty. They bites us. We hates them.
November 7, 2009
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Saturday morning in the country means “time for chores”. On the menu today was:
Our main source of heat in the chillier months is our woodstove. As much as we looooove heating this way (the cozy warmth, the smoky smell) it takes a lot of work. Twice a year we haul wood: once in the spring, when two trailer-loads of cut logs are dumped unceremoniously on our front lawn – these we stack neatly between our shed and a lean-to we built a few summers ago; and again in the fall, to move the sun-dried logs to their winter storage. In the past, we have simply moved them into the shed. This year we decided to store our wood in the basement…no more trudging out to the shed in deep snow during the dark days of January. This means we load up our trusty wheelbarrow, run it around to the far side of the house and chuck logs through an opened basement window.
I really don’t mind this chore – it’s a good workout and and gives me an excuse to play outside. I’m not particularly efficient though, because I tend to get all OMGSHINY every time I pick up a new log. Wood and crevaces = bugs in hidey-holes trying to overwinter. So each and every log gets a quick inspection before being tossed in the ‘barrow. A few of today’s finds:
From top (species IDs are tentative – I am microscope-less): Flat bark beetle (Coleoptera: Sylvanidae: Uleiota sp.); ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae); mosquito (Diptera: Anopheles punctipennis); woodlouse (Isopoda: Porcellio spinicornis)
Poor critters were all, “wtf?” and slowly roused themselves as the sun warmed them, eventually dragging their sleepy butts to a darker, less-intruded-upon nook.
Hmmm. I really need a new macro lens. Xmas is coming, yes? Hear that darling wife? Xmas? Lens?
I also need to remember that cut logs=sawdust, and not every speck of shavings I see warrants an automatic “OOH, FRASS!!” response *rolls eyes at own geekiness*.
October 30, 2009
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My sister called me last night. I had been outside and my wife handed me the phone as I came in the door.
Sister: “So where were you?”
Me: “Oh, just out in the backyard spray painting our TV antenna tower.”
Sister: *blink* (yes, I heard it). “Oh.”
Yes, I was spray painting our TV antenna tower.
For those of you who live where things like cable TV and high speed internet exist, this is a very long, very asthetically displeasing, very metal contraption that gets attached to the side of your house. Then someone climbs up and attaches various satellites and rabbit-ears etc. so that you can connect with the rest of humankind and know about all the important things that are going on, like Canada’s Next Top Model and Benny Lava and the municipal elections in Gatineau.
Our tower is currently lying on the ground, covered in rust. It needs to go back up because we are finally, after five years of being out of touch with humanity, getting internet. It’s line-of-sight, so up the tower must go in order to prevent the signal from being interrupted by things like trees and church steeples (there are many of both in the boonies).
Being the vain queers we are, we decided the thing needed a fresh coat of paint before reinstalling it. So I was out in the dark with a few cans of spray-on rust paint, beautifying our tower.
I have to admit, though, that I had a banjo playing in my head the entire time.