Category Archives: Disasters

Daily Drama 101 – Adaptation

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Daily Drama 101 – Adaptation

Nobody wants to hear about COVID-19 any more. We adapted, it mutated. Apparently it isn’t ready to fade away.

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Daily Drama 99 – The Barbecue Car

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Daily Drama 99 – The Barbecue Car

Mister Charlie had the blahs last week. He’s usually a little devil, a scheming opportunist, always angling for another saltine, or perhaps a clandestine foray into the aviary to evaluate the chicken food supply. He had his checkup only a couple weeks ago, but I called the vet. They couldn’t send anyone out that day but I signed up for a next-day appointment and spent the day staring at him for clues. Then they called back, sorry but the next-day appointment was already taken. Charlie sulked overnight but didn’t look any worse in the morning, so I drove to the airport to pick up my son.

Hamish is reluctant to leave the relative safety of the back yard.

My grown daughter is home for a while to deal with some medical issues and her brother decided to come home for a couple of months, too. In anticipation of his arrival we cleared out a storage closet for him and filled the back of my 2007 Subaru Forester with items for the Goodwill. We drove around with the junk for a couple weeks until we finally gave up and sat in the 40 minute drive-up line to donate it. The following day, I picked up my son at the airport in a less-than-pristine car, only a few capybara nips out of the upholstery, but certainly devoid of potential donations.

The “Fire Pit.” As seen at West Elm.

Charlie continued to improve but still wasn’t up to grazing in the front yard. I let both sheep into the forbidden aviary for a change, improving their outlook on life, even though I didn’t let them eat the chicken food. My son went for a walk, stumbled upon the new-ish pizzeria around the corner, and got a job there. The Funny Farm took in a homeless hamster, and my daughter and I went to the dentist.

Fire Pit detail.

Reminiscing about the pre-pandemic fire-pit he built in the front yard, my son decided to build another one. Unfortunately, groundwater seepage here is totally out of control. The serpentine stream in the wetland north of us has lost its way, and now oozes across my front yard and flows down the street, even during this drought. No problem, the fire pit is built on top of the ground, no pit involved at all! Left with a nasty pile of construction debris abandoned by a former tenant, our neighbor gladly donated the materials. As you can see, it is encumbered by neither aesthetics nor engineering though I would not want to stub my toe on it.

The Barbecue Car (AKA the Dobby car)

It still needed a BBQ cookout grill. I thought I recalled a brand new circular grill, but his old BBQ was no longer in evidence. He remembered that he had loaned it to a friend a couple years before, and the friend, standing next to him, audibly gasped. Left uncovered outdoors, it had totally rusted out, the grill wouldn’t be salvageable. She had obtained another grill, and so they hopped into my 2007 Subaru Forester to go get it. That evening they had a fun food-oriented reunion, the resulting debris still in evidence when poor ailing Charlie decided to brave the wilds of the front yard the following day. 

The barbecue, in situ

Most of the time, the sheep make a mad dash to the front yard like a freight train with faulty brakes on a downslope. When Charlie and Hamish saw the “fire pit,” chairs, and litter, they bunched up at the gate and refused to move farther. Mind you, Charlie was still not feeling so hot, but he is the more adventurous of the two sheep. Hamish is nobody’s fool and waits for Charlie to stick his neck out and watches to see it return intact before he follows. This time they stood neck-and-neck at the gate nearly forever and then slinked out to graze.

Charlie and Hamish inspect the fire pit.

The next day, my daughter and I went out to the car and I noticed a thin black chip on the driver’s seat. I picked it off and it fluttered away. Ash. We peered into the back of the car where the sad barbecue rested comfortably. No longer worthy as a cooker, it apparently was given one final spin around town in my 2007 Subaru Forester Hearse before being forgotten.

Unloading my daughter’s Subaru Forester off the car transport truck.

It just so happens that my daughter’s 2020 Subaru Forester was at that moment on a car transport carrier, and headed our way. This greatly alleviated our annoyance at having to chauffeur around the dead barbecue and we laughed our way to the bank and the pharmacy. In 24 hours, The Barbecue Car would be my son’s problem.

The barbecue lies in repose.

To our complete surprise, my son wasn’t bothered at all by the barbecue tagging along wherever he went. Then suddenly, the barbecue was deemed unworthy by even my son and ejected from the Subaru. It was still a surprise to see it roughly deposited in front of the neighbor’s house. Even though we had spoken about taking both the barbecue and the dead dishwasher* to the dump in a double disposal run, I abruptly took the Home Depot option of having them take the dead dishwasher when the new one is installed. So now it will be a lonely last ride to the dump for the old barbecue. *The Dead Dishwasher is a separate, though parallel story. 

Charlie tries out the soon-to-be-dead garden furniture.

And the fire pit? I have a new volunteer and I like her already.

Me: We will need to level the new turtle tank after we place it.  

Volunteer: I saw some concrete blocks in the fire pit.

Me: The Little Free Library is no longer dry underneath. We need to prop it up.    

Volunteer: I saw some pavers in the fire pit.

The fire pit better watch its step!

Daily Drama 98 – Is it summer yet?

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June: the month when the Pacific Northwest impatiently waits for summer. If the sun comes out, everyone runs to the window to look at it. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Drama 97 – Shearing Time

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As sheep shearing day approached, I convinced myself it was no big deal. It went well last year, after all. Shearing happened, the sheep tried to kill each other afterward, and months of smelly wool processing ensued. So much to look forward to.

With over twenty months of Shetland sheep handling experience, I was now confidant that my wild and crazy rams (wethers, technically) would cooperate and emerge from shearing like the gentlemen sheep the neighbors think they are. Instead, they again tried to kill each other afterward, but this time the battle continued nearly two weeks after shearing. This was because Charlie tried to break his leg in his hay rack and blamed the near catastrophe on Hamish. Hamish, of course, stood innocently nearby, pacing, pawing at the ground, snorting, and swinging his mighty horns. The suddenly buff Farm Manager hefted the dangling Charlie up and out of the hay rack without severing or snapping off the leg, though he managed to twist it enough to cause a distressing limp lasting several days after the frightful event. During this convalescence, Hamish aggravated the situation by looking at Charlie, occupying space within a furlong of Charlie, and even eating from a nearby hay rack at the very same time as Charlie! Charlie helped by refusing to go to the front yard, by barging into the aviary at every opportunity, and he even insisted in sleeping out there with the hens for a couple nights. Meanwhile, Hamish bellowed at the moon, lonely for the little brother who spent most of 2020 butting him in the, well, the butt, and generally harassing him for a solid year since the previous shearing. 

Let’s look at a few “after” photos, shall we, before I step outside to stare at the reeking plastic bag stuffed with funky raw wool, casually wondering if I ought to simply throw it into the yard waste bin. Here we go.

That was shearing this year. I get the sense that it will be wildly unpredictable from year to year, so stay tuned!

Daily Drama 95 – Ice Management

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Daily Drama 95 – Ice Management

When I designed parking lots in Alaska, I was required to include a proportionate reserve area for snow storage. Think about plowing that lot every day in the winter and having to find an out-of-the-way area to shove all that snow into. It’s not going to melt until spring, you know? Read the rest of this entry