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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bats, birds, cats, spiders, water, washing line.

Yesterday evening we had reason to go out in the garden after dark, and spotted a couple of bats swooping about catching insects. After a few minutes they vanished, but whether our presence disturbed them (unlikely), they had cleared this area of food, or they were full for now, we couldn't tell. Nice to know that there are bats in the area.

We've spotted hummingbirds again this year, and the Fuschia bush in the back garden seems to be a favorite feeding place, though it is untidy to look at most of the year. Beth has even a seen a pair doing a mating flight, flying in a corkscrew pattern, so maybe they are nesting nearby.

Our young cat Ghost had another trip to the vet recently, this time with an abscess on the lower left side of his jaw. At first we thought it might be a blocked gland, but for the third time in less than a year he'd managed to get an infected bite, probably from a strange cat, resulting in a trip to the vet and a bill for us. We looked into pet insurance, but it isn't much cheaper than just paying for his visits as they occur. He was in and out within a day, but had to have a drain left in to keep the wound open, like Lieutenant Bush in the Hornblower story "Flying Colours". The same evening he came back from the vet he was out and about exploring, not showing the least concern for or sensitivity from his wound, but we had to flush it with antiseptic twice daily for two days, and then remove the drain. The two holes where the drain went in and out are scabbed but clean, and he had an antibiotic injetion that will last two weeks.



That blue collar cost us $12 and didn't stay on more than a few hours. It was supposed to stop him scratching the drain but he wasn't trying to anyway, it stopped him washing and got in the way while eating, which is one of his favorite activities.

Spiders are busy everywhere, with the most industrious building their webs across the sidewalk every night. This morning there's one suspended right across the side of our driveway, the threads streching six or more feet, though the actual web is the size of my face, with which I usually inadvertantly break the webs.

We experimented with not watering our lawns this Summer, but after six weeks of very hot days the lawns were brown, and netted an anonymous written complaint from a neighbor. Ironically we'd just started watering the lawns again a couple of days earlier, so if they'd been paying attention they needn't have complained. We've got a pretty good idea who it is, which is as well as we prefer to stay on good (or at least neutral) terms with everyone. The reason for not watering is that it adds about $40 a month to the water bill, though this is balanced by a comparable reduction in the electricity bill, and also that we had a leak in the front lawn sprinkler system, so the bulk of the water to the front lawn was running across the driveway and straight into the drain, and we don't like pouring money down the drain. After a week of watering (using hose sprinklers for the front and the timed sprinkler system for the back) the lawns are greener, though full recovery will probably not occur until the Autumn rains set in.

We've recently put up a washing line in the back garden (out of sight of nosy neighbors), the sort that looks like a string umbrella on a central pole, to reduce our use of the tumble dryer in the hotter months. We had to dig a hole and fill it with concrete, sink a plastic tube into it, and let it set for 24 hours before use, but it seems to be holding well, and our clothes dry in a few hours and smell fresher. We are not near any busy roads, so the air is clean and no dirt gets on the washing. In London we used to get black smuts on the clothes if left out too long, especially if it rained, which it did frequently.

1 comment:

  1. I heard on NPR yesterday that there are 15 species of bats that live in Oregon, and all of them are present in the Willamette Valley. They can often be found near water, and can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in an hour!

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