Sunday, March 8, 2020

Wildlife at our new property

This property with the pond is an excellent place to observe wild animals. We keep binoculars, a camera and guide books handy in the living room that looks out over the pond.  So we are accumulating a collection of photos of the animals around us. However, some animals come out only at dusk so the pictures are not so good and we have seen more when a camera isn't available.
Here are some photos.
Two otters swimming

Three male wood ducks

A beaver swimming

A flock of geese at sunset

Canada goose

Double crested cormorant

Bald eagle and carrion

Eastern tiger salamanders

Female king fisher

Female wood duck

A great blue heron

An immature great blue heron

Indigo bunting

Male redstart


Turtle on a rock

Some animal we have seen but no good photographs:
Green heron
Wild turkeys
gold finch
deer (we have seen deer signs, 
but didn't actually see any until this winter 
when some ran across a field in the evening)
red tailed hawks
fly catchers
leopard frogs
fox (we and a contractor just got glimpses of her, 
but during the summer heard her and her kits 
calling to each other, foxes sound weird!)

Monday, March 2, 2020

Settled into our new home

After almost two years, we are now settled in. All of 2018 and 2019 was stressful. Getting the house done seemed to take forever! And we were hemorraging money paying off contractors. Then Don decided to save several thousand dollars and do the inside painting ourselves. This was slow and physically demanding. Then Don injured himself and we got some painting help from a couple of my brothers and a friend. Then there was flooring to be done. Upstairs was laminated planks done by professional installers. Downstairs is all tile. The Master bathroom was done by a contractor because of the intricacies of a walk-in shower and tile around the window. For the rest of the house, finding a cheaper contractor wasn't easy. Then my nephew-in-law Brian stepped in to moonlight laying down the tiles. We had four different patterns of tiles (not counting the master bath tiles) in an open-plan layout. Then it was installing kitchen cabinets. We bought Menards' Klear Vue cabinets and assembled them ourselves and intalled laminate kitchen counters.
As soon as the floor was installed upstairs I started to clear out the attic in La Crosse and taking the boxes upstairs. Bit by bit, stuff started to move from one house to another. We had thought moving would be done by January. No, it didn't, the prospective buyer of our old house was very patient and lent us employees to help load U-haul trucks. Don injured himself again while unloading and I spent the month of February taking out old magazines, computer equipment and other odds & ends and disposing of it all. I lost weight taking boxes downstairs, to the outside and loading up the pickup truck to get rid of it all. In May we formally moved in, then I fell and dislocated my left shoulder which also delayed things. We spent the summer going back to La Crosse to get more stuff, especially from the garage. In the end, it was "screw it", the new owner has healthy, young employees to take out unwanted stuff and dispose of it. We closed the sale of the property in August and didn't go back to La Crosse for six months.
Meanwhile I started a garden and had containers of Kale and herbs. But I never did take the bike out and ride the trail. I was just too busy or just tired from being busy. Meanwhile my father died September 2018 and we adopted his cat Rocky. The relations between the new cat and our other cats were strained for awhile. But Rocky showed that while he was old and arthritic, he was bigger and still has his front claws. We came home one day with tufts of yellow fur on the carpet and fewer moves of aggression from the younger cats.
There is still work to be done. The downstairs trim needs to be installed. The deck and sidewalks have to be built, more gravel laid down and the half-bath needs to be tiled and its vanity installed, the upstairs bathroom needs to be tiled; bathtub, sink and toilet installed, and the garage more organized. So much to be done, but I spent some time this winter arranging the upstairs for sewing, rugmaking, studio, computer, library and sitting area and enjoying it! I can't be work, work always. Some things can wait.
The new house across the pond, facing east

New garden beds

High ice

red sunset

summer sunset
planting spring bulbs