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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Something to Bark About

When we started building our new house, Karen was concerned that it might disrupt existing migration patterns, particularly for elk. Apparently, that isn't a problem. This morning, while catching up on BBC America's adaptation of Alan Furst's Spies of Warsaw, I saw out of the corner of my right eye, a patch of light fur. A deer, I thought. No big deal. Until Pepper started barking as if the world's largest flock of quail wandered past the sliding-glass door. Not quail. About a dozen cow elk, following their path from the meadow behind our old barn, past the house, stopping for an early breakfast in a small meadow just south of our house.

I found a camera and stepped out onto the front porch. They saw or smelled me, and ambled toward our southern neighbors' place, over the fence line and into their meadow.

I'm still trying to find out about the mouse. Last night, Geordie spent the night in our mud room on a very important mission - to find the field mouse he'd brought in from an evening's stalk in the garage and then brought in to the mud room when Karen let him in for the night. Geordie, who's about seven and came to his mousing heritage later in life, seemed confused about what to do with it, dropped it, picked it back up, dropped it again, and watched it scuttle behind the washing machine. We kitted up the mud room with a sand box and a bowl of food for Geordie and went to bed.

This morning, I opened up the mud room and found no evidence of mayhem; no corpse, no blood, no signs of struggle. I propped open the door from the mud room to the garage, opened the garage door, and let Geordie back into the house. Maybe the mouse will take the hint.

It's been a cold and rainy spring, but we're making progress on the place, consolidating burn piles, sinking corner posts and clearing brush for new fencing (a handyman's coming to string the fence on Monday), and ridding ourselves of Lake Stratford. Last Tuesday, the sink hole near our heat pump was filled and re-graded. On Thursday, the excavator brought up, dumped, and spread a load of gravel. The next day, our Stratford representative came up to survey the work and take a look into the crawl space, where we'd had water off and on since the autumn rains. And what did he find? That neither the Foundation Kings nor the the plumber who installed the water line, sealed up the space around the water or electrical conduits, providing a sluice way for rain and snow melt. With any luck, we'll start having some dry weather, and soon Stratford will be able to seal up the spaces around the conduit with non-shrink grout or elestomeric concrete. Then, he can replace the ground tarps and we'll be done until the one-year warranty repairs.

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