The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘trees’

Goodbye, Old Friend

Jeff the Tree Man paid us another visit, partly to haul away the Balsam Fir bits left from the fire, but also to take a look at a very old and ailing friend.

The bear Cocoa chased up the White Spruce tree.

There’s an old White Spruce that has stood about twenty feet off the eastern corner of the two-legger house. It used to shade my first house and hide it somewhat from the busy world of two-leggers. It’s the tree, I’m told, that my predecessor, Cocoa the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, chased a bear up one day. The scribe and her brother used to climb it when they were little two-leggers. The squirrels love to climb up to the very top and cut down spruce cones to feed on through the winter. The Robins like to nest in it some years. I’m sure it could have told us all kinds of stories about what has gone on in its branches and over our yard and bay, stories that were from many years before even Kay and Elizabeth moved out here nearly 50 years ago, for, the Scribe says, it was a huge tree even then. Mind you, she was much smaller in those days…

But something happened this year. I guess it had been happening for a while, but it really became noticeable this year. The giant Spruce was dying, and this summer, it seemed to die back an awful lot. Jeff the Tree Man said he’d better take it down. After the fire, we sure didn’t want the big Spruce to fall the wrong way and demolish half the house!

So, one day at the end of September when the sun came out (I think it might have been the only day the sun came out during the last half of September. I was beginning to wonder if it was still up there…), Jeff the Tree Man brought his ropes and all his saws. He rigged up the tree and climbed up very slowly, removing the branches as he ascended. The Scribe and I were doing our Bookshop gig that day so we missed the action. But Jeff the Tree Man wasn’t able to do the whole tree that day, so he was back the next, and I got the Scribe to take some photos for you to see.

 

There’s Jeff away up the tree. I think he sees us…

Watch Out, Elizabeth! Maybe he didn’t see us after all.

We’ll try that shot again. This is the bottom of the big White Spruce.

Look up further…

I told you it was a tall tree. There’s Jeff the Tree Man again.

Jeff came out for a third day to get the tree cut up so we could use it for firewood to heat the house in the winter. He also had to take down a dead Aspen so the Spruce wouldn’t get caught in it and hang, so we will also have some firewood from it, too.

Elizabeth says that the White Spruce was one of the granddaddies of our forest. There’s another one at the edge of our driveway. A third, which was the biggest, down by the creek, was decapitated in a very bad storm about five years ago. It seems to be surviving, but Elizabeth thinks its days are numbered. There are a couple more at the east end of the estate, too.

We all are very sad to see this tree go. The whole area it shaded will change now, and things will never be the same…

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Comings & Goings

We have been inundated by visitors this past week. I’m hoarse from all the barking I’ve had to do.

Some two-leggers drive down the Little Gravel Path to our house and just ignore me. Usually, they are two-leggers who’ve met me before. I know who they are, too, and I just bark to let Kay and Elizabeth know that someone they need to see is here. This list includes Doyle the Dog Food Man, Rob the Snow Man, Al, the Mowing Girl, René and a number of other regular visitors.

Other visitors I bark at because they aren’t welcome: any of the Wily Wolf Gang, Sneaky Deer, The Cougar, the plum-loving Black Bear, and the various garden thieves like Groundhogs and Squirrels and Hares.

There’s another group of visitors that concern me… two-leggers I don’t know. I find them rather disturbing because I’m never sure whether they are here by invitation or not. I find barking at them, even mixing in the occasional rumbly growl – two-leggers find that very scary! – is a very important tactic to employ. Generally speaking, if this sort of visitor isn’t supposed to be here, they turn around and head straight back out before I have a chance to attack. BOL. Too easy! If they stay, Elizabeth or Kay always come out to see who they are. Once I know they are welcome, there’s no problem.

It is from this latter group that most of our visitors seem to have come this week. The Hydro Person came to read the meter. I made that two-legger so nervous that all my two-leggers saw was an arm with an appended gadget stick out the window a bit and point at the hydro meter. The growly beast was gone before Elizabeth could get out to talk to the two-legger inside.

Another growly beast was truly audacious. Look at this:

This growly beast's two-legger was here for a good reason. But he sure parked in a strange place.

This growly beast’s two-legger was here for a good reason. But he sure parked in a strange place.

It turned out to be a new friend, Jeff the Tree Man. He came to take down that big old Jack Pine that drowned with the flood. I asked Elizabeth to take a picture of him at work:

Funny how often you find yourself saying goodbye to an old friend only to immediately make a new one!

Funny how often you find yourself saying goodbye to an old friend only immediately to make a new one!

Our view looks much different now.

We see a lot more water in Our Bay now that the tree has been cut up.

We see a lot more water in Our Bay now that the tree has been cut up.

While Jeff the Tree Man worked at turning our Jack Pine into winter fuel, another visitor rolled in. This one came in a very BIG growly beast. This was a two-legger with serious attitude, Ron the Septic Tank Man. You can see from his truck that he is a very confident sort. I barked at him, but I was inside the house, staying out of the way of chainsaws and falling tree parts so, my barking didn’t scare him at all.

Ron the Septic Tank Man's truck says it all!

Ron the Septic Tank Man’s truck says it all!

We’ve had lots of other visitors, too, but most of them just made me curious. For example, there are several very long, skinny fellows snooping around the gardens these days. Elizabeth says hopefully, they are eating some of the slugs and grasshoppers. They certainly aren’t eating any of the garden produce, so I just follow them around and watch them. They’re fascinating, Slithery Snakes. They rustle the grasses and smell interesting and they always seem unerringly to find the tiniest holes to slip into yet that are long enough to hide their whole length! One day, maybe Elizabeth might get a photo for me to show you one.

Slithery Snakes are just one of several interesting regulars, though.

Every morning I find evidence of other benign intruders.

Every morning I find evidence of other benign intruders. This web was made by a Grass Spider, who hides in the hole of the funnel-like structure.

There are also some intruders that Elizabeth really dislikes. They aren’t all so benign, either.

TV Bug mini

This is a Wood Borer. When Elizabeth was a two-legger pup, a former London Bobby (that’s what they call a policeman, apparently, in a country much closer to my ancestral homeland than we are) had a cottage in our neighbourhood. He told Elizabeth that these were called TV Bugs. Back in those days, two-leggers used big antennae to snag television signals from the air instead of satellite dishes! She believed him because he was a policeman.

Elizabeth got very upset when one of these landed on her the other day. She really doesn’t like them! If they bite, it hurts. But I think it’s more the size of them that bugs her (like my pun?). So, when she saw this one trying to sneak in through an open window (We have screens on all our windows here. It was foiled before it even started thinking about eating our furniture.), she thought maybe an introduction would be in order…

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Shelob had already had a Dragonfly over for breakfast and was feeling too satiated to even look at a Wood Borer.

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Shelob had already had a Dragonfly over for breakfast and was feeling too satiated to even look at a Wood Borer.

Shelob is one of three Giant Lichen Orbweaver Spiders we have lurking around OUTSIDE the house. She is the darkest of the ‘Three Sisters’. The other two, Hecate and Kali, look more like the one I showed you in an earlier post in colouring, but the markings on the back are all similar. We think the front end of the bulbous abdomen looks like a skull. Looking straight down at the abdomen, and only faintly visible on this one, there is a lightning bolt on each side! Like me, they look scary but they’re harmless… unless you are an insect. By the way, Elizabeth doesn’t normally name spiders, but these three have hung around for so long and are so enormous that she feels obligated to acknowledge them somehow.

I’m hoping it is a little less busy around here for a while. It’s too hot to do anything but swim and lie in my shaded dugout. I’ll have to get Elizabeth out on a Wildflower Hunt for tomorrow, though! See you then!   ~:o)=

Flood, Flood, Go Away!

Elizabeth thought we should give you another flood update. We’re getting so used to the high water now that it seems almost normal. Our heart goes out to those on lower ground, though. On the way home from work on Saturday, we saw the people who live at the bridge checking their sandbags and stacking driftwood into a big cone formation. We think they’re going to have a giant bonfire! Maybe that will evaporate some of the excess water. Worth a try. Elizabeth says it’s probably more a case of, “When life floats you driftwood, make a fire and toast Smores!”

Our view remains similar:

We still have our new island view.

We still have our new island view.

But, there is a difference that is quite noticeable. We’ve lost an old friend.

~:o(=

This is one of the last of the Jackpines (Pinus banksiana) that have lived in our yard since Elizabeth was a tow-legger puppy, many, many dog years ago. This year's prolonged flood waters have drowned it.

This is one of the last of the Jackpines (Pinus banksiana) that have lived in our yard since Elizabeth was a two-legger puppy, many, many dog years ago. This year’s prolonged flood waters have drowned it.

Kathleen is busy making arrangements to take it down before Malcolm comes home this autumn so he can split the wood. We’ll use it to help keep the house warm this winter.  Losing this old tree will really change our view of our bay!

And all this water has given me a bit of a problem as well.

Do I really have to get my ear done?

Do I really have to get my ear done?

I keep getting yeast infections in my ears. Right now, it’s my left ear that’s driving me CRAZY. It feels good when Elizabeth cleans it and puts some Calendula ointment on it, but I really hate the drops she drips in. They tickle and feel like a creepy-crawly is exploring inside. I must admit that I do start feeling better a day or two after she starts giving me the drops, though. I don’t see why she needs to keep giving them to me after that but, every morning and every evening, the dreaded, long-snouted squeeze-bottle makes an appearance. No matter how hard I try to hide, I can never escape.

We’re getting some horrible heat now, too. Temps are rising into the high 20C to low 30C range. This means it’s getting really humid, too. And heat and humidity always seem to bring terrible thunderstorms with them. I don’t like those, but I don’t get really upset like some dogs do. I just find a quiet corner near Elizabeth and curl up into a ball until it’s all over. So far, we’ve been lucky. Just a couple of trees down. We’d use those for firewood, too – if we could find some help getting them down to the house before unidentified neighbours steal them for their own woodpile.

I’d give those thieves a good bite if I could catch them. They’re fortunate that I’m in the house a lot these days. The insects and the heat are just too much for me. You see, part of my problem is that my Spring Blow Out is late this year. We’re still trying to tease the last of my winter wool out. Sometimes I look a bit scruffy because I try to get it out myself by chewing and pulling little clumps out. I figure if I do my share, it’ll mean less of The Brush. I HATE The Brush. I don’t care if I feel much better afterward. I HATE The Brush.

Oh, all right. So I look and feel better after I get brushed. but it takes so long. Can't I just cool down with a run through the swamp?

Oh, all right. So I look and feel better after I get brushed. But it takes so long. Can’t I just cool down with a run through the swamp?

Elizabeth says I wouldn’t have to bite anyone if I lived that way. All I’d have to do is stand upwind and they’d think a bear was coming after them.

BOL. Sometimes, she’s just too funny!

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