Flirty Flora

My back and my feet hurt, but it’s worth having got so much done today. I planted the last dozen or so of my gladiola bulbs in the west side garden, hauling soil from the back yard a bucketful at a time; I set fire to the gigantic pile of scrap lumber, tree trimmings and brush that was five feet high in the back of the yard, and kept it going until it was a foot high pile of charcoal; I planted the dozen impatiens I bought a few weeks ago, now that it’s not supposed to freeze overnight (oddly, the containers said primulas), again hauling soil; and I watered, checked all the beds for things coming up that might need help against the weeds and grass, and carried the last of the trimmings to my bonfire. I also couldn’t resist Cama’s expectant look as she waited by the back gate. I let her and Flora in, and then dragged Richard away from his 4×4 repairs long enough to try to get pictures. Flora is extremely curious about new things, including people. Every time we visit she comes up to me to touch nose to nose. I wanted Richard to get a shot of that, only she hadn’t seen him in a while and found him – and the camera – much more interesting, so we were only able to get her to approach him then, not me. My efforts to hold out the camera far enough and at the right angle to get a picture of us myself, after Richard left, resulted in some hilarious close-ups of fuzzy nostrils and eyelashes as she went for the camera every time. I did manage to get a few of Cama as I fed her alfalfa. That’s the only time she’ll let me pet her. Richard has come in from working on the truck, blackened like a chimney sweep, so I’ll sign off for the night. Lots of work to do on the computer now that the sun’s gone down. It was a gorgeous day.


The Crazy Canadians Are Going to Moab

Richard is out in the garage again this weekend, banging and grinding, not stopping to eat, and reeking of grease and welding dust. Mechano is getting an overhaul. It brings back memories. In the spring of 2000, less than a year after I met Richard and was initiated into four-wheeling, we went on a cross-country trek to what may be the ultimate rock-crawler’s pilgrimage: the high desert mesas of Moab, Utah. However, given that we would be driving the two to three day Vancouver to Moab road trip in our “rigs” (that’s wheeler jargon for 4x4s, as opposed to a “daily driver” which could tow the rig on a trailer), we knew half our Moab adventure would be just getting there. As it turned out, the single Saturday Richard, Chris, Ben, Greg, Elsmere and I actually wheeled with our friends on the trails was the easy part. We condensed a lost week’s worth of wheeling into that Golden Crack run (Richard’s red Toy is on the Crack, top left, with the Colorado River gorge in the background), not without some entertaining carnage (that’s Rick’s “Big Bird” at right showing off its undercarriage). The road trip, on the other hand, was doomed from the start. Being the only woman and less than a novice next to these mechanical geniuses, I stood back and watched the casualties and chaos – days of delay in the shop and breakdowns on the interstate – with my sense of humour pretty much intact. Can’t say the same for the guys. I wrote an article about our trip, “Moab Misadventures”, for the Cruise Moab issue of Toyota Trails that summer, but when I would have included the nightmarish return half of that trip, the boys swore me to silence. They didn’t want to remember, they just wanted to crawl into a hole and sleep it off.


Just When They’re Getting Friendly

I can’t let them in anymore. The llamas, shown here happily cropping the grass, are our favourite animal guests. We don’t let the goats in the yard, because the last time Neru (the billy goat) came over, the greedy beast climbed my tiny cherry tree to reach the remaining leaves at the top, and broke a large branch off under his massive weight. But until now Cama and her baby, who after only a month is just now using her teeth, were not very destructive. Cama couldn’t do much damage over the winter, when there wasn’t much growing that she liked other than grass and pine needles. When spring finally arrived, I knew the day was coming when the buds on the fruit trees and lilac bushes would catch their attention, but Flora can’t quite chew such tough things yet, and Cama’s habitual circuit of the yard had put them in the weedy back half much more of the time than the treed, landscaped front part. That may also have been because I’ve been doing yard work this week as they were wandering around, pruning things they might otherwise be sampling. Not today, however.