Note: This is a LONG and picture-heavy post that has nothing to do with books, and everything to do with gardening and critters. If neither interests you, please do skip right over this post. Thanks!
Updates and pics were requested for the newest additions to our menagerie - Aubry and Molly, our newest chickens, and our very newest members at Casa de los locos amantes de los animales - fish! It turned out today was a reasonable sunny day, and I was out in the garden setting up some new pond plants, so I snapped some pics.
First the fish ... there's a story here. Really, two stories that merged. First, for my birthday MT 'bought' me a fountain for the garden. The quotes are there because we had to a.) find one, that b.) we both agreed on. That only took 3 months ... in the mean time, I found our old fire pit sitting disused; I hate stuff lying around the garden, but it's a pretty terracotta pit, and I had a water pump still in its box in the shed (the wrong pump was sent to me ages ago, but they didn't want it back when they sent the new one). I thought: why not make this into a tiny water garden? In my enthusiasm I set it up straight away:
I was so pleased with myself ... zero dollar outlay, less crap sitting unused... WIN! And then I went out and bought some fish for it, which I named Edith and Archie. (pics are coming).
I was also so enthusiastic that it didn't occur to me that terracotta needs to be sealed first. Oops. Researching, it turns out they're super easy to seal, but it takes 7 days to cure before it can be wet again. Seriously, oops. I lived with it awhile; it only lost about 1cm of water every few days, but I began to worry the thing would disintegrate out from under Edith and Archie. So, they needed a temporary home while the pit cured. I'm dedicated to not buying plastic if I can avoid it, so I found another bowl, which I was prepared to swear was the same size (it's not, it's about 50% bigger), and set it up.
Archie and Edith were relocated, and settled in.
Crap, fuzzy photo, because ... fish on the move. Edith in the yellow one.
Meanwhile I got the fire pit sealed, and set it back up but didn't have the heart to move poor Edith and Archie again, so MT and I went out and bought two more fish*, Smokey and Stimpy:
Stimpy is the top one with the giant black eyes; Smokey is a calico gold fish.
* Really, we bought 4 fish. The Bandit and Ren both went MIA on separate occasions, leaving not a trace of their fates. It's a touchy subject with all of us, but there's now more greenery in the bowl, thus more hiding places. (We suspect a neighbourhood Pied Currawong, but lack proof.)
Meanwhile our fountain was found, agreed upon and ordered - that birthday present that indirectly started all this - and we needed to rip out and redo part of our garden for it, creating a path and laying down foundation stones for the fountain. This was at the time MT started having health issues and couldn't do any manual labor... Ace! As it turns out, I have muscles, who knew? and better, I can still use them!
And yes, there will be more fish for this pond at some point soon; I wanted to get the plants established first and make sure everything was running well before we added fishy residents.
And the new path:
The path is made of bluestone we found buried in the property when we bought it; each weighs about 15kg/30lbs - ish; I don't have that many muscles, so a lot of rolling of the bluestones was going on for a week or so. :)
The path at the top of the pic on the right is made of thin slate slabs, which I also laid myself, years ago, but they weigh hardly anything.
Finally, the chooks - er, chickens. The good news is that Aubry is getting feathered boots, and Molly isn't - now we have a way to tell them apart. The less great news is they are getting HUGE! They were supposed to be 'medium' sized; they're well on their way to super-sized.
Aubry (you can just see her boots):
Their feathers are so gorgeous - this photo doesn't do them justice. (Henrietta is the white chicken behind her.)
And this is Eggy, Molly and Aubry:
Am I the only one that thinks this would make a great album cover?
I'm pretty sure that's it for our menagerie, but I've learned to never say never. I can't think of any other animals we could add that wouldn't turn me into a full-time zoo keeper (the chickens are surprisingly self-sufficient and fish are ... fish; the ponds are set up with plants that make them self-regulating/feeding/cleaning/oxygenating) so I'd like to think we've reached a place of stasis. But I won't bet on it. ;-)