Monthly Archives: September 2008

Another stray

I suppose another downside to living in the country is getting an occasional stray dog. This one, a beagle we’ll call Homer, showed up at Daphne and Jim’s place today. Jim tried to shoo him away but he kept coming back to the windows, trying to get in. They aren’t set up for keeping dogs, so they called us. Peter and I went over with Odo’s old kennel, a spare collar and leash, and a small bag of treats. He started to shy away when he first saw the truck but turned around as soon as he heard my “happy voice”. He was pretty desperate for food, so he was fairly easy to handle. We have him set up in the dog pasture, on D’Argo’s long line. Odo and D’Argo were frantic that we brought another dog into the yard, but they settled down fairly quickly once they were properly introduced. Jim has contacted the Oklahoma Beagle Rescue, but if we don’t hear from them, we’ll call Norman Animal Welfare on Monday. In the meantime, D’Argo has a new playmate.


The downside to country living

I may have mentioned that I love living in the country: fresh air, surrounded by wildlife, peaceful, serene setting … lovely. There are some challenges however, deer eating the garden, scorpions occasionally showing up in the house, but this week we discovered another downside. Late last week, I discovered the blower in my little red truck wasn’t working. I took it by my mechanic on Monday and he checked all the fuses – no problem there – so I made arrangements to bring the truck in again on Wednesday for repair. The diagnosis was rather unexpected.

Inside the engine compartment just behind the battery (seen in the foreground, left) is a fuse box (black cover) into which enters a big bundle of multicolored wires (you can see them in the gap between the red fender and the battery). Well, it turns out some creature, my vote is a squirrel, got in there and chewed them all up. The mechanic was amazed that I hadn’t lost more than the blower. $250 later the truck is like new. There is some good news though. I’m told that battery protector (that yellow stuff you can see on the battery terminal to keep them from corroding) sprayed on all the wires apparently doesn’t taste good and protects the wires from further damage. However, vigilance is required because the stuff does wear off and future applications will be necessary. Hopefully we can avoid another unexpected expensive repair. Still, I love living in the country!

Concrete floor, check!

The crucial step of the mudroom renovation is now complete. Yesterday we poured the new floor, bringing the level up to the height of the house slab. It took eighteen bags of concrete, 12.5% more than the concrete company’s online calculator had determined. Luckily, when I bought the concrete I decided to get two extra bags and we had about half a bag left over.

It took our crew of three, me, Peter and our friend Jeff, about an hour and a half, with the help of a rented barrow mixer, to get the job done. We started around 9 AM and I had the mixer back to the rental store by 12:15 (the mixer had to be back by 1 PM). I even had time to clean up all the tools, shower and eat lunch before going to town. By the way, even with the high gas prices, I can’t tell you how glad I am to have a small pickup truck. I fit all the concrete and the mixer in one trip. Saving a lot of time and shipping costs.

I ordered the door and the installer will hopefully be out next week to take the measurements. I doubt the new door will be installed before the end of the month, but I can continue to work on the walls and ceiling once the concrete has cured. The next steps are to have some electrical work done, adding sockets and switches, and ordering the cabinets. So exciting!

Fall Butterflies

The autumn butterfly migration is underway. I’ve been seeing Monarchs and Gulf Fritillaries almost daily. I added a Marine Blue butterfly to the list but the glimpse was too brief to get a photo. I did manage to snap a few shots of this American Snout, our 59th butterfly species. He was conveniently resting on the fence in my newly cleared driveway garden. The butterflies, when at rest, resemble dead leaves. The snout, elongated labial palps (butterfly lips), resemble the stem of the leaf. American Snouts often have huge migratory flights, so this may not be the last I see of his kind this year.