We’d been wondering where she was coming from – like clockwork every day at twilight, as close as 10 yards from us, 1 yard from the cats.  She’d watch us, back hunched, as her delicate hands felt for peanuts on the rock.  Curious, about us.

Turns out she, and her five progeny live in the northeast soffit of our house.  Hmmm.  Is this ok?  For just this litter?  For just this one time?

It’s June 1st, and I’ve just returned from Toronto and a visit to the zoo there.  “One of the better zoos in the world”, a young biology student/staff member said to us, “but there’s always the question as to whether these animals would be better left alone in the wild….”.  She wanted to ‘change the zoo thinking from within’, and find some more appropriate & mutually benevolent ways to connect human beings with the rest of the living mammalian world.

In any case, our coon is way ahead of her.  And for now, we are content to share house.

Next year, however, she’ll likely find the way blocked.

House-mate? Is this ok?

http://www.ago.net/ – It’s been some time since I’ve been so inspired by a public gallery. There was only time for Gallery Italia, Anselm Kiefer and most of the Thomson Collection, – oh, and Riopelle – and I missed lunch with Marcus because of it.  I’m hoping he will forgive me….

Original artwork has a power that’s easy to forget about when we can source a scaled-down copy of the image in books and here on the net so easily.  So I gotta say – if you’re in Toronto, GO.  Go and stand for a good long time in the Gallery Italia and think about trees.  Stand in front of the pieces of Ken Thomson’s Canadian art collection, and think about colour, form, line, courage, and place.  Feel yourself floating inside the huge Riopelle.  Walk up and down the spiral stairs and imagine living inside a snailshell.  I know – pushy of me –  but honestly folks – this experience can be life-changing – if you put yourself consciously and specifically into a space that is entirely devoted to art, and artistic self-examination.

At one point, in front of a MacDonald, I found myself thinking that time had stopped.  That time DOES stop, when you surrender to an incredible painting.  Entirely worth it.

To dive with shovel headlong into the heat, pull up grass roots, tuck fledgling food plants into rich soil, throw rocks, pile rocks, lay rocks into walkways, pause (panting) to listen to a new birdsong, dig some more, empty the wheelbarrow, fill it up again, then retreat into shade for water – this was yesterday with my dad. Glorious.

Per-chi-ko-ree – goldfinch. The oriole a long ‘variation on a doubled theme’. The cardinal, a dominant wolf-whistle. Cedar waxwings sound like shy cicadas, Red-winged blackbirds take me right back to the fields of my childhood – they are part of the sound of forever.

At the end of the day, I see that I’m a mere 1/5th of the way through what’s required – but it doesn’t matter, because the chestnut tree I planted 4 years ago in poor soil- a gamble I took because my favourite chestnut of all time was brutally murdered – this chestnut tree in my garden bloomed for the first time. Hallelujah.

Pics coming.
May your long weekends be equal parts sun, wet, wonderful and wild.

Now I can finish putting the food in. Where it’s best to put the food – here’s a useful companion planting guide, for those who want to try something more eco-system based: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants