Beau November 9th, 2009
I’ve been engrossed in digging, pouring, setting and arranging blocks for a retaining wall the past week. Looks like it will take most of this week too, and thankfully the weather has been amazing for working outside. We have a little rain in the forecast, but nothing that will hold back progress! Along the way there’s still time for other chores and a little fun. And keeping your eye out for the little changes the season brings.
Took me a while to build the forms and hand mix 1600 pounds of concrete the other day. Doesn’t look like much, but the footer at the back is nearly two feet wide and half as tall. I’m trying to decide if that’s enough, or if I need to lengthen the footer on the sides or not. The ends of the retaining wall towards the front will only be two blocks high, so I may be able to simply set them on a firm base. The footer has rebar throughout, and more will be in the wall. Because of the slope and water runoff, I’m also embedding small pipes in the wall for drainage.
Kind of hard to pour concrete with a basset hound in the way…
I did a double take when I saw this woodpecker the other day- it’s a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! A funny name for a bird, and we don’t see them very often here. One of the key identification features is that large vertical white stripe. Lucky that I had my camera with me- I thought it interesting that the bird went to the only tree that has green leaves on it still- a very old flowering pear tree- it’s the last to lose it’s leaves in fall. This woodpecker has a beautiful red crest also, but the picture doesn’t show it.
I’ve only seen this species once or twice briefly before, but they migrate through around this time of year, sometimes hanging around a bit into winter. There are lots of telltale signs of the sapsucker on certain trees- many horizontal rows of small holes that were used to gather sap. It’s fun to see something you don’t have around very often.
A couple of days ago I wandered into the bedroom and all of a sudden a big bird went “crash!!!” into a large window. I ran over thinking it must have killed itself and wondered what it was. I stared in disbelief but it was a Cooper’s Hawk sitting on concrete below the window- it looked up and saw me and leapt off the ground flying off through the trees. We have them around the forest nearby, but they’re normally fairly secretive. It must have been engrossed in chasing another bird for dinner.
The young boy and I rose with the dawn and ventured out on the pond yesterday morning for a little fishing. It was beautiful and warm, and we paddled around while the sun rose above the horizon. He had a great time, and we caught and released a lot of fish. Speaking of things we don’t see very often, we caught one of the largest bass we’ve ever caught before in our pond.
You can definitely see why they’re called Largemouth Bass! It’s not a big fish by bass standards, but at about two pounds it tells me the bass are growing better this year. I’m trying to manage the population and size balance between bass and bluegill. We have a lot of large bluegill, and generally smaller bass. But each year I take out a certain number of smaller bass to allow others to grow larger. Not an exact science by any means, but they’re growing!