Thursday, April 23, 2009
Crow Hoodlums and Other Strangness
Crow Boys Gone Bad
I was filling the coffee pot this morning when I heard Bryan calling out to someone outside. Turned around and he's out on the barbeque deck just off the kitchen.
"Who are you talking to?"
"That crow on the fencepost. I was telling him to bugger off."
Evidently the young crow population has gone hoodlum and are terrorizing the little birds in the neighbourhood. With no nest mates to keep them busy (or maybe their girlfriends are sitting eggs) they're loitering around like small town thugs, flipping their beaks at the authorities.
"Where's my slingshot?"
Oh heavens, where's any of his stuff. "Use the air gun."
"Sure, why not? Gerry does." (Gerry is neighbour kitty-corner behind us, semi-retired Armed Forces)
And oh my, he did! Of course, now he can't find any more shot so the troops have retreated until re-armaments arrive.
And all that before 9 am. Never say we live a boring life! The ground is covered with little white-throated sparrows, juncos and California quail, co-existing nicely and all sharing the seed Bryan puts out for them.
That's just the latest in a week or so of weirdness.
Nasty Fraternal Order of Magpies
The Alberta registration is about to expire on my car so it's time to get BC registration. ICBC requires an inspection for vehicles coming from out-of-province, so I booked an appointment last Thursday morning. Ka-ching. The tech told me I need the windshield replaced before he could issue the certificate, which didn't surprise me because it had a large rock crack. So an appointment early Friday morning at Speedy Auto Glass to have that done. KA-CHING. All this so that I can get insurance on the car. Uber KA-Ching.
The glass tech came into the waiting room after they put the new windshield in and said, "By the way, did you know you have spray-over on your car?"
Well, if I knew what spray-over was, I could tell you if I knew that.
"Someone was painting close by your vehicle and it's covered with drift paint. That's what that grunge was on the windshield."
Sure enough, fine black paint all over my beautiful red car. (Colour-blind friend Gerry in V'view tells me it's a lovely shade of grey.) I'm stunned, then confused, then very very angry. Where and when could this have happened?
I thought a bit, then phoned Deb at work. "Go run your hand over your SUV and tell me if it feels rough."
Five minutes later, "Tell me what's all over my truck?!"
"Paint. Tell the others who usually park there to check their cars, too."
Six cars were damaged. The Fraternal Order of Eagles have their hall/lounge next door. Sometime last Wednesday, some of their members were outside spray painting chairs and tables. On a windy day. Without masking or hanging a plastic sheet on the chain link fence between their lot and our company parking lot. One of the salesmen saw them out there and thought that was a stupid thing to do but never thought the repercussions.
So anyway, I phoned the number for the hall and told Murray (whoever he is) what had happened. He didn't deny they were responsible and said someone would be over on Monday.
The person who showed up on Monday was a scruffy, rather disreputable looking man. He rudely asked how many cars needed fixing and by the way, it wasn't gonna cost any stinkin' $750 to do the work (I'd had an estimate done and that was the quote).
"Well, who's going to do it then?"
He had a buddy with a shop over on 27 Ave and the cars would get done when they had time to fit us in.
Excuse me? Who is your "buddy" and who's doing the work and who, exactly, decided this for me and my co-workers?! Colour me not impressed.
He showed up again yesterday afternoon and asked for the keys of the first car.
Yes, indeed. He, John, wanted one of us to just give him the keys to our car and let him take it to a shop we knew nothing about and let him "try to get it off himself."
I don't think so.
Then he got hostile with us. At the front counter of the newspaper office, in front of all our co-workers. "Well, I haven't got a lot of time and he's freeing up time in his shop for me. Whadda ya mean? You don't trust me? Well let me tell you, I do a lot of custom car work and I can do the work just fine ....." and it want on and on.
Pause. And then I calmly said (yes, calmly, because I was trying very hard to control my temper), "Well, I didn't do the damage to my own car or was at fault in any way. We're the victims here and I think we have a say in this."
At which point he got really nasty and yelled, "Fine. Then sue me!" and stomped out.
Total silence in the entire office. And then one of them quietly said, "Well, that didn't go very well, did it?"
I thought Debbie was going to blow a blood vessel. She'd already spoken to her ICBC representative and an auto detailer, got reasonable estimates and sound advice from both. Two of the ladies were out at the time of this confrontation and couldn't believe what we told them. As a group, we sat down to discuss our strategy and then composed a letter to go to the Fraternal Order of Dirty Nasty Magpies (well, that's not what the letter says but that's sorta what I've been calling them) setting out our terms of settlement including a deadline for action.
I, of course, am not at work today so am patiently waiting for updates from Debbie.
Beautification and Bird Sanctuary
Work continues on the yard. Bryan got home last week so I had some help. He was reading through the regional 'Buy & Sell' and found a notice for free junipers in Kamloops. I called the lady and she told me they wanted to build a new driveway in their yard but first a big area of junipers needed to be removed. Just what we wanted for the area alongside the west side of the house.
Early Saturday morning, we headed out in the pickup with spade, fork, hatchet and Japanese saw. The place was way north in Kamloops along Westsyde Road (west side of the North Thompson River) almost to McClure. And the junipers were up on a very steep hillside. It was brute work and I was very glad Bryan was with me! I could have done it myself, maybe, but it would have taken a lot longer because the lady and her son were not the hands-on type. A steady hour of hard work yielded a truck box full of beautiful healthy golden junipers and a bucket full of iris.
And when we got home, all the work of digging holes and transplanting them. But oh it looks great! And the little birds love them. A few weeks ago, I also transplanted some baby firs from Kelly's lot next door into spaces between the mature firs on the west of our house, same area we've put the junipers.
Last Thursday and Friday, I worked away on the area above our evaporation field and got it all forked over - the weeds,, rocks and roots removed, bags of horse compost from Elise Riley's place put over in a thick layer. Some of the big flat rocks now make a walking path throughpart of the garden, other paths made with salvage wood slabs. There were some perennials in one corner that I put there last summer. On Saturday, I planted herbs (savory, thyme, Greek oregano, basil, parsley, lemon balm, rosemary, dill, sage, English mint), onion sets, garlic sets, lettuce and carrots. Beans and tomatoes will go in later, when frost threat is definitely past.
Everything else is coming along great. Most of the stuff I planted last year seems to have survived the winter. I put in two blueberry bushes close by the daffodils and hyacinth. The damned deer ate all my tulips - nipped off the flowers and yanked the bulbs right out of the ground! Buddy McGregor, you may think deer are lovely but I'm stating here and now that they are in great danger of becoming next week's barbeque special.
Buddies and Bikes
Got out on my first bike ride of the season Sunday morning - Bryan re-registered and insured them all when he was up north. It was a cool, windy day but we just went on a short jaunt to O'Keefe Ranch and the Spallumcheen Pioneer Power Club open house. That is, barbeque chicken and rice, then tall tales about adventures in antique tractor restoration over endless cups of coffee. Co-worker Debbie and her husband Allan are members; he is also foreman for O'Keefe Ranch.
It was a pleasant few hours but the weather didn't encourage us to ride any more than back to Falkland. Thank goodness for my new heated grips!!
Long-time friend Bryce showed up on Sunday evening, his friend Tim in tow. They'd driven out from Calgary on route to Penticton to look at service bodies (trucks, not escorts). The two guys are both in the water well drilling business and Bryce is in need of some piece of iron (I didn't get into the details).
Bryce and I met at Olds College and have been good friends ever since. We don't see each other that often, or not as often as we like, but his wife Laurie is great at maintaining correspondence. We'd just come out of a rather strenuous weekend, and I was at the tail-end of a head cold that plagued me all week long, so energy levels were low. We had a great visit, although it should have ended two hours and two bottles of wine earlier! The guys all had a wee sleep-in but I was still up and out of the house shortly after 6 am the following day.
Bryan went to Penticton with them. Didn't say if they were successful in their quest but did have a good time. Bryce and Tim drove back to Calgary that night - what time did they roll in, Laurie?
Bryan's been shopping. The little store in beautiful downtown Falkland (pop. now 802) has a big sale on important stuff like canned tomatoes and other staples (will make a great venison stew!!).
And I have a big box of manuscript to wade through. The sun is shining - I'll pull my reading chair over into the sunlight (too windy outside) and get at 'er.