A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

Greetings Programs!

(That’s two references in quick succession — one really obscure — but it’s not the lousy opening I used last week. Progress!)

Here it is, another week into 2021 and I have little to show for it. Despite being slammed with stuff to do I have no accomplishments to share. Here’s most of the list, as far as I can recall it. Last week I…

  • … painted the bathroom, but it’s still not done.
  • … delivered community newsletters, and found a new volunteer to take over this delivery route next time, but still need to finish creating the document that will make the hand off easier.
  • … started the design on a project for Langara, but it still needs revision.
  • … talked to a contractor, but we are still waiting for a bid.
  • … worked more on the community association website, but there is still nothing to show off.
  • … reviewed a bit more of my friend’s novel, but there’s a ways to go and he hasn’t finished writing it all yet.
  • … went to the dentist, but when I smile no one sees my teeth to know they are cleaner.
  • … intended to write something new, but never had the time to get started.

You get the idea. Something something something, but it’s still not done.

Lots of activity but nothing to show for it.

Maybe I should get used to this. Is this what retirement is? Hey, retirees in my readership: please tell me about your situation. Are you busier or less busy than when you were working? I know that Covid changed everything, but give it some thought and let me know how you think things would be without Covid. Is retirement more or less than you anticipated?

An amusing thing cropped up on my calendar a few days ago: Tuesday was six years since I started my “internship” at the auto repair shop. The guys there taught me a lot and I really enjoyed that job, right up until my shoulders were regularly sore from the heavy lifting and the Orange Nightmare got elected. Those things caused some re-evaluation, and now I am “retired” and living in another country, so there’s that.

What else have I got? How about watching grass grow? Well, bamboo, which is a kind of grass.

Click to enlarge, I think.

The first photo shows a patch of bamboo that puts up very thick canes. They practically leap out of the ground. If you aren’t paying attention they will surprise you, and might stab your feet. They can go from nothing to two foot tall spikes in a week, and they come up full thickness!

The second photo shows a different kind of bamboo with much thinner canes, and the last photo is a closeup of the same patch showing three canes coming in, two in front and a much shorter one on the left side near the middle.

Bamboo has an awful reputation, with good reason. It can be very aggressive and spreads via root runners. The varieties here seem to be clumping types, though, which reduces that issue. And it turns out that new canes are easy to snap off at ground level if they are in a bad place. Anne is busy digging roots out of certain areas where she doesn’t want them, and trimming back the canes that are too close to the fences or are growing in places where they cause a problem. (Places like under our very limited eaves or directly below the power lines where they come into the house.)

Regardless of that reputation, though, it’s quite pretty and interesting to have around. It’s obvious why it is used to create screening or hedges. In the right conditions it doesn’t take long to make itself felt.

In other plant news, the dogwood out front continues to impress:

Those blooms have been slowly getting whiter over the past two or three weeks, and show no sign of fading or dropping yet. It’s a lovely thing to have in the front yard, particularly contrasted with the red maple.

And here’s a visitor we have in the area:

I was out for a short walk with Cruzer the other day and heard a loud hammering sound. This is the culprit. I don’t know how much of the damage on that pole was caused by this particular bird, but it was clearly finding things to eat. And it (I have no clue about its gender) is big. Probably a foot long from the bill to the tip of the tail, give or take. Glad the bugs are in the pole and not my skull!

That brings this week to a close. I wish I had more to share, but that just isn’t the case. As a result I declare it time for you to share with me. What’s keeping you busy? Any good projects you have going on? Let me know, please!

All the best!



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Jeff Powell

Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.