of possums and PVC, 'peckers and squirrels

We are enduring a serious drought. There has not been appreciable rain here in eight weeks. I am using the swimming pool as an open-air cistern for watering the plants. Weeding the yard is effortless, as the plant roots are shrunken and stiff, the ground loose and dusty sand.

On Saturday I finally repaired the PVC leak. Lisa laughed good-heartedly when I spent two days creating detailed drawings of the stock parts in order to determine the precise length at which to cut the sections of pipe needed for the sub-assemblies (3.00" [revised to 2.25" at time of assembly]). "That's just his way," she told the guys who said that they could have had that done in 15 minutes. I agreed with them. That's my way, too. I wanted solid numbers and assembly drawings so that, if something went wrong, I could look at the drawing and check the assembly.

So that went very well, and the water leaks that remain are not draining an appreciable amount of water. I washed four loads of laundry yesterday using less water than it used to take to wash only three loads. Fully 1/3 of our water was going out through that leak. Thanks, Roy, for raking out that corner and revealing the location of the problem.

Rocko met his first opossum the day before. We were walking in the yard before sunrise and a possum climbed up on top of the fence, standing stock-still under the moonlight. Rocko was very excited indeed. I told him what it was. We stayed for a while but the critter never moved. Finally I led Rocko away and we went in.

Squirrels are very active in our yard now. Since the old man passed away and stopped feeding cats, and since Rocko patrols the yard many times each day, the squirrels no longer fear predation. I have taught Rocko that so long as the squirrels remain in the trees, they are OK. That's where they belong. If they come in to get a drink from our pool he can chase them away. He also goes after them if they set foot on the ground anywhere in the yard. Still ... when I go out and have a cup of coffee on the back patio, I have to cover my cup to keep debris out. The squirrely-nut creatures throw down a lot of leaves in this dry weather.

And then there was the downy woodpecker. Heck of a job finding it in the trees, but I did.

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