Friday, June 27, 2008

Gopher Girl strikes again

The Irish Woman has an alter ego named Gopher Girl. Gopher Girl has a super human ability to create holes in any pristine section of green lawn. She especially enjoys digging large holes for ponds, but has also been known to dig up an entire flower bed in order to exercise her talent. If necessary, she will dig from sunup to after sundown. No amount of fussing on my part will get her to stop and come in, even when the heat and humidity climb into the 90's.

Over the years, she's put in two ponds in our front yard, both dug by hand with a garden shovel. The first one was dug when we first started dating, but has had several incarnations since then. About every year or two she replaces the liner, or changes the location, orientation, or size of the waterfall. The plants and flowers around the pond have changed quite often, but for the most part she's become satisfied with them. To her credit, she's bought a few plants from the nursery and then split them as they grew to fill the pond and flower beds.

Of course she started out with some nice expensive koi and other pretty fish, but they just didn't seem to want to survive. Now she just buys 25 cent goldfish at the pet store and puts a bunch of them in the pond. We usually lose a few a year for unknown reasons. Several fall victim to the neighborhood cats and racoons, and once I think we lost quite a few to a crane who cleaned out the pond. For the first time, we seem to have gotten baby fish from the goldfish this year. Currently, we have almost 40 fish, including the new babies.

In addition to the fish, we have attracted quite a large family of frogs. I've seen everything from little frogs the size of a dime to a bullfrog big enough to wake up the kids when he starts croaking.

All of this wildlife and fish so close to the windows in the living and dining rooms makes for hours of entertainment for the cats. Imagine 3 housecats sitting in an open window, having a conversation with a bullfrog and begging us to let them out, even for just a few minutes. More than once, Koshka has squared off with a raccoon or cat through the glass door when they come by for a little seafood.

Once that pond had reached a sort of equilibrium, Gopher Girl began work on another pond, which I have titled "The Lagoon". Again, it was dug and put together entirely by hand. This pond is about 3 times as large as the first, and is much more intricate. It's divided into an upper and lower section, which are connected by a small waterfall. The pump and filter for the pond is at the bottom of the lower section, and it feeds a rather nice waterfall at the top of the upper pond. It's quite nice, but several hundred square feet of plastic liner means a lot of opportunities for leaks and tears. Maintenance on this pond has kept her busy for almost 4 years.

Overall, I don't mind the ponds. I don't help her much with them, but it's her hobby and it keeps her happy. While she's working, of course, my front yard looks like a missile test range somewhere in the Southwestern Desert, but it gets better once she's finished and the plants fill in the new gaps. Of course, that only lasts until Gopher Girl gets the itch again and begins pitching chunks of Kentucky clay into the mulched flower beds.

Recently, Gopher Girl replaced the liner on the smaller pond, and when I came home last night, about a quarter of a ton of rock had been moved to re-create the perimeter of the pond. A new place had been dug in the side of the pond for the pump and filter, and some plants had been replaced. Apparently this wasn't enough, because one of the beds in the backyard was dug up and several hills of beans had been planted.

With her need to dig satisfied for the time being, Gopher Girl has gone away, at least for the moment. I didn't even have to hide the shovels this time.

Smiling Baby, Running Kitty

Last night, Baby Bear was sitting on my leg as I did some work on the laptop. Koshka, our Siamese, jumped up on my lap to see what I was up to.

For the first time, Baby Bear noticed the existence of the cat. He immediately squealed, smiled, and leapt across my lap to grab two little handfuls of fur. Koshka jumped straight up and did her best to take off running across the hardwood floor. On her way up, she managed to gouge a few holes in my leg with her rear claws, but I didn't even feel it between keeping control of the two month old and laughing.

This bodes well for things to come. The cats will have someone to play with, and the toddler-to-be will have three moving targets to entertain him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Well, I've finally gotten on the band wagon and created a blog. First some info on myself. I'm the Daddy Bear here. I have 4 cubs, Junior Bear, Little Bear, Girly Bear, and Baby Bear. I have a wonderful wife, the Irish Woman, who puts up with me and my spawn with a smile on her face.

I work for a large U.S. company in Kentucky, and have been here almost 8 years. I've lived all over, both as an adult and a kid. When I was younger, I was an intel weenie in the Army, and did a lot of really fun things and a lot of really boring things.

Junior Bear is a typical teenager, trying to get through high school with as little damage as he can.

Little Bear is my younger son, just starting middle school next year.

Girly Bear is my one and only daughter. Yes, she is Daddy's girl. She's still in grade school.

Baby Bear just turned two months old. He's currently working on learning to smile and hold his head up.

The Irish Woman is as strong as steel and as soft as lamb's wool. Her eyes can show light on the world and can cut me in half when they flash lightning. We've been together for 7 years, and married for 4. She's become a great co-parent to my kids, and is a great partner to me.

As for me, I'm a 40-ish schlub. I'm a Republican, socially moderate and fiscally conservative. I'm pro-gun and pro-defense.

The rest you'll learn as you read.
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