Last spring the flowing sap triggered a desire in me to do something about our small and raggedy yard. Ideas floundered all over the map before settling on building a deck. Our lot is long and narrow, as is the house. A short driveway shares the front with a square of open grass. (Next spring, a raised vegetable garden?) The backyard is a jungle under two giant spruce trees. A string of smaller trees and shrubs (two look like the rowans of my youth) provide some privacy from neighbors to the rear.
We were lucky to have stashed away the wherewithal to undertake a significant project, and lucky to be led to John Staub (double-bass player par excellence) as our contractor – though we had to wait a few months ’til he was free. We used the time to order and have shipped up on the barge a sliding-glass access door (6 weeks) and hot tub (4 weeks.) And we found Patrick at the Glory Hole who labored to make a gravel walkway along one side of the house, thus providing necessary access to the back.
Since Labor Day John has knocked out the wall from our bedroom to the back yard and installed the access door with adjacent window (for night-time air) Next he built a sunken pad for the hot tub and around it a roomy deck. Then 4-5 steps down from the deck on each side, and now he’s building a ten-step stairway up to the yard of our dear ones next door. The tub was delivered a week ago, requiring a day’s work by an electrician to do magic so the thing actually works. Then we needed professional help from the tub distributor (Lyle’s Home Furnishing) to overcome our intimidation at the knobs and chemicals that came with it. Turned out to be much simpler than it appeared from reading package directions and owner’s manuals. I think.
Last night, once dark arrived (around 8pm) Bill and I geared ourselves up and, swathed in towel, prepared to open the sliding door and sally forth for the tub’s baptismal sit. Well doggone it, there’s a frigging bear on the deck, sniffing around the tub. Next it ambled across to the (by now tightly locked) glass door to see what was up. Thankfully the animal was fairly small but still big enough to worry about. There have been a few in the neighborhood lately, and one walked behind the deck last week while John was at work. Maybe the same one. If it has become a “garbage bear” and habituated to finding urban leftovers, it may have a short life. Decided to notify the authorities, and sent an email to the Juneau Police Department “Ask the Dispatcher” to find out who has the thankless task of removing bears and trying to get them back into the wild out the road.
Meanwhile, it’s Sunday morning and I have a hot cup of coffee in hand. Think I’ll go sit in the tub, look up through the trees, and listen to the birds. Yesterday, aside from many robins, our back yard hosted a varied thrush, a grey-cheeked thrush, a bunch of juncos, and a pair of song sparrow. Until now, I didn’t even know they were there.