Tag: back yard
Once again, I’m watching too many of those HGTV and DIY network home improvement shows — mostly, of late, the ones in which a homeowner’s backyard is “crashed” and transformed from a barren expanse into a Spa-Like Retreat, or a Tropical Paradise, or Awesome Party Area so they can invite over the numerous photogenic friends they always have.
It’s one way I pass the time when it’s too hot to go outside. I stay inside and watch shows about people who are getting makeovers for their yards, which are probably also too hot to invite friends over, unless, of course, a swimming pool is being added.
Watching those programs inspired me enough to go outside and attempt my own poor man’s version of a makeover – of a neighbor’s backyard, or at least the grassy area behind her apartment that I’m not sure who actually owns, probably the homeowner’s association.
I’ve told you before about where Ace and I ended our travels and where I’m staying for now — renting the very unit my parents lived when I was born, at a former apartment complex called College Village, since turned condo. It’s a modest development of one and two-story brick buildings that serve as an oasis of affordability in a neighborhood that otherwise consists of fine and expensive homes, with big trees and country clubs in every direction. College Village is mostly, as the name might imply, college students, along with people just starting their careers, and people on fixed incomes, or, as in my case, broken incomes. (There should be a TV show where personable, good-looking and enthusiastic experts come to your house and fix your income.)
I’ve also told you before about my neighbor dachschunds, short and chunky Frank and long and slim Bogey. Most days, Ace and I walk around the block with them. (Frank’s trying to shed a few pounds.)
Several times on those walks, their owner, Faren, has mentioned how she’d like to get a kiddie pool for the dogs to cool off in during the summer. It was taking her far too long to get this accomplished, though.
So I decided to “crash” her yard and transform that simple patch of grass from drab to fab, from bland to grand, from blah to something that rhymes with blah — oh yeah, “ahhhhh” — to, as they say in the parlance of these shows, “trick it out.”
While Faren was at work Friday, I made my move. I had but a few hours to complete the surprise transformation (all these shows have a beat-the-clock element to make them more exciting).
I decided to set a budget of $50. (That — staying within budget — is another dramatic element designed to make these shows more suspenseful than hammering and painting would otherwise be.)
First, I headed to K Mart, where I purchased a blue kiddie pool for $15. On an aisle nearby, I picked up some accessories — vital in any makeover. I couldn’t find any pink flamingos, but I bought two tiki torches for $5, and a bottle of bug repelling oil to fuel them, for $8.
Then I bought myself some sandals, because there was a half price sale on them, for $12.
That brought me in, even counting the sandals, at $10 under budget.
I gave myself a high five and, back home, assembled the team members — me and Ace. I found a flat place for the pool, borrowed a neighbor’s hose and filled it up. I stuck the two torches into the ground, but just barely because the ground was really hard and dry.
I proclaimed Ace lifeguard and myself facilities manager, as well as a charter member of the country club’s membership selection committee. I am also thinking about being editor of the country club newsletter.
Then I put on my new sandals and waited for the reveal, which I figured would take place when Faren got home. In the interim, I watched more home improvement shows and lots of advertisements for Glidden paint.
Faren and her boyfriend, Richard, pulled up without me seeing. So I can only imagine that, before I got there, they both said “ohmigod!” and “this is AWEsome!” numerous times.
When I saw they were home, I went over and walked Faren through the tropical paradise I had created, pointing out its many features, including her white plastic chair, which I had moved closer to the pool area. It took about four seconds.
Ace traipsed through the pool a few times, deciding, while it was perfect for getting a drink, it wasn’t big enough for him to lie down in.
Nevertheless, I foresee countless hours of enjoyment ahead as Faren, Frank and Bogey, and probably lots of mosquitos, make the most of their brand new, totally tricked out, awesome tropical paradise.
As for the lifeguard and facilities manager, they’ll probably be staying in the air conditioning.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, back yard, bogey, college village, crashers, dachshund, diy, dogs, frank, heat, hgtv, home improvement, kiddie pool, make over, neighbors, north carolina, pets, pool, summer, swimming, transformation, winston-salem, yard crashers
In the Davidson County town of Lexington, it’s now against the law to bring your dog to a city-sponsored function, even on a leash, or to keep your dog in your front yard, even if it’s fenced.
The Lexington City Council unanimously approved stricter controls on dogs at its Monday night meeting, all of which are effective immediately.
The measures include giving the police department the power to determine what dogs are dangerous and seize them; prohibiting dogs from attending city-sponsored public events; and requiring areas where dogs are fenced be only in backyards, 50 feet from neighboring structures and 20 feet from sidewalks.
The stricter measures stemmed from complaints from residents and an incident last year, in which an unleashed dog described as a pit bull killed a resident’s Yorkshire terrier, according to The Dispatch in Davidson County.
The new ordinance does not prohibit tethering — as long as it is in the back yard, is done without a heavy chain, and does not prevent an animal from reaching food, water or shelter.
“We require chains and tethering devices to be of a reasonable weight and length for the size of the animal to treat those animals humanely,” Lexington Police Department Capt. Mark Sink said.
Beyond that, and the fact that the city council didn’t ban any specific breeds, it’s hard to find much humanity in the new regulations.
But then again, Lexington is in Davidson County, whose commissioners last month — despite hundreds of residents showing up to encourage a much needed change — voted to continue it’s preferred method of euthanizing dogs: A gas chamber.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animal shelter, animals, back yard, cats, city council, controls, county commissioners, dangerous dogs, davidson county, death, dogs, euthanasia, gas chamber, gassing, humane, inhumane, law, lethal injection, lexington, north carolina, pets, ralph houser, restrictions, sheriff, strict, tethering
Species: Grey squirrel
Encountered: My back yard in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Backstory: As we’ve mentioned, my new place is crawling with squirrels, but there’s one in particular that I’ve become close enough with to call my squirrel friend.
The other day, I found him on his favorite tree limb, just outside my kitchen window — one which he has either scratched or gnawed the bark off.
I don’t know why he did that, unless it was maybe to make for a smoother surface. He likes to stretch out on it like a hammock and take naps there.
This time though, he had brought lunch with him, a piece of corn on the cob he had scrounged somewhere. It wasn’t a full piece of corn on the cob, just half a cob, but he was sitting up, holding it just like we humans do, one hand on each end, and nibbling off what was left of any kernels.
I halfway expected him to knock on my door and ask for butter and salt.
Once he saw me, he adjusted it, deciding to make it a to go order. He chomped down on the end securely before heading down the limb and jumping on the side of a big oak tree and disappearing.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, antics, back yard, backyard, clown, corn, corn on the cob, corny, pets, photography, squirrel, squirrel friend, wildlife
Joseph Thomas was pushing his 4-year-old daughter Jada on her swingset when two gunmen entered their back yard in Bradenton, Florida, and demanded money.
Bella, their boxer, and the other family dog, ran toward the men, who fired several errant shots before they ran off.
“If someone offered me a million dollars for her right now,” Thomas said of Bella, “I wouldn’t take it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, back yard, barking, bella, boxer, bradenton, crime, dogs, family, florida, gunmen, joseph thomas, news, pets, protection, robbers, saves, security, video
Long Island authorities are continuing their investigation of a woman in Selden whose back yard contained the buried remains of at least 20 dogs.
Sharon McDonough, 43, has been charged with animal cruelty, WCBS-TV reported.
“This is one of the worst cases of animal abuse I have seen in the last 25 years I have been doing this,” Chief Roy Gross, of the Suffolk County SPCA, said.
It all started Thursday, when a local rescue group contacted police about conditions at the house. When authorities arrived, they found five dogs crammed in small cages. By Saturday, police were digging up the backyard.
Investigators are looking into complaints about animals disappearing from the neighborhood, and allegations that McDonough tortured, killed, and buried them behind her house.
McDonough remained free Sunday night after pleading not guilty, but authorities say she could face more serious charges after investigators determine how the animals buried in the backyard died.
The live animals recovered from McDonough’s home, including several dogs and a cat, are doing fine. They are currently up for adoption at the Suffolk County SPCA.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 10th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal, animal cruelty, animal welfare, back yard, backyard, buried, dogs, investigation, long island, neglect, new york, roy gross, selden, sharon mcdonough, spca, suffolk county
A 12-week-old Chihuahua named Smokey survived two days with a barbecue fork in his head.
Smokey was being fed some table scraps at a backyard barbecue in London, Kentucky, when the person scraping scraps into his dish used the fork to shoo away another dog. The handle broke, sending the prongs flying into the dog’s skull, said veterinarian Mark Smith.
Smokey immediately ran off into the woods, where he hid for two days. When Smokey finally returned home, he was alive, and the large fork was still stuck in his head.
He was rushed to the Cumberland Valley Animal Hospital where Dr. Smith, after taking X-rays, anesthetized Smokey, disinfected the area around the fork, and simply pulled it out.
Smokey is recovering. “His nerve endings around the eye still seem to be a little slow but I think that will heal over time, he really is a little miracle,” a second veterinarian said.
Dr. Smith ordered six weeks of bed rest for Smokey, most of which will be spent in a crate.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animal hospital, back yard, barbecue, barbeque, brain, chihuahua, cranium, cumberland valley, dog, dogs, fork, freak, head, kentucky, london, penetrate, pets, runaway, smokey, stuck, survives, utensil
My girlfriend, Tamara, went out back to feed the feral cats on New Year’s morning, and there, next to our urban compost heap, buried beneath some rocks, was what appeared to be a gun, or at least piece of one.
An officer arrived at our home, a rowhouse in South Baltimore, within minutes. He walked through our back yard, through a gate and into the small area where, if we try really hard, we can park our cars. We pointed out the firearm, which was apparently hidden there on New Year’s Eve, and he reached under the rocks and picked it up — without rubber gloves, without using a pencil. (I was sure he was going to use a pencil.)
It was an older looking firearm, made of wood — somewhere between pistol and rifle — with a small grip and a long barrel, not a sawed off shotgun, but resembling that. The officer, saying it looked capable of firing, took it into custody, then walked through the alley with it, rather than back through our house. He didn’t want it to discharge in our house, he said. But maybe he just wanted to avoid Ace, who had jumped up on him a couple of times when he arrived.
Within a few minutes of his departure, the feral cats were back, enjoying a meal.