A Bad Day With A Camera

Hibernating Happy Place

We call the backyard of our home our Happy Place. The house we are renting was nearly completely redone on the inside and feels new. The landlords haven’t been able to do the same with the exterior yet. The home itself is a drab yellow and brown, the fence is tired and end of life, the deck was about to fall off because of rotting supports (since replaced), and the shed looks rather worse for wear.

Not quite dead shed, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12

The shed has good bones but will need new shingles and exterior cladding and then it will be fine to use for another couple of decades. In the meantime, we’ve piled what we can fit into it and what doesn’t outside of it as it can still serve its function.

Fairly dead plant bed, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12

Despite the roughness of the fence and the shed, etc., my wife does a wonderful job of bringing the yard to life each year. The moribund plant bed above was bursting with fresh tomatoes this past summer.

Fire pit pad, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12

Every tree had planters full of flowers hanging from it. You could sit in a chair by the fire pit with a glass of iced tea and enjoy the thrumming noise of the bees in the trees behind you.

Chilled grill, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12
Patio table, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12
Recyling ready to take in, Strathmore,
Alberta, 2024-02-12

It is probably our deck that we are missing most of all right now. We’re used to using our gas grill every second evening and being able to dine outdoors at our patio table. We certainly don’t let the recycling pile up on the deck in the spring and summer.

That darn recycling, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12

We also don’t let the empty bottles and milk containers pile up like they have been these past few months, and you’ll never find a piece of garbage floating around the deck at the greener time of the year.

Going to pot, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12

These pots and planters are normally bursting with colour and life, not piled in a corner filled with last year’s dead bodies. It will be a while longer before the backyard becomes a target-rich environment for my macro lenses again.

Shrunken twig and berries, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12
Barren, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12

One of the saving graces for me last winter was that our Mountain Ash trees were lush with berries from the previous summer and they were full of birds. This is a very nice thing when you have an 800mm telephoto lens.

There are no birds in the Mountain Ash trees this winter. Our province is caught in one of the worst droughts since the Dirty Thirties and the poor trees are feeling it because they didn’t fruit out at all last year. The desiccated berries you see are left from the previous season and the birds want no part of them. Even that photographic opportunity is gone for me.

Path to the front, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-12

It’s safe to say that our backyard is not our happy place at present, not for a couple more months for sure. We are about two-thirds of the way through the dead season now and spring is just around the corner. Our happy place can’t come out of hibernation soon enough for the two of us.

Pardon me, make that three of us. The Canon EOS R5 body just shouted up from the basement to chime in.

Note: All images in this diary entry were produced using a Fuji FinePix XP-20. It is highly mediocre.

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© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

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