Saturday, June 27, 2020

inner-city bees, eggs, gardens

I could have zoomed on the beehive but the graffiti belongs to the environs. Note that 'zoom' in this instance is a photo editing term. Before that, you 'zoomed' with the camera lens. Before cameras, 'zoom' was a sound word, the noise of something moving fast. Once upon a time, it was a sewing term. However did it become a social media app?

I won't say exactly where the hive is situated because the bees like their privacy.

Me, too, I kept my distance. But of course, it's in the Pointe.

R is trying to engage this cool inner-city chicken in chat, but she's not interested. His hair is pandemic long but no match for a red rooster comb. 

The chickens belong to an egg-laying initiative at the Batiment-7 in the Pointe. Also to educate kids--and maybe even some adults--as to where food comes from.

This is one happy, well-fed chicken.

The many people who belong to Montreal's community gardens were not allowed access to their plots until... mid-May, I think. They are now open with sanitary protocols.

I've been able to harvest rhubarb once, tomatoes are in flower, leaf lettuce, arugula, carrots, onions coming along, pole beans trying to climb farther, garlic scapes cut.

The basil seedlings survived marauding insects and one heatwave. So far at least.

The chamomile is posing against the black currants that I'm looking forward to. Black currants aren't readily available in Montreal, even at the market--and expensive when they are. I love black currant jam.

This wealth of growth is set in urban Montreal.

The last picture is called Find the Chicken.

ps Chicken pics were taken about a month ago. (R's hair is longer now.) We stopped to see the birds today but there are only two hens left. One hen and a rooster gone. Apparently two foxes had visited. The open area where the chickens used to roam has now been enclosed with chicken wire. So... there are inner-city foxes too.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

solstice cycle / Montreal / St. Lawrence River

I haven't been cycling in Montreal yet this year because there were too many people on the paths. However, it's been a tradition (if only in my own mind) that we go for a cycle for summer solstice.

I like to go in the early evening when the sun is behind us, and our shadows stretch far ahead. We cycle into them. Or *I* cycle into mine. I don't know what R is thinking. With the steep angle of early evening sunlight, the contrast of white foam against darker water is high. The white looks almost phosphorescent.

However, this year it is very hot. Right now, as I write, it's 33C (91F) at 5 pm. The sun is brilliant. I knew I would be unlikely to get on a bicycle. So we went this morning.

I didn't chase my shadow. The rapids weren't phosphorescent. They're not even very high because the river is low. But I cycled past my favourite view of the St. Lawrence around the island of Montreal.

I had to stop to take a pic of this table. A printed tablecloth, a vase with some branches. So hopeful that someone will come sit and maybe have lunch, even though the sun is high and the grass is scorched. Behind the trees is the river.

Here's me with Kahnaw√°:ke across the river in the background. Last fall I did a walk, organized my friend Matthew Anderson, across land from which the Mohawk had been expropriated. A walk like that isn't much, but it's a way of being aware that this act of violence was done.

And after today, the days begin to get shorter again.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Things that jump over the fence in the night

I don't need a pandemic to stay home and notice the minutiae of daily life because I already spend a good deal of time at home by myself scribbling words.

One small observation is how the people who live across the alley on the second floor have lights strung year-round over their balcony. The lights aren't kept on all night, but they're shining when I get up at 6:30 on a winter morning. Snow, no leaves on the branches, cold brick, looped strings of lit bulbs. It's cheerful, yeah, on a dark winter morning, the sun not up yet.

I have only ever once, a few years ago, seen anyone on the balcony. A girl of about eight years old playing by herself. At the time I wondered if she had a bedroom window that faced the balcony and the parent or parents strung lights so she wouldn't… I don't know… be afraid of the balcony at night. Or maybe so she would see lit smiles through her curtains.

The girl would be a young teen by now. I've never seen her again. Maybe she was only a visitor, sent outside to play while the adults gossiped.

And anyhow, a person doesn't need a kid to do things that might seem childish or needlessly reassuring and cheerful, says me who does not have a child, yet keeps a heart-shaped stone, a magic spool of gold thread, and other tchotchkes on her desk.

The lights aren't as visible through the leaves. I'm not as likely to notice them in the summer, but they're still there.

Yesterday R said that one of the lightbulbs was on the ground by his bike in our yard. That would entail a trip from the balcony, along the ground or through the trees--leaps across branches--over the neighbour's fence, then across the alley and over our fence. Under the fence is possible, too, at strategic points.

An adventurous squirrel or raccoon? To what end? The tiny, inner-city backyard that we think of as ours becomes another place at night

Last week we were gifted a large blue flip-flop.