Ironic, and the Toes of a Coot

It is a bit ironic that my office is located on the boundary of one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Canada. You see, the work I do takes me into some of the most economically disadvantaged parts of town. We leave what I have dubbed the “Fortress of Solitude” beside its neatly manicured yards and drive to home visits where the manicure, shall we say, has been a thing of the past. One clue that we have found the right address is often the garden. Where in the past the lawn and shrubs were a point of pride, or the grapevines tended for the making of home-made wine, we might see that the weeds and moss have overtaken. We are often picking our way through debris to find the front door, and sometimes even when we are in the home itself. It is no small thing to maintain a house in good health, quite another when one is frail. One of the satisfactions of my job is when we can broker a bit of assistance – not to make the place neat and tidy, that is beside the point, rather to assist a bit in maintaining the person safe in that home. Neat gardens are an esthetic we don’t worry about. Isolation, loss of independence and health are factors we can work with, if the person wants or is not too sick to survive without some kind of help. The work we do is a constant ethical challenge – it is easy to make assumptions about what is best for the person based on such things as “can they manage the yard” and it behooves us to try to see it from another’s point of view, not just our own. Makes for some pretty interesting, challenging discussions at times. I wouldn’t want it any other way.


At this house, the crocuses have spilled out of the garden, into the front lawn and onto the median of the street. There are swathes of blooms up and down the block all starting from this once tidy bungalow. I was predisposed to like the occupant from this alone! (It is all working out OK. I imagine this block would be much diminished if the house’s occupant were to have to leave. Hopefully not any time soon.)

I thought about weaving today, then thought better of it because the sun was out. Off to the bird sanctuary to see who was around.

IMG_0178Sandhill crane. I overheard someone saying there are several that are now resident at the sanctuary.

IMG_0181It is the height of rudeness to laugh at another species and their toes. Maybe the lady coots think those feet are the sexiest things ever. The feet of a coot are described as “lobular”. Yup, they certainly are that!

IMG_0179I anthropomorphize and really shouldn’t, but isn’t this little mama mallard kind of sweet?

The bird sanctuary is a joyful place to visit. I overheard a young kid say to his dad: “I want to stay here all day, even when it gets dark!” I can relate.

3 thoughts on “Ironic, and the Toes of a Coot

  1. mom March 10, 2013 / 3:31 pm

    I can relate also, I love that place. It’s still winter here although pretty nice also. Much love

    • warpandwoofknitting March 10, 2013 / 11:00 pm

      Hi Mom; Yes, we are lucky here. The crocuses made me homesick for the north though…Love

  2. Alison March 13, 2013 / 4:28 am

    The crocuses remind me of the farm and “suicide hill”, as it was always the first to show the crocused come springtime. We won’t be seeing them for a while yet up North but I do look forward to spring.

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