Fish Hooks Restoration: The Front Yard

Once Fish Hooks had been moved backward onto its new foundation, we had a fantastic new front yard. The bad news? It was little more than a gaping hole filled with debris, broken concrete and centipedes — as unsafe as it was unattractive.

bahamas, green turtle cay, abaco, fish hooks, restoration

A “before” shot of our new front yard

One important project during our last trip to the cay was to convert this pit into a safe and welcoming front yard. Knowing Fish Hooks is one of the first things visitors see when they step off the ferry, we want to be sure our house and garden are as attractive as possible.

As soon as the porch was complete, we got started on leveling out the yard. yard. Since garden soil is virtually impossible to come by on the island, we ordered some fill and sand from Wade Cash. And, as is his style, Wade exceeded our expectations. Instead of the plain rocky fill we anticipated, he turned up with a truckload of dark, rich earth.

He happened to be excavating a project site that week and had some soil to spare.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks, garden

Tom celebrates our good fortune

This dirt soon became the subject of much interest. At least a half-dozen of our neighbours stopped by to ask where they could get some.

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Charles Smith, our gardener, and his crew spread the newly delivered earth

With the rainy season due to begin any day, Tom and I realized that until we had a lawn to anchor it, we’d need to keep that precious dirt from washing away. Especially since several friends had jokingly promised to “liberate” any of it that ended up on the public roadway.

After a bit of thought, we knew just what to do.

When Fish Hooks had been moved a few months before, we’d set aside a couple dozen beautiful old stones. Some had been part of the house’s original foundation. Others were pieces of Ma May’s outdoor stone oven. At the time, we had no idea what to do with them — we just agreed they were too historic and beautiful to get rid of.

Now, we realized they’d make the perfect border across the front of the yard.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks

The rock border in place

Originally, we’d planned for this stone border to be temporary — just until we installed a proper fence. However, we love it so much, we’re thinking of keeping it and working the fence and garden around the stones.

After the yard had been leveled out and the soil secured with this low retaining wall, it was time for grass. We chose Zoysia (it’s similar to Bermuda grass and is used a lot on golf courses), because of its resistance to salt, sun, drought and weeds, and for its fine, soft, carpet-like texture.

Charles planted small clumps of grass throughout the yard, promising that before long, it would spread and cover the dirt.

Sure enough, within a week or so, the rains started and the Zoysia began to take hold. The photo below was taken a week or so after it was first planted…

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks, zoysia

… and the two pictures below were taken last week by our friends, Mandy Roberts and her son, Dillon. Tom and I are so happy with the yard to date — can’t wait to get back to the cay and begin planning out our garden!

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks, zoysia, grass

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks, grass, garden, zoysia

Abaco Potcakes Need Your Help

bahamas, abaco, potcake, stray dog, dog rescue, spay, neuter, veterinarianIf you’ve spent time in Abaco, you’ve no doubt encountered stray dogs, known locally as potcakes. In the past, many of these creatures were left, emaciated, injured and/or diseased, to fend for themselves.

Today, however, non-profit organizations such as the Abaco Shelter (aka Pop’s Shelter) and Royal Potcake Rescue rescue Abaco’s strays, giving them food, shelter, medical care and love, and finding them forever homes.

To help control the local potcake (and potcat) population, Abaco’s animal rescue groups are co-sponsoring a series of spay and neuter clinics over the next few months.

Clinics are scheduled as follows:

  • Marsh Harbour — October 24-26 at the Island Veterinary Clinic
  • Sandy Point — November 8-9
  • Foxtown — December 6-7
  • Green Turtle Cay — December 13-14 (cats only)
bahamas, abaco, spay, neuter, stray dog, potcake, animal rescue

Photo: Royal Potcake Rescue

Approximately 200 animals were sterilized at a similar clinic this past April, and organizers are hoping for comparable results at the upcoming events.

However, the success of clinics like these depends in large part on contributions from folks like you and me.

To donate online, visit the Abaco Shelter website or Royal Potcake Rescue Donations Page. (Royal Potcake Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue organization, meaning U.S. donations to this organization are tax-deductible.)

Donations can also be made in person at the Abaco Shelter (please make checks to Pop’s Shelter.)

In addition to financial support, clinic organizers are seeking donations of the following items:

  • # 10 scalpel blades
  • 3×3 or 4×4 cotton gauze pads
  • Alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Bottled water
  • Canned dog food
  • Coloured duct tape
  • Cotton balls
  • Disposable gloves
  • Flea and tick spray
  • Gallon-sized Ziploc bags
  • Garbage bags
  • IV catheters – cats 24g x 3/4″, dogs 29g x 1 1/4″
  • Kennels – all sizes
  • Markers
  • Paper towels
  • Pens
  • Povidone-iodine
  • Q-tips
  • Scrub brushes
  • Sheets and towels
  • Slip leashes
  • Surgical drapes (disposable or cloth)
  • Syringes & needles – 1cc majority, 3cc, & 20 or 10cc
  • Tarps
  • Thermometers
  • Tweezers
  • Vet wrap

If you can contribute any of these items or if you’d like more information about the clinics, contact the Abaco Shelter at (242) 367-0737 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or the Island Veterinary Clinic at (242) 577-0397, Monday through Friday.

bahamas, abaco, marsh harbour, potcake, stray dog, dog rescue

Post-op recovery area at the April 2014 spay and neuter clinic

 Free Vaccine Clinicdog 9

In conjunction with the Marsh Harbour spay/neuter event this weekend, Island Veterinary Clinic is offering a FREE Vaccine Clinic on October 25, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Two hundred units of vaccine  will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dogs must be older than six weeks and should NOT have been vaccinated this year. All dogs must have a (free) check-up before vaccination.

For more details, contact the Island Veterinary Clinic Monday through Friday at  (242) 577-0397.