Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rockin' Robins

Just as things were starting to get fired up again at This D*mn House, I came out one morning to find straw and other debris all over Pearl's roof and hood. It seems a robin had been trying to build a nest atop the ceiling fan in the carport and had been deterred by some of the nasty winds we had in early May.

She was diligent though and I came home a few days later to find this.

I'm a soft touch and as much as I might have liked to tear down the nest and keep all that gunk off of Pearl, I didn't. As a result, the mama settled in.

And then one day, I saw a tiny head pop up out of the nest. Then another one! "We have two baby robins!" I excitedly told the mother.

And the mama robin kept herself busy with the little duo.
 Or so I thought ...

They didn't make much noise but I would occasionally see one or then maybe both babies. But one day, I came outside and spotted this:

There were THREE!!!!

And just as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared. Sort of.

I would frequently see one of the babies relentlessly chasing his mama, squawking to be fed. She obliged.
And then I noticed that one of the babies was still on the ground, not flying like his siblings. He stayed close to the tree that separates our part of the lot from our neighbor's. We watched for him so as not to step on, run over with a lawnmower or to protect from a rogue cat.

Finally, I saw the baby fly. He would teeter wherever he landed. And then fall. After two days of this, I noticed that he was walking on what would be his knees, not his feet.

I was able to scoop him up in a box and realized that one foot appeared to be damaged; the other was a mangled mess. So, while he could fly, he could never land. So, for several days he was shuttled between a box, a bird cage and the great outdoors. I made him a makeshift stand he could lean against. I fed him bread, cereal and worms. He ate hungrily, gulping the cereal from an eyedropper. He would try to leap on my hand and once outside, he would hobble around, occasionally taking a short flight before crashing off something. I would talk to him and he would sing back at me!

And then one morning, I awoke to find he had died. He looked very peaceful.
I was sad. But, at least he was not out on a cold, wet night. He was not torn apart by cats. He was not eaten alive by bugs or mites. I still see his parents and siblings; they have settled in about 20 feet from where the nest once was. Evenings, they are outside at dusk dining on lightning bugs. I like to think that maybe that little guy is, too, somewhere. Somewhere where he can fly ... and safely land.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wait. Where did 2014 go?

Hi! Remember me? Yeah. That me. The one at This D*mn House.

I can hardly believe that 2014 is nearly half over. It's been a really busy one already. (Can't you tell? It's June 26 and I'm just NOW posting something!) Hope that everyone is well. Hope there is even anyone left out there to read this.

So, you remember that covered patio? You know, the one I started at the end of last summer and then had to quit working on when Mother Nature kicked into overdrive in November. It's still there. And it's starting to see some progress! Let's take some time to catch up. I'm getting too far ahead. It will take a few posts to get you there.

Toward the end of April, Lawrence reappeared, something akin to flowers popping back up in springtime. Good thing. We had lots of work to do. The first order of business: enclosing the BACK of the patio frame above the house. We couldn't begin to put a ceiling in until that was done. The plan: take the aluminum from the side of the house over the carport (seen here) and replace it with vinyl scallops. Use that aluminum to close in the back of the patio roofline that no one will ever see. So, we ordered scallops -- months ago. But winter came early and we were cut no slack.

Fast forward to late April. Lawrence patiently strips all of the siding you see here. And we began unboxing those scallops. When we started, it looked like quite a bit of siding. As the job wore on though, it began to look like not so much. I finally had to ask Lawrence if we were going to have enough aluminum to cover the back of the patio roofline. His reply: "We'll have to see."

Once the aluminum was gone, scallops started going up. I'll admit, I was a little skeptical when the mother suggested doing this. I was not at all convinced that I was going to like it. From the time the first row went on, I worried a bit that it might be too much. But as each new row appeared, I began to soften a bit. Yeah. I kinda like that!

Once we had finished that task, we got delayed by rain. And rain. And still more rain. Just as I was frustrated beyond frustrated, we were able to get things moving again. We crawled up on the roof to set about closing in the back. We were met with quite the mess. The raccoon that we had noticed in the yard at night -- and whom the mother had seen sliding down one of the patio posts -- had apparently made himself a home between the unenclosed rafters of the patio roof and where it meets up with the house's roof. The tar paper we had left in place to help limit the rain and snow that piled up in the rafters was coated in spots with raccoon crap. UGH! Cleaning all that up was not fun.

At last, we got the back closed up. And we had maybe 6 sq. ft of aluminum to spare! Talk about cutting it close. The even better news was that the raccoon had been evicted. BOOYAH!