Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Housing Situation

I have been pounding out the JUSTINE manuscript in a conscientious manner for the last couple o' days, which means I haven't been blogging.  I am quite utterly uninhabited except for pictures of Justine's bedroom up in the attic of the brothel and worries about what POV I should be in. This is fine for me.  Not so interesting for anyone else.

So I cannot blog, really,
the mind being dry and empty as a tin can put out for recycling by a conscientious householder.

Instead of writing something of grave import or practical use, I'm going to complain about the bird situation in my yard.

This requires an explanation.
A lengthy preamble.
A prorogation, even.

This next immediate bit is an example of why we don't do prologues.  Because they are all a form of special pleading, aren't they?

I will now insert a fold so people do not have to upload the many pictures that follow if they do not want to.

I will just warn you that there is nothing about writing below the fold.
Just philosophy and birds.

Long-term sufferers from my blogging will know that the nice man who lived just a bit downhill next to me and worked for the Forest Service and kept a beautiful, wild back yard full of trees moved away, inexplicably, seeking Something Else in this American way we have of chasing new horizons

. . .  and a very worthy man of a formerly military persuasion moved in next door to me.

He cut down all the trees and tore out all the bushes and rooted up the old, old daylillies and German iris
and planted grass.
And bedding plants.

He gets up early on the weekends and cuts his grass.

He leafblows the Whole Monster Lawn at eight in the morning.

He picks up all the twigs and burns them.  He polices the grounds.
Everything is very clean.

The possums left almost as soon as the moving trucks rolled away.  They KNEW.

The gold finches . . . I used to get swarms of goldfinches.  A dozen and more.  Gone.
(I put in a picture of goldfinches because they are prettier than possums, frankly.)

One pair of cardinals remains out of four or five pair. 
And this year I've seen only one hummingbird.

I am just peeved about the whole situation.  

That was the prologue and it leads me to the matter of Bird Housing.

What it is:

I decided I'd put in some bird houses with all the mod cons.  I left 'em out to weather all winter, then put 'em up in accordance with the best directions available on the net, taking into account the local wisdom of the Woman-up-the-road.

And I waited.

I had several snazzy models.

Nobody came.
Or rather . . .  nobody came and nested in the bird houses.  They just nested in the trees, as per usual.

Except for one pair.  They set up housekeeping here:


In the mailbox.

'Bout scared the mailman to death.


  1. LOL at the improvised nest! Smart birds, those ... wonder if you could train them to shred your bills? (g)

    We suffer from a veritable symphony of leaf blowers every Saturday morning in my neighbourhood, lawns and patios and footpaths being scoured of all evidence of nature; while I gaze out the kitchen window at the last of the pink and white camelia petals blanketing my verandah, doubtless staining the porous stone pavers but just too pretty to sweep - or blow - away. Sigh.

  2. Hi Rachel Walsh --

    I am afraid I do not think charitable thoughts about mechanized lawn tamers.

    It isn't even that much EASIER to leaf blow than to rake.

    I love my camelias. They're delicate in the mountains; we're right on the edge of their range. I lose them from time to time and mourn. But I keep replanting and hoping.

  3. Anonymous9:56 PM

    We lost all our crows for a few years (from West Nile disease) and our song birds came back in great profusion. This leaves me conflicted about both West Nile and crows....

    In our area, which is one of those progressve communities that insists it has a right to say what you do with your own land, you can actually get fined for cutting down trees in some cases, or forced to replace the trees.

  4. WN appears to have cut a huge swathe through the crow, bluejay, titmouse, robin, wren, chickadee and Eastern bluebird populations.

    I'm most worried about the bluebirds, who have a hard time already.
    One came looking at the housing, but turned its beak up and flew elsewhere. I was very disappointed. I blame it entirely on the leaf blower next door.

  5. I live in an area that has a few protected tree species (Garry Oak and Arbutus), so even to cut down the dead ones people have to get a permit from the government. I like it - makes people think twice about cutting down gorgeous trees and murdering the local ecosystem with grass.

  6. I live in an area that has lots of 'common land' that can't be developed. The houses are rationally close together so the public utilities and roads are cheaper to install and maintain and everybody gets to enjoy the 'wild spaces' nearby.

  7. Ah, meardaba. My sister lives among the Garry Oaks and Arbutuses. The Garry Oaks have this lovely windblown-sentinel look (at least I think those are the trees I'm picturing).

    Leaf-blowers and vacuum cleaners. Ick. I ignore the leaves (which decompose just fine on their own) and sweep the floors when at all possible.

    I'd like to try bat houses, but I think one has to live near water for that.

  8. Hi Barbara Monajem --

    I'd like to mount some bat houses myself. It's 'on my list', y'know.

    There are probably bat societies that know bat habitat and could tell me what kind of house to put up. Societies in the support of, not composed of.

  9. All this makes me feel better about having no time to do yardwork! We technically live in a city, but have possums, raccoons, and hordes of birds and butterflies. Everybody seems happy with the overgrowth of blackberry vines and the unharvested pomegranates and crabapples.

  10. Hi Elisa --

    A veritable paradise . . .

  11. When I put up a bird feeder, birds came, but a black bear came, too. In the broad daylight, bold as you please, he sauntered in checked out the feeder, licked and pawed it, and sauntered away.

    PS: My house backs into the regional forest.

  12. Hi Keira --

    I envy you the regional forest next door. You are so lucky.

    I don't envy you the bears, though. Take care.

  13. Lovely rant, m'dear. And I do agree about prologues, save that, in your case, the prologue really MADE the story.
    Too bad your new neighbor prefers parade grounds to the waltzes of nature.
    And never fear, your bird houses will be inhabited. It may take another year or so until some first-time householder decides to take up residence, but it WILL happen.
    Donna Rubino

  14. Hi Donna --

    I'm crossing my fingers about occupants in the bird houses next year.

    With my luck, (jo says darkly,) they'll just come back to the mailbox.