Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Her Eye is on The Sparrow..

Thrill of yesterday: male rose breasted grosbeak. He hung around most of the day and was back today. His mate hasn't come back

Thrill of today: we had the camera ready when Mr. Oriole came back. Have never seen Mrs. Oriole The orange I had on before was all gone though I saw a cardinal run off with some mandarin slices that I left to attract the oriole from afar

I took this through a screen so that's why it's a bit fuzzy

Spent some time yesterday at the old house weeding this rock garden.  Note quince hedge in bloom. The house is supposed to be painted today but there is a chance of rain...
For the first 2 weeks we set up the feeders, we had just the 'premium' birds: finches, chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, titmice, blue jays but then came the scrubs: sparrows of 3 kinds, doves, red winged blackbirds, cowbirds and the absolute worst: grackles. The latter eat too much and scare the other birds away. Now we have a hummingbird, a pair of grosbeaks and an oriole with a special feeder for the latter. In our yard but ignoring the feeder are the robins and the barn swallows.  What I am looking for now is the indigo bunting and maybe a bluebird though I don't think they come to feeders.The swallows are perched on one of our lights ready to attack if we get too close to their nest.

Steve is gone again to maybe deal with the painters and to second guess the decisions I made yesterday with the plumber. Where the above rock garden is once was a giant silver maple. Although pretty, these are evil trees. Rule of thumb: whatever you see above the ground is three times below the ground. These roots destroy foundations and pipes. We have two series of pipes: storm sewer pipes and sanitary sewer pipes. Both were invaded by roots. The whole yard needed to be dug up and the pipes replaced. Having the massive tree cut down was just a small fraction of the total expense. And then they wanted to charge just as much to remove the stump. Around the same time, we replaced a rotted deck with a paver patio. The excess dirt I had piled on top of the stump and terraced the pile with rocks and plants. Gradually the pile flattened and weird fungal formations stopped poking through the ground so I assume the stump has completely rotted. I assumed the faulty storm sewer pipe had been replaced too. Steve was supervising this but he really, really is over his head in dealing with this kind of thing. He lived in apartments growing up and knows very little about these type of things.  City code dictates that sump pumps need to be hooked up to the storm sewer or drain in the yard; not the sanitary sewer. When we tried to hook up the sump pump to the storm sewer the overflow feature instantly was activated. We let it drain right in front of the house and it kept cycling so we hooked it up to the other sewer. We can't sell the house with an illegal hook-up. So yesterday, on my watch since Steve was gone helping 24 total voters on his shift, I met with a plumber. First we tried to see if maybe the storm sewer hook-up miraculously cleared up on its own (these roots have no tree). It was raining so we had plenty of sump pump action. Storm sewer  was still clogged and this guy doesn't handle that kind of work. I said, well we need to let it drain on the yard. The plumber's first attempt was way too short. I needed it longer and to go downhill away from the house. As it poured for 3 hours straight last night, we will see how that worked. I haven't received an enraged call from Steve yet telling me how stupid I am to have conceived this. I rescued some irises that were in the way of my diversion pipe and replanted them here in the pouring rain. Most of the overflow should head straight into my quinces. Steve thinks I probably have it headed towards our walkway where it could turn into a skating rink but we rarely have heavy rains when there is freezing. So my solution is ugly but legal.

While the plumber worked, I weeded in the steady cold drizzle. I was way too messy to stop to vote. Steve was gone from 5:30 am to past 10 pm. 24 voters showed up in his precinct. I don't know why the powers that be don't combine these elections. Only 2 things on the ballot. A woman with no experience whatsoever had been appointed chairperson of the precinct. They are paid slightly more. When Steve pointed out that she was messing everything up, she threw the ballots in is face and told him to do everything. Then he had to deliver stuff to city hall waiting in line forever.

My sparrow photos are on Steve's inaccessible to me computer. I do have a flock of what is supposed to be rare, white crowned sparrows. My 20 year old book shows them somewhere else though recent websites imply they might be migrants in this area occasionally. I listened to a podcast last night on 'citizen scientists' with website devoted to people reporting bird sightings and aurorae sightings. I know there are several websites devote to hummingbird migrations.

Steve did concur that our coffee maker is broken after some annoyingly patronizing texts yesterday about was I sure I pressed the on button and whether I accidentally unplugged the machine. Theoretically I had time to buy another yesterday but I was muddy and tired. Of course I need my morning coffee so I went old school this morning with boiling water, funnel and a filter.

New tulips keep popping up including these incredibly tiny blooms. Photos tomorrow. It is fun seeing what pops up here though I now see I have no dogwood or magnolias as I thought I heard her say. The developer was very much into planting Bradford pears, the smell of sex tree. They are all in bloom right now on everyone's lot except mine  as our tree was destroyed in a storm. In the entrance to our sub, there is a row of them. There are also rows of flowering crabs, not in bloom yet though they are in bloom in our old neighborhood. I know our old neighborhood was in a warmer agricultural zone than most of the area. I can see that things bloom there way faster than here.

Still having that old house around makes me unhappy.

The bird on the left is the strange white crowned sparrow. The titmouse looks like she's giving it a piece of her mind


Sarah Rowley said...

Hello Sue! I just happened to run into your blog today, and just had to tell you, you have such a beautiful family! And I love your pictures of the birds. They are so beautiful. Do you do much photography?


Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Thank you for the compliments Sarah. I do like to take photos.

Elephant's Child said...

Never ending.
And plumbing/drainage issues are the subject of nightmares. Smelly, messy and all too often obscenely expensive.
The birds and the blooms are heart balm though.


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