Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New neighbors

This past weekend, I put up the bluebird house I got for Christmas. I knew it needed to get up soon since the bluebirds start nesting mid-March in our area.

I had a pole mounted feeder in the back garden and when the hubby bought the house, he had a bracket added to the bottom so it could replace the feeder on the pole. That works out great since it is a 6' pole and the hole for a bluebird house should be 6-8' above the ground. I just wasn't sure about the current location. After a little internet research, I decided it would be perfect - open to a field (our little backyard) and 4-5' from a place for the fledglings to roost (our dogwood tree and fence).

So, Saturday morning, while dad was in class, the kids and I headed outside to put up the house, install a new shepard's pole feeder system, and hang our new suet feeder. It was overcast and chilly so little hugs didn't last long. Switching out the house for the feeder was quick and installing the new pole wasn't too bad, although, my shoulder has been bothering me so screwing it into the ground wasn't the easiest thing to do. I put the pole in the garden under the family room window with the hope that we could sit on the sofa and watch the birds out the window.

After some snacks indoors, we headed to the home improvement store to pick up another feeder to hang, a rake, garden gloves for mom and the kiddos, and a mole sonic spike to chase away the voles (not moles) which are destroying the grass along our sidewalk.

When we got home, we hung up the new feeder and sat down for lunch, then dad arrived. He and our neighbor had rented a thatcher and aerator to do the lawns, which was the reason we needed the rake.

While he and the kids finished lunch, I got started on the thatching. The machine wasn't too hard to use and really pulled up a lot of dead grass. I only did the main part of the front yard, which is small, and then headed inside to relieve dad and put the kids down for naps. Dad headed outside to continue the thatching and I joined him to rake. When he finished the thatching, he starting aerating, raked areas first. When the lawn work was done, we did some pruning and finished spring cleaning the front gardens. It had been raining for a while at this point and it was chilly, but it was nice to get so much work done on the yard. We filled 4 lawn bags with dead grass and and clippings. Our yard is now ready for the spring!

All day Saturday, I checked on the feeders and never saw a single guest. But, with as much noise and activity going on, that was probably to be expected.

That night, we headed to the in-law's house for a St. Patrick's day party. My brother-in-law and one of his friends brew their own beer every year for this event - black duck (our last name translated from gaelic) stout. As usual, a lot of friends, family, and neighbors joined the celebration and the food was great. We left late, sometime after 10, and the kids feel asleep almost instantly so our 45 min drive home was quiet.

Imagine my surprise when we woke on Sunday to not only find the feeders covered in birds, but a pair of bluebirds checking out the house. They seem to have decided to keep it - we watched them chase other birds off the roof and when a small chickadee took a peak inside, they were right there to scare him away. They went in and out all day but I saw no signs of nesting materials - I'm guessing that's because its raining and they don't want wet grass to rot in their house. We spent most of the day watching the "birdy-birds", as little hugs and shmoo put it, and looking them up in the bird book.

I'll try to get some pictures of our feathered neighbors this weekend and post them soon.

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