Thursday, April 15, 2010

Home Invasion, Part II

For being a mere one or two ounces, a small bird can make a hell of a racket. It sounded like someone was chewing through Finn's floor this morning, so I went to investigate. I don't have good hearing to begin with, so echolocation is not my specialty. Luckily I was able to find the intruder and it's port of entry.

Nothing on my house is normal. The Bob Goddard who put the last roof on put 2x4s on edge running parallel to the lower edge of the roof, and papered over them. They effectively make a gutter at the line of the outside wall of the house, a foot or two before the very edge of the roof. I imagine this design prevents ice dams and icicles during the winter . . . but it means that downspouts must be directed through the eaves at several points. These intrusions through the roof are prone to leaks. In the case of one, at a valley between a dormer and the main roof, it goes through my son's foyer. You can see it inside the house. It exits below the foyer, which is suspended above the bilco door to the basement. In the gap between the downspout and the aluminum siding, you can see there is enough of a gap for a bird to get in, explore, and possibly nest.

I hope I scared it away. I caught all sorts of hell for waging war on a squirrel who was chewing his way into my house last year. It started in the winter, when I thought I could just chase it away with a long stick, and that seemed to work until the late summer when I could see him clearly entering and exiting his hole. So I got on a ladder, laid wood, metal flashing, then roofing tar over the hole.

Well, that pissed him off. He sat on the roof and barked at us for days. He got covered in the tar, which I am told burns them. Cara and Jennifer were pissed at me, and I was pissed at them for siding with the critter.

I got a pellet gun and scared him away enough that he stopped. When Cara saw the rifle (a daisy, about 700fps) laying on the bed, and me looking like Lee Harvey caught red handed, she freaked out on me.

Some people need to see where beef comes from so they can get a reality check. One side of my family comes from farming stock and I know a good deal of hunters. I was not unexposed to the sight of beheaded chickens, slaughtered cows or pigs, and suspended deer carcasses.

Anyway, Mr. Squirrel is now affectionately known as "Short Tail" as he and two of his friends ("Fatty" and "Long Tail") visit regularly for handouts from the girls. Cara was the first to hand him a peanut directly, and just recently even I got to do that. It is kinda fun to see them run up to you when you leave the house to go somewhere. Maybe this will keep them from boring into my house.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Signs Of Spring

This year I turned the garden over by hand, about 500 sq. ft.

The ornamental fruit trees are blooming.

The front garden is coming back up.

We're cleaning some junk out of the garage. I hung a cattle skull on the outside.

The girls set up the pergola, which they affectionately call "The Lawn Room".

Somewhere under all this is Finn and his friend.

I saw several small snakes today - this one I captured and put in a bucket. He was about five inches long.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Little Things Mean A Lot/Long Time

We're way behind. The building inspector will not issue me another extension, and I haven't had the electrical finished. So I called the electrician and made a little progress: three fixtures installed.

A light at the top of the stairs...

...a fan in Finn's room...
...and a porch light.

We have to catch up. This summer I will tear out the kitchen walls, fir out the walls, insulate, sheet rock, and rebuild the kitchen to at least be usable.