Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Going and coming...Psalm 121:8

This morning we'll be on the road (and in the air) again. We're packing a lot into the month of July. Nothing planned for August...except the fair...and... ok...nothing planned for September!

Barn Swallow Update:

Last week the kids and I went to the garden to strip the pea plants. The weather got so hot I knew there wasn't a point in letting any peas remain on the plants. When we returned we found this little guy on the front porch.

It must have just happened. I doubt he would have been there very long since The Dog practically lives on the porch during the day.

I scooped him up with a piece of paper and plopped him back in the nest (but not before waiting for the camera to be fetched...document, document, document).

I checked on him later in the day.

He was still ok, although I noticed he was the smallest of the bunch. I don't know if he was accidentally shoved out by his bigger siblings or maybe it is one of those "survival of the fittest" things. Ick. Then, I had to ponder the long-term ramifications of saving a baby bird that, had the nest been anywhere else, surely would have died. Will we be plagued by a few less mosquitoes? Will he be a meal for a hawk on a day it would have otherwise eaten a chicken? Or maybe (less selfishly) someone somewhere will enjoy watching him swoop through the air.Here they are begging for more to eat.

I've been spending quite a bit of time sitting on the stoop watching the parents feed the youngsters. There is something to be said for shoving food down a baby bird's throat. Quick & effective.

This one was taken yesterday. They're starting to get feathers and actually chirp! All four are doing well, although one is still noticeably smaller than the others.

See you all next week!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Four wheels...1 Kings 7:32

We're back! The birds didn't miss us, but they sure did grow while we were gone.

We finally got going about 9:30 a.m. on the 5th. It took us a bit longer than usual to get up the mountain out of our little valley, but once over the hill and on the interstate the truck pulled the 5th wheel trailer pretty well.
One thing we enjoy about our little valley is that everyone is so friendly. While driving, it is customary to wave at every vehicle you meet, whether you know the person driving the other vehicle or not. It is just the friendly thing to do.

Of course, we usually don't wave at every vehicle when we leave the valley. People would just think we're weird if we did that. Therefore, a few hours after we started our trip, we were a bit surprised when we met some very friendly, waving people on the interstate. They waved as they passed us...then the folks in the next vehicle waved...and pointed. They were friendly and helpful. Wow!

We slowed down and pulled off at the next exit. Sure enough, one of the tires on the trailer was no longer functioning as it should. We drove over to a nearby parking lot and The Man got out to change the tire.
One nice thing about having a blog is that when things like that happen, instead of getting upset about a delay, I'm almost giddy with excitement. "Where's the camera?"

I got M involved also with the video camera. Pretty soon the spare was on and we got back on the interstate. The Man wasn't impressed with our spare so we got off at the very next exit and asked for directions to Les Schwab. They were more than helpful with getting us set up with four new tires (we bought the 5th wheel a few years ago and we really had no idea how old the tires were). The Man thought about asking them how long it would take to repair the old one (ha-ha) but decided just to replace them all.

While the boys waited in the store, Sacagawea and I wandered next door to do a bit of shopping.
I've been in Goodwill stores before, and I've been in outlet stores before, but this is the first time I encountered a Goodwill Outlet. The first thing I saw inside the door was a table with books. Fifty cents each or three for a dollar. The first book I saw was one that I remembered my sister-in-law saying that she wanted. The binding needs a bit of TLC, but other than that I thought it was a pretty good bargain. I found 2 other books and Sacagawea picked out a small sewing box and a seat cushion. We handed over $2 and went back to the tire store. All the kids (including the big one) enjoyed playing with the "toy" there. They created all sorts of vehicles. It helped pass the time until our trailer was finished. We got back on the road and had a very uneventful trip to the camp meeting, where we finally arrived about 8:30.

A good time was had by all and we were back on the road by 11 a.m. Sunday morning. We went home by a different route to visit some friends who were visiting the area they are moving to soon. The kids enjoyed swimming in their hotel pool for a bit before we continued on our journey home. For supper, we stopped for some Chinese food. That's pretty fancy traveling food for us, but it was a special occasion. It was our 17th wedding anniversary. We were back home by 9:00 last night. Ahhhh.

OK, new pictures of the baby birds...

Aren't they sweet?

By this afternoon they were putting their heads over the edge of the nest.
I think this one is "Junior." Here is a picture of mom and dad. They are pretty perturbed with us.
This chicken keeps getting out of the orchard. Sacagawea loves catching her and returning her to the orchard. They do it several times a day. We suspected she was laying eggs somewhere special. Today The Man found 8 in his shop. Apparently she uses the doggie door on the shop door to go in and lay her eggs!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

And the swallow a nest...Psalm 84:3

Updated at the bottom.

Yuck! What is that?
Right above our front door! I'm glad we haven't got the second coat of paint on that part of the house yet. I begged The Man to remove the mud from the house. He didn't want to.
"Please, before they spend any more time on their nest."

Then The Man said the words that he knew would convince me to just leave it alone...

"You can blog it!"

Now, you may not think that watching mud dry is very exciting, but sometimes you need to get your thrills where you can.
There. Almost done.Ta da!
Two little barn sparrow eggs.
Oh, wait...FOUR little barn sparrow eggs.
I did have concerns about these birds. They have absolutely no fear of us. That does make for good observation, but considering that the nest is right above the door and Mr. Swallow hangs out on the front porch light, I am a bit wary about them deciding to come inside. Especially since that door is opened (and sometimes closed) about 6000 (give or take) times a day. So far they have decided to stay outside.
I'm not going to apologize for taking so many pictures of this nest and eggs. They knew perfectly well that humans were going to be in and out that door all day long. If the barn swallows didn't want us observing them they should have chosen another place to build their nest. Like, maybe, hmmm...the barn.

Update added July 5:
We have baby birds! Yesterday morning I noticed specks of something on our welcome mat. Closer examination showed that they could be bits of eggshell. Another peek in the nest revealed two baby birds.

Later, I could not get a non-blurry picture with just the camera up against the porch roof so I resorted to using a mirror.
Three babies and one egg left.

This morning I went out again to check the nest. It looks like the eggs have all hatched now. I didn't get a good picture since the normally passive mother turned into a very angry bird. I might fly around in circles and make a lot of noise if someone was trying to snap pictures of my babies in their bed. Oh. I feel like a paparazzo.
I'll leave them alone for a few days. That shouldn't be too hard for me since we're going camping. We will be back on Sunday. I'll try to get more pictures then.