Tuesday, May 29, 2012
This story is a couple weeks old now, but that's okay. The first clutch of robins fledged about three weeks ago...or is it four now? Anyway, it was the Monday morning after the garden project painting the wash tubs blue and planting the mint and lemon balm. All day that Sunday, I caught glimpses of the juvenile robins hopping about the yard. On Monday morning when Andrew came home, he looked at the front porch and I greeted him at the front door. When I opened the door he said "look down at the welcome mat," and there, right by my feet was one of the juvenile robins. "Is he hurt?" I asked. We didn't know so I shut the door and got the camera and when I came back he had flown past the door and onto the grape vine tree. These nest cams are not only fun to watch, but gives scientists a whole new way to analyze behavior like never before. Below is the correspondence with Cornell, reprinted with their permission. Hi, we had four robins fledge from their front porch nest on Wednesday May 2. This morning, one of the juveniles was perched on one of our garden features just a few feet from the nest. The parents have already started to refurbish for the second clutch. this juvenile, was making very high pitched, insistent chirps. Neither adult robin would approach him or the nest and hovered about the garden at large. He did not appear hurt. Was he begging for food and the adults were trying to wean him off? Thanks Dear Julie, Some kids just don't get the hint! What you suspect is the most likely explanation for this behavior. I have even watched parents chase a youngster who keep coming around to beg for food when they believe that he ought to be feeding himself. We don't like watching that but, from the bird's perspective, it's really important that the youngster learn to fend for himself. I hope you've been watching the nest cams we've got up at our All About Birds website. There's one on a Red-tailed Hawk nest on the Cornell University campus where there are now three little balls of white fluff being fed regularly. They can be viewed at www.allaboutbirds.org/cornellhawks. In addition, four of the five eggs in the Great Blue Heron nest have hatched so the heron parents are being kept busy. They can be viewed at www.allaboutbirds.org/cornellherons. There's so much going on at the Lab that is fascinating. To learn more about some of those activities, sign up for our monthly eNewsletter at www.birds.cornell.edu. I also encourage you to visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cornellbirds, where there is a community of people who are always asking and answering questions about birds. I'm so behind on blogging I haven't posted pictures of the robins right before they made their way into the wide world. Enjoy this series. I won't post pictures of the second robin clutch unless something notable happens.
Or it feels like it these days. Aside from the Robin news, we have a few kildeer about, the barn swallows are back in force, the bluebirds are still about, and the red winged blackbirds continue to be our nicest regular at the bird station. Here one of our resident males is hanging out in one of our oldest orchard trees.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
That Andrew and I were sleeping in the guest room, and had most of our bedroom furniture in our master bath while we picked up shingles and other debris out of our backyard. Yup. On May 23 2011 tornado strength (but not the actual tornado) winds whipped past the hill on Parkview and took off most of the roof above our bedroom and half of the roof over our garage. The winds buckled our next door neighbors garage door inward, and chucked their super deluxe playground set over their chain link fence and into our yard. Two doors down, the front door blew off its hinges and into their kitchen. Andrew and I weren't home. Andrew was at work, and I had been in Columbus getting my hair cut. Dad called me as I was leaving Dublin to see where I was and which route I was taking. "161 is okay," he said, "it's going to go down 29 and head towards West Jeff." But of course, it didn't. I kept thinking as I went down 161, that man of man, the bulk of the deep blue gray, on the horizon, actually, it was the whole horizon, looked worse and I was heading straight for it. I didn't fathom how bad it would be, I didn't see any funnel clouds, but just past Irwin I had to stop in the middle of the road because it was raining so hard I couldn't see anything. I've never been in a rain like that ever. I didn't even trust myself to pull over and just hoped no one would rear end me. It only took a few minutes for the rain to lighten up so I could drive again and in the space of a few miles, stopped completely. By the time I pulled down our lane, I could see the pinks and oranges of the setting sun and hear birds singing. Then I pulled into our lane. It took a minute to computer that one, the house looked wrong and it took another minute to computer how it looked wrong. I didn't remember our roof being yellow...oh wait that's the plywood that's underneath the shingles, paper, and plastic. And what was wrong with our front porch. What is all that stuff on our front porch? Oh wait, it's the soffit under our front porch, all tour out and bent up in front of our door. Where were our garden boxes? Um, blown away apparently. Where were some of my terra cotta pots? Smashed on the walkway. Those suckers weighed 6 to 10 pounds but were toss and broken. Thank God none of them hit a window. I went into the house and was still really unaware of the extent of the damage. I was still thinking that you know, we would call someone to replace the shingles. the cats greeted me and didn't seem too upset. I freaked out when I looked in the back yard to see all this stuff scattered across the yard until a realized that a lot of it was from the neighbors jungle gym. I went upstairs and that's when I noticed two things pretty much at once, quickly spreading stains on the ceiling and the sound of water running. It wasn't raining anymore. It was the sound of water running down the tresses of our house. I called Dad and asked him to come over. I called Andrew and told him I thought the damage was worse that I thought and I would call him back. I turned on the bedroom light to see water pouring out from our ceiling fan. I shut the light off and turned the one in the bathroom on. I striped the bedding off the mattress. It was completely soaked for a circle about two feet across. Dad came over and shut off the breakers and took a ladder up into the addict. He brought some tarps but the water was overwhelming. We called a local roofer's emergency line and I called Andrew to tell him to find coverage and come home. He came home about the same time as the roofers, who using a spotlight, tightly tarped up the rest of the house. Because we called so quickly, we would be the first in line for repairs, as there was a lot of damage in the route 4 corridor from Springfield to Mechanicsburg with two tornado sightings, one, very close to where I stopped the car in the rain. The next day was calls to the insurance agent, taking pictures, lots and lots of pictures, moving stuff out of our bedroom. Mom was a huge help. I had timed laundry great, we had tons of dirty laundry and Mom took all our bedding and laundry and other bedroom linens home for washing/storage. For weeks Andrew and I would be getting most of our clothes out of laundry baskets in our other guest bedroom. Dad brought his dump bed trailer and gator over and we spent three hours picking up shingles and other debris. I wish I had taken a picture of this from our second story window but I didn't at the time, of the backyard. This was the eeriest part of the whole thing, all the debris was laid down in our backyard in a very precise spiral, think hard peppermint candy (like a Brack's) kind of swirl. It literally looked like the items had been whipped around to land in this spiral that started out narrow at the house and fattened as it stretched across our backyard and into the field beyond. The second thing that happened is that the folks who came to remove all the wet insulation (that was really starting to smell like ammonia) fell through our bedroom ceiling. I mean, FELL through the ceiling. Insulation and drywall was everywhere. I will say this for our roofers. If you live in my neck of the woods. Consider Metz roofing. They came out quickly the night of the storm and tarped everything up. They told me and Andrew that they would start work on Wednesday as Tuesday would be spent addressing everyone who called them with emergency repair needs, and they would also get the supplies together for our roof. On Wednesday morning they came at 7 am and had the entire old roof removed by lunch. While they left for lunch the giant shingle truck came and by Wednesday night the bulk of the work was done. Andrew had to work that night and I remember Doug Metz telling me "the roof isn't done but it's tight. It's going to rain and I don't want you to worry, no water will get in and we will be done tomorrow." I hated the sound of rain falling outside that night, but I really appreciated Doug's reassurance. Last Memorial Day weekend was spent with a giant dumpster in our backyard and Andrew and I trying to keep up with gardening and planning the steps it would take to put things back together. I think that's the weekend we also shopped for a new bed. It took 6 weeks. We got the original drywall person to do replace the entire ceiling of the bedroom. We had to have the ceilings in four rooms repainted. We got the soffit replaced on the front porch and had to repaint the entire bedroom and clean the carpets upstairs because of all the insulation. Andrew was home during the day enough to call contractors, the insurance adjuster, and do the myriad of paperwork things needed to keep everything rolling. Dad helped me plant the lavender that year and Mom gave us a leg up by helping with all the linens. Having family close by makes a huge difference in life I think. I know we are really lucky and overall the repairs can still be considered minor. People lose their whole homes everyday. We were able to still say in our house and that is huge. I'm hoping this brush with severe weather will be our last. Below are some pictures. The last picture I took tonight, the last visual remnant of the damage, where a piece of debris literally split the board fence in half...from the middle.
Posted by Julie & Andrew at 7:06 PM
Sunday, May 20, 2012
On the second weekend of May Andrew and I went down to Asheville North Carolina for a weekend trip. The drive down and the first day we were down there it was beautiful. I will have some highlights from where we stayed/ate/shopped in a later post but for this one I'll describe the main attraction. Biltmore...um mansion? I don't really know what they call it. To break up the text, I'm inserting pictures we were allowed to take on the architect's tour so when you look at the big picture of Biltmore, picture me and Andrew walking around parts of the roof. Descriptions are under each picture.
Posted by Julie & Andrew at 5:16 AM
This B&B was super comfortable. We stayed on the third floor and even had a big closet off the shower that I could hang shirts up. The inn was built in the mid-late 1800s and the original owner, Mr. Brown was the Asheville buggie dealer and repairman and he often picked up the Vanderbilts from the train station and drove them to their home. Lots of great old wood floors. Breakfasts were good, and there was a guest refrigerator and plenty of soda and water for guests on the road. They also gave great restaurant reservations like the Glass Onion. A little Italian restaurant just a couple blocks walk from the inn, this was my favorite meal of our trip. There were also some nice art places in Weaversville like Magnum Pottery. and I made some nice antique finds at Shop Around the Corner like an old egg basket in good condition. Andrew and I also ate at the famous Tupelo Cafe We loved the Appalachian spring rolls here with pulled pork and man they were good. I also enjoyed Rosemary Peach Lemonade and am looking forward to trying to replicate it this summer. The other restaurant of note was the Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village, this place had a long wait because it was Mother's Day but boy was it worth it. If you like local art, Asheville is a great place because it has a very strong and varied art community. We enjoyed this gallery Also, this was neat, they retrofitted the old Woolworth building and both floors were full of local art. Andrew and I picked up some pottery pieces. They even had a working soda fountain. I'll end this post with a few pictures from an overlook about an hour west of Asheville.
Posted by Julie & Andrew at 4:54 AM