Monday, April 16, 2007

Mild & Sunny

Wow, what a great weekend. I can see now that once the really nice weather arrives, my poor old blog is going to suffer from some neglect. I will try to be better and make time for my blog because I don't want to disappoint my faithful followers (Mom & Dad, this means you!)

We had a lovely weekend and after mostly just messing around on Saturday, I had to get caught up on my household chores yesterday (laundry, vacuuming, etc.) Definitely my least favorite activities. I forced myself to do the indoor chores before I could go outside and play. I did, however, hang several loads of laundry on the clothesline, so at least there I could combine inside with outside time.

I did take the time to put out my birdhouse gourds. The low, single ones for the tree swallows and all 12 of the martin gourds. On Saturday I had purchased some cedar shavings to use as nesting material in these gourds. Previously I have used dried white pine needles, but this year I decided to try cedar shavings and see whether the birds will accept those. Cedar shavings also have insect repelling properties, so they should work in the gourds.

This is a gourd for the tree swallows. They really like these and have nested successfully in them for the last several years. I have 4 of these in the backyard. The tree swallows seems to prefer these gourds over my Peterson bluebird houses.

I haven't seen any tree swallows or purple martins yet, but my mentor in Rochester says his martins come back every year around the 16th of April. I've put the gourds up, but will keep the holes plugged until the martins arrive. I made the mistake one year of letting some tree swallows set up housekeeping in one of the gourds. Wow, they really hated the martins and kept chasing them away! Fortunately, those tree swallows hadn't laid any eggs yet, so I closed up the martin gourds till the tree swallows found another nesting cavity. It only took a few days, and then everything settled down.

Here are my martin gourds. I have 12 now -- 6 plastic Supergourds and 6 natural gourds. The martins seems to prefer the natural gourds. It will be interesting to see which ones they choose this year.

This will be my fourth year of trying to become a successful purple martin landlord. I've always had martins come to live in my gourds, but they've never been able to nest successfully (the eggs never hatched). Maybe this will be the year.... Whatever the outcome, they're fascinating birds to watch and I love hearing their bubbly song.

We took a motorcycle ride this afternoon and ate supper at the Los Gables Mexican restaurant in Fountain. It was very good. The motorcycle ride was a little chilly for me, but Rick was fine.

You really don't realize how stupid people drive till you're driving a motorcycle. Rick was riding ahead of me and almost got hit when some stupid chick (probably talking on a cell phone!) took an S-curve too fast and crossed over the center line right in front of him. Fortunately Rick was paying attention and was able to swerve out of the way quickly. (You don't even want to know what words came out of the mouth of this sweet Midwestern girl!) And don't even get me started on how fast people drive! We were coming out of Stewartville and my bike speedometer said 75 and there were people passing me -- in minivans, no less. Where is everyone in such a hurry to get to??

OK, I'm off the soapbox now. Enjoy this great spring weather. I'm guessing we'll be hearing the sounds of lawnmowers next week.

P.S. And the really great thing about going back to work today was that I found out I'm getting a 5% cost of living raise! Retroactive to last Monday! Woo-Hoo! But wait, there's more.....if my job lasts till next year, I also receive an extra 5 days of personal time (or vacation, as some people call it). Woo-Hoo again!!

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