Our cute little Bluebird family is now 12 days old. They will fledge between 17 and 21 days old.
We've also been having a little war with an Eastern Phoebe trying to build a nest over the front door. We allowed it last year and all was good until the 4 foot black snake arrived. It ultimately died from it's attempt and I almost died of fright so not more nesting by the door. She has been so determined though that Chris has to stuff the area with styrofoam sheets to take away the ledge and she has still slapped mud and moss all over everywhere. She's finally built a nest where she did a couple of years ago, on one of the downspouts outside our bathroom window. We're leaving the :decorative styrofoam for now though in case she or one of her sisters tries again.
They are about 9 days old now and very cute. We started with 6 but it looks like we have 5 now. That's a normal clutch size....at least for the birds that nest in our boxes.
We checked on the nest box this morning and our Bluebirds have started hatching! The one on the bottom is not dead. It just didn't lift it's head for the photo. Will try to get another look this weekend after all six have hatched.
The iris are on the bluebird schedule. I got the first bloom the same day as the hatching. Iris are pretty much the only flowers I plant. They are hearty and require almost no effort. They were also my Grandmother Lura's favorite flower. All of those things make it the perfect flower for me.
Birding season is off to a slow start this year but we finally have an Eastern Bluebird nesting in one of the boxes. In about 10 days we should have some baby birds to watch.
The other 2 boxes are still empty but there's an Eastern Phoebe determined to nest above our front door. We let her there last year and that resulted in a snake incident and that means no more birds above the front door! Chris stuffed the area full of styrofoam so there's no ledge but she keeps spreading mud everywhere. Eventually, I suppose, she will get it into her bird brain that she can't nest there and will move on and then we can get out the power washer and clean up the mess.
Speaking of cleaning up messes that's what I was up to all yesterday afternoon. Once wood-stove season is over I do a deep cleaning of the basement. There was a time when I could get some help from Chris but with the addition of my glass workstation and the mosaic mess he really only has about 4 square feet of space left in 1000 square feet of basement.
So let's take a little tour while it's presentable.
As you come down the stairs the dye studio is to the right. Hopefully by next year that sink against the far wall will have a cool mosaic back splash. When it comes to my work spaces I am 100% function over form. Almost every work surface and cabinet in the basement was gotten cheap or free so when I die someone can just call 1800-got-junk and haul it all out.
Just at the bottom of the stairs is this big beautiful table that I use mostly for cutting fabric. I did actually buy this and it was worth every penny. Beyond that is the glass department and the woodstove that keeps me toasty warm down here in the winter. That little stove actually heats most of the house all winter and, living in the "country", Chris can always get free wood.
All of my glass is stored under the bench. The scrap, frit and powders are in rolling cards and the glass sheets are in 3 old dishwasher racks. These are my absolute favorite "reuse" items. The have wheels, of course, so I can just roll them out for easy access.
On the back side of the glass "department" is the kiln, all of my slumping molds and a table for setting up things ready to go into the kiln. I plan to be doing some things here this weekend.
The other half of this back room is taken up with mosaic supplies. Do not get into mosaics because, seriously, this is as neat and tidy as it gets!
The 4th quadrant, and the 1st that I occupied down here, is where FloMo sits. It's right behind the dye station. When I say I'm all function over form I mean it. That carpet is held down with extra wide duct tape! But for the first and last time this year, that floor is clean enough to eat off of so if you want to have a meal on an ugly concrete floor you better come over soon. It's about to get messy again.
Tomorrow will be the 2-week mark for my self-imposed new/TV hiatus. Instead of watching morning news I read the Wall Street Journal and I've watched one evening news program 3 or 4 times. I've learned that I haven't missed a thing! There really isn't any news on "the news". I watched some golf this weekend and a couple of shows on HBO and that's it. Instead I'm listening to books and actually "doing" things.
The weather here was beautiful again this weekend so I got to kayak a bit, took some walks and otherwise ignored Chris because the new Bluetooth headphones are virtually noise canceling too. He new has to chase me down to tell me something if I'm listening to a book.
Until football season starts, I'm all in on the "no TV" plan.
One of the things I accomplished this weekend was a new section on the wall. I have no idea what this is. I just started putting blue and green glass pebbles on the wall. Then I bordered them in dark blue. Then I found some red and amber glass pebbles and finally filled in with the plate shards. Cleary I didn't consider the colors in the section right next to it. I just stuck things on the wall and I like how it turned out.
Chris says it's "A river runs through it".
The Eastern Phoebes are about to fledge and not a moment too soon. I had to put a plastic tarp in the front porch and I'm really looking forward to getting it up and throwing it out.
This is above our front door. It's an Eastern phoebe nest. They love nesting around houses and barns and they are very comfortable around people and buildings. When we first moved here they would nest over the light fixture on the back porch....until we installed a ceiling. The first snake that I saw at this house was a giant black snake crawling up the porch to get to that nest. It got chopped in half and returned to the woods as a lesson to the other snakes. In the past few years she has been nesting on a gutter outside our bathroom window but that nest got destroyed recently. Then Chris had the garage door open one day and she was desperately building a nest in there. When he closed the door she was building here within an hour. We decided to leave her alone even though it's going to end up being a huge mess.
We have to take out a step stool to get a photo and it's an awkward angle but here are her 3 eggs. Yesterday I had lunch outside on the guest house steps to watch her.
Hopefully a snake will not try to climb up my front door to get to them.
We also have another bluebird nest and I'll get a photo of that soon.
A bonus post for today! We checked on the birds yesterday. We still don't have any birds nesting in Box 2 but the others are doing fine.
The Chickadee is still hunkered down in her nest. We do not know if they have hatched yet.
The Bluebirds have passed the ugly baby stage and all 6 are looking healthy.
The photos today are awful because we waited too late to to check. But we were excited about what we found and I wanted to share.
In Box 1 we now know that we have a Carolina Chickadee nest!
In the Bluebird box we now have 6 hungry babies! I'll get better photos in a few days. I don't like to disturb them too often.
I spent all day yesterday grouting my mosaic wall and I should be sharing photos of that today. But I was too tired to take and edit photos. Instead I'll catch you up on our bird boxes.
For new visitors, we have 3 bluebird nest boxes on our property and have been "hosting" bird families since 2008. We mostly get Eastern Bluebirds which makes sense since the boxes are designed for Eastern Bluebirds. But we have also hosted Tree Swallows, Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees. Some years are great years and some not so great but that's how nature works.
We also have a Carolina Wren nest in our propane tank every year and an Eastern Phoebe that nests at the top of one of our gutters.
The Eastern Bluebirds are nesting in box 1, the most popular box. Six eggs is a large clutch for our birds. We usually have 5. These should start hatching later this week or weekend.
Box 3 has either a Chickadee nest or a Titmouse nest. We aren't sure but think it's a Titmouse. There's a Mockingbird that hangs out near this nest and sometimes runs the nesting birds off. Hopefully these will get to stay.
Tomorrow I'll have the mosaic update. Today I'm cleaning up the huge mess that is the basement.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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