Part One: Hawks
Saturday morning I went to let the chickens out of their coop, and I saw this on the pathway between our house and the coop…
(It must have been very fresh when I first saw it, because in the few minutes it took me to go get my camera, a lot of it had already dried.) So, I looked around for other signs or a trail. Nothing.
I called the cats. Luckily they were easy to find, or I would have been worrying all morning. Matt Damon was lounging nearby on the patio furniture, and Queso had just finished her breakfast on the porch. No signs of any bloodshed (giving or receiving).
Standing next to the blood, I looked straight up into the towering water oak.
I stood there squinting, crane-necking, examining every branch I could, looking for an unfortunate squirrel or maybe a snake draped across a branch. Try as I did, I could not find the source of the blood.
But I did spy another clue in the grass under the tree. Just what I was afraid of.
I went ahead and let the chickens out–not into the yard, but just their chicken run area. (It’s an area I had to enclose after the hawk attacks began in late 2009. I’ll write about that story sometime soon.)
I was so annoyed, because I thought we were finally to the time of year that I didn’t have to worry about the predators so much. See, the hawks have the biggest advantage in the winter months when the leaves are gone. They can perch in one of the tall trees in the woods behind our yard and just watch and wait. (Did you know that a hawk can see a mouse 1/2 a mile away? Just think how easily they can spot a fat, fluffy hen…) Last winter, we literally had to sit out there in the cold just so the birds could have some time outside the run. I would get home from work, put on my Uggs, and go “stand” guard against this…
Anyway, with the bloody warning sign and several sightings of the birds of pray, it looks like the yard birds will still be spending their mornings in the run rather than free-ranging (free-yarding?).
I know hawks are an important part of the food chain, but my patience with nature dwindles every time they claim one of our birds. I have dreams (nightmares?) about them attacking the fat ladies or one of the ducks. Seriously, I do.
And we live in town! You just wouldn’t think about there being a hawk problem in the middle of town. At least Sargent is too big to carry away…
Part Two: The Fence
When most people buy a house, they have a “to-do” list of changes and/or repairs that they would like to accomplish. The length and extent of the list might vary, but I’m guessing “The List” exists, whether the house is ten years, 130 years (ours), or anywhere in between.
The worst part about having a lengthy list (besides the obvious), is that sometimes, something that was checked off The List first has to be redone before the rest of The List has even been completed.
This weekend, we experienced one of those frustrating setbacks. It wasn’t the first, and, unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last. It’s just part of home ownership.
After church on Sunday morning, Harper set out to mow the front yard before the temperatures reached 100°. Within a few minutes, I heard the lawnmower stop, and he came inside to tell me that a limb had fallen out of the oak tree. A BIG limb. And it had broken part of the fence. I won’t mention some of the words that came with the aforementioned information, but I knew it must be a pretty big limb.
I quickly put the baby in a stroller and grabbed my camera, but Harper already had put the chainsaw into use. He’s a fast worker–not one to stand around looking at something for a while before taking action. We’re different that way.
I was about to put down the camera so I could pick up limbs, but then I saw this: the first agapanthus bloom.
And I thought, I love agapanthus! I better take a picture since it’s the first one. And I’ll need it for my list of favorite summer blooms.
When the roar of the chainsaw finally broke my I-likey-pretty-flowers gaze, I decided to take just a few more of Harper’s progress.
Our poor fence! That picket fence was one of the first things we (Harper) completed from The List. And it’s not one of the pre-made eight-foot panel jobs, either. He used sturdy 2×4′s and nailed up each picket individually.
Then, I was ready to help pick up limbs. Until…
…this rogue zinnia growing along the border begged me to take its picture. I couldn’t resist. It’s my favorite flower (but not my favorite color)! And it’s the first one to bloom this year.
Suddenly I realized I was still wearing my church clothes (even though I never made it to church due to a poor crying, constipated baby). So I ran inside and changed.
Finally, I helped pick up the rest of the limbs. I also pulled some weeds and inspected the damage to my garden. It wasn’t pretty, but it would have been much worse if the limb had fallen even a few inches further into the flowerbed.
I left the heavy lifting to Harper. He made it look easy.
I sure like having a strong man around this place!
Well, that’s the end of the weekend drama. (I know it is silly to call it “drama.”) But while you’re still there, I’ll ask for your opinion. I originally had “paint the picket fence” on The List. I’m still 80 percent sure it would look better painted (white,to match trim on the house), but there’s 20% of me (probably the lazy part) that says to leave it–you can barely see it anyway. What do you think? Paint it or leave it?