Front trim done at last!

And it only took till August!

I finished installing and caulking the trim around that front bedroom window a couple of days ago, and with a quiet sunny day before me there was no reason not to finish painting it and a few other little touch-ups here and there.

I had a laugh at myself this morning, considering that in the past month the Secret Lair has become a stop-off place for neighbors to exclaim over how nice it’s looking. They never used to do that.

There’s not a lot left to do on the structure itself this year. I had intended to turn my attention to sealing, trimming and painting the back door…

But I also intended to have the concrete steps finished before now. And I’m stuck till next weekend earliest. So I’m going to put that aside and move to the two off-building painting jobs. Both the solar panel rack and the woodshed need a good scrape and a coat of paint, and I have just enough green paint left to do a good job of both.

I cleaned up after Phoebe this morning, and finally had a good look at her abandoned nest…

…a messy but deceptively complex little thing. A base of small twigs and shredded juniper bark glued to the lumber with mud: The whole bottom was a layer of mud and that must have been hard. Then she built up a barrier against the open space with bark, baling twine, chicken feathers, shreds from an old poly tarp, whatever. Then at the very top she very finely shredded some white baling twine for a bed for her babies. It’s really small considering I saw her crammed in there with two nestlings one rainy afternoon, but it got the job done. No dead babies.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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18 Responses to Front trim done at last!

  1. Kentucky says:

    ” . . . the Secret Lair has become a stop-off place for neighbors to exclaim over how nice it’s looking.”

    Well, after all, it is, you know, cute now.

  2. Joel says:

    Yeah, rub it in.

  3. Mike says:

    Very nice, I can see why the neighbors stop by. Your place is turning in to one of those fancy tiny homes you see in magazines.

    A little suggestion about the back steps. As a temporary measure you could fill the cinder-blocks with sand and gently tamp the sand down being careful not to bust the cinder-blocks. There shouldn’t be an issue with rain washing the sand away since the cinder-blocks are resting on a concrete base. That way, when you go out the back there’s little risk of tripping and it cleans up the look. When you have the concrete you can empty the sand out and store it for another project, like… making sand bad rifle rests for your range.

  4. Joel says:

    That’s an idea I hadn’t considered. I certainly have enough clean sand to play with.

    If the situation goes on past next weekend I may do that.

  5. Cliff says:

    Or just turn the blocks on their side so the closed side is facing up.

  6. feralfaeIlo says:

    Oh, Joel, the place is certainly looking very polished and well-groomed. Bravo! Congratulations!
    Next year, if you leave Phoebe’s nest, she might use it again. It would save her a lot of time and energy. Birds often reuse their nests and return to them year after year. I mean, if you don’t mind where the nest is located. You could build a little shelf for her. **

  7. doubletrouble says:

    What feralf said… phoebes always return to their nest, usually twice in one year. We’ve got a nest under the eaves of the front porch that’s been there since 1952. (It’s Yuuuge!)

  8. Zelda says:

    The Lair is waaayyyyy too past Cute. And it is energy efficient, warm, lots of natural light, a total delight and what personal satisfaction because you built it. Wow have you done a good job with that place.

  9. Ditto what’s been said about the Phoebe re-using the nest – ours all do.

    Leave about half the sand – or pea gravel – in the blocks once you’ve got your concrete. It’ll save you some material and mixing and you’ll never know it’s in there unless you take a sledgehammer to the steps. We always add plenty of rock or pea gravel to concrete plugs or pads around here – hasn’t made it any more prone to fall apart afaik.

    A neighbor has Swallows that nest under his patio roof every year – they have some pretty impressive mud nests. As dry as it is I always wonder where they find the mud nearby…

  10. Mark Matis says:

    I see you have installed the solar bug zapper. I expect you haven’t lost any hummingbirds to it yet?

    Is it killing any bugs at all? Remember that every dead bug on its grid will never make any more bugs…

  11. Joel says:

    It does indeed zap what appears to be a very small number of bugs – only at night, since it automatically turns on at dusk, so it does me no discernible good and the hummingbirds no harm at all. Right now the flies are very distracting so I could wish for a nuclear powered gadget that hoovers up every flying thing and fires it into the sun. But as you say, every bug the little bug zapper zaps is one less bug to fly into my ear when I’m trying to read.

  12. Mark Matis says:

    Actually, it’s HUNDREDS less bugs to do so. Search the breeding habits of flying insects and you’ll quickly see why…

  13. Kentucky says:

    Considering the umpty-bazillion bugs being born every minute of every day I have a real hard time believing that zappers accomplish any appreciable reduction in their numbers. Seems to me the device is more to make one feel he’s reducing the bug population within the immediate vicinity of his porch, and if that’s indeed it’s only real accomplishment I guess it’s good enough. At least the zappy noise makes ya think it’s doing SOMETHING.

  14. Kentucky says:

    Aaaarrgggghhh . . . take that apostrophe out of the first “it’s”. Leave the second and third ones alone.

  15. Mark Matis says:

    As a cantankerous hermit, Kentucky, I doubt he would be interested in any greater accomplishment. I suspect he wouldn’t mind if the reduction in buggery extended to most of his neighbors, but doubt that he cares whether there is any change in the nearest town’s insect population.

  16. Kentucky says:

    And my point was that the actual accomplishment is most likely the BRLIEF of reduction as opposed to any documentable evidence thereof.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .

    JMHO, of course.

  17. Kentucky says:

    “BELIEF” . . . dammit.

To the stake with the heretic!