Friday, May 21, 2010
Fortunately, the Robin appears to have kept the Cowbird at bay, because there are now now 4 beautiful blue eggs in the nest. Kira saw the mother in the nest just before the bird flew at her. Mother bird than chirped frantically from a neighboring tree, obviously hoping to distract the perceived threat.
Perhaps we will have a few photos as things unfold, or hatch as the case may be. It only takes a few weeks for the birds to hatch and leave the nest.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Mitch kindly referred me to Dave, a local expert on birds' nests and their eggs.
Dave sent the following information:
The photos are clearly of a Robin''s nest and egg. Based on your description of the smaller brown bird you observed at this nest, I offer the following scenario:
The Robins built the nest and the female laid the first egg. The female will normally lay four eggs total to complete the clutch before she starts incubating them. A Brown Headed Cowbird (the one you saw) tried to lay her egg in the Robin's nest but was driven off before she could lay one. Cowbirds do not build their own nests, but a single female will lay about 20 eggs in other birds' nests and have those birds hatch out and care for their young. Cowbirds like to lay their eggs in nests containing only one to two eggs.Robins are good about fending off Cowbirds. Smaller birds don't fare as well.
Because of the disturbance and with only one egg involved, the Robins apparently abandoned the nest.Because it is early in the nesting season, I'm sure the Robins will re-nest in a new location. They do not reuse their old nest. There are many factors that result in nest failures and Cowbirds are just one of these obstacles.
I hope it was early enough that the Robins did return and finish laying their eggs. I would much rather have resident Robins than Cowbirds. I am waiting for a report from the house next door.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I took a final walk before leaving this morning. How quickly this haven designed for people, has been discovered and claimed by some of the local wildlife. Squirrels scamper about, taunting the dog next door. A small rabbit, dubbed "the Easter Bunny's helper" by the children, has made himself at home underneath the deck. Birds abound, delighting us with their varied songs. I do not anticipate having to deal with the denizens I have in my garden in Austin - deer and armadillos.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The robin's song at daybreak
Is a clarion call to me.
Get up and get out in the garden,
For the morning hours flee.
I cannot resist the summons,
What earnest gardener could?
For the golden hours of morning
Get into the gardener's blood.
The magic spell is upon me,
I'm glad that I did not wait;
For life's at its best in the morning,
As you pass through the garden gate.
~ Howard Dolf
Step through the Gallery's front gate and find, just inside, a stone-paved circular area which provides a spot to stop and regroup before continuing your journey through the garden.
Bordered by boxwood and flanked by "Knock-Out" roses, the mind senses the necessity of relaxing before continuing into the heart of the garden. This is not a place to rush.
A curved path leads to the west side of the house....
...where an inviting blue slate patio awaits.....
...overlooking more roses, some dogwoods, evergreens, and just a glimpse of the red brick buildings that are so loved in Old North St. Louis.
The winding path continues by the west side of the house, where the starkly modern new building blends with the favored old one. and meanders towards the back.
The back of the house overlooks the vintage-brick patio, just past the ramp.
The original house, built in 1893, gives silent testimony to some of the trials and tribulations it has endured over the last 117 years.
Work on the garden continues. but our eyes are delighted by the progress so far.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite. ~Bertrand Russell
Stephen O'Neal, of Gardens by Design, is our landscaper and he has worked wonders on this long-untamed piece of land. As I mentioned in a previous post, Stephen was the only one of the eight landscape designers I contacted, who returned my call. Thank goodness the others did not! Yes, as you can see in the pictures, there are still weeds but I expect they will be my nemesis forever....besides, Stephen is not yet finished!
There are three photos taken outside the fence. The arborvitae will help absorb extraneous noise and the dogwoods, blooming as I write, will provide light and beauty. The house is set on 3 lots (yes, I am working on the history) so we are fortunate to have a wide expanse of canvas for embellishment.
The bottom photo is just inside the open front gate. The building peeking through in the back is a lovely old schoolhouse, painstakingly reworked into a home. Next time, I will take you through the garden....
After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
A path leads to the west side of the house.....
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The first order of business, according to my printed instructions and after purchasing the required materials, was to dig out and level an area to lay the bricks. Sounds simple but I did not anticipate running into layers of sheer rock and finding "level" was easier said than done.
Fortunately, Anthony and I were joined by another friendly neighbor who actually had some experience. If it had not been for these two, I might not have finished the project.
Five-year old grandson was a tireless worker as long as mom kept replenishing his snacks. He never whined or quit. He carried earthworms to safe havens, dug with a shovel, helped where asked, and delivered an amazing number of bricks.
The resultant patio is 14' X 14'. Unfortunately, a large number of bricks were stolen a few months ago, so we were scrambling to have enough to finish the project. The bricks were from various sources so the sizes and quality varied. Some cracked down the middle immediately when they were tapped with the rubber mallet. We swept paving set into all the cracks and watered it down.
It is not perfect and I would do some things differently now that I have some experience. Nevertheless, it is DONE! Thanks to my neighbors and grandson we have a very vintage looking patio and I LOVE it!
One of the joys of having learned some of my limitations, is that I have hired a landscaper to revive the garden. I can't wait to see how that is going and share the view .