It was actually a kind of sad ending to an exciting first day of the construction project. It had to do with non-human animal parents and the care they show for their babies.
Let's start with the bees. We've had carpenter bees living in the trellis for a while now, in two separate nests. They're big, loud buzzy bees that look kind of scary, but really aren't harmful. They burrow into dead wood, making tunnels and little rooms where their babies develop. Each little compartment houses one baby, and each compartment is walled off from the next by a bit of mulched up sawdust the parents make. What's interesting is that the baby furthest down the line develops first, and then has to wait til his siblings develop and leave the nest before he can go. Sounds like in this family, you wouldn't want to be the first born.
Since the trellis came down yesterday, the momma bees were wondering what happened to their homes. All day long, they were flying around about where their trellis home should be. Toward the end of the day, but before dusk, I could see that the parent bees were starting to explore the pile of wood that used to be the trellis. They're getting close, I thought to myself.
This morning, I went out back to check things out, and saw the black, fuzzy momma bee stuffed up into her nest. Seems that she found her babies and her home. What's sad is that once that pile of old lumber is carted off to the dumpster, she's going to lose them again.
And now for the birds. At the end of the day, our General called to us from the backyard. He had found a baby bird on the ground, looking none too good, but still breathing. Its nest was in the tree limbs nearly directly above. We called the local wild animal rescue organization and from their phone recording learned that it's a myth that baby birds handled by humans will be abandoned by their mother. Best course of action would be to place it back in its nest, or leave it safe nearby and its parents will attend to it.
Well, the nest was beyond the reach of my ladder. We got a small cardboard box, lined it with dried grasses and left it near the spot where we found it. Momma and Daddy birds were chirping up a storm all around us. I went to check on the baby a couple of times during the evening, and the parents never left the yard. There was evidence they had visited the baby and made it more comfortable with additional padding, making it into a nest of sorts.
This morning, the baby was still there, still breathing, and moving around just a bit Baby had even pooped a couple times during the night, all a good sign. Since the workers would be arriving soon, I moved the box up onto the table, and soon the baby was even making some chirps of its own, again, a good sign.
Later in the morning, I got word that one of the workers (soccer player) was able to put the youngster back in its nest, where he also found the baby's sibling. I'm sure the parents are just too thrilled to have their baby back in the safety of their home.
Birds, bees, their babies; what a sight and scene to behold. And to help remember that we're all in this together.
UPDATE: This morning (01 August), we went out to check on the bird, and found it still. Our daughter's first real exposure to life lost.
Last week, the General said he and his crew would show up at 8AM Monday morning. Well, this morning I was tidying up some posts on CL when I heard a vehicle pull up. I checked the time on the computer and it showed 8:00 exactly. Wow, right on time, doesn't get any better than that!
After about a 30 minute debriefing and some demolition planning, the crew began removing the back deck and the arbor over the deck. See the picture above to see how it looks now. Real empty feeling, huh?
They moved into the kitchen and began demolishing. And demolish is the right word. Sledgehammers were employed to help remove the kitchen counters and cabinets. Bye-bye, chili pepper drawer pulls! We found at least three old rat nests inside the walls of the kitchen. Yuck. We did have an idea they were there, but certainly they were long abandoned (after successful usage of D-Con).
In the kitchen, there was some old wallpaper that I had never seen before. And, there was also some old vinyl flooring, a sort of faux brick pattern, that I'd never seen before, exposed by the removal of the base cabinets. There is some history to this place.
After the kitchen was completely gutted, they moved on to drywall removal. They got most of it down from the family room, which did expose a bunch of R-11 insulation. There were two different types of insulation in the walls, an Owens Corning product, and another which had a copyright date of 1970. I can't believe the added on family room was from the 70s, but I guess it's possible.
They wrapped up promptly at 4PM, cleaning up as best as practical, and they were gone.
I'm afraid I wasn't as impressed as to the progress as much as I expected. With four guys and the General, I think I expected a bit more, but perhaps that was too optimistic, it being the first day and all. Tomorrow we'll probably see things really pick up.
Argh. Just got a summons from the county court to play juror. That's right, jury duty. September 4 through 7. But note that the week in question is the same week as Labor Day. That means 20% fewer days I need to call in!
I don't think we have anything going on that week (other than work), so it looks like I'll have to be calling in that week, keeping my fingers crossed.
Last time I was summoned, my number never came up. The time before that, in 2000, I was selected to sit on a jury, and sat through almost an entire trial. Odd kinda case. It involved the State of California suing a convited SVP (sexually violent predator) so that he would have to remain in the state mental hospital in Atascadero. Apparently, there's a state law that allows the state to sue to keep people convicted of sexual crimes confined in state hospitals, after they're released from prison. The inmate gets a chance to be released every two years, so the state has to keep suing.
Sounds to me like a sustainable business plan for prosecutors.
Last night, we spent our first (second, really) night in the camper, a couple days earlier than necessary, just to work out any kinks as they arise. Not too bad, I think we've been doing a good job mentally preparing. Even the little one wasn't distressed.
Got a call back, after a month, from Richard Devlin at Sun Star Energy. Gave him our KWH figures, assured him we have southwest facing roofs, and he'll Google Earth our location, come out to the site, then start a conversation.