The Castle

The Castle

Friday, May 1, 2020

This Eastern Phoebe's Poor Choice

Our excitement for today involved relocating a bird nest.  A darling Eastern Phoebe was spending a lot of time on our deck rail.


They like building nests under the overhang of the house.  We have three nests right now that I didn't catch in time.  I checked often but this afternoon I saw her fly in directly above our patio door.  It was the worst possible choice because with us going in and out and disturbing her plus I didn't want bird poop dripping down the screen.  I put on gloves, a hat and got a small shovel.  I took down the nest, but to my surprise it had four phoebe eggs and a cow bird egg in the nest.


I have no idea when she built that nest and how she and a cowbird laid those eggs without me noticing.  Mike's chair is right on the other side of the door and he hadn't noticed her either.  I relocated it to another spot not too far away and under cover, however Mike said the phoebe eggs or the babies would not have survived anyway because when the larger cowbird hatches it either forces the babies out of the nest or they won't get enough food to survive.  The weird part is that it's illegal to remove a cowbird egg from a nest.  I hope this Eastern Phoebe doesn't try to build another nest in the exact same spot as before.  We may have a little conflict of wills if she does, but she doesn't know who she's dealing with and I will win.

I will monitor the nest to see what happens, but I did my best. 

Here is another reason I don't want the nest near the entrance to the house.  It's the reason I used gloves and wore a hat....mites.
http://www.thecabincountess.com/2013/06/handle-bird-nests-carefully.html

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tomorrow Will Be A Better Day

I usually try to see the bright side of situations.  I still do, but it has been a challenge today.  My day or actually last night started out with falling asleep easily.  That was great, but a short time later sometime after midnight, my husband's CPAP mask started making sounds like the air was being let out of a balloon.  I could hear him adjust it, it would stop for a few seconds and start again.  I grabbed my pillow and headed for the other bedroom.  It isn't the first time I have been forced to do it, but last night I wasn't happy about it.  I had been sleeping so good.  After getting as comfortable as I could in that bed, I fell asleep only to dream and dream and dream.  I can't even remember most of the dreams, but they were outrageous.  I dreamt we had two dogs tied outside that weren't ours.  We had dug out some underground tunnels for them to shelter in.  People were coming and going.  Most of the people I didn't recognize.  Then the dogs turned into two children which I rescued.  We didn't know who they belonged to until this woman waltzed in and said they were her kids but she didn't want them anymore.  Good God, where do some of those dreams come from?  I don't have a clue.  There is nothing in that dream that resembles my life.  Finally it was about six, and I could justify getting up.  The day was going to be rainy, windy and gloomy.  I warmed my bone broth and then made my coffee.  I had a piece of home made bread and noticed it was time to make more.  I looked around the house and thought everything should be spic and span with all this time at home, but it is not.  I do a lot better keeping things in order when I have a schedule.  My schedule has hit the skids.  I vacuum at 10:00 at night, I do a load of laundry when the basket looks full and dishes whenever.  From the middle of the afternoon I am trying to figure out what to have for supper.  Food is always on my mind.  Either how I am going to get it from the store or what I can snack on.   As of this moment, I am out of chocolate, cookies and potato chips.  Not the end of the world, but when you can't have something you want it more.

In order to salvage my day, I decided to make bread.  That usually turns out good even though at this time and maybe forever, my husband can't have it.  It is full of white flour and gluten.  He came in the kitchen and said "I bet that Krunka would sure taste good".  The Krunka is the crust of the warm bread.  His grandma was pure Polish so we think that word came from her. 


 I thought I really should make him something.  I created a pie that was gluten free, dairy free and egg free.  Making that was not without moments of frustration.  The crust was sticky so I pressed it into the pan instead of rolling it out.  Why I didn't use my tried and true gluten free pie crust recipe is a mystery in itself, but I ventured off the beaten path into the weeds.  When that was done, I found a can of peach pie filling in the pantry.  I really couldn't remember buying it.  There was a reason for that.  It expired in 2016.  I opened it anyway and the peaches were brownish and obviously not fit for human consumption.  I had one more option. With this stay at home situation, my pantry is looking pretty pathetic.  I found a can of cherry pie filling which was still good.  I opened it and poured it onto the crust.  I thought I'd make a little topping for it like you would for cobbler so I mixed gluten free flour mix, brown sugar and some shortening because I can't use butter.  It looked pretty good so into the oven it went.  One hour later I took it out looking delicious and bubbly. 


A couple hours later I asked my husband if he wanted a piece.  He did.  I tasted it first and it tasted like chicken feed smells only with cherries in it.  I bought it to him and he ate it.  He didn't say anything because he is a kind man, but then I asked him if it smelled like chicken feed.  Not being familiar with that smell from being a city boy, he just laughed and suggested I scrape some of the topping off next time so he just gets the cherry pie filling.  Then I thought I should check the label of the pie filling.  What did they thicken it with?  It was modified food starch which didn't sound good.  I looked it up and "Modified food starch is starch that has been treated with an acid or another chemical to change the protein structure of the starch. This process should alter the structure of the starch molecules, making even wheat sources unlikely to cause a reaction in those with gluten sensitivity."

That was a good thing which brings me full circle in this story.  I have to find the bright parts of the day.  First I took a shower this morning and washed my hair so I smell good.  I will skip over the part where I found a tick on my rear end which had to be removed with a tweezers.  The next good thing is that a new CPAP mask and headgear came in the mail so I may be able to sleep in my own bed tonight.  We also received a new battery operated chain saw which wasn't supposed to ship for a month.  I will skip over the part where we ordered a new battery for our old chain saw but it wasn't the battery that is the problem with the saw..  Today my granddaughter was going to Costco to do my shopping.  I called and they are allowing people to come in to shop for others.  I'll skip over the part where it was too windy and rainy to go today.   Ok, so finding the bright side today is a bit of a challenge but we feel fine, we are alive and even without chocolate and potato chips, we will not starve.  So as the old folks used to say (even though we are old folks), tomorrow will be a better day.  In fact, it looks brighter already.  


Happy quarantine everyone.