Thursday, January 15, 2015

Porch for Rent....Cheep

White-throated Sparrow warming up on the back porch,
 sitting on the mop wringer, surround by a cattle weighing tape.

Remember the bird that landed on the boss's hat the other day? Yesterday Alan was working on getting us better heat, building a new fire and all, and going in and out a lot.

One trip through the porch yielded a White-throated Sparrow, which obligingly sat in the mop wringer for a moment while I took a photo, before he let it out the door. The porch is enclosed but we deliberately left a big crack open when we buttoned 'er up this fall, hoping that the wrens would partake.

And sunning outside the porch

Later I came in from walking the Daisy Doodlebop to find not one but two Carolina Wrens snuggling down for the night. One was up in a little tin pie pan the boss's late mom put up to discourage House Sparrows from nesting and one was under an old laundry basket on the floor.

Daisy was sure taken with that one. I had to drag her into the house! And Jonna, the red feeder you sent last year? It took a while, but the wrens come every morning to gobble orange suet balls contained therein. My heart rises each time I see one.

Thank you!

There are a lot of them around this winter, down from the far, far north

And thanks to Alan for cleaning all the wood and ashes and coals out of the stove, building an entire new fire, cutting load upon load of wood from various places, and washing the stove plenum.

The last was the deal maker. He jumped up last night, as we were all sitting around shivering in our blankies in the living room, grabbed his dad, and they ran downstairs and ran water through the thing. The boss had cleaned it with compressed air the other day, but evidently that was not sufficient.

The water did the trick. 

This morning the house was toasty...toasty I tell you. Warm enough not to wear my winter hat. Warm enough for no outdoor vests instead of two. Warm.....enough.....

It's grand. Wrens on the porch...and White-throated Sparrows are just icing on the cake.

Carry on...

If the Downy Woodpecker sees his much more winter?


Jonna said...

I am so glad the feeder is still working! I don't know what I'd do without the birds to help me through winter.

joated said...

Way to go Alan!

The porch seems to be getting a bit crowded there, Marianne.

Cathy said...

Wonderful, wonderful bird pixes and happenings.
And wonderful, wonderful son :)
Stay toasty.

Terry and Linda said...



lisa said...

You are lucky to be able to have the variety of birds you get to photograph!
Alan seems to be real handy to have around!

ellie k said...

Is your furnace in your basement or on the outside of the house?

threecollie said...

Jonna, it has always been a favorite of the woodpeckers and nuthatches, but it took a while to get the Carolina Wrens to use it. Now they love it though, and I love finally getting them to eat. Thank you again!

Cathy, thanks, cold today, but we will get her going later...hopefully

LInda, lol, yep

Lisa, it has been so nice to have him home! And we are all enjoying the birds a lot this winter

ellie, it is an outdoor wood boiler. It has a lot of design problems, which make it hard to keep the house warm sometimes.

ellie k said...

I was telling my husband that it was an outside wood burner, he could not understand what I was talking about and I could not explain it.

threecollie said...

Ellie, here is a link to the kind we have, although ours is green.
Essentially, we have a large, outdoor furnace connected to our indoor heating system via insulated water pipe. The stove has a water jacket, which is heated by the fire box. The heated water is pumped indoors and forced through a plenum, which exchanges the heat from the water for heated air, which is blown upstairs by a traditional furnace blower. It is not a particularly efficient system, but it does make it possible to keep the mess and danger of a wood stove outdoors, away from the house. There are many design problems with them, which are hard to address, such as the darned plenum. We were keeping the stove at maximum capacity and were still cold until the guys dragged the darn thing right out of the furnace and rinsed it with water. It was dusty of all things! Hope this helps.

ellie k said...

Thank you, very interesting. When we lived in an old farm house the winters were so cold, no insulation, windows that you could see around and one coal stove in the living room. We shut all the rooms off but four, put plastic on windows and stuffed rags in cracks and pretty much lived in the room where the stove was. It was a blessing to bake and have the oven going for a while. I feel for you all in this cold weather.

threecollie said...

Ellie, thanks, it is a real pain. Our house isn't too different from what you describe. Can't wait for spring!!