The bluebirds have been much in evidence the last two days. I spent the day yesterday replacing the liners in our haystack window boxes - what a job. We have twelve of them that go around the deck and over the years I've filled them with succulents. They survive the winter beautifully, they are lovely to look at, you don't have to water them everyday and I can intersperse annuals every summer; this year will be Dahlberg Daisy that I've started in the greenhouse. After putting every window box in place, I would walk into the garage, look out the window and watch the bluebirds at the box. This morning the female is attempting to make the nest. As I watch, she's sitting on top of the box with a mouthful of grass. She'll fly down to the hole, hang on to the hole, look in, and fly back to the top of the box. It seems she's a little confused by the nesting process. Since this box is only ten feet or so from the road and this is a work day, cars go by pretty regularly. A quiet car doesn't bother her but the diesels cause her to fly away. The male chased away a starling this morning; he knocked him right off the top of the box and to the ground. Some male bluebirds are passive and some are aggressive. I'm glad this one is aggressive, house sparrows and wrens will stand a smaller chance of taking over the box. The temperature is 62 here with a light wind. I have four more window boxes to finish and the Cardinal Vine and Moon Vine seeds have germinated in their paper towel nests so they will need to be potted up. There are three packages of each so that's a half day's work.
Hubs finally got his replacement stain and spent yesterday staining the outside lower portion of the gazebo. Today he's going to try to get the deck floor finished. Then, if it rains, we can at least get the canopy up and the furniture out of the garage and back on the deck (I miss my grill). We've had a huge bumper crop of maple seeds this year and since we have three, two by the gazebo/deck and one in the front yard, we could actually use maple seeds as mulch. Big mistake to take the screens out of the gazebo because the seeds have covered the floor and gotten in between the floor boards. There is screen on the underside of the floor so you can't push them through. I have no idea how he's going to get them out before he stains the floor there. On the deck, you can use a putty knife to just push them through. We can take the indoor/outdoor vac outside and that will help, but it will still be a major job. The pond is also filled with them. While the skimmer gets a portion of them, if they land on top of the water lily leaves, they just sit. We had to replace the waterfall pump, our old one wouldn't start this spring. The one we ordered last year so we'd have a spare was not only cheaper than the original one, but much more powerful. We're having trouble keeping the toads from being sucked into the pump. We can't close off the skimmer, that will defeat the purpose of having one, so hubs is going to line the top of the skimmer with chicken wire. Debris can still get through it but we don't think the toads can. We have to be able to get inside to clean out the skimmer which scares the toads so they dive and somehow get past the filter and sucked into the pump. We feel really bad about it because we love them, so before he starts staining today he'll see what he can do to save them.