Fledglings Are Us–Bluebirds, Flycatchers, Hummingbirds, and the King of the Birds

Emma the Aussie Photobombs the Wren’s Nest

Wild birds don’t get taken in by scares about bird flu or other corporate derived scams, such as inflated gasoline prices (see under the heading “Windfall Profits”). They just go about the business of being birds, and will take advantage of every structure we build, freeloaders that they are. I really can’t blame them, since we invaded their spaces.

First example has the be the earliest nesters, the Bluebirds. They regularly take advantage of the old Bluebird nesting box I made, at least when it is not inhabited by flying Squirrels, which actually prefer the Wren nesting box. Our new family fledged in April, which I know to be the month because one of the fledglings almost flew into the back of my head, while on one of its training flights. Never fear–father Bluebird was right behind him, teaching by example. Junior has now discovered our bird bath, and slings water out of it like an outboard motor.

A perennial spring inhabitant of our house are the Flycatchers, who prefer nesting in the structure under our deck. This year they changed from nesting under our porch, to nesting just outside and left of our door from our walkout basement, onto our patio. The nest was masterpiece of bird architecture, and before we knew it there were four bird sized fledglings staring down at us every time we walked out of our door. The last few days they would sit up on the edge of the nest, and examine us with a sour expression, while the mother chirped at them from understory bushes nearby. My translation was from Flycatcher to English: You fat kids get out of there, and come and learn how to catch your own food.

One day, the biggest kid was gone, and there were only three. The mother kept chirping at the others. By noon the next day, there were two. By sunset, there were none. Happy fly catching to all of them.

Hummingbirds are a whole different story. They nest here, but only a storm blown nest will give away the location. Their favorite appears to be a white Oak right outside of our house, which we saved from our dipstick fill dirt people who piled dirt up three feet around it. We excavated it from that, so we claim it as part of our structure. Multiple Hummers are now chasing each other all around our house, probably charges from a nest around there.

And then there is the king of the birds, the Wren. To my knowledge they have never nested in our wren box, preferring to go their own way. They normally nest in our hanging Boston Ferns on our porch, but a wren is going to wren. This year they nested in the regional flower of the rural South, a satellite dish. This deserves a great Irish song by The Chieftains, “The Wren in the Furze.”

The wren oh the wren he’s the king of all birds,

On St. Stevens day he got caught in the furze,

So its up with the kettle and its down with the pan

Won’t you give me a penny for to bury the wren.

The Chieftains

A Furze is a prickly gorse bush, akin to the native Hawthorne I grew from seed, which is 6′ and climbing. The Wrens are having better luck with the satellite deesh.

Which brings me to the problem with people. Like birds, we normally raise the alarm when danger is near–just think of Crows when a Hawk is around. According to our corporate media, I should instead be one of three things–exhausted, reeling, or broken, or a combination of all of them. The cliche department left off the ringer, which is pissed off, which I am regularly. Therefore I propose a new trans controversy, which is trans-species.

I am planning on identifying myself as a bird, since I don’t fit in to the current news industry narrative of what people should be feeling. With a few exceptions, such as cowbirds, birds are noble, useful, and incredibly resourceful creatures. They don’t contribute to anthropomorphic climate disturbance, or purchase weapons of mass destruction. They rarely utilize weapons of mass distraction, also.

I’ll be proud to be a bird. Like in the old Woody Allen joke, we need the eggs.

Brick Oven Salmon with Maple Syrup and Meyer Lemon Glaze

Done

Having a supply of windblown wood that could last at least one lifetime, is not all bad. A case in point is the first dish out of the rebuilt brick oven, some glazed Salmon with herbs. I also took the advice of the authors of a new British book on brick oven cooking, and bought a battery powered infrared digital thermometer. The one I found records temps up to well over 1100 degrees F, which is very helpful, as I will later explain.

Ingredients

1 Fillet of Wild Salmon

Salt and Pepper

Lemon Juice (We have two Gallon freezer bags full of last year’s Myer Lemons)

Maple Syrup to taste

Olive oil

Fresh Fennel, Dill, and Parsley

A good ridged cast iron skillet is the perfect cooking device for this dish. I didn’t even bother mixing the glaze together in a bowl, and just put them on the fish in the order listed above. The cooking is just as simple.

Needs a Clean

I built a stick fire out of long deceased yellow pine limbs, and in no time it registered at 1000 degrees F. The plan was to let the back wall heat up to 250, and then put in the Salmon. I pushed the fire to the back when the temp was reached. Then I roasted the Salmon until the pan hit 200 degrees–the thermometer has a laser pointer, so you know what object you’re measuring. Time for a check (see top picture). The left hand piece flaked well–done!

Should you burn pine in a brick oven? The Brits say definitely no, the Americanos who published the design for the oven I built say burn nothing but pine. Going by the results, in an oven, nothing matters but heat, as opposed to a smoker or smokehouse, where the smoke is a flavoring agent. As long as it is not treated–and I had a relative who built a fire once out of treated wood, and was rewarded with a no expenses paid trip to the hospital–it doesn’t matter. I happen to have a few tons of pine blown down and lying on the ground, so pine it is for the near future. If that hurts anyone’s feelings, I offer my sincere tots and pears.

Brick Oven Rebuild, Part Three–A Rising Chimney, and Concrete Insulation

How about a little masonry humor to start off?

Back in Operation

“You are not of the masons.”

“Yes, yes,” I said; “yes, yes.”

“You? Impossible! A mason?”

“A mason,” I replied.

“A sign,” he said.

“It is this,” I answered, producing a trowel from beneath the folds of my roquelaire.

–EA Poe ,”The Cask of Amontillado”

Roasted salmon this weekend, pizza next–the oven is officially back from the ashes. The soldier row of bricks on the top of the facade is to be carried around on all four sides, and I have a cunning plan for some brick buttresses on the remaining two feet of chimney, that yet have to be added. Insulation makes this thing even better.

380 Pounds of Concrete Later

I have removed the form, and the dome oven insulation still needs more concrete. The goal is a solid layer of insulation about five inches thick. According to the bread builders book, an oven this size could produce 36 loaves of bread with just one good fire. Speaking of baking, I also rescued the old oak baking door for this new cathedral of fire–

Set Loose the Hounds

I will finish this Celtic knot carving as a medallion, brittle splitty Oak notwithstanding. Carving will be a suitable pastime for our too hot summer weather. Morning work outside, afternoon work in the cool workshop. Eat when you’re hungry. I might as well end with a poem about the most famous proponent of the great replacement theory, one Herr A. Hitler.

Adolf Hitler’s facial hair,

Is a very curious affair.

Such a small toothbrush

For such a big mouth.

Bertolt Brecht

Maybe one of our juvenile little Hitlers will replace him in the hottest level of hell.

Favorite Woodworking Planes, Part Renewed Stanley 25

Everything Old is New Again

My old decrepit Stanley 25 smoothing plane might as well have been thrown into the parts bin, as worn out as it was. In particular, the body was so roached out to the point that it was essentially unusable. I even went far enough to find a nice piece of hop hornbeam to resole it. That was several years ago.

Then, a near mint body appears on flea bay for much less than the price of a decent used plane (these haven’t been made in about eighty years). I added my four parts from the old plane, and this rebuild is back in action, even with the original lacquer finish.The 8″ length makes this a great grab it and get it done plane.

Partners in Smoothing

Both the 25 and 35 (above) have the same 2″ wide blade, and these two even have the same patent applied for date of 1892 stamped on them, so I assume they are of a similar vintage. These will never do work as fine as a Gage plane, but there are thousands of them floating around, which means they offer great value for the dollar. And then there is the legendary Stanley 34 jointer, known as the big one, which is a full 30″ long. No. 34, meet No. 25, aka mini-me.

Brick Oven Rebuild, Part Two–Fire and a Brick Arch

Phoenix

The Romans still rule when it comes to arts, crafts, and architecture, and I include cooking and rhetoric as arts-sorry, Plato and Socrates. The Greeks did bring the idea of brick ovens to the area that is now known as Naples in Italy, but the Neapolitans perfected it, as is apparent from the 33 brick ovens unearthed in Pompeii. I’m just happy to have one back in functional condition.

Speaking of Roman specialties, they were absolute masters at building arches, like the parts of the aqueducts that are still standing. They are amazing examples of engineering and strength, and the door to the domed part of the oven would have been an arch as well in a Roman oven. The angle iron holding up the flat slanted front of this dome is easier, and less expensive as well.

It’s on to building the chimney, re-insulating the dome, and one last addition-

Walls!

The entire enclosure is to be walled in with brick on all four sides, brought about by our 900+ leftover bricks. To use that many bricks on this oven would require a 34′ high chimney like the one on our house, and I am not that tall. Melanie, who has a Degree in Ancient and Medieval History, as well as a minor in Latin, wants this oven to be named Phoenix. I believe the phoenix myth could easily have come from the role of cooking in human evolution, with fire and the resulting heat being the mechanism that creates cooked, and therefore more easily digestible food (see the work of Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham in Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human). I won’t even talk about how good the wood fired pizza is.

Book Banning Season is Open for All to Enjoy

A Book in a Fur-in Language? Gott in Himmel!

The positive part of book bans is often overlooked, as a significant part of the population only thinks about books when they hear that some have been banned. I even taught a World Literature survey class once where everything on the syllabus was available in the erotica section of a large bookstore in Montgomery. Every work had been banned at one time or context or another, and some are still banned by the holier than thou. Interest in the class increased greatly when I informed the students of these facts.

The list of my top five to be recommended for censorship was not easy to compile, but I started and ended with Southern writers, as the South has been around the block a few times on this issue.

5) The Thomas Jefferson Bible

If King James could have his own special version of the Bible, why couldn’t Mr. Jefferson? The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth was his second attempt at distilling the Bible down to its essence. That it is only 84 pages long says all you need to know. My personal bible would include both the stories about Judith and Holofernes (see the famous painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes), and most importantly, the one where Jesus stretched too short wood to the proper length in Joseph’s workshop. No one would read that one either.

4) Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

What’s not to love about two giants wreaking havoc all over France and Europe? The Church didn’t think this first bestseller of fiction was very funny, and Rabelais needed the protection of the Queen of Navarre to avoid execution, on the basis of his assertion that giants can be born through their mother’s ears. Of course the priest named Friar John of the Funnels, who was always drunk, didn’t strike them as humorous either. Always a favorite in my World Lit class, but don’t teach this in Floriduh.

3) Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself

Slavery and American history? Sounds all woke to me. That Douglass was criticized for writing that religious slave owners were the worst ones, says all you need to know about pre-civil war America. People, please go back to sleep, and don’t tell this to Florida man if you ever wake up.

2) The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This masterpiece of Sturm and Drang (storm and stress) is all about love, and suicide at a young age. Banned by Italy and Denmark as a bad influence on the young, the city of Leipzig in the German part of the Holy Roman Empire also banned the style of clothes that the fictional Werther wore. Now that’s a real ban, German style.

1) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Yikes! A young girl who wears boy’s clothes and goes by the name of Scout. Named by NPR as America’s favorite novel, it has racism, profanity, and gender confusion, all under an oak tree in south Alabama. Remember when Scout said to “pass the damn ham” at the family dinner table? Hardly a flattering depiction of Southern girl-hood. Also, don’t forget that scary Boo Radley. I am the proud owner of the first printing of this book, which is in the picture above.

After all that thinking, which may well be illegal soon enough, I am going to relax and read a comforting banned book.

OffGuardian

because facts really should be sacred

Ruth Blogs Here

Or not, depending on my mood

A Haven for Book Lovers

I am just a girl who loves reading and talking about books

what sandra thinks

because I've got to tell someone.

LadiesWhoLunchReviews,etc

a little lunch, a little wine, a LOT of talking!

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

This, That, and the Other

Random musings on life, society, and politics.

talltalesfromchiconia

Tales of quilting, gardening and cooking from the Kingdom of Chiconia

Cyranny's Cove

Refuge of an assumed danophile...

Exiled Rebels

Serving BL since 2017

this is... The Neighborhood

the Story within the Story

Beauty lies within yourself

The only impossible journey in life is you never begin!! ~Tanvir Kaur

Southern Fusion Cooking

Country Living in the Southern Appalachians, USA--A little of this, a lot of that

Discover WordPress

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

The Atavist Magazine

Country Living in the Southern Appalachians, USA--A little of this, a lot of that

%d bloggers like this: