Thursday, June 18, 2009

I have outsmarted a pair of mourning doves. Yay me.

Last summer, we had hanging pots of flowers on the porch that opens off our bedroom. I overestimated how much sun would hit them, and they didn't do very well. After they all died, I just left the pots there because I wanted to use them again this year, but had nowhere else to store them. This spring, a couple of mourning dove decided one of the pots would be a great place to build a nest and hatch a pair of offspring. We thought this was adorable, and Dano enjoyed looking at the birds out our window every morning, especially after the babies hatched. We didn't mind them being there, because it was too cold out for us to plant flowers in the pots anyway.

So the baby doves hatched and grew and flew away with their parents. Yay!

A few days later, the mommy and daddy birds were back. Before we managed to put any flowers in those pots, they laid another pair of eggs. We sighed. We rolled our eyes. We resigned ourselves to another month of not being able to use our porch, for fear of disturbing them. Eventually, I planted impatiens and begonias in the four pots they weren't nesting in, and reserved enough flowers for "their" pot so I could plant them as soon as they vacated.

(We actually don't know that this is the same pair, but they seemed very focused on using the same pot again, so we assume they are. But according to Wikipedia, mourning doves can hatch up to 6 clutches of eggs a year.)

All went well -- both babies hatched, ate a great deal of regurgitated whatever, and eventually flew away. After we saw no birds for 24 hours, we assumed they'd moved on, and I planted the reserved flowers in the hanging pot.

Yesterday morning, they were back. Trying to nest in that pot again. Smooshing down my flowers. Cowboy went out and shooed them away several times while he was getting dressed, and left me to defend the fort when he went to work. I spent two hours running out onto the porch every five minutes or so to clap my hands and yell and wave plastic bags to scare away the birds. They kept coming back. And they began to build another nest. I threw away the twigs they brought, and they just came back with more.

I thought about making a scarecrow. I considered wrapping all the plants in plastic wrap until they got bored and left. I thought about playing loud music on the porch.

And then I realized there was a very simple solution: no hanging flower pots, no nesting spot. I brought in the pots and put them in the pantry, which has lots of light, as well as a baby gate that keeps a certain little mister out.

The birds were extremely confused. They spent several hours perching on the porch railing, craning their necks around to look for the missing flower pots. Periodically, one or the other would fly up a couple feet, to where the pots formerly had been, and flutter around. Maybe they thought the pots had just turned invisible or something. At any rate, by noon, they gave up. We haven't seen them since.

So yes, yours truly has outwitted a couple of bird brains. Aren't you proud of me?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I watched The Crimson Pirate (1952) last week, and all I have to say is, I haven't had that much fun watching a pirate movie since the first Pirates of the Caribbean film! I'm not saying I loved this the way I love Curse of the Black Pearl or anything, but it was a resoundingly enjoyable film.

Okay, okay, a lot of that is due to the fact that Burt Lancaster spent most of his time looking like this. Though this picture doesn't do his manly biceps and triceps justice, I'm afraid. He also spent a remarkable amount of time swinging through the air while brandishing a cutlass. They definitely put his circus acrobat training to good use, that's for sure. I've never seen someone climb up and slide down so many ropes in one movie. Also, he got to dress in drag, and he makes a remarkably attractive woman. No, I'm kidding -- he makes an extremely ugly woman and no one in their right mind would ever be fooled by him in a skirt and blonde curls for a second. Which made it even funnier.

I can't actually tell you what the plot was about, as I'm a bit fuzzy on it myself. Something about stealing guns and pretending to sell them to some rebels, and then double-crossing the rebels by telling the British officials where to find the rebels, except then they decided not to do the double-cross part, except then they decided to do it after all, except... somewhere in there, I got lost. And I didn't care. The plot was entirely beside The Point, which was that Pirates Have Fun! Lots and lots of fun. They sail around and swing on ropes and taunt soldiers and walk around on the bottom of the ocean with a boat over their heads and kiss women and never, ever, ever stop smiling. Especially not Mr. Muscles And Teeth, who was having the most fun of all.