The Stork's Nest

April 2008

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Weeping Willow

Our daughter, Heather, purchased a Weeping Willow
to plant on our island. Today, Matthew came to
plant the tree on the island, with help from his
son, Kyle and Heather's son, Jeremy and a
friend of Jeremy's.

After rowing out to the island, they
dug a hole and planted the tree.

With all that help, they had it planted
in no time at all! Willows love water
so it should be quite happy out there.

And, of course, Molly had to go with them!
Even though the water must have been
very cold, she swam circles around the boat!

  Monday, April 21st

Stained Staircase Railing!

Remember that railing I had to stain and polyurethane? It is finally done! As are all the interior doors! Carpeting is next!

Saturday, April 26th

The Master Bedroom

The last room to be painted before carpeting
was the Master Bedroom.

I chose a faux finish called "Soft Suede"
in a color called Gingerbread.

Once we cut in the edges and rolled on the
paint (this took Ellen - Rick's girlfriend - and I
7 hours) we had to apply a second coat with a
technique that really made it look just like suede!

This part took us another 7 hours! But the
end result is so warm and yummy! It makes
you want to take a nap!

Thanks, Ellen!

The Swan Song

Those of you who have followed this saga, may recall how thrilled we were when geese showed up on our lake. Well, in time, we began to see them as a huge nuisance! Lots of them, they are noisy and they poop big! We explored many possibilities for how to control or get rid of the geese. The most promising and environmentally kind was to get swans. I guess swans protect their nests so aggressively, that the meer sight of swans chases geese away. However, swans, we soon learned, are very expensive.

Then, like the answer to prayer, Jack, a man Fred and I knew through the church, told us that his parents had a pair of swans and he would put us on a waiting list for a pair of swans when their eggs hatched. That was last year. The eggs never hatched. So, we were hoping to get a pair of baby swans when the eggs hatched this year. Then, about a month ago, we learned that we could come pick up our swans. It seems the neighborhood children where this pair of swans were living had begun abusing them by throwing stones at them and Jack's mom was looking for a home for the adult pair. All we had to do was go catch them.

Easier said than done! Fred, Matthew, Kyle, Heather, Miker, Trevor, and Abbie (Trevor's girlfriend) went to Marysville to catch them. As it turned out, the male (Hansel) aggressively guarded their empty nest. When Fred stood next to their nest, Hansel came out of the water to chase him away from the nest. When he approached, wings flapping, Fred grabbed him by the neck. Matthew had learned that the way to transport swans was to cut a hole in the bottom of a large garbage bag and put the swan's head through the hole and seal up the other end of the bag, covering their wings (which are their weapons) and their feet. They then placed Hansel in a dog cage in the back of the Jeep and went back to catch the female (Gretel). One down, one to go!

Gretel, however, is no dummy! She saw what happened to her lifelong mate, Hansel, and she stayed in the water. Even after Heather and Abbie got in the cold water to chase her out of the pond, she was too fast for them. After several attempts, they gave up and Fred brought Hansel here alone. The plan was to return in a day or two to try again.

So, in the midst of our painting, Fred arrived with Hansel. We set him down on the ground at the edge of the lake - He was huge! - and cut the bag off him and off he went into the lake. What a beauty.

Soon he was exploring the island...

Flapping his wings...

Snacking on grasses around the edge of the lake...

He even got brave enough to come over to the
house side of the lake by the dock.

But on Sunday, I noticed that he had "taken up" with a
female Mallard duck. We have had a pair on a lake for a
few weeks.

Whenever the male left (perhaps he had to go
to work or something) Hansel would swim around
with the female duck.

He seemed so confused when the male Mallard returned,
taking his rightful place with his woman. What is a poor
lonely swan to do when he has lost his lifemate?

Sunday afternoon, Stephanie and the boys came
over to see the swan. She even managed to get
this close, trying to hand feed him.

I wish that was the end of the story. On Monday, Hansel seemed to have settled in, although he was still struggling with his affair with the "other woman". On Tuesday morning, when I looked out, Hansel was gone! I was frantic! I searched everywhere for him! I even got on the gator and drove all over in the woods looking for him, or for signs that some animal may have gotten him. No luck. I called Fred and Matthew and they agreed to come out that afternoon to search for him.

Matthew arrived around 3 and got on his 4-wheeler to go searching. He was back in 5 minutes saying he had found Hansel in our neighbor's pond! I had to leave for an appointment, but when I got back, we (with help from Stephanie and her son, Nicholas) went up to our neighbor's pond to try to catch Hansel or at least herd him back home. No luck. He was just too fast and too smart for us.

Wednesday, we went to get the female, Gretel, hoping she would lure Hansel home. We used a remote control boat to tire her out and chase her out of the water (I was glad to hear that tiring them out was not a BAD thing to do! I was worried that it might stress her too much.) Once Gretel got out of the pond, we were able to catch her immediately. Of course, we were still wondering how we would get Hansel back from our neighbor's pond when we got home, but much to our delight, when we got Gretel home, he was back at our lake already! I guess once he was satisfied that Gretel was not in the other pond, he came "home" on his own and was happily eating around the edges of the lake. This, in itself, was surprising since you can't see one body of water from the other and I did not think he had been in his new home long enough to imprint the location.

Anyway, when we released Gretel, she swam away from us just as fast as she could. When we released Gretel, it was getting dark and Hansel was behind the island and did not see her. When Gretel got around behind the island, they must have spotted one another and made a beeline for each other! When they got together, they actually curled their necks around each other (like a hug!) and chortled (or whatever you call that noise) was very sweet to watch! Clearly, they were happy to be reunited again.

Since then, they have been inseparable! They spend most of their time eating underwater grasses along the edges of the lake. The previous owners did not feed them, except as a treat. Best of all, when I took a bag of food down to the dock (shaking it as I went to attract them) and calling them by name, they swam right over to me. They stopped about 3 feet away, but ate the food I tossed to them voraciously. I also noticed that when they hear or see me come out onto our deck, which is about 20' from the lake, they come right toward me. I bet eventually, they will know me and my voice...and associate me with getting a treat of food and I hope the memory of our catching them will fade.

PS - The geese are gone!

1999 - 2005
2006 - 2007
2008 - Present