Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Flew the coop

Oh well. I returned home this evening and found that Ms. Mourning Dove and her eggs are gone. Again. I read that it's not uncommon for Mourning Doves to abandon their nests. Still it makes me sad. I was hoping to see little Mourning Dove chicks. I really hope she chooses a more secluded location for her nest next time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Location, location, location

A Mourning Dove has taken over a hanging planter on our patio and used it for her nest, but I don't think she knew she'd have an audience of cats (we have four). Thankfully for her there's glass separating the cats from her and her nest.

Even though I know the male takes over for stretches of the incubating period, I'll just refer to the bird as "her." It's hard not to startle her since she's so close to the house and we need to move about the patio to tend to the pond and take out the compost. She pretty much stays quietly sitting on the two little white eggs, peering out with tiny black eyes. Last weekend I forgot about our feathered visitor and took my laptop out to the patio to do some work. She was stayed motionless in her nest while I worked at the table (off to the right in the above picture) but when my husband came around the side of the house to talk to me, we both forgot about her and eventually she lost her nerve and flew off. I am concerned for her eggs because she didn't return for half an hour. But she's back. I took the above picture this morning and she (or he) is there in the white pot on the left, pretty well hidden among the chives.

This is likely her second attempt this season. A Mourning Dove laid two eggs last month but one day both the doves and the eggs vanished. Since we never saw any babies nor was there any evidence that anything hatched, I'm afraid the eggs became breakfast for a squirrel.

The renovations on our own "nest" continue. Our contractor built us a window seat and bookshelves for the bedroom and installed them yesterday. I am really pleased with them. I'm also glad I made the last minute decision to lower the window seat height from the height of the window sill to 19 inches. There is some finishing work to be done, like trim and paint (white) and installation of the shelves, but here's a photo of the progress:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How we spent last weekend

Refinishing your own floors isn't that hard to do, it's just tedious. You need to rent a floor sander and use a hand sander for the edges. Ear protection is a must as the sanders are very noisy. You should also wear a respirator or at the very least a mask because the wood dust is very fine. We rented the floor sander from the hardware store (Orchard Supply, or "OSH" for those of you in northern California). In the past we've rented floor sanders from that "orange" big box home improvement center and found them to be pretty beat up. Plus, the last time we rented one from them we saw they'd removed the skirt at the bottom that helps keep the dust contained (all of the sanders had it removed, why we don't know). Without that skirt there was A LOT of wood dust. I had to constantly use the shop vac while my husband ran the sander. The sander we rented from OSH is an orbital sander from Varathane and it works pretty well to sand and vacuum at the same time. It's really easy to push and you just have to move it around the floor...back and forth, back and forth. It takes a while and uses up lots of heavy grit sandpaper to get through the tough varnish, especially the oil-based stuff they used in the late 60's when our house was built. But eventually you can switch to a finer grit sandpaper and then finish it off with the finest grit. The next step is staining and varnishing. We use water-based polyurethane and put on about 4-5 coats.