The Nut House

Did I mention that I’m married to an architect? Probably. He’s a very good carpenter too. He gets ideas for projects. My life is good because of this man, but it’s even better because of these two aspects of him. There are bookcases in the living room and dining room, a fabulous sewing table (that I showed you in a blog), a writing trailer at the farm in Wisconsin, my daughter’s porch, my son’s kichen design and basement design, and all sorts of very cool stuff. He even designed an amazing easel that tilts for our friend Meighen Jackson. 

He makes regular trips to IKEA to hunt through their markdown room for some treasure he can turn into something else. When he came home with a flower pot (orange clay) that he was going to turn into a bird house, I swear to you, I did not roll my eyes. He then disappeared into the garage and got his power tools whirring and buzzing. 

So for a year now we’ve had a very cute birdhouse attached to one of the espalier posts in the backyard. I didn’t dissuade him with my thoughts of how a clay pot would turn into a hot house (in a spot with full summer sun) and a baby sparrow might cook inside it. 

Birds are smart. 

They’d know it didn’t have air conditioning, so it’s been basically a birdless house. 

Seriously, birds are really smart. One year all my little plastic plant markers disappeared from the garden. What the heck! Who would want steal those little plastic tags? How would I know the beefsteak from the cherry tomatoes? Honestly, that wasn’t the end of the world. I could tell who was who once the tomato plants got tomatoes. Beefsteaks are bigger. 

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Then one day I was standing under one of the big pines in the back yard and I heard chirping, so I looked up. There were the plant markers—a very colorful, fancy floor of a bird’s nest. 

Birds are smart.

The very best parts of my days this summer were spent watching the hummingbirds. They take my breath away. In other words, when they come to the feeders I stop breathing and watch them in awe.

Squirrels, I’m not so crazy about. They dig up my bulbs. They leave holes where I don’t want holes. They take single bites out of the rare apples we get on the espalier. They have big teeth. 

When I was a kid my uncle Bubs fed squirrels on his back porch. They’d climb up his leg and take a peanut from his BARE hand. Eeeww. Yikes. Squirrels are very scary.

Sorry, got off track…back to John’s clay pot birdhouse.

A couple weeks ago we noticed a stringy thing hanging out of the birdhouse’s door. Oh no, I thought, Baked Baby Birds!

But then we watched as a squirrel ran along the top of the espalier frame (Squirrel Highway, we call it). It had a wad of something in its mouth. He climbed down and went into the clay pot, and came back out. Empty mouthed. John thought he was making a nest in there. We debate this. I think it’s too small for a squirrel’s nest.  

I think it’s a nut house.

John just asked me if I want to count the rings in a tree slice. I said, “No.”
…but I know he’s thinking of some cool thing to do with the tree slices.

At this point in the story (you know how I am) I could probably make some connection between the Nut House in my back yard and the Nut House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. But I won’t. That other nut house isn’t funny.

BREAKING NEWS from the New York Times:
The Trump administration will finalize the repeal of a clean water regulation that limited the use of polluting chemicals near bodies of water.

10 Replies to “The Nut House”

  1. This is a wonderful little story and so funny. Who else would have a squirrel nut house? Who else would have an espalier post and trees for that matter.

    Two very creative people live in the big house next to the nut house. And the yard animals are watching.

  2. Does this blog mean that since you are married to John , who is an
    architect , and he designed the house for the birds—–that John
    and you are now NUTTY?
    Very funny !
    Perhaps you’re best blog .

  3. Wonderful story, Lynn. Birds and squirrels and hummers are so smart. And cute. And funny. But I agree that those Other Nuts are NOT any of those things.

  4. That’s funny. I guess squirrels are smart too. This squirrel figured out the empty bird house made a good place to hide his nuts.

    I envy you for having such a nice back yard to watch birds and squirrels, grow tomatoes, and just enjoy a piece of nature. Some things I really miss living in Manhattan. But there are things I really enjoy here, too.

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