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February 15, 2005

Dads, Forts and Owls

Guest Blogger: Jason Gingerich

Grandpa Douglas (as he is known around here) decided to make a hay fort in the barn on our property as a surprise for the girls. I'm not entirely sure whether he was reliving childhood hayfort memories, or just wanting to wow the girls, but at any rate he succeeded in wowing the girls. If you've never been in the barn here, it's a nice old wooden barn. It is red, and has immense beams with very few knots. The one downside is that the family of barn owls that inhabit the box in the haymow leave droppings, as do some friendly bats. But that didn't stop my dad. Before 8 a.m. (if I recall correctly) Monday morning, dad was banging on my door in the milkhouse, announcing that he was going to work on the fort. He was armed with a power leaf blower and dust mask. Four hours later there was a (quite impressive) hay fort, complete with hanging battery powered lantern, skylight, and carpet. He even put up a handrail along the scary-steep stairs up to the haymow.
At any rate, today was the day when he presented the girls with this fort. I was worried they'd be too scared to be up there alone. But when I asked if I could go up there while they were playing, they told me I could, as long as I didn't come inside the fort (which was fine by me. I remember enjoying hay forts, but I enjoyed the building more than the being-inside). They also told me I could go inside the house, and they would play for a while.


We also got a "bonus surprise". As we were admiring the fort, we heard the sound of a small bird chirping. It sounded like some songbirds outside the barn. Nevertheless, I went up to the "owl box" and peeked in. Sure enough, I saw a half-dozen small white eggs and one limpish own chick, chirping plaintively. We've had a remarkably warm winter here in Oregon; trees are budding, grass is growing, cats are delivering dead mice to our door--all the signs of spring. But baby owls made it really feel like spring, and less than a week after Groundhog Day.
Perhaps one of you who is an expert in birds can tell me whether this is a Sure Sign Of Global Warning, and the owl is in danger from being born too early, or whether barn owls have their young in February under normal circumstances. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the "feeling of spring," and generous fathers. And try not to think about global warming and other catastrophes.

Posted by jennifer at February 15, 2005 10:16 PM


I see that 'Uncle David' gets to go in. Has Daddy been invited in yet?

Posted by: Judy [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2005 11:38 AM