Monday, March 21, 2011

Signs... and sounds... of Spring

Spring made an official appearance yesterday, accompanied by sunshine and mild weather. My daffodils are in full-bloom, a few early tulips add their vibrant color to the yard, and the fruit trees are in full-flower. All of that adds sunshine to the soul and puts a smile on my face... even though it's tax season. Today Seattle wears a misty gray cloak and Mt. Rainier is hidden by rainclouds, a typically changeable weather pattern for March in Seattle, but the colors of Spring still decorate the landscape.

The sounds of Spring are another story. The tap-tap-tap of hammers and the buzz of an air compressor greet us at 8:00 a.m. five days a week. Yes, the remodel next door continues, filling our usually quiet neighborhood with construction activity... and trucks... and dumpsters... and a bright green port-a-potty. The crew is efficient, the jobsite is tidy, and it is interesting to watch the structure change.

Spring must have a sense of humor, though I'm not laughing. For several years now Spring has sent us visitors, unwelcome guests who attempt to move into the house via an exterior opening for the clothes dryer vent! The spring that closes the small flapper door must be a weak design, because the birds seem to have easy access every year. 

Noisy bird chirps, very noisy and very nearby, are the first clue as the adults explore the opening. Next comes the scritching and scraping sounds of swallows hopping along the flexible six-inch diameter plastic tube. If ignored for just a day or two, the final clue would be strings and strands of grasses, nest-building supplies, hanging down the outside wall. You can laugh, but it's not funny to me. I have bad dreams imagining the swallows pecking through the plastic pipe and invading the house to nest in comfort somewhere inside. So I turn on the dryer and blast them out whenever I hear bird noises. Tiny bird brains must not remember that exciting event from year to year. I also pester the husband a lot until he drags out the big extension ladder and tacks an square of chicken wire over the dryer vent opening - unsightly but not as messy as a bird's nest would be.     

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