Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wow, It's been a long time!

Well, here is the latest update on the Kentucky Owl Box........There are still no owls.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this year will not be the year that an owl moves in to my great owl box.  It is now 90 degrees most days and I think starting a family in this heat would be crazy.  Given this, I think that we will again look forward to owls next spring and hope that over the rest of the summer and winter an owl couple spots the box and puts in their rental application (which I will of course accept).  It has been such a great project and I'm certainly not giving up on the idea!  I hope everyone will continue to be patient with me.  Given this information, I think I will go on with my blog and just go with things that are happening around the Kentucky Owl Box.  I'll post again soon!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 10 and counting

Well, I'm on day 10 and counting for Katie and William to find their owl box.  No sightings yet.  We had an ice storm last week on Wednesday night and it continued into Thursday.  The picture tells the story of how things looked here in Central Kentucky, so even if the owls had sighted the box they would have had no way to check out the interior.  Things are finally melting today and so maybe the door to the box won't be blocked by icicles by this afternoon, the sun is actually shinning although temperatures still remain in the high 20's.  The weather men are actually predicting a white Christmas for us which is fairly unusual. 

I've sent all my owl box information to the Salato Wildlife Refuge which is located here in Frankfort where I live.  I've been in contact with the Avian Biologist, Kathrine who has been very helpful. Although our state does not have the funds to send her out to my house, she has been very helpful through e-mail and phone conversations.  She is so pleased to have another nesting site in Kentucky and was very excited about the camera.  Her e-mail however did say:   

"Wow!  What a beautiful box!  So I guess you will know the minute something starts using it.  Don’t be surprised if you see some screech owls or even a hawk roost in there while you await your barn owls!

Thanks for your efforts.  Would be great to have barn owls in Franklin Co.  Let me know if you see any activity.  A lot of our owls are banded!  Something else to watch for.  :^)"

    Come to find out there are only 23 nesting pair of barn owls in Kentucky that she knows about.  She keeps track of them and has actually banded the babies of the nesting pair.  Here in Central Kentucky we used to produce large tobacco crops.  With that came many barns and so nesting areas, but over the years tobacco has not been the crop it used to be in Kentucky and those old barns have been left in disrepair giving our little owls less options for nesting.  Clearly Katherine is keeping her fingers crossed for the box as much as we are.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season, after all once this season is over then you know the days are getting longer and spring is on the way!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The raising of the owl box!

The owl box went up on Thursday, December 9, 2010.  Rio Grande Fence Co. in Frankfort, KY did the project.  Big Thanks to Mark Reib and his crew!  Great job. 

Now waiting on Katie and William to move in.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Boy the Challenges

Well, lessons have been learned so far, with the most important being:  When you are doing something with your family they have your best interest at heart.  They want you to be successful and they give you constant positive feedback.  I think that is what has me still going now 3 weeks after my return from building the box with Uncle Jim and Aunt Nancy.  It is also a reminder of how much I miss my Mom.  She was my constant cheerleader and supporter.  She would really be enjoying this project.  I'm sure she is watching and rooting me on!

The first week back I spent time searching for the pole that I would mount the owl box on.  I found a place to buy a brand new piece of pipe but it was kind of expensive.  People kept telling me I should be able to find a recycled piece for a better deal.  So the search was on......I called and called.....I shopped and shopped.....People gave me more advice.....and more advice......When I found myself wanting to go onto strangers property because I thought I might have seen a piece of pipe that would work.....I decided it was time to take safety first and buy the pipe. Before that could be done however it was Thanksgiving week and we were going to the beach.  It was a great trip and very relaxing, it let me step back from this project a little and remember "This is suppose to be fun!".  Once back in town, I called and ordered my 19 feet of 2 inch galvanized pole and it was delivered the next day. 

I'm now "on-call" with the fence guy for putting up the pole.  This part makes me even more anxious.  I'm about to rely on several men, whom I will be giving directions to such as......
1.  Please screw this pipe into this floor flange, the owl box must stay stationary
2.  Please spot weld it into place. 
3.  Please dig the hole 4 feet deep
4.  Be very careful as you lift the pole/box into the air.
5.  Are you sure it is straight.  Please get the level so we know for sure.
6.  Make sure the door of the house is facing the correct direction
7.  Now put in the cement.  Mix it rich enough that it will set up in the cold temperatures
8.  Keep it stable and level, does it need to be braced?
9.  Let me make sure the camera is working

I'm not sure they know what they have signed up for.  I'm the girl that if my hair ribbon was not tied perfectly with the ends being even then my Mom had to start over, I'm the girl whose scrapbook pages have to be perfect even if it takes me 2 hours to get a page done, I'm for sure the girl who wants her owl box to be done perfectly!

The best addition has been that my Uncle wrote a song about the owl box. I don't think I can express how much this means to me. I love music so much and it is a complete affirmation of what this entire project means to me. I have put it to music and will share it soon. 

In honor of both the raising of the owl box and the release of the new song, I actually went out and bought the new flip video camcorder today.  This will allow me to post the video on-line so it will be documented for posterity.

And so.......The magic of The Kentucky Owl Box continues.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Owl Box Production

Now the mission was "on" and I had to come up with a plan.  The first thing that I did was propose the idea of Henry and I visiting in Chicago.  "Check"  The second thing was to figure out how I was going to get there.  After talking with Don we had a plan.  "Check"  The third thing was to figure out the dates I would go and not miss any important University of Kentucky sporting events.  Week chosen.  "Check"  Amazingly this all happened within a 2 day period and I was off to the North land. 
Once I arrived Uncle Jim and I started talking and planning the owl box.  What I wanted it to look like, how I would put it up, what it needed to include, what to make it out of?  On Monday the plan was put into action.  Really there was little changing of the plan once we got started.  I learned how to use the table saw, how important the "fence" is, how to measure things several times before cutting.  I learned about wood glue, clamps and pocket screws.  Remember when you would say to your mom...."I don't know why I have to know this kind of math, I'll never use it".....Well, boy howdy, was there some math to take into account.  It was so much fun!  It took us all week to get it done, in fact we were putting polyurethane on the owl box the Saturday before I came home on Sunday.
The other part that had to be decided was the camera that would be put in the box.  Thank goodness my cousin Jeremy is a computer guy.  We went to best buy picked the camera and he made sure it was working before I left to come home.  By watching him set it up on that computer, I was able to do the same thing on my own home computer. 

It was a great week.  Certainly something I will never forget!  Thanks to all the Truelove family for their participation. 

Below are some pictures of the owl box progress and then some images off the computer of the camera shots.

Now if I can only find the galvanized pole and someone to get it up for me.  I will not lose momentum and I will not be discouraged.  I'm persistent and I will get this project done! 

Deet, Deet, Deet!

Friday, November 19, 2010

As October grew closer

As the days clicked along, I continued to be very involved with Molly, McGee and the owlets.  It was so fun to watch them grow up.  The first night that Ashley came out on the porch I thought my heart would jump out of my chest.  The babies were growing up and soon would be leaving the box.  The other countdown was that Carlos and Donna were leaving to attend their 50th High School Reunion, and the owl box would go dark. It was like a countdown that I didn't know how to manage.  Soon my main job of watching this amazing story unfold would be over.  As I began to think about the finish line, I soon began to conjure a plan of hosting an owl family of my own right here in Kentucky.  My Aunt Nancy and I would talk on the phone or by e-mail often about Molly and McGee and the owlets.  We were both really beginning to suffer the thoughts of the separation.  As we continued to talk, the idea of the Kentucky Owl Box really began to come together.  We made a plan that Uncle Jim could certainly build the box and then we would have to figure out how to get it to Kentucky since they live in Chicago.  We laughed about it many times and talked about it often but we made no specific plans. Our biggest focus continued to be on Molly, McGee and the babies.  So many great memories and scary ones as well.  The night Carey fell off the ledge was a crazy night for me.  What would happen to her, how would she get back up?  Could she fly well enough yet?  Then sure enough, she ended back up in the box.  Those pictures that Carlos posted of that evening are now very endearing, but that night I only felt scared.  Well, as we all know, both Ashley and Carey did just fine and grew up to fledge the magical owl box. I can only hope that my owl box will hold as much magic, I know it will hold as much love.

 I love you Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim and I love you too Molly and McGee♥♥♥

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As the days went by...

As the days went by I continued to watch Molly and McGee work at hatching and then raising their family.  The way McGee took care of Molly while she sat on her eggs was amazing. Always mindful to bring in great treats, approving of the excellent work and dedication she was showing to their family.  The entire time I was considered a lurker on the SS because I would read what others were writing but I did not actively participate.  Then one night, I'm not really sure why, I decided to jump in and actively participate in the Social Stream banter.  Wow!  All of a sudden I had moved to an even better level of watching and engaging in this experience.  I learned a lot too!  What an avatar is, how to get one loaded for yourself, how to change it frequently.  This group of MODS was all the time changing avatars to fit the day or the mood.  Some MODS even got their avatars to have animation.  This was truly becoming a study of sociology as well as nature.  Well, over the weeks many things happened including the passing of 2 of our precious owlets, some of our MODS experienced an earthquake, some experienced tornado's but probably the most interesting experience for me was the night that one of our beloved MODS had a emergency health event while interacting in the SS.  Several MODS, including myself jumped to action trying to get her help.  There were many challenges, we didn't know her address, we didn't know her real name and we didn't know what was really wrong.  I asked her if she could type in her phone number, which she did.  I then took that number and called information to that area code.  The young lady on the phone could not have been sweeter......."Information, what city and state please?"  I said, Well, I don't know, you see I've been talking with people in a chat room and one of them is having a health emergency and I need to try to get her help....."Oh, Well, let me get you to the 911 operator in that area"......."911 What's your emergency?"  I said,  Well I'm not sure but I was talking to people in a chat room and one of the people is having a health emergency and I'm wondering if you would go check on her?  ....."What's her name?"  I said, I don't know her real name I only know what she goes by in the chat room......"Is this a cell phone or a land line number?"  I said, I'm sorry I don't know.  The 911 operator then asked for my name and number which I gave to them.  He said...."We will try to go check on this for you"  About 30 min later the paramedic called me back.  He said..."We can not give you information about the persons condition but we want you to know that we found her"  Amazing!  Really, that you can call people and tell a story that most of us might think was a prank call and they respond and take care of our wonderful MOD.  Well, the story ends well and and the MOD/patient spent some time in the hospital and was back with us in the SS within a short period.  Thanks to all who helped in this situation and to the amazing SS group. We have also had a death in our MOD family.  In fact just yesterday a MOD posted on facebook:   "Given the sad passing of our beloved MOD, Mary Ellis, I wanted to reach out and say thank you.  Yes, YOU!  I am so grateful to have met so many wonderful people through the magic of Molly and McGee." 

Often, when I think about this total experience I can't believe I got to be part of it.  What if I had missed it?  What if this was not part of my total life experience?  I too, am so grateful to have met so many wonderful people through the magic of Molly and McGee.

Special thanks to Carlos and Donna Royal for sharing the magic!