Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Schultz! Close the gates! The war is back on!

Above is a picture of our new next door neighbor taken by The Mrs. You can click on it for a larger version. Don't worry, I'll wait. She and Mr. Owl moved in last week. Aside from the constant bickering (don't even try to get a state trooper to intervene in an Owl domestic dispute), there are several problems with having the Owl family for neighbors:
  • Where is the miniature poodle?
  • Are they the kind of owl that turns my property into some sort of endangered species zone so I can't mow my lawn anymore? If so, I say dang. Just dang.
  • I don't think I can write them off on my taxes as dependents since I can't get them a Social Security card.
  • There goes my idea of a mouse farm.
Anyhow, the owls have been handling the construction up high, and The Boy and I have been handling construction down low. Real low.

The previous owners of the house (Billy Ray Cyrus and Ma Kettle) decided to build a deck out front. Good for us, that's where hot tubs go. They built the deck as stout as one of Joe Pesci's sturdy little legs. Unfortunately, they also ripped off portions of the vapor barrier plus they sloped the dirt towards the house. For those of you who don't know, this is a bad thing. Why?

We have a basement. This winter when first we moved in, it became obvious that the basement was the coldest spot in the house. This made sense, since cold air moves downward. But, this was colder than that. It was ice on the walls (literally) kind of cold. Billy Ray and Ma had destroyed the insulation ability of that wall house, plus by putting the deck there, there was no longer any snow (which is an insulator) over a great swath of land right next to my basement.

By sloping the dirt towards the house, they also made my basement a nice funnel (not that it has been wet yet). This is only a good idea if you're Aqua-Man and want to keep the Aqua-Kids in the basement.

Time for that super construction duo, John and The Boy to spring into action.

If you've never spent time digging what amounts to a tunnel under a collection of boards, well, then you've never spent time in a German WWII POW camp. It was very spidery. Fortunately, The Boy has no innate fear of spiders. I did not mention to The Boy that they might bite.

See, I did that with the butterfly earlier this spring. The Boy and I were sitting, and a butterfly was coming up to him, and he was entranced. . . "What's that?"

Me: "A butterfly. Watch out, it might bite you."

The Boy looked in horror at the lemon-yellow butterfly and jumped back about three feet. I told him I was kidding. I'm not sure that he believes me that a butterfly won't bite him, but, hey, that was quite a visual. He'll probably deal with any lingering "unusual fear of butterfly" issues in therapy when he's older.

So, The Boy and I spent four hours moving dirt underneath the deck, cramped in a space where the only way to move was to wiggle on our torsos, slowly expanding our escape tunnel, so it would come up under the tree stump on the other side of the wire. The CommandantThe Mrs. would never see us escape then.

For those of you who have not done this, it beats a anything you can do in a health club for an abdominal workout. I'm working on that six-pack right now (but, it's beer, not abs).

We're not done, not quite yet. We've got to go buy some more insulation, some more plastic sheeting, and I'll dig the Owl family a basement so I can use the dirt to slope the whole mess the right way. Then we'll be ready for -55F temperatures under the deck this winter, and the runoff next spring.

As The Boy sagely remarked, while we were prone, covered in dirt, dust and mud from toe to top of head, "It's good to be dirty."


Blogger the Witch said...

Smart move not telling the boy that spiders bite.

Don't you love moronic home "improvements"? Dirt sloping to the house? What could have been their reasoning behind that?

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm jealous. I want some owls on my property-- all we have are dead voles. Ewww. I don't want to have to dig massive holes, though. Pruning the hedges is enough home maintenance for me.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Strange. Here we slope the dirt toward the house so there is less wall to paint. It's a different Redneck construction technique than yours, but you have to admire the thinking behind it.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Garry Nixon said...

That owl's a beauty. I've set the picture as this week's wallpaper on my laptop. How big is it? Do you know what kind of owl it is?

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks like a great horned owl to me. There go the mice and the poodle, but I don't think you'll have to worry about the endangered species act! Kestrel

8:09 AM  
Blogger John said...

(shrugs) there is a LOT of duct tape used in Alaska for things other than ducts. a LOT.

don't be so sure. once the owls get drunk and start to argue . . .

heh. to be a "contractor" for jobs less than $5000, no license required in Alaska. Plus, you can build your own home every other year. Plus, no inspection, no permits. Buyer beware!

It is big. Very big. like 2' high, big wing span (3'?), makes a big flapping noise. I only saw them (I assume a mated pair) at night with my glasses off. The Mrs. took the picture. I have it on good authority that it's a great horned owl.

Thanks for answering that one!! I had no idea, beyond that it was an owl. As for the poodle, he's got a husky-cocker mix pal that I think would discourage the owls . . . I think.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Garry Nixon said...

I think that's the one. Found this link: http://www.desertusa.com/mag00/jan/papr/ghowl.html

2:00 PM  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

I'm stuck on the vision of what would've happened in the basement had you not moved in...Billy Ray Cyrus, Ma Kettle AND the Aqua Family...There's a visual...

5:23 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

"Our mission, to explore new forests and trails, to seek out new tasty animals, to boldly eat what no bear has eaten before"

(hums theme song in her head)

1:11 PM  
Blogger Lady Luck said...

OMG, you are hilarious! Found your blog by accident, but I will visit again.

I am visiting Anchorage the first of September. Thanks for the hilarious visuals!

12:31 PM  

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