Break Up, Spring Chores & My Front Porch

As the weather is once again gorgeous today I initially decided I’d get the dogs out for a walk.  However, break up is in full swing and I quickly found the roads to be extremely treacherous in terms of traction; I was using one of my snow shoe poles and even with this tripod stance I almost fell on butt a number of times.  After just 0.4 miles I threw in the towel and slipped and slid my way back home.  Given the gorgeous weather – 48.5 F with clear skies and abundant sunshine – I just couldn’t go back inside.  Therefore I decided to get with the whole ‘spring cleaning’ idea and I started moving lots of empty boxes onto the front porch:Image

As you can see from the image I amassed a goodly quantity although many were already residing on the porch.  The gentleman that clears my driveway of snow buried my burn barrel in the process so I haven’t been able to get to it since November 10th.  Because the bears were in hibernation I could stack boxes smelling of food on the front porch; the local foxes and even the wolverine didn’t bother any of them.  Now, however, its time to once again become ‘bear aware’ and hence I need to get the cardboard out to the burn barrel and burned very soon.  I do not want to encourage the local bruins to hang around my front porch in search of food.

I already have a challenge in this respect; if you look at the furthest distant porch support pole and look to where the cross member meets it you’ll see a small sunflower feeder I hung last fall – it even has a Chickadee perched on it.  This has become very popular with the local Chickadees, Nuthatches, Tit Mice and Downy Woodpeckers and hence I do not want to stop using it as a bird feeding station.  However, this could well attract bears and that’s not acceptable so I’m conflicted as to what to do.  Short term I’ll leave it in place but I will have to monitor any and all wildlife activity around it; if I see bear tracks or other signs I will have to move it or discontinue feeding until the bears return to hibernation.

Looking to the lower portion of the image and bit left of center you see a large wooden box with bird houses set atop it; that wooden crate shelters my generator which is wired into the house circuitry.  I built three swallow houses from plans on-line and I set them atop the generator enclosure to varnish them before I mount them in nearby trees.  According to what I’ve read I need to keep them widely spaced and attached to birch tree trunks at least 12 feet in elevation.  I’m hoping to entice field swallows into nesting in them because they are voracious mosquito eaters and the insect season will soon be upon us.  With a bit of luck these natural insect controls will work with my ‘Mosquito Magnet’ which I’ll soon be setting up and operating in an attempt to keep the numbers of blood sucking insects in check.  I’m also going to set up mosquito netting around the porch just to ensure I have a mosquito/black fly free area to sit on and enjoy the Alaskan solitude.  I’ll be installing the latter once the rest of the snow melts away.

Right in the lower center of the image is my rocking chair; since I was varnishing the bird houses I figured I’d put a coat on it as well.  I brought it inside during the winter but now will be leaving it on the porch with the milder weather.  I’ve always been a ‘rocker’ even as a child and I discovered last fall that it’s almost heaven on earth to be able to sit on my front porch here in the boreal forest surrounding the Talkeetna area and rock while I observe all the wildlife and the environment.  In this sense I really am ‘the old man in his rocking chair on the front porch’!  The dogs were grateful for the chance to remain outside after their abbreviated walk although I did have to shoo the always curious Qanuk (my male GSD) away from the rocker a few times; I did not want to have to try to clean varnish out of his coat.  In addition he’s been shedding his coat for the past ten days and I really wanted to keep the amount of dog fur ‘preserved’ in the varnish to a minimum.

So my early terminated walk did bear some fruit in getting the house cleared of boxes and getting coats of varnish on the swallow homes and my rocking chair; that’s kinda how it works up here – if you cannot do something because Mother Nature has other ideas ya just go with the flow and find something else to do.

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