Memorial Weekend Report

(Originally sent to family 2001)

Last week, I had sent out an email to let people know that I was taking a long Memorial Holiday. I was hoping to complete some chores that had been plaguing me for some time. If fact, I am happy to report that I did manage to complete the bathroom remodeling project that I started on the last Fourth of July. If I ever decide to strip a bathroom down to the studs and floor joists again, I hope someone will realize I have gone crazy and I need to be put me out of my misery.

Another small project I needed to get finished was some tree trimming! Nothing to high in the air, but still, ladders were involved. I had purchased a small electric chain saw and felt that I could handle the job.

All was going well until I decided to trim my arborvitae. They were towering well over my house! I was able to use a six-foot step-ladder to reach up to about the ten foot level, where I began to hack them off with my chain saw. Other than having the sawed off tree limbs falling straight down into my face, it was going as expected.

As I was cutting down to the last arborvitae “stalk” I received an unexpected shower. Unknown to me, the last one I was cutting contained a nest of blackbirds that were not quite ready for flight (At least not on their own power). As that green branch fell toward my face, I saw the nest heading straight for me. It exploded on impact, releasing five screaming nestlings around me. It should also be noted that I was well aware that these nests not only contain small birdies, they also contained a fair amount of lice that lived in the structure made of grass and feathers.

(Take a moment to visualize a rather robust fellow, standing on the second highest step of a six-foot step-ladder, with a running chain saw, getting smacked in the face by a branch containing 5 baby blackbirds.)

I felt that I handled the situation quite well. I threw the chain saw as far away as I could and then quickly pushed the ten-foot branch out of my face. I flailed my arms trying to brush the lice off my head as I tumbled to the ground. Once my vision was cleared, I spotted the hatchlings by me. Next to them was a nest that still seemed in pretty good shape, considering its short vertical flight. I grabbed the empty nest and began to retrieve it’s occupants as quickly as possible. I took the nest along with its residents back up to the top of the tree and shoved it into a crook in the branch and climbed down again.

I watched for a while to see if the mother would return. I did not have high hopes for the situation, as the nest was a good six feet lower in the tree. (Later that night the mother did return and has remained in the area to care for the birds).

After picking up the branches and storing the now slightly dented chain saw, I was very happy to get into the house for a long hot shower.

The rest of the weekend I remained grounded, working only the projects that didn’t require chain saws or step-ladders.

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