Friday, May 04, 2012

Storm & Updates

Life got a little exciting yesterday morning.  A storm came through shortly after 7 AM with heavy rain and a lot of wind.  I was in the shower during the brunt of it, but when I was dried and dressed I had a look outside.

There were pine branches allllllll over the yard.  We have big pine trees, so some pine branches down after a storm is entirely normal.  But this was the most I've ever seen since I moved here in 1994.  As I looked around I noticed something wasn't quite right with the row of large trees in front of the house.  It took me a minute to figure it out, but the dying walnut tree at the end of the row had fallen and was completely uprooted.  To top it off, it fell directly toward Rusty and Iris' cage!

Everything appeared to be intact though, from my view inside the house.  As I went upstairs I noticed something didn't look right in the woods to the north side of the house.  It looked too open.

After the rain subsided and we had breakfast we went outside to survey the damage.  The walnut tree had missed the owl cages by about 18 inches.  Hallelujah!  The trunk missed the water hydrant by about 6 inches.  A small branch hit the hydrant, however, but the branch was rotten and didn't do any damage.

There were pine branches EVERYWHERE.  To the north of the house, by our compost pile, another mature tree had been uprooted.  And ANOTHER one to the other side of the pile.  Between the two of them they had taken down some other trees, creating a gap where before I had only seen trees.

Since we didn't have any real damage, just a mess to clean up, Hein drove up and down the valley to see if others needed help.  There was a branch in the road, the neighbor had oak limbs across his driveway, and I helped a neighbor get her big grill upright again.  But it seemed we had really gotten the worst of it ourselves.

At the Houston Nature Center in town there was a little damage: one and a half willow trees went down.  Otherwise, all was well in Houston.

Today our faithful cage builders, Roger Meyer and Laurel Oien, were over with chainsaws to cut up the walnut tree.  It was too rotten to be worth anything, so will be used as firewood.

Last night we noticed neither of the dome illuminators came on in the breeding cage, but they worked in the release cage.  Tonight we checked that out and found water in both illuminators in the breeding cage.  We took the domes off and will let them dry to see if by miracle they will work again.  If not, we'll need to buy two more.  I think we're keeping that company in business.

As for other updates, I am now broadcasting using Flash Media Encoder, which gives much better image resolution.  It was running well on both computers until I had to shut everything down for a day while we had electrical work done.  Since then the old laptop isn't able to run for more than a few minutes before the program crashes.  I'm going to try using another computer, but Flash Media Encoder doesn't work on that computer and will need some technical assistance, which I'm still waiting for.

There's big news coming on the Alice front: She'll be getting a new outdoor cage just outside her room!  Her room overlooks our one-story porch, and we'll build a screened-in cage for her there so she can be in or out.  This is a bigger project than you would imagine.

First we had to replace the porch roof since it was leaky and the soffit rotten in places.  We finally got that done.  Then we had to have the electrical lines from the pole to our house buried, as they attached to the house right above where the cage is going.  The trenching necessitated removing concrete between the house and garage also, which our neighbor kindly did with a skid loader.  But after the trenching we now need to do more driveway work, fill where the concrete was, and figure out some better drainage system across the driveway.

At any rate, we're FINALLY to the point of being able to get materials and get Alice's cage built.  Maybe even next week!  I'll post a photo and maybe do a little Ustream tour once it's done and Alice is settled in.


  1. Wow so glad the tree missed Iris and Rusty! But I am sorry about the big mess. Alice will love her outdoor cage!!!
    Good luck with everything!
    Kristin (knaz)

  2. Karla,

    Thanks for the update on happenings. I'm glad no one got hurt from the storm. I look forward to seeing Alice's addition to her bedroom.


  3. I am so glad everyone was okay. It's so sad when lovely old trees come down. Great news that Alice is getting an outdoor cage. She will be able to join Rusty and Iris in protecting their territory from the wild owls. I'll be glad when I can tune in and see them all again. Thanks for the update. MapleOwl