Septic Stop, Permaculture, and a Bird’s Nest

Hey Friends and Followers,

We’ve been a bit quiet lately, as far as this blog goes, and we don’t have a ton of progress to report on the house. It turns out that we have an issue relating to our septic system planning, that, until sorted out, brings us to a full stop. It’s not clear at this time just how long it will take to resolve, so we’re hanging in there and doing what we can to move things along.

But just because we don’t have a lot to report on the house, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy!

Andy and I attended our first weekend of permaculture classes in Petaluma, and it was great. I don’t have the best explanation of what permaculture is, but one simple version could be that it is a way of looking at how natural systems work together and applying those principles to our own environment, so that we’re working with nature instead of against it. We brought in “weeds” from our yards and learned about their uses, we learned some basic surveying techniques to assess the lay of the land, and we spent a lot of time talking about the principles of permaculture and design. We are really looking forward to learning how to apply all these concepts to our own life and land, and we are also looking forward to spending more time with our classmates and instructors, who all have interesting knowledge and experience to share.

We also went to a brief talk on rainwater capture (we could have so much more water to use for things like laundry and flushing toilets as well as watering our landscapes if we just collected some of what falls) and Andy went to a Passive House conference  (our architect and passive house designer, who you might remember from the “Interview with an Architect” post, was a speaker).

Something else that we’ve been learning about are the various birds that we see here at the ranch.  Andy and I have both become interested in trying to identify them.  Some of the birds that we have recently sighted include robins, oak titmice, woodpeckers (although we’re not very confident of which type), dark eyed juncos, and even a rufous-sided towhee!  There are still more birds around than we’ve learned to identify, but we’re improving.

On that subject, we noticed that there was a vacated bird’s nest on the property.   Of course I did a photo shoot of the nest, and you can see some of the pics below. It’s interesting to see how this nest is constructed, with larger twigs on the outside and smaller, softer materials on the inside.

I am guessing it’s the nest of a song sparrow, based on some internet research about where we found it and what it looks like, but if you’re a nest expert and have more info, leave a note in the comments – I am interested to know!

This is the whole nest.

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And here are a some more artistic and less informative shots:

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