First Robin Sited

Gloxinia Pink
Gloxinia petals web

Yesterday I sighted my first Robin of the season. It was rummaging through leaves on the exposed forest floor, and finding something tasty to eat, though I don’t know what that was. Attila and I spotted another one this morning. There are two Robin’s nests built right under the floor of our second storey deck. Every spring we hear a chorus of hungry hatchlings, just outside our windows.

The snow is retreating in earnest now. This morning there are streaks of brown running through the snow covered scenery. We expect that by this evening there will be streaks of white running through the brown and leafy forest floor.

Looking out the window today, at first glance, one notices the retreat of the snow in the yard. After a few minutes though, if I continue to gaze in the direction of the yard, there is a bloom of movement. Blue Jays flit from high branches to the ground to grab tasty morsels. Two Robins are hopping about, enjoying a meal. A dozen or more Chickadees are darting from one patch of bare earth to another in search of newly available food. There was another unidentified bird enjoying the bounty; black with a bit of red at the wing joint, a small beak, smaller in size than the Robin, larger than the Chickadee. The yard is alive with activity, a virtual bird cafeteria.

Attila and I moved into this house nine years ago today, an anniversary. That year all the snow was gone by moving day, it was an earlier spring. I had been living in a spare bedroom, at the home of my employers, for several months, when we finally took possession of our own house. We had been married in our old house, where Attila was still living, just weeks before. There were only three houses available in this area at that time: one on a private road that was not ploughed by the local authorities, no thank you, another within a few yards of an active rail line, no thank you, and this house, which was empty due to a marriage break up and in very, very questionable condition. This house came with a ploughed road, a bit of property and a lot of privacy, so the decision was made and here we are today.

The thing I remember most about the house, when I shoved the key into the lock, opened the door and entered, was the smell. The ground floor was musty and smelled of dead, rotting mice. I found the dead mice in glue traps under the stairwell. That was the first thing I did in our new home, I gathered the dead mice and the traps and disposed of them.

The objectionable smell on the second storey of the house was a different matter altogether. The previous owner had owned a dog, who used the corner of the living room as a latrine. The dog was also frequently locked in one of the back bedrooms, where he did his business on the carpets. It took quite a while to conquer the smell on the second storey of the house. We cleaned the bedroom carpet constantly, and eventually, over the course of a year or so, removed most of the urine smell from that room. In the living room though, no amount of cleaning would remove the smell from the wood subfloor. We ended up having to apply KILLZ to the subfloor, to seal in the smell. Then we tiled the floor. That did the trick.

Those were the first of many “home horror” adventures in this house. The leaking roof, the broken hot water tank, the squealing UV system, the mouse infestation, the damaged window frames and doors, the mosquitoes in the house, the carpenter ants, the heating issues… The list is long, and the issues have been conquered in order of urgency, over the course of the last nine years.

There is much more that could be done, but nothing that has to be done. A wonderful situation to find ourselves in.

We thought to move away from this area three years ago. We put this house up for sale, began sending out resumes and looking for work, and purchased the little house in the city as the first step in our relocation plans. The economy is against us. There is no work for us near the little house in the city, making a move impossible. In the meantime we continue to renovate that little house, bringing it up to an acceptable living standard.

IF we ever buy another house, I would like it to be in good repair and “move in” ready!

Worldly Distractions


9 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 9.3°C
Dewpoint: 8.6°C
Humidity: 95 %
Wind: S 11 km/h


“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

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Truer words were never spoken. It’s one thing to move into a house with beautification projects in mind and quite another to find yourself in the situation you describe. It’s a long period of living in uncomfortable conditions, lots and lots of backbreaking work–and money! Everything having to do with repair is so expensive. And either you work on the weekends on the house or you use up your vacation days working on the house–or both.

Congratulations on your perseverance. Who knows…maybe one of the days the economy will turn around for real. Until then, we just keep on keeping on.