In our back yard here in Eden, we have a structure that we lovingly refer to as "the big ugly green thing". It started out life about twelve years ago as a two-story fort for our son. Tall and rustic, it blended into the piney woods that surround it. Over the years it has evolved into the "big ugly green thing". First, the bottom of the fort was closed in to house the lawn equipment. Then a larger edition was added on to the side to act as a "temporary shed" when we turned our garage into the new master bedroom and bathroom when my mother was going to be moving in with us seven years ago. As my son outgrew playing in the fort, the door and windows were eventually boarded up. The woodsy green that at one time blended into to the piney woods and matched the trim on the house has faded into a ...I can't even think of a word to describe the color(s). Thus the name "big ugly green thing".
Evidently, birds are color blind - or they have a passion for big ugly green things that in no way resemble a birdhouse or trees. For the past four years or so, every Spring Mr. and Mrs. House Wren have decided to take up residence there. The first year, we found an abandoned nest with 3 little pink speckled eggs in it. I'm certain that Sylvester, our neighbor's cat, had something to do with the fact that the nest was abandoned. For the next couple of years, we'd find empty nests hidden in boxes of nails, or plastic bins on the top shelf. We never knew when the nests were built or how many children they housed. This year, however, it's almost as though Mr. & Mrs. H.W. had some inkling that we'd be selling the house and moving on. Even though the shed has been cleaned out and there are only a few places that a nest could be hidden, they have once again graced us with there presence. My husband stumbled upon the nest one day when he was down there in the dark, scary "big ugly green thing" puting the lawnmower away. He looked at the new nest nestled among some plumbing fixures in an old milk crate and thought it was empty (like I said it's kind of dark and scary in there). He leaned in for a closer look, startled Mrs. H.W who in turn startled hubby. She flew off in one direction, he jumped back in the other direction and . . . well you get the picture. Once he forced his heart back into his chest, hubby peeked in the nest again and saw 4 little pink speckled eggs! A couple of weeks later, he peeked in again just in time to see a little brown head beginning to poke his head out of one of the shells. I've poked my head in several times and have had the joy of watching 4 little H.W.s in various stages of growth. It's been a treat and an honor to have been invited to watch such a miracle.
Now, I'm getting a little sad. It won't be long before the H.W. children will be ready to leave the nest. It won't be long before hubby and I will be moving on. I wonder how I can convey to the new owners that the structure in the back yard is really not a "big ugly green thing". It's a very LARGE birdhouse. And, if they are very, very patient next Spring Mr. and Mrs. H.W. may honor them by building a nest somewhere inside the "big green birdhouse" so that they can witness the wonders of nature first hand. Maybe they'll take the boards off of the windows and door so that their little girl can turn the fort into her very own castle. Maybe they'll see fit to paint it a different color. Or, maybe they'll decide to tear it down - in which case Mr. and Mrs. H.W. will have to find a new place to nest next Spring. Hmmmm. Maybe I should invite them to join us in Kentucky!