Later that day, I decided to go out and enjoy the sun and make sure I had some gourds out, since I had to leave soon on yet another business trip. It was hard to get into the spirit of the season after having experienced my most difficult year. But, after raking up 5 bags of white pine needles and stuffing a few gourds, muscle-memory took over, along with the warmth of the sun and a bit of joy started to shine through.
That afternoon, as I hung the last gourd on my rack for the day, I heard that familiar chirp. I looked skyward and found her. Yes, for only the second time in the history of my colony a female showed up first! She flew circles around and around me, and as she shared her joy of being home, through tears of joy, I managed to say, "hello Gorgeous, THERE you are!" I felt so honored, after such a devastating last year, that they would actually return to my site. It didn't take long - later that evening, she had already found a male ASY to keep her warm at night. Ironically, my first dude back has a pretty yellow band on his left leg, so I'll be getting his number soon. Looks like SHE already has his number.
|First arrivals - 2017 - the male in the upper left gourd is banded.|
As I stood and watched them both circle my site and chirp their happy, "hello" to me, I suddenly realized that I have been way too engrossed in my job to engage in the things that bring me joy. With all the travel and work stress, I had forgotten that this is where I find my peace and center myself.
It has been almost 3 weeks since that first pair showed up and I now have 20 martins on-site.
I am a pro at not only creating bad habits, but also breaking them and I am getting myself outside every evening when they come home and watching them as they swirl round & round the site, each circle bringing them lower & lower to the gourd racks, until they finally zip right into their own gourds and get instantly quiet for the night. What a delight!
The Trendsetter has been taken down this year. Even if I installed a larger cage on it, I couldn't get past the memories of last year and it obviously had become a magnet for the GHO. Instead of digging yet another hole in the yard though, we decided to use the existing Trendsetter ground stake that is firmly ensconced in a way-over-engineered concrete hole which will definitely hold the new super system. But first, we had to adapt the 2" square ground stake to the new 3" pole.
We were finally able to find a talented fabricator and he created a new ground stake that would help us transition the 2" ground stake to the new 3" ground stake I needed for the new Super System.
The inner measurement of the square had to be 1 11/16" to fit tightly around the existing ground stake.
The length had to be 27". The fabricator was very clever in how he built this new ground stake up to exactly the right measurements. He used the welds and plates to make the second outer tube fit solidly on the inner square tube, finally creating the exact size - 2 11/16"- needed to fit inside the 3" gourd rack pole.