The trees at The Funny Farm have been misbehaving. Actually, they have a disease that is causing the upper branches to die and break off. You can see what this does to my aviary top netting in Daily Drama 13.
There shouldn’t be big bare twigs at the top of those trees.
There are some band-tailed pigeons that like to perch up there, though.
I can’t get them to come to my bird feeders, though.
Dobby wants to tell part of the story.
It’s not me. The crows chase away the pigeons.
A LOT of branches have been falling, though they don’t all make holes when they fall.
We’re not talking about little twigs, here.
The other problem is that raccoons like to enter the aviary through holes that open at the net where the birch tree trunks go through. I have patched holes, and then patched the patches for a dozen years. Now there are so many layers of chicken wire that the leaves and small twigs pile up and hold water. The wire rusts through, and it is no longer possible to determine whether the aviary is secure at the tree trunk area.
The patched area shows as a dark zig-zag that looks like a swarm of bees in this photo.
Because repairing the net means exposing a large area to predators, the work must be completed in one day, secured before dusk. We recruited our neighbor, Connor, to help tackle the chore. His experience with tree trimming prompted him to immediately recommend taking out the smaller of the three birch trees. It was actually a very low, large branch. That would never have occurred to us. He cut the tree branch and pulled it into the aviary through the hole opened up for the repair. Now we only had to patch around the two larger trees.
Get in our way and we will cut you down!
By the time the tree was pulled into the aviary, most of the spiders were out of the way.
The spiders are huge this year.
Dobby wanted to rub his morrillo on the branches, but I sent the flock out to play in the yard with him instead.
Jello the daredevil chicken stayed in for a while. All the bugs coming down were too tempting.
Here are the two trees that grow through the aviary netting. It isn’t easy to secure the “roof” around them. You can see the chickenwire cylinders we attached. We’ll connect the roof to the chickenwire. You can also see Connor’s rope . . . and just make out Connor way up there.
Raccoon highways into the aviary, unless the net is secure.
Connor’s second brilliant suggestion was to remove as many dead branches as possible. BEFORE they crash through the net. WHILE the access hole is still open. That’s why he climbed up into the tree.
Dobby wants to remind everyone that Connor has been up in our trees before. He did some major trimming in spring, and now the rotten maple doesn’t hang OVER THE HOUSE any more.
Everybody moved out from under Connor’s work area, even though he was actually working with a net. Spiders.
Cutting and yanking branches, tossing them over his shoulder into the open hole in the net below.
Don’t forget about Dobby’s corn time! He likes to take his corn off this table. If we put it on the ground, he walks away until we put it on the table for him.
“Corn on the table, Dobby!”
More cut, yank, and toss.
That’s a LOT of dead wood. The trees will probably die, eventually. I won’t spray them over a wetland.
Almost done. Each falling branch would have required a prompt removal and net repair, some random, inconvenient time this winter.
Grover hid in the aviary, but Kitty Hawk came out and Dobby hung out with him on the deck.
Dobby doesn’t always chase him. It’s more fun to be spontaneous.
If you look at the earlier photos, you will see how much dead wood Connor managed to remove. There’s still more, but he got the big stuff.
Not enough time before dark to get all of the dead wood.
Dobby and Kitty Hawk were underfoot. This is why none of us were IN the aviary during the tree work.
Butt. Other end is probably chewing the top off my boots.
Compared to the tree trimming, the actual net repair went quickly with three people. This time we used 2″x 2″ wire mesh. It is big enough to let small leaves and snow fall through, but too small and too stout for raccoons to get through. It’s also flexible enough to give a little when the trees blow around in strong wind. I love cable ties, but we used a lot of wire, too.
Raccoon-resistant, because I am not foolish enough to believe that ANYTHING is raccoon-proof.
Dobby is ready to go to the front yard, now. In this photo, and in real time, too. I need to finish my story and go outside with him.
The trees are a beautiful sight, now, knowing that dead wood is down.
Winky says hello, and why haven’t I mentioned her, not even once? Okay, look for Winky. She’s BROWN.
The old netting we took out? The garbage crew didn’t take it. Wonder why . . .
Really ugly stuff. We went over the ground with a magnet to pick up bits of wire, too.
Okay, Dobby, I’m coming. But first, look at the leftover wire. We call that “cutting it close.”
That’s not much spare wire, but we’ll never need to patch it again, right?