Apr 23

Ant Farm Native Birds: Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

Apr 19

Ant Farm Native Birds: Brown-Headed Cow Bird

Brown Headed Cow Bird

Brown Headed Cow Bird

The Brown-Headed Cow Bird does not build its own nest. This character is particularly fiendish in that it pushes the eggs of other birds out of their nests and lays its own eggs in their place. The mother bird has no idea that it’s actually raising the offspring of another bird.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Thinking about life and what matters. This exercise is probably pretty normal for a guy in his late thirties. I’ve finally run headlong into mid-life, and while it has brought a few gray hairs, luckily, it hasn’t been accompanied by the dreaded crisis.

I don’t know if it’s my children or my land or the escape from the shackles of debt, but something has changed in my outlook recently. Life is short and beautiful and guaranteed to end at some point in the not too distant future… for each and every one of us. Leigh and I have marveled at how death is the ONLY guarantee in this life, and yet, we run from it as if we can escape. As a civilization, our faith is completely shaken by the only thing in the physical world on which we can count with absolute certainty.

We have a saying in our house… Continue Reading…

Freedom!

April 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

This week marked an amazing milestone in our family’s journey. It was the culmination of more than a decade of hard work. It consumed every spare moment in the last year of my life, and it was worth every minute of struggle and strife.

We finally sold our house in Trussville. We closed on Tuesday just a few hours before I boarded a flight to Boston for a business trip. Our family tree is forever changed because selling the house was the final step in our plan to become COMPLETELY DEBT-FREE!

Our future plans will no longer be shaped by our slavery to the bank. We’re no longer working to pay someone else. Our lives are finally our own, and I’ve got to tell you that it’s a pretty awesome feeling.

If you’re traveling down this same road, I want to offer my encouragement to stay the course. Continue making hard decisions and sacrificing for your goals on a daily basis. You can do it. I promise you won’t regret it.

As I’ve walked around this city, I can’t help but think that the world looks different, somehow. My first days as a truly free man were spent in another world, 1,200 miles away from my family and my land. We haven’t even had time to celebrate this hard-fought victory. It’s not the way I envisioned it playing out, but by the time you read this, I’ll be back home on the Ant Farm burning brush and chasing chickens… and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be!

We are free.

A few years ago Leigh and I visited Key West on a work related vacation. One of the more memorable moments was during our cruise to the Dry Tortugas National Park. It was a two-hour boat ride out to the islands, and the crowd was a weird mix of young and very old.

Leigh in the Dry Tortugas

Leigh in the Dry Tortugas

As we approached the Park, we learned the reason for the considerable geriatric contingent on board the Yankee Freedom – bird watchers. Apparently, the park is a thriving destination for birders and birds alike, and we happened to be there during a special migration period for some pretty rare fowl. As the crew announced each sighting on the port or starboard, a mob of elderly avian enthusiasts would begin pushing and shoving in slow motion with cameras and field glasses at the ready. It wasn’t until they reported the presence of the vaunted brown-boobie off the port bow that things got really wild. I swear the boat lurched to one side under the weight of the hoard of crazed birders.

Field Guide to BirdsUp until this point in my life, I had no experience with the world of bird watching. It was a very strange thing to behold. So you can imagine my concern when Leigh enthusiastically hung up a few bird feeders in the area outside the patio window and proclaimed that she was going to watch some birds. Her excitement was such that our 8yo daughter even picked up on it and bought her a bird identification guide for Christmas.

Apparently, if you build it (and fill it with food) they will come. It wasn’t a week before a wide range of birds began to show up in the mornings, and a new Ant Farm ritual was born. Every morning we find ourselves eating breakfast over exclamations of new arrivals and arguments over which species have graced our humble feeder. I never would have dreamed a bunch of birds could bring us so much joy, but they have. You would have thought we died and went to heaven the day that the Red Bellied Woodpecker swooped in and strutted his stuff. We are a very hip family…

Here are the birds we’ve positively identified so far Continue Reading…

Feb 24

Ant Farm Native Birds: Dark Eyed Junco

Dark Eyed Junco (slate colored)

Dark Eyed Junco (slate colored)

Feb 22

Ant Farm Native Birds: Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

Juvenile Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

Juvenile Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

If you haven’t been following the blog for very long, you may not be aware of the crazy ups and downs we experienced trying to get power at the Ant Farm. I’ve held off writing this post to be sure that the ordeal was really over. Since we’ve been in the house for a while now, and everything appears to be bumping along nicely, it’s finally time to say that in the end, Alabama Power did the right thing on our damaged road. Continue Reading…

Feb 20

Ant Farm Native Birds: Mourning Dove

Mourning-Dove

It’s been a long time since I posted an update, and for that I apologize. Things have been crazy in our world. However, I’m pleased to announce that we are officially moved in and living at the Ant Farm.

In spite of the power company, the weather, and life in general, we’ve managed to successfully uproot our little family and replant them in paradise.

Paradise!

Paradise!

I’ll be posting more of the story in the coming days (once Windstream gets their act together, ahem!). In the mean time let me just say:

  • Power!
  • Painted house
  • 1200 sq. ft. of flooring
  • Moved stuff
  • Deer meat
  • Snowpocalypse
  • Burst water meter
  • Contract on the old house
  • Stray puppy
  • Six species of birds
  • Dead car
  • Shooting range
  • Snowpocalypse II
  • Burst pipes
  • New car
  • Built a deck
  • First guests
  • Heaven!