Jacques Loves Summer

He does. Who can blame him? He is sitting on a picnic-blanket-sized towel made by an old friend, who is reviving the handwoven towel craft in rural Turkey. I took this on the terrace the other day — our first sunny day in quite a while. And if you find Jennifer’s Hamam (jenifershamam — If your Instagram feed is a full as mine, you’ll want to find it, look at all her photos, and like mine. Vote early and vote often!) on Instagram and vote for this picture, I just might win a few towels to help us all enjoy our summers a little more. No pressure. He’s so cute, I might win anyway.

Where’s Dobby?

All I need now is my house elf. Actually, I could really use a house elf.

Sorry for the blurry image. It’s Julien’s fault and it’s this or no image at all. But yes, it’s a barn owl, in my attic. I left one little skylight open and this guy flew in, looking for a home. Unfortunately he pooped everywhere, no manners at all, so Julien chased him out.

To judge by the quantity and locations of the poop, he spent a fair amount of time here before Julien showed up. We’re cleaning up the main room in the attic and both guest bedrooms on the first floor. These rooms have exposed beams, which are much appreciated by barn owls. I don’t know how we’ll clean them up.

I was all over the Barn Owl Trust web site. I also wrote to them and received a very nice, very helpful reply. The best guess is that he’s a young guy, looking to set up his own household. My attic would be perfect, were it not already inhabited by me. My garage does have a mezzanine that still holds a fair amount of hay. I’d love it if he’d move in there — I read that owls like hay lofts — but I haven’t seen any indication that he has.

Anyway, this has accelerated my plan to set up a little workshop in the barn. We, probably meaning Julien, have to make owl houses, which we/he will install in openings in the garage, places where the shutters are falling off their hinges. We might as well give them an upgrade. Julien has a whole degree in logistics, so he’s delighted about organizing a workshop.

So now I have Little Owls and swifts. I’m prepping for Barn Owls. The back garden has fruit trees, a kitchen garden and a meadow. The birds love the meadow. They eat the grass seed and the bugs. I read that mice will nest there, which will feed the owls — so they’d better move in. We have space designated for bees, which we will house next spring. I guess the hedgehogs are back, because I had to haul Jacques out of the far back corner yesterday evening, from the place where they lived before. There is no sign that bats have taken advantage of their bat house, but you never know. If not now, maybe later.

It’s getting pretty wild out there. Julien has three kids, the oldest around 10. I fully expect him to start organizing field trips to check out the whole setup.