After a week of sunshine where the boys played in the dirt on the side of our house all day every day, Ily was ready for a sandbox. So, with the help of mom and dad, and some neighbors and friends (and their truck and shovels), we put a really nice one together this weekend. I put the wooden sides together on the back patio because it was level and there was more room to work. We’ve been telling the boys how we’ll have to be careful to keep a cover on the sandbox because cats like to use them for a potty. We hadn’t been in the house after putting it together for more than 20 minutes when I looked out back and there was a cat crouched in the empty sandbox! Just trying it on for size before the sand arrived, I guess. This morning when I opened the back blinds, the cat was there again!

At this point I should mention the birds that have taken up nest in our backyard. We have a covered patio with some honeysuckle growing up the side. It has gotten pretty thick at the top of the patio and these pretty blue and white birds have built a nest up there. We’ve tried to discourage them, and even cut away a bunch of branches that they were using at first, but they just kept coming back. Now we see the daddy bird flying around gathering food and bringing it up to the nest all the time. He never stays in one place very long, but this morning he put on quite a show while I ate my breakfast.

I didn’t notice at first until he started squawking right outside the window. I looked up and he was perched on the edge of the sandbox, looking right at the cat and chirping loudly. I’m not really up on my bird, but I think the translation of what he was saying was something like, “You come 'round my 'hood cat, you better represent! You wanna piece of me? Huh? You wanna piece?” He even bent over and pecked the sandbox to emphasize his point. He hopped from the sandbox to the patio chair to the ground chirping at the cat like this the whole time I was eating. The cat just crouched low like he was about to pounce, or maybe he was trying to hide. A couple times the bird flew in and swooped right over the cat’s head, like he was attacking. The cat could only manage to duck for cover and then bat at the bird futilely after he passed. I tried to take a movie with my digital camera, but it was through the window and didn’t turn out well. I did get a good picture of the bird finally. Exciting breakfast.

Anyway, back to the sandbox. This evening some buddies and I moved the sandbox into position and hauled the load of sand into it. Before it was even finished the boys were up to their necks in the sand and wouldn’t come out for bedtime until I dragged them. As Ily and I put them to bed this evening all they could talk about was how they were going to play in the sandbox all day tomorrow. I think the project was a success.

UPDATE: WhatBird helped me figure out that the backyard nesters are Western Scrub-Jays. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.