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Friday, July 26, 2013

Plumbing Problems in the Valley…

Summer attireAs Gladys and I cruise by Tony Broers’ neat rows of blackberries, who should we see standing among them but the Master of the Patch himself. Now no one takes better care of his blackberries than Tony. His jurisdiction consists of fourteen well-tended rows of the crop. Tony prunes his blackberries; he wraps the new canes; he buzzes away the weeds around the stalks; he mows the row middles; and at harvest time he’s plucks the ripe fruit from the vines. When he strolls among the rows, the berries seem to smile as he walks up. And this year Tony’s fourteen rows are loaded with fruit.Broers' blackberries

Today he’s on the irrigation detail, doing his best to see the thirsty canes get a drink. The first half dozen rows are planted on a sandy berm and because of the long, dry spell this July, Tony has heard their cry for water. I find him now, as I roll up, standing in a snake’s nest of hoses: green hose, white hose, black hose…. In the midst of that serpentine snarl there are male fittings, female fittings (too many of these, in my opinion), hose splices, hose extensions. Tools, too: a wrench, a screwdriver, pliers. There are enough hose and fittings, it appears, to snake all the way south to Ed’s house and irrigate his blackberries. Tony stands in the middle of it all wrestling with a sprinkler standpipe. The pipe sprouts from an old tire rim that functions as a base.

“Could I give you a hand?” I ask as I settle Gladys on her kickstand. “See if you can get it to work,”Tony says. I can tell by the  tone of voice he’s exasperated…like he’s at the end of his rope, although that would be “hoses” at present. I stride up the row to assess the situation. Tony’s pretty handy; he’s a farmer and farmers have to be handy because on a farm there’s lots that can go wrong and usually lots does. If it’s a job Tony can’t handle, I doubt there’s much I can do to help.

Plumbing problems top my list of troublesome home maintenance issues. A task as simple as switching out a sink stopper can mean three trips to the local hardware store. Four trips if your destination is Lowe’s: three trips to get the right parts and one more to the ER to have your blood pressure checked after dealing with Lowe’s. (Oh, how I lament the loss of our local Coast-to-Coast Hardware.) Tony is attempting to thread a two-way connection onto the standpipe. Two ends of hose are at the ready.This has me puzzled: a two-way connection, like a You Tube picture of a two-headed snake or turtle…but only one sprinkler? I notice each outlet has its own separate shutoff valve and think, “Tony must know what he’s doing.” I help him thread on both hoses. “Let’s give ‘er a try now,” I suggest. Tony follows the long hose back t0 the spigot. I wait. Nothing is happening, yet I hear the sound of rushing water. Twenty feet away water gushes from a hose midsection. When I investigate, I find a splice has burst loose; the hose clamps have slipped. “Shut ‘er off,” I yell and head back to the pile of tools. A few twists of a screwdriver and the splice is again secure. “Hit ‘er,” I shout. This time water gushes from the end of the shorter hose. No problem: I’ll just flip the little diverter valve, stop the flow, watch the sprinkler head spurt, cough water, and lo and behold, we’ll have irrigation. I flip the switch. The sprinkler head, gurgles, and drools down the standpipe. “Off!”I shout. I flip the left hand switch. “Ok. Now.” Suddenly, I feel a cold stream of Valley well water jet up the back of my shorts. I turn around to see a geyser spurting from a hole in one of the hoses.“Whoaaa…shut ‘er off,” I shudder, quickly stand, brush the droplets from my back, and scratch my head.

As we stand there among the coils of hose, puzzling over what to do next, a pair of bicyclists stop: my environmentally-sensitive friend Nancy L and husband Jack out for a ride, taking advantage of the cool Valley morning air. Jack takes one look at the hodge podge of vintage hose, shakes his head, and being the practical fellow he is, advises, “It’s a good idea to replace your hoses every ten years or so.” Tony and I exchange glances. His hoses no doubt date from the days of residence at the old homestead, probably migrated up the road from there to his new spread. I purchased my Sears’ “kinkless hoses” years ago when there was a Sears store in town: two fifty foot sections, although now each is most likely two or three feet shorter thanks to thirty years’ worth of replacing connections at both ends. “Where’s the challenge in that?” I reply. Now it’s Jack and Nancy L’s turn to exchange glances. They decide it’s best if they get on with their ride and off they go.

The Valley is full of visitors this morning. Two more stop by, and while they chat with Tony, I reassess the situation: the problem seems to be that two-headed fitting. Two hose leads, only one sprinkler.In this case, more is one too many. Berryman BroersWhile Tony and friends admire his bumper crop of thirsty blackberries, I switch out the double-headed doohickey, sort through the tangle of hose until I find a loose end with a female connection. A few steps back up the hose to make sure there are no “interruptions,” and back to the standpipe where I quickly connect hose to sprinkler. “Now try it,” I shout. Tony leaves off the conversation and heads to the spigot. Soon I hear a promising gurgle, then a hiss of air, and the sprinkler springs to life. A stream of cold Valley water arcs over the parched rows and the sprinkler begins to rotate. blackberry heaven

When I leave, both Tony and the blackberries are smiling. Plumbing problem solved…without a single trip to Lowe’s.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Give Bees a Chance…

You have my second“I’ve got bees over here!!” I scream at the driver of the yellow truck sporting the green DOT logo on its side. The truck is crawling along the right-of-way opposite our driveway. A thin trickle of some substance plays back and forth on the weeds in the ditch. Seeing my frantic, angry gesticulations, the driver stops and thus begins a fifteen minute confrontation between beekeeper and weed killing crew. For my safety’s sake the driver motions me around to the passenger side of the truck, a considerate move on his part. The passenger door is open for the sprayer to access the roadside vegetation. I confront the sprayer but tone it down a bit: “I’ve got bees back there!””How am I suppose to know that?” is his response. “Because I’m telling you now,” I exclaim. “I’m just doing my job,” is his comeback.  Now if a state worker wants to “Do his job,” I, as a taxpayer, am generally in favor of  his earning his pay (being reminded, however, of one of the subcontractors DOT commissioned to install the SR. 203 turn lane at Tualco and N. High Rock road. He had been employed by the DOT at one point but had taken his present job with the present contractor. I asked him how long he had worked for the WSDOT. “Oh, I was there twenty years” he chuckled, “but only worked three.”)

While the pilot car idled 100 yards behind, the sprayer and I had a fifteen minute conversation (heated at times…on my part, I admit) and I share some of the highlights here. First off, I ask him just what toxin he’s applying right across the road from my hardworking honeybee colonies. It’s an herbicide, he tells me. Now there’s news. “Ok...but what’s it called? Do you have any literature about the stuff?” He shuffles through a mound of papers on the dashboard, starts handing me labels of trade names, then a passes several sheets of instructions my way. I discover the spray is not one chemical-- Round-Up, say--but a cocktail of at least five agents designed to make the weeds be gone. “I suppose I can’t keep these?” I ask. He shakes his head. I hand them back. “I’ll check WSDOT’s web site for more information, then.” The worker replies, “If I see a lot of bees, I don’t spray,” he says as he gestures toward a clump of snowberry (which is past bloom). I gesture back, point up the road to a whiter than snow patch of blackberries in full bloom. “Just a hundred feet up the road,” I caution, “you’ll find those blackberries full of them.” It’s the Himalayan blackberry DOT is targeting, one of the five noxious plants on their “kill” list, including Japanese knotweed, two species of  thistle, and ragweed tansey. The first four are nectar-producing plants for foraging honeybees.Blackberry & knotweed Blackberry is the Valley’s summer honey surplus; knotweed the later summer crop. A strong flow of blackberry nectar yields a light, golden honey that has a distinct fruity flavor. Knotweed, on the other hand, is as black as tar, with, in spite of its darkness, a surprisingly mild taste . Today Himalayan blackberry is getting a drenching…if the drizzling trickle out of the hose could be called  a “drench.” And the blackberry was full of foraging bees. After our conversation the spray truck continued rolling along dribbling herbicide into the roadside brush.

Washington State has a Noxious Weed Control Board. I wondered if there was any cross-referencing between its agency and WSDOT. That was the question I put to Snohomish Country Noxious Weed coordinator S0nny Gohrman. Himalayan blackberry is a Class C weed, a classification which means a county can target the plant for eradication if it considers the weed a threat to county agriculture. In his email response Gohrman made it clear that H. blackberry is “NOT”on its target list; the thorny bramble is considered a “nuisance weed” here in Snohomish County, a designation with which I’m sure you’ll agree—especially if you turn your back on that thorny customer for any length of time. According to Gohrman, DOT’s jurisdiction—State highways—trumps individual counties’ weed management programs. A link Gohrman shared took me to WSDOT’s vegetation management site (WSDOT) where the State explains its weed management program. Driver safety (visibility), safeguarding local agriculture, and aesthetics (Keep Washington beautiful) they cite as their primary objectives. (Yellow and dying roadside vegetation? Where’s the beauty in dead weeds? And why wait to spray until the noxious are in full bloom? Herbicides are most effective when the target weed is in young, vigorous growth, not when it’s setting fruit.)

On the other hand, both DOT and Snohomish County have an aggressive spray campaign mounted against knotweed, another Class C designate. Gohrman claims the plant is a threat to salmon habitat. In just what manner, I have yet to learn. It seems to me riparian knotweed thickets would mitigate erosion along watercourses, their root systems strengthen the banks and help prevent harmful silting.Valley knotweed

I must admit considering the issue of chemicals and the safety and well-being of bees, herbicides don’t do the harm wrought by pesticides; with the latter, the current use of neonicotinoids on insects has a deadly impact on foraging honeybees. My concerns with the release of chemicals into the environment are twofold: how much study has been done to determine the immediate effects of herbicide cocktails on the environment; what is the residual, cumulative effect on the soil, water, air…and the inner workings of a healthy colony of honeybees.

In general, there seems be less and less commonsense these days. One often wonders where government agencies are concerned, if it isn’t entirely extinct. This roadside spraying for instance. During the construction phase of the aforementioned SR 203 turn lane, an unsightly orange silt fence was installed across the road to keep construction debris from finding its way into Riley Slough, a designated “wetlands” area. Installing the turn lane required widening the road at the intersection of the State Highway, Tualco and North High Rock Road. Instead of splitting the difference between the east and west side of the highway, the extra footage came from the west side only. When I contacted the project manager for an explanation, she told me it would be far too costly for a wetlands mitigation. And yet the DOT routinely applies herbicide to the bank above the slough.

I give Snohomish County’s weed guy some credit, though. Sonny Gohrman pointed out that while they’re at work, both the State and County spray crews are high profile to the public, especially if traffic has to slow through their work zones (and in particular when they’re spraying across the road from one’s bees). And  it’s true, as Gohrman, said honeybees have a working range of three to five miles. True also that any retail outlet which carries garden supplies will have a long section of shelves stocked with a wide variety of chemicals the gardener can apply to his lawn and garden. In other words, who knows what one’s neighbors might be doing in their own backyards to contribute to the proliferation of pesticide/herbicide in the neighborhood?

Perhaps my fuss over the dribble of a bit of herbicide into the roadside weeds is a tempest in a teapot; it seems to have had little effect, if any, on the thick tangle of roadside blackberries. Besides, at this juncture, my concern’s a moot point anyway. That thicket of blossoming blackberries? It’s not DOT’s fault the blooming covert has been reduced to blackened canes and ash. All it took was a white pickup truck traveling too fast to make the corner, careening into a high voltage power pole which snapped upon impact, tumbling the power lines into that clump of bee pasturage and setting it afire. All that remains is scorched earth.  p.m. excitement









hose rainbow


scorched earth

Now what was I just saying about commonsense…?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Valley…Trashed…

TrashedI thought it was the T.V. set for J.P. Patches when Gladys and I pedaled our way by the Tualco Grange this morning. Yes, the parking lot looked like the City Dump: beer cans (Coors silver bullets glinting in the morning sun), bottles, cardboard refuse, plastic bottles. The Shel Silverstein poem came instantly to mind: “Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout would not take the garbage out….” The graveled lot looked like a mini-landfill in the making.

The garbage looked so out of place in our Valley where neatness and tidiness are an obvious priority: lawns mowed and trimmed; berry fields, the rows of which look as if they were lined out by a surveyor; houses maintained and painted; pastures and cornfields pictures of pastoral precision. But Tualco Grange looked…well, downright trashy, a blight on my morning’s ride.

Strange coincidence, this unsightly mess in the Grange’s parking lot this morning. Earlier in the day I watched CBS’s Sunday Morning, an artsy, thought-provoking program that’s on our Sunday viewing schedule. One segment consisted of an interview with the actor Jeremy Irons who has made it his personal cause to bring the issue of trash to consumers’ attention. Irons’ documentary Trashed speaks to the issue of world-consumerism and its effects on the environment—the environment in which we conduct our daily business, raise our children—this Planet Earth where we eat, sleep and breathe. In our modern age where we as consumers have, some of us more than others, chronic affluenza because of  the aggressive marketing of products and our propensity to buy them, the need to discard the excesses: the packaging, the portion of the product we don’t consume or want, all this overflow amounts to a higher, deeper pile of garbage somewhere. You’ve heard of the huge whirlpools of plastic refuse in the  oceans of the world? You’ve seen the litter along the state and county right-of-ways, the trash from fast food joints, cigarette butts, plastic bags  and bottles, cans….the parking lots of Swiss Hall and Tualco Grange. What’s the answer to all this dispersal of trash? Just a simple,“Do I really need to buy this…look at the packaging I’ll have to discard (plastic shrink wrap, clamshells, styrofoam bullets, stuff encapsulated in plastic, etc.)? That’s not likely to happen, I’ll admit. But if we just think a bit about what we buy and which portions of that will be cast off as excess, where this excess ends up, and how the environment bears the brunt of it, maybe the planet’s garbage dump will stabilize, and not continue to build. Given the barrage of products and goods  for one to buy and consume, I doubt very much this will happen. But in the meantime, we can at least—even if we are partying and celebrating at rented facilities—pick up after ourselves and “throw the garbage in the trash containers.”makin's of a dump

I understand revenue is essential if the Grange and Swiss Hall are to be maintained and saved for the purposes they were intended—that these facilities remain vacant and idle most of the week--but someone is responsible for renting these facilities and those someones are just as much to blame for the messes left behind by those to whom they rent the facilities as the litterers themselves. Do they require or insist upon a cleaning deposit? Are those who litter and trash the place crossed off the list of future renters? A  team from The Ripple has been sent to investigate the unsightly refuse deposited in the Grange parking lot. The buck stops with the person or persons charged with the superintending of Grange rentals. And The Ripple will get to the bottom of this garbage can and see that it is cleaned up (or at least filled) one way or another.

At least, for heaven’s sake, provide some outdoor trash containers for the celebrants’ convenience. Who knows, they might even use them.

In the meantime here’s a shout out to my environmentally-sensitive friend Nancy L:  in the Grange parking lot there’s a king’s ransom worth of aluminum cans just waiting for you to scoop up, silver bullets by the dozen.Litter...and it hurts

“But renters, remember Sarah Stout

And always take the garbage out!”And make sure it’s disposed of properly. Keep our Valley clean. Please.

Post epilogue: I rode by the Grange this morning. The parking lot was scrubbed and litter-free. To those responsible, the Valley sends its thanks.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Just a Travelin’ Man…

Werkhoven Dairy“Hey, where you been, stranger?” a gruff voice says as a white SUV pulls alongside me at the intersection of the Lower Loop Road and Tualco. Stranger indeed. The last time I heard from Jim Werkhoven was back in April when he sent me an email responding to one I sent informing him I left a couple jars of Valley honey on the picnic table at his place. The honey was an exchange for the digester by-product I use to supplement my asparagus patch. In my email I told Jim I rapped on the backdoor a couple of times, rang the bell, but nobody answered, so I left the two jars on their table in the breezeway. “Thanks,” Jim replied: “Dolores and I are in D.C. then on to Chicago. Be home on the 1st.” D.C.—Jim made it sound so matter-of-fact, as if “D.C” were Jim’s second home and he were a politician—Senator Werkhoven--although I doubt Washington could handle more than one Senator Jim from Washington State.

I’m surprised at the white SUV: Jim usually flies around the Valley in the red pickup truck with “4 X 4” emblazoned on its side panels. “Yeah, I’m using the wife’s old rig,” Jim chuckles. “How goes the dairy business?” I ask. It’s busier than ever, I’m told. I’m curious about the Werkhovens’  increased acreage in grass as I’ve noticed some of the old cornfields are now sprouting some variety of nice looking pasture grass instead of cornstalks. “We’ve got a soil deficiency,” Jim tells me. “Over time the grass will restore the balance. Actually, you get more nutrition per acre from grass than corn.” Jim tells me the cut grass cures faster than corn silage, therefore can be fed sooner. I learn the dairy operation is putting more acreage into grass. Currently about one-third of the Dairy’s acreage is planted with that crop. “Is that your grass down by the Sky River Bridge?” “Yeah, that’s ours, too.” In my recent visits to the Valley I’ve marveled at those acres of grass, lush, dark green blades that ripple in the Valley breeze. Wishful thinking it is that my lawn looked like that carpet. I ask about the variety of grass in the fields. “Oh, it’s some sort of Italian grass,” Jim replies. (Italian? Not Kentucky? And not American?)acres of grass

I ask Jim if he found the honey I left. “You know,” he nods and exclaims by way of apology, “I’ve been all over the place…Thailand, D.C. a couple of times, Chicago. I have to make a trip to Idaho the next couple of days. Then Portland….”  Jim beams proudly and says, “My airline has raised me to Gold status. I don’t know what that means, but  now I’m Gold.” I hesitate to tell him that gold prices have plummeted to half of what they were this time last year. (“Plummeted?” Perhaps not the best term to use in the context of air travel.)

Just then Jim’s shirt pocket summoned him. If you’ll recall The Ripple’s interview with Jim, (“Finish Your Food for Thought…Then You May Be Excused, 1/26/2012), much of the Werkhoven Dairy business is conducted from the handheld device ever present in Jim’s shirt pocket.That pocket is Command Central, Houston Control Center, The War Room:…whatever you call it, Jim’s shirt pocket is the nerve center of  the Werkhoven dairy dynasty. “I gotta take this,” Jim says as he  fishes the device  from his shirt. Hank Van Ness is on the other end. Hank needs a ride to a piece of farm equipment he has to move from someplace to somewhere. “I’m heading your way,”Jim returns, “I’ll give you a lift.” Jim turns to me and says,“I’d better get goin’,” and abruptly our five minute conversation ends. The white SUV rolls away to scoop up Hank, then on to town, then on to wherever…a travelin’ man with places to go and places to be and hardly enough time to get around to all of them.

Gladys and I, on the other hand, have  our own travels…at a much slower pace…no other destination but home…no particular rush to get there…just hope we do. As we roll along, I think of Jim and his shirt pocket, (which, I’m sure, goes with him everywhere) and imagine it begging his attention sometime in the future. Whatever his present company then, Jim will stop and say,”I need to take this.” I imagine the caller on the other end and Jim’s reply: “I’d like to give you a lift, Hank, but right now I’m in Bangkok.”cow food

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Bluest Eggs You’ll Ever See are in the Valley…

You know the tune…you certainly do. Feel free to hum along as you read this post. fuschia basket nest

I have yet to find one this summer, but in the two summers previous I’ve  found four or five in the months of May and June. What you find, usually, is a discarded eggshell, a shard of blue, the result of the bird’s nest tidying. How Chicken Little imagined an acorn bouncing off his head meant the sky was falling is beyond me; there’s nothing sky-like in the slightest about an acorn, but if you’ll pardon my quote from an earlier post, a chicken is hardly a candidate for Mensa. Now if a robin’s egg had ricocheted off CL’s feathered noggin, his squawking in the chicken yard may have had more credibility.

I read or heard somewhere what robins love most, (next to my blueberries, of course), is nest building. Mr. Redbreast is such a prodigious nest builder, he often forgets one construction site and quickly chooses another. a robin in the woodpileThere may be two or three unfinished starts before a suitable platform is ready for the Missus to deposit her eggs.

Robins must have a difficult time keeping track of their eggs, also (or more’s the case, standing guard over them). I’ll be mowing the lawn and suddenly my eye will catch a glimpse of blue in the grass and when I investigate, I’ll discover some vestige of a wee folks’ egg hunt. Or I’ll be out in the garden and a glint of turquoise catches my eye: a robin’s egg like a solitary blue pebble lying in the dirt. An abandoned robin’s egg on the ground is a mystery. One might think it may have fallen from a nest, accidentally dislodged by a startled parent, but the eggs are always out in the open, the nearest tree oftentimes several feet away. Perhaps the little jewel was stolen by a crow, blue jay or starling with a loose grip. But one bird’s egg is another one’s meal ticket—that’s how I thought it worked--a ready laid omelet for Mr. Crow, frumpy starling, or larcenous  jay.Robin egg blue Cowbirds, parasitic brood birds in the business of making other parents their surrogates, are the only nest rustlers in our state, and I have a checkmark by “Cowbird, brown-headed” on my backyard bird list. As cowbirds are too lazy to raise their own young, I doubt one would make the effort to extract an egg from its nest and then just drop it somewhere, even if it could get a purchase on the egg. Perhaps Missus Redbreast laid one egg too many and the castoff is the result of avian family planning. Naturalists, I’m sure, have a logical explanation for this proliferation of robins’ eggs, but I’ve yet to discover it.

As The Ripple often digresses, I thought I’d include a bit of robin trivia before I continue with the castaway egg topic. The American robin was the poster bird for Rachel Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring, the common bird whose springtime “old, sweet song”was hypothetically silenced by toxic pesticides, namely DDT. Birders no doubt refer to clan robin by its scientific name “Turdus migratorious, but before your mind rushes to your experiences with soiled patio furniture (shade has its drawbacks, doesn’t it?), let me inform you that according to my pocket Collins Latin to English dictionary, “turdus” is Latin for “thrush,”—not what, because of the bird’s liberal excretions alimentary, you may have thought. The last subject brings to mind a nursery rhyme popular in the eighteenth century. The ditty appeared in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (1744) along with forty-four others, many of which appear in the  repertoire of our Modern Mother Goose. The poem includes a vulgarism in its earlier versions and The Ripple reprints it here, with apologies to the reader, in hopes it will give the rascal robins some well-deserved bad press, particularly since the editor has been chasing a thieving  flock of them out of his black raspberry patch most of the day:

                             Little Robin Redbreast

                             Sat on a pole.

                             Nidde, Noddle, Went his head.

                            And  Poop went his hole.

The Age of Enlightenment, however, saw the rhyme sanitized, most likely to spare the sensitivities of the “enlightened”adults rather than keep the crass and vulgar from the ears of nursery children. The “a” rhyme was changed to “rail” (“…sat on a rail”) and the fourth line to “And wag went his tail.” The editor, knowing the proclivities of young children—having been one himself—ventures to say the uncensored version must have resulted in squeals of laughter from the young, especially given the opportunity to recite the verse aloud.

Two less scientific observations just to sustain the digression. Did you know a mole is a robin magnet? Just like the canary in the coalmine, robins foraging among mole mounds indicate a mole is working its evil underfoot, doing some excavating activity of its own, sending the worms fleeing to the surface where the robins snap them up. One more item of robin lore: an observant researcher from The Ripple noted a mother robin tidying up her nest for her hatchlings by removing their poop (now that the precedent’s been set) by the beakful and hauling it  from the nest. Though a robin has many faults, maternal neglect isn’t among them.

“Robin’s egg blue,” “cerulean blue,” turquoise…none of these colors quite match a robin egg’s hue; the secret pigment lies deep within the robin’s DNA and I doubt there’s a paint chip anywhere, as precise as computers are, that will match it. a special tint of blueI consider these misplaced eggs fair game; they are far too unique and colorful to disregard. Two years ago I wrote a post about the detritus Mother Nature leaves lying about (“Picking up after Mother Nature,” 5/4/2011) and consider these blue discards fair game. I would be more than glad to return the eggs to their nests but which nest?  Whose? And where? No wastrel myself, I collected the castoffs, took them into the kitchen, and performed the same technical procedure one would use to preserve any eggshell: perforate both ends of the egg with a needle or sharp, fine pointed tool. In the case of the robins’ eggs I used a dissecting probe and chipped a small hole in either end of the egg--but not before I sanitized my blue prize with a little bleach and soap (after all, I knew where the egg has been). Then I bring the egg to my mouth, hold it over the sink drain,and blow gently until the contents, yolk and white, ooze out. Of all the eggs I’ve retrieved, only one oozed blood—a sign that embryo development had begun. Of the ten eggs I’ve collected so far, that egg was the only one I’ve had to discard. After I rinse the egg’s innards down the drain, I trickle water into the egg, rinse it free of its contents and set the empty egg aside to dry. I store the eggs in a dark room because UV light fades the egg; over time, exposure to sunlight will bleach the robin egg’s delicate blue to white. What I’ll do with these empty blue shells, I have no idea. But when the idea does come, I’ll be ready.nest of hollow eggs

Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book included another robin-related nursery rhyme: Who Killed Cock Robin?”  By the way, if you happen to know the contact information for that sparrow, I would appreciate your passing it along to me; I have a little business I’d like him to tend to…out by the raspberry patch…with his bow and arrow.