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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Give a hoot

Since moving to New York City some three and a half years ago, I've eradicated roaches from my kitchen. I've stared down a lowly mouse. And I've even had a really crazy roommate who never left her room and kept her ferrets' ashes in heart-shaped boxes. But I've come up against my most formidable opponent.


Perhaps it's the unseasonably warm weather or my new curtains, but for some reason pigeons seem to find my fire escape irresistable. And for some reason, it's only between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Now for you 9-to-5ers, this isn't a big deal. But I work evenings, so the hours before 9 a.m. are prime dreaming time. And these guys seem hell bent on getting me up in time for the last hour of the "Today Show."

This only started about a month ago, and my solution has been simply banging on my window until they fly off. But they keep coming back, and the exertion leaves me wide awake. The pigeons make this pained bellowing noise like they are either in heat or labor. And since my bed is right against the window, it sounds as though those filthy birds are right next to me, on my pillow.

Last week, I decided that enough was enough. And my long-suffering boyfriend picked this guy up for me:

We call him, creatively, Owl. He's a non-cruel way of frightening off the pigeons and, despite how alarming he looks, we're finding ourselves especially fond of him. Here he is, in action on my bird-dropping covered fire escape!

As if my neighbors didn't already think I was nuts. But so far, he works pretty well. The pigeons are choosing to bother my upstairs neighbors, which is fine by me, since they are partial to stomping at all hours.

So! Onward and upward to the Knitting Olympics! Since the knitting IOC has decided that gauge swatches are appropriate training, I decided to try the set-up rows to make sure I'm ready to take on Ella. May I please just show you the yarn that I'm using again?

This is the rather unfortunately named Four Play yarn from Brooks Farms in the "Amy" colorway, and it is DELIGHTFUL. How delightful? Even non-yarn lovers realize that it's special. My bureau chief, who is a regular reader of the blog, said, "Now that Amy yarn, that is really nice!" And the long-suffering boyfriend picked up a hank, rolled it around in his palm and said decidedly, "You know, this really is great yarn!" Perhaps we have some converts?


Blogger Jennifer said...

I love the Owl. I hope he helps out some.

I also love Brooks Farm yarn. Yummy!

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Iraida said...

hehe you said fourplay. "give a hoot, don't crap on my fire escape!" :)

11:11 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I'm glad your owl friend is working out so far!

My drycleaner has one in the letters on their sign & I always mean to ask them what they are scaring off & keep forgetting to. *mental note to ask next week*

That yarn looks scrumptious! I can't wait to see your ella!

11:19 PM  
Blogger Saun said...

I've heard so many good things about the Brooks Farm that I'm envious.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous Kim Guzman said...

Owl is great! What a clever idea to keep away the pigeons!

1:36 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I'm glad you found a non-cruel way of dealing with the birds. Though I hate pigeons and losing sleep, so I'm not sure I would have felt bad for the birds if you'd been less human.

Beautiful yarn. It's going to look fabulous with that stitch pattern. Let the games begin!

5:10 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Those owls are hilarious. Actually, on my F-train travels, I see one on top of an apartment building on the above-ground portion of my ride. When I first saw it, even I was duped for a while, and I went home and told my husband, "you know it's really weird, there's an owl that hangs out on top of this apartment and it's there all the time." We got a chuckle when his suspicions of its inauthenticity were confirmed.

8:04 AM  
Blogger elizabooth said...

Pigeons are flying rats. I love the owl, he's stern but understanding.

Best of luck with Ella! If she works out for you I may be brave enough to give her a try.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

That's a clever solution to keep those flying rats from waking you up in the morning.

Good luck with your cast on for the Olympics tonight!

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Good luck with Ella! I am sure she will be bee-you-tee-ful in that yummy yarn. Glad the owl is working!

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I love Brooks Farm. And Four Play is yummy yummy. Those colors look beautiful! All you Olympic knitters are brave, brave souls.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

That owl is the funniest thing ever! Can't help but wonder where your man found him though....

9:43 AM  
Blogger gleek said...

oh yeah, my neighbors have one of those owls and they totally work. look at those yellow bug-out eyes! who would not be afraid of them?!

i have that four-play yarn too in a black and grey colorway. i love it! still have to make something from it though :)

9:45 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Another benefit: I'm sure Owl scares off any would-be burglars. Mostly because they wonder about the residents and decide to move on...

Thanks for the laugh! And darn you for making me lust after Amy.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Oh my. That is certainly some lovely yarn. Ella is going to be just amazing. We have pidgeon visitors, but only at the window of our bathroom. The cats LOVE those little groaning noises and do all kind of acrobatics when the birds start their cooing. Owl appears to be a much more sleep-friendly (plastic) feathered friend.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

That yarn is BEAUTIFUL!
I'll have to see about getting some for myself.

1:13 PM  
Blogger keohinani said...

gah, pidgeons are such rubbish birds! i accidently ran one over the other day. as much as i don't like those birds, i couldn't help but feel depressed at killing one with my car. all i saw was a puff of white feathers, and then a really yucky mess on the road in my rear view mirror. :*(
your entry, however, made me think of the movie "big daddy" with adam sandler--the part where there were dead pidgeons all over the patio and adam sandler had to take away the slingshot. HILARIOUS! i love that movie!
mmm...your yarn is so preeeeettty. every time you post that link to the brooks farm website, i *click* and my bank account gets lighter. fancy that! haha! not that i'm blaming you or anything...just sayin' :)
sometimes, all it takes is yarn to convert somebody... ;)

1:17 PM  
Blogger AmyArtisan said...

Can't wait to see how the Amy yarn turns into the Ella. I love the colors of that colorway (as well as the name :) ) & am wondering what I would make with it.

My last apt. in Chicago had the bedroom window pigeon problem as well - gotta love life in the city!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Mayarn said...

Awww...I love that owl! He's scary-cute.

Have fun with your olympic event! It's gonna be a pretty one...

3:09 PM  
Anonymous jess said...

ooh, scare owl! he's adorable!

4:12 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

i have the same problem! it started about a month or two ago and they come at about 7:50 am in my case. maybe an owl is in order. stupid pigeons!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Vida said...

aluminium plates on string hanging off your fire-escape will work for a while - at first, at least...then the birds will become fascinated with them... but pretty effective cos they also make some noise!

7:18 PM  
Blogger Biglug said...

I love Brooks Farm Four Play as well. I made my multidirectional scarf out of that yarn and I get a lot of compliments even from non knitters. :)

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

My dad had a brilliant idea which I think works pretty well: Hang a clear plastic baggie outside your window (I put mine under the edge of the window screen) and the pigeons will get scared when they see it blow in the wind. Baggies in combination with the owl should work wonders!

10:56 PM  
Blogger Sluggo said...

I still think you should have solved your pigeon problem by adopting a peregrine falcon.

But what do I know...

3:54 AM  
Anonymous frecklegirl said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you that the owl works out... well, the ones that are not knitting like crazy! ;)

LOVE that yarn- it is SO GORGEOUS!

2:15 AM  
Blogger keohinani said...

don't worry about the brooks farm enabling; i consider it money well spent :) besides, it's waaaay more cost effective! the cost per yard is a lot better than other stuff i've been buying...i'm in kind of a silk blend phase...i like shiny things... ;P $27 for 205 yds ($.13/yd) of lion and lamb, or $16 for 270 yds ($.05/yd) of four play? the latter is less than half price of the former, i.e. a good deal. the four play has a bit more bounce, which i like, and the colors are just as good. 'sides, it'd be easier to make a clapotis with only two skeins of BF; you'd only be sacrificing one repeat in the increase section :) *ahem, not that I would know...* hee hee...
word verification: yesyo!

6:23 PM  

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