Sunday, March 13, 2016

Building a mew

For those of you that don't know, I've been volunteering at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage for over 10 years now. One of my passions is caretaking a Snowy Owl by the name of Ghost. Another passion is doing education programs with him around Alaska. He had lived with me since 2006, but when I moved last summer, he moved to the Bird TLC clinic until I can get him a new mew (home) built.
 After a few months of getting settled into the new house, I started a Go Fund Me page to help raise monies for supplies. Donations poured in from awesome people from all around totaling over $1700 so far. I expect the total expense to be around $3000. Whatever isn't raised I'm paying for myself.
 I was able to start building some, mainly the walls, in my garage. That worked out well because of the time of year. It wasn't cold yet (at least by Alaskan standards) but there was less daylight every day.
 With the lack of snow, I was able to get started building outside. If we had a normal winter with lots of snow, construction would have had to wait until spring.
 A very sick dog, Christmas and New Years, a cold, work allowing me to only construct on weekends, weather and day to day life seemed to slow the progress down, but I continue to build.
A few mistakes were made. The ground was very frozen when I started, but with no snow cover, the warm days have started to thaw the ground out. That made for some leveling issues. But we got some leveling blocks and got that corrected.
I had some good supervision from Macy and Cooper provided security from the neighbors. Within the next week or so we should be ready for the roof, an arctic entry, gravel and finishing touches. After that comes an inspection by Bird TLC and then US Fish & Wildlife approval. Hopefully Ghost will get to move in within a couple months. It's not a fast process by any means.
My tips to anyone taking on a project like this, don't start it right before the beginning of winter. I'll update this story when the mew is completed. Now you know why I haven't been blogging much.