Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Round Homes

When we take the back roads from our home to Hamilton, Ontario, we pass a large round house. A fairly new home, it is built of brick and has interesting windows and a balcony. Our daughters like to look at it, and we imagine what it would be like to furnish the rooms. Most of us live in square or rectangular buildings with corners and straight walls for our traditional furniture.

This is the peak season for annoying wasps, especially if you try to eat your lunch outdoors. When I was watching the Great Egrets last week, I came across a large Bald-faced hornet nest. This insect is not really a hornet, but belongs to the wasp family.

They make paper by chewing wood and spreading the pulp and saliva mix with their mandibles and feet. The results are beautiful in my opinion. I have never been stung by a wasp or bee and do not have an aversion to them from a reasonable distance. I watched as the wasps moved in and out of the nest, which is generally used for only one season.

In the spring I noticed a number of nests in the trees belonging to birds and squirrels. I was hoping to see the residents, but once the leaves came out in May, I could no longer find them. This nest was large and my guess is that it belonged to a Baltimore Oriole. There were plenty of these birds in this area.

I watched the Cliff Swallows frequently this summer. They left the bridge near the hospital a few weeks ago and their nests will hopefully be inhabited next year by the builders. I never saw the birds making the little mud ball bricks at the river's edge, but have seen a wonderful picture of nest construction preparation. Winter storms are unlikely to damage these well protected homes.

Round homes are common in some cultures. The tepee, igloo or round, thatched huts found in many parts of Africa are a few examples of circular dwellings inhabited by man. If I had to choose a round home, I would choose to live in a....



  1. Nice examples of three totally different nests.It's really amazes me how the birds and the bees do such a great job in constructing nests.

  2. Oh I agree on the lighthouse idea.
    When we go to Penn State (up in Happy Valley!), we pass a lovely round barn, all painted red. I suspect it may be owned by Amish folk. It is always in pristine condition.

  3. Wow, great photos! I have always thought it would be really cool to live in a log cabin--with modern conveniences, of course. I know it's not particularly creative, but there we are.

  4. My husband lived on a lighthouse station for 2 years of his life. He lived in a square house and collected weather data (he was/is a weather man by trade). He still would love to live in a light house. We saw a place for sale near a lighthouse on PEI and he still talks about living close to the sea again ... and a lighthouse!

    We went to visit the O'Keefe Ranch near Vernon last year and had the most interesting guide. He talked about nature and how nothing in nature is square. He theorized that man wanted to master and control his environment so paved it over and built square, rigid buildings ... in defiance as it were. You had to hear him. He was great!

  5. Nice photo of the nest! I have been stung by a wasp once, completely my fault. Really hurts!

    Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a lighthouse? Great view all the time...

  6. Anonymous9:52 pm GMT-4

    I just love your round homes pictures! Birds are so creative in their building!

  7. Hi Ruth,
    I watched a documentary on PBS a while back about some people who worked with wolves near Yellowstone National Park and they lived in a yurt. That was a very unique round home also.

    Once again, very nice photos too.

  8. We were always amazed at the round paper nests on the northweat side of my house in Maryland. The wasps would build every year in the large azaleas and surprisingly, they were not angry bees and we were never stung. The round house was the size of a basketball!

  9. Interesting homes indeed. The nest is pretty, but after they set up shop in my bluebird house, I am less fond of seeing them. Living in a lighthouse! What an adventure that would be!

  10. Larry- Thanks. I would love to see some construction myself.

    KGMom- A round barn! You will have to take a picture sometime. I wonder about the creative person who designed it.

    Ginger- A log cabin, with a wood stove, gas lights and internet. That would be sufficient for me!

    CS- A square lighthouse would be fine for me too. I love PEI! Your observations about nature utilizing curves and circles rather than square shapes is interesting.I will have to look and I see if I can find naturally occurring squares. Can't think of any now.

    Peggy- I think wasps and bees are not interested in us unless we threaten them. Mosquitoes are a different story. I understand that people with severe allergies need to be more vigilant.

    Monarch- I am sure you could give us some nest lessons. You must see some different types on your explorations.

    RuthieJ- I had to look up Yurt. I had seen these, but had forgotten.
    (someday I will figure out html for comments)

    Mary- I would estimate the nest I saw to be the size of a basketball too. The wasps never bothered me at all from about 4 feet away.

    Jayne- I agree your wasps had to be dealt with. These ones were where they should be.

  11. Beautiful pics - I have a healthy aversion as was stung behind my knee once. Very painful. It always amazes me how creatures manage to build these.

  12. Jean- My attitude toward these insects would be different had I been stung. I have had a couple of patients with MS who have had bee sting therapy, and unproven but sometimes tried treatment for the disease.


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