Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Barn Swallows

I saw these barn swallows today under a bridge in Austin. These birds eat insects in midair just like the related purple martins back home. But back home you attract them by putting up empty gourds with a hole in them. These make their own gourd shaped nests out of mud. Only thing we have that does that is wasps. They put stunned spiders in the mud nests to feed their larvae. These barn swallows have to bring fresh food to their babies every day.

This bridge is right by the State Surplus Sale place. It's where they have all the unwanted file cabinets and desks from state offices and all the stuff they confiscate at the airport. Some pocketknives are $1, some are $5, and the Leatherman and Gerber multitools are $20. I already have a pocketknife and a Gerber multitool, but I got another really light Gerber pocketknife for $1, plus some 3 pound dumbbells for $1. They had an awful lot of corkscrews, knives, toy guns, golf clubs, and pool cues. I was surprised by the bin full of key chains made out of rifle ammunition. I didn't know those existed and I can't see why they are a threat on an airplane. And as mentioned in an earlier post, there were two 3x4 shelves full of snow globes. They were all just Texas souvenirs though and nothing cool or I would have gotten one. The furniture was beat up and unattractive and overpriced. If I need a desk or table or chair I think I'll likely look elsewhere.

I'm psyching myself up to go wait in line for an iPhone. At least there's an Apple store only 2 miles from where I'm staying, and 1 mile from my office. They start selling them at 7 am so I hope I'm not too late to work.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised to hear you say you think the state surplus furniture is overpriced--last time I was out there, I picked up a perfectly acceptable secretarial chair for $10 that probably would have cost me $25 or more at Texas Office Products. Granted, the state chairs and cabinets tend to be more worn by the time they get to surplus (agencies hold on to their furniture forever), but I usually manage to find something that does what I want to do. (It may take me a couple of trips to find it, so mainly I look for things I don't have to have right then.)

    You're right about the airport confiscations, though. My wife, who works for the state, was out there one day and ended up grabbing a dozen pairs of sewing scissors at a quarter each--enough to put a pair in with every in-progress project she had, and a couple left over.