Living Matters: Rent-free house still can’t attract any occupants

One house is full. One is awaiting occupants.

I wish they both had residents.

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The little red house with the yellow roof is the one that’s seen the signs of life. I don’t know what’s in there — swallows, maybe. Whatever they are, they come and go all day long, bringing twigs and moss and whatever else they need to pretty up their pad.

The one on the neighbouring tree — it’s yellow with a red roof — is so far empty this year.

“Hmm,” I said to the husband. We were sitting on the porch, our eyes on the occupied home.

“I’m thinking we need to paint the empty house,” I said. “They seem to prefer red houses with yellow roofs.”

“Let’s wait,” he said.

“Maybe we should put a sign on it,” I said. “Like ‘Open House’ or something like that.”

“I don’t think they read,” the husband observed.

This may well be true. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why one house is appealing and the other is apparently not. I mean, both houses are in the same neighbourhood. They’re both the same size. They both have the same proximity to whatever the residents need. Leaves, for instance. And worms.

And they both have the same rent. Which is to say, no rent at all.

“When we were house hunting,” I continued, “we wanted certain things, remember? A minimum of three bedrooms. A school in the vicinity. A quiet street with little traffic.”

“And your point?” asked the husband.

“Well,” I said, “I don’t know what’s on the must-have list of these little birds, but the houses are exactly the same. So why would one be filled, and one be empty?”

The husband shrugged his shoulders and sipped his gin and tonic.

“Maybe the birds in the red house are planning to have fewer children than the birds that are scoping out the yellow house, so they’re bypassing the place and looking for a larger home,” he said.

Hmm, I thought. A distinct possibility.

No matter. We’ll continue to keep an eye on things and be cool with whatever happens.

What can I say? We’re approaching the lazy days of summer when things slow down and we sit on the deck. It could use a decent scrub right now, but that sounds a lot like work.

Besides, at this time of year, we already have a job on our hands. We’re darned busy chilling and sipping our drinks, and watching the little houses.

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