Home Ownership for the Birds


I’m beginning to think homeownership is overrated.: 

My house is in a picturesque setting on the edge of the countryside. It sits high on a hill, surrounded by lush green grounds and many trees. My nearest neighbor is a football field away.: 

Thomas Purcell 1

That’s the good news. The bad news is that I am in a bitter battle with the creatures that surround my property.: 

Every evening when I get home, a robin comes roaring out of the lattice under my porch roof. I yell at the bird to stay away, but she doesn’t appear to understand cuss words.: 

Because every night I pull down the hay and other nesting materials that female robin stuffs up there, and every morning she puts double that amount back.: 

Of course, the robins are minor considered to some of the other woes of homeownership I have suffered.

A few years ago, just after moving back to this house and kicking off major renovations – I had rented it out for 14 years – my outside lights were temporarily not working.: 

One night, in the pitch black, I was navigating a path to my back door, when I was stopped dead in my tracks by an angry, grunting creature.: 

My imagination ran wild. A bear? A wolf? An IRS agent?: 

I backpedaled to the car and turned on the high beams. It was a buck protecting his territory during rutting season, apparently. He wouldn’t let me pass for 20 minutes.: 

I have since wired the house, at some expense, with halogen spotlights that turn on when I arrive home.: 

I hired an excavator, at greater expense, to clear trees and shrubbery from the yard to hopefully push the critters further into the woods.: 

And I armed myself with a BB gun, a harmless and effective tool for warning critters to leave or receive a little shot to the backside.: 

But for every challenge I solve, there are hundreds of others.: 

Clever raccoons defeat almost every method I try to keep them from popping the lid of my garbage can and decorating the yard with its contents.: 

The fact of the matter is that owning a home in the country – heck, owning a home anywhere – can be a real hassle and a great expense. It is not for everyone.: 

So maybe it’s not the end of the world that U.S. homeownership, as of the last quarter of 2013, was down to 64.8 percent – the lowest rate in nearly 20 years. Factor in the people close to default and that number is closer to 62 percent.: 

Compare that to 2004, when homeownership peaked at 69 percent – before the housing collapse of 2008.: 

The fact is, owning a home is not for everyone. It’s a lot of work and a lot of headaches.: 

And though it has some upsides – owning a home makes one more aware of the cost of things, such as taxes, which makes one more likely to support lower taxes and more commonsense government programs – it has many downsides.: 

Consider, according to a Forbes article by Kelly Philips, that some of the world’s struggling economies – Russia, Italy, Greece and Spain – have higher homeownership rates than we do.: 

Conversely, countries with traditionally strong economies, such as Germany, Switzerland and Japan, have lower homeownership rates than ours.: 

In any event, I have bigger worries right now than homeownership data.: 

I have to clean hay out of my lattice before robin eggs are laid or I’ll get dive-bombed every time I enter or exit my house.: 

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