Uncle Ray’s Clear, Blue Sky Idea

By Robert Seay, U of A Division of Agriculture

First posted on 05-16-2008

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Every family probably has an “Uncle Ray.” If not, I’ll lend you one if you promise to keep him until after our family reunion.

A recent call from an older brother served to warn me that Uncle Ray had bought all of the sky-blue paint he could find. Plans are to paint the carport ceiling, tractor shed and any other place where birds, wasps and mud-daubers have nested for years. No doubt, Uncle Ray’s full-blown project will be a main topic at the upcoming reunion.

I pass the blame off on his buddy Roger, who works at the county road department. To him, it must be like fishing as he tosses the bait and checks to see if Uncle Ray takes it. Aunt Donna and the rest of the family then live through the fallout as some wild idea is activated.

In this case, the bait was the suggestion that birds, etc., will not build nests in areas that are the color of the clear, blue sky! Unlike previous ideas, I don’t think Uncle Ray’s painting binge will be potentially disastrous except for those on the end of paint brushes and rollers.

Something similar occurred in the Cave Springs area years ago when a fellow was convinced by his coffee shop buddies that cows would not cross a yellow line. After all, they declared, “One reason the highway department paints them lines yellow is keep cattle from crossing the road!”

Unfortunately, a net search did locate some gossip sites suggesting the use of sky-blue paint to accomplish Uncle Ray’s goal. I’ve also seen this mentioned in some garden Q & A columns. Needless to say, Roger simply stumbled across a topic that seemed to have wings, and Uncle Ray was just the guinea pig to see if it would fly.

No doubt, most folks get aggravated with the robin or barn-swallow that persistently builds nests over the door or above the entry light. Wasp and mud-daubers are a somewhat different, but equally annoying topic due to risk of stings or the presence of the mud-brick eyesores.

Since everything is color-coordinated these days, Aunt Donna will be irritated when the sky-blue carport clashes with her earth tone home color. She also confided, “If this scheme works I won’t miss the wasps, but I enjoyed having the robins nest here each spring.”

Whether it works or not, at least gas prices aren’t the only hot topic scheduled for the upcoming reunion. Til’ next week!

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the U of A Division of Agriculture.