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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Last week of April!

Things are looking up,

and looking nice.

I like walking by and seeing 

all the new anemones this year.

We gave the house a lick and a promise before Emily went to work,
and Laura and I dispensed with plenty of dandelions.

When we could stand it no more, we went to see what is in the nursery now, beside pansies.

And look who we found, deadheading pansies.

Check the boots!
Another job our working woman has is to make this front walk look attractive in the morning,
and cover the plants over at night.

It's still too early for anything, but we did scrounge two plants for the lettuce tower.
Nasturtium and creeping jenny.
Come back next week.

We're down to two bird feeders, and hung the two bird baths.
Next week I'll stop at a pet store and buy a box of gravel to put in one of them.
Let's see if I can keep them out of the road.

 American goldfinches above,
and a male and female purple finch, sharing with a cardinal.
Now the bigger birds have thinned out the cardinals use the hanging safflower feeder.

My flying pigs!

The pig got a nasturtium.

And I brought home some color for the front porch,
Even if I have to cover it at night.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More birds than ever

We mentioned, on last visiting the bird seed store, we had more birds at the feeders this year than ever. Only one more feeder, and that a small one, so I’m ruling out quantity available.  The fellow behind the counter said customers were reporting fewer birds this year; we were an anomaly.

I was not able to take one decent bird picture last winter; certainly not like the winter before. Remember the cardinal in the oak tree? That took a lot of light. The chickadee in the oak tree took even more. There was not light like that last winter; it was gloomy almost every day.

I attribute all our guests to the harshness of this winter and to the feeder wait staff. Emily and Laura took good care of all those feeders, even when the paths to the feeders had four foot walls.

The return of the red winged blackbirds is a sure sign of spring. They live in the meadows and marshes. And this spring there were red winged blackbirds at our feeders, on top of the hill. The male stopped for a few days and left.  There probably were females, too, but they look too much like cowbirds for me to distinguish quickly. An immature young male still hangs around, so polite and handsome, with the white shoulder bar.

For fun, here’s a list of all the birds at the feeders: cowbird, starling, red-winged blackbird, grackle, crow, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, red headed woodpecker, red bellied woodpecker, blue jay, house finch, pine siskin (winter finch), song sparrow, junco, purple finch, tree sparrow, house sparrow, cardinal, mourning dove, nuthatch (red breasted and white breasted), chickadee, titmouse, goldfinch. I think the squirrel ground crew increased to half a dozen.

We were at the bird seed store probably every other weekend until the end of March. We’ll keep seed enough this summer for nesting birds who want it, but it’s coming on time to put out the bird baths. For Christmas I got a bird bath we can keep on the ground and outfit with a heater. With the snow gone we may get all those jobs done this weekend.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

We thought we were invincible

In spite of appearing contrary, I have nursed my back these last two days in a state of total sloth. Not my style, and alleviated only a tiny bit by listening to an all time favorite, Middlemarch. I love Elliot’s tour de force, as if she was saying to the world, “look, I know almost everything, and see what I can do with it!”

Her detail is exquisite. Little boys, “standing between their father’s knees as he drove leisurely,” brought to mind first my brothers, then my sister standing in the middle of the front seat of the car, between my parents; the catbird seat. Certainly not safe, but way before seat belts, interstate highways and seventy mile per hour speed limits. My mother could restrain any child in the front seat.

My own children and my nephews enjoyed the same vantage point. As parents we thought nothing of it. My husband and I felt we had improved on the arrangement with the seat we had for our daughter.  Wooden buttons for spinning and a tray of cheerios and the kid was all set.

There were motorcycles, too. My sister-in-law, my brother, my husband and I all rode together. With our children. Beth was six, Shelly four, Michelle three. They had helmets. 

Beth was old enough to ride behind me. Shelly rode in front of my husband; Michelle generally was in front of Helyn. On the gas tanks. Or, as Helyn said years later, “We thought we were invincible.”

This winter is invincible, too.  I drove home from work in sleet and hail, only because, at thirty eight degrees it’s too warm to snow.