Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Retirement - All Creatures, Great and Small

Making it through the fake spring and doing OK.

April Fool's Joke
To start with, I do like birds.  They are usually one of the first signs of spring and I welcome them with open arms.  However, I am not over the top about them like my hubby. I am more into mammal-like creatures and although love to see birds and give them all my leftover bread and crackers, I am not obsessed with them.  Hubby is.  I think it began  as he entered his 50's.  At that time we had been blessed with cats inherited from our children.  The kids had either moved out for a short while or were in college and felt the need to adopt cats and then bring them home to us.  Of course, within the year our children left our home but their pets did not.  We became parents all over again, this time to four-legged ones.  In order to amuse the cats, hubby put a bird feeder in a tree right out the front window.  The two left-in-our-care cats would meow and make strange noises all day long while watching all the birds feed.  We actually had a bird who would see his shadow in our window and make love to his reflection for hours at a time.  The cats were in fantasy heaven.  Hubby made sure he filled up that bird feeder twice a  day in order to amuse his feline buddies. This was the beginning of his obsession.

When all of our children were on their own, we decided to buy a larger house (makes sense, doesn't it) with more land to take care of and cultivate.   We moved to what was a farming community and more open space.  The first thing hubby did was install a few bird feeders.  As the years went by, the number of bird feeders increased. This was helped by our children and grandchildren who thought hubby needed more and more bird feeders to keep him busy.  He loved it and so did most of the Mid-Atlantic states' bird population.  If anybody can remember the movie The Birds, the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, they can imagine my yard, especially in spring.  It is a sea of birds.  I am not complaining as I love to see all the species that come and feed at our 20 or so feeders, but the bill for bird food now exceeds the cat food and dare I say, our wine bill.  Some birds that normally fly south in the winter never leave.  We have beautiful Robins most of the year and Cardinals all of the year.  Our kids also give us bird books (what do you give old people) so we can investigate all the species that feed and crap in our yard.  Again, I am not complaining, except when they destroy my flower planters that I have hanging in the trees. Of course, the trees are for the birds, and I respect their habitat, I just wish they would tilt their tail feathers in the other direction of my hanging gardens. I have now accepted that the majority of these flowers must be white so the bird droppings will blend in.

Weekend mornings and every night hubby fills three large buckets of different types of bird food and goes out to feed the starving birds of America.  I can tell you, he alone may have saved the planet from the extinction of some species. I look out the window and see him trudging around the back yard and woods in snow, rain, heat, and cold carrying what looks like very heavy buckets and I shake my head. Surely, the birds can make it for a day or two without him going out and risking his health in inclement weather.  But no, he is a man on a mission, and he is sure the birds count on him, only him.  He, though, is very particular about what types of birds eat out of each feeder.  Only finches are to eat out of the finch feeder, but doves seem to like that perch also. This is upsetting to him as he thinks the doves should know better.  I won't even mention the havoc that goes on when racoons and sqirrells swing from the newly filled feeders.  Nature has their way though and their rules are different than ours.  

Again, I do love all creatures of this earth (except stink bugs, but that is another blog), cats, dogs, antelope (never saw one, but am sure I would love them), deer and giraffes - all species - and I do look forward to the migration of the birds. When I see all the bright red cardinals flying around my woods, and the finches when they turn yellow, I sigh, and say thank you hubby for bringing such beauty to my little corner of the world. 


  1. I'm gasping for air, I've been laughing so hard. Flip/poop. yep. We love the birds too but no feeders. There are too many cats running loose around here and I don't want to be the one feeding THEM. I am going to grow more sunflowers this year and leave them standing for the birds.
    You want a joke from mother nature? This afternoon I was running about in shoes and a spring coat taking photos of flowering bulbs and now I can't see across the road for the snow storm we are having. SCREAM!!!

  2. We're having the most wonderful dawn chorus at the moment.... Spring is definitely in the air. I also feed our birds, but only when it's very cold. I understand that one should no longer feed them when they start to nest.

    I love all wild animals, but my love is occasionally challenged when they eat my veg's. Deer are the worst offenders!!