Usually about this time of the year I’m waxing philosophical about the creatures who come to dig holes in my yard. I pen great works about the ravages they have manifest, my struggles with attempts to convince them the grass is truly greener over yonder, and finally my complete and utter resignation to their complete and utter dominance of my landscape and, some days it seems, my serenity.
To date, these pesky, little varmints are here. And they’re doing their darnedest to pepper my lawn with subterranean passages joined by large holes on the surface.
And once again, I am faced with a conundrum. I do not want these creatures in my yard. I have tried everything possible to discourage them from coming in, yet also offer ample reasons for them to return. Thus, the conundrum. There are a plethora of birds that visit here, either staying for the season or dropping in while they journey north and south. I personally think we must get good reviews on Yelp as to the accommodations and amenities provided. Said amenities include copious amounts of various and sundry birdie treats. Black sunflower seed, peanut butter suet, thistle seed, orange marmalade for the orioles and oodles and oodles of yummy sugar water. The pesky varmints aren’t after the orange marmalade or the sugar water, but the birdseed that has fallen out of the feeders above and been scattered on the ground below must surely seem like the Holy Grail. At any given time of day, one can see a bat-guano crazy woman run out into the yard, yelling at the insouciant critters to “get out of MY YARD!!!!!!!!!!” Said creatures scurry a couple of feet away, stand up on their hind legs and peer intently at the wild-haired, towel-waving lunatic. Said lunatic stomps her foot a couple of times, utters a few profanities and then retreats back into her lair. The creatures return to the previous business of scavenging.
The conundrum: the most obvious solution would be to stop providing reasons for the creatures to enter the yard. Meaning, stop feeding the birds. But we love the birds. The birds love us. Ok, that’s a bit of anthropomorphizing to be sure. I have no earthly idea if the birds love us or not. Or like us for that matter. Or even acknowledge that we exist. For all I know, the birds think the birdseed is like manna from heaven. It just appears magically in the feeders whenever they are hungry. Who knows. I’m not a bird psychologist, nor a bird behaviorist. Though I’m sure these type of professions do exist.
And now I’ve digressed. The point was that I don’t know how to solve this problem. We like having birds in the yard. To do that, we must offer a smorgasbord of a menu to attract them. In so doing, there will be the inevitable hangers-on, just like the groupies who follow bands around the country. I must learn to take the bad (creatures who dig massive holes in my yard and create tunnels underneath that threaten to undermine every green tree left) with the good (many, many different species of birds alighting in the trees each day).
So I’d gotten to that point actually and only half-heartedly yelled at the damn gophers to “get out of my yard” the last few days. Granted, it’s been snowing for a week now. !!!!!!!!!!! And it’s very cold and very wet and who wants to be outside when it’s snowing in May? Right. And don’t remind me of every other post I’ve written in which I’ve waxed poetic about snow and rain and precipitation and how necessary it is because we don’t want to experience a forest fire……………HA. So that happened. And per several of the firefighters, I’ll not need to worry about a fire for another 25 years. So it can stop snowing now!!!!!!!!!!
I digress. Yet again.
Basically, I’d let the damn gophers alone, because we were getting some beautiful birds showing up and I’m a sucker for pretty things. I’m sort of preening myself when I think of the beauties that have been here this past week. (As if I had something to do with their flight patterns or their desire to settle here or stop here on their way through.)
A Bullock’s oriole (male) who insists on attempting to drink out of the hummingbird feeders despite me hanging a custom-made oriole feeder right there, smack-dab in the middle of the yard. If it was a snake, it would have bitten him. Two hours I spent the other morning, in the snow, chasing that damn bird around, from the front to the back and back to the front. Just trying to entice him to the oriole feeder so he could take a drink. Aaghhhh. That was a cold, wet morning. He’s eating the orange marmalade now, but still won’t touch the orange, or drink the sugar water. What can you do? Horse, water, not so much.
The evening grosbeaks are really quite amazing with their black and bright yellow and white colorings. They like the little bird feeder designed by Grace. Maybe the colors of it? Maybe the black sunflower seeds inside? Since I lack a degree in bird psychology, I’ll never know.
And then something unexpected happened. Though, to be sure, nothing around here should be unexpected anymore. A solid week of snow in late May, 65 degree days in March, hummingbirds arriving 10 days early…a lot of weird juju basically.
Two days ago, Buck started barking in the back yard. It sounded like his “I’m lonely out here and I want a treat” bark, so I pitched Aengus out to keep him company. A few seconds later I happened to look out the front window and to what should my wondering eyes appear, but…
Silly old bear. Birdseed is for birds.
Followed by one of our resident foxes this afternoon.
What next, eh?
Conundrums. To feed or not to feed the birds. After much soul searching (something that goes on quite a lot here), I’ve come down on the side of “to feed.” We’re studying infinitives and infinitive phrases in grammar right now, so this seemed apropos.
The fire on our mountain last summer consumed A LOT of habitat. There are some areas in which green grass can be seen to be sprouting, but that’s from my vantage point of down here, looking far up there. I cannot be certain what exactly is growing and whether or not it’s what the resident bird population used to feast on. The mountain itself in other places is, for lack of a better word that doesn’t necessarily seem accurate, denuded. Dark, burned, charred sticks are all that is left of the beautiful pine forest. Granted, many of those trees were dead or dying from beetle kill, but it still provided necessary habitat. The chickadees never returned. I waited patiently all winter for my little mountain chickadees, but sadly, nary a one. The pine siskins and rosy-headed finches have not arrived either. A flock of red-winged blackbirds has taken up residence and their sweet songs each morning and evening are a harbinger of spring and summer. The steady family of Stellar jays were around all winter, numbering roughly a dozen, but have moved on and only a few are alighting here these days. We have a new addition to our community and these are a delight to watch: Audubon’s warblers. Gorgeous, bright yellow chin and wing patches with streaks of white on tail feathers. They weave and bob amongst the aspen leaves just budding out, searching for little things that fly. (I had a picture, but it was too blurry & I deleted it. Sorry.)
Well that was a wee bit of rambling. I was headed into an explanation of my decision “to feed.” The fire destroyed not only homes for the birds, but also food for the birds. Birds are essential to our ecosystem. We all fit in at certain points and places around the web of life. No, my birdseed is not their natural diet. But it is close and if it provides a little sustenance until the mountain can grow back enough to support them, then I’m going to err on the side of feeding. (Note: see previous post about “Inappropriate Relationships.”)
The hummingbirds are back!! In greater numbers than I thought I’d see. The first couple showed up about a week and a half early, so I scrambled to get the feeders up. Their zinging and chirping is music to my ears. I lose great gobs of time each day watching in awe at their antics. I’ve not taken any current pictures as it’s been snowing or raining every day for the last ten days and feeding time is usually cold and dreary. I’m worried the cold will be too much for them, but as of last night, I’d have to estimate at least a hundred or more on the feeders at the same time, so maybe they’ll be just fine.
Now, for the rabbit holes. I’ve spent the better part of the last couple of weeks down a few of them. This post is long and math lessons are waiting, so now I cannot wax poetic about where I’ve been or what I’ve learned. Suffice it to say I am faced with a conundrum as to what to believe. Do I listen to the naysayers and those disparaging the work of others? Do I jump down the rabbit hole and listen to my instincts as to who and what I think are competent, credible sources? I’m not one to blindly give credence to conspiracy theories. I have enough education behind me, most of it scientific, to understand the importance of not taking something only at face value, but instead reading, researching and learning as much as I can
(Sorry, lost my train of thought because I needed to yell at the radio because Trey Gowdy is being a smug a** about damn leaks. aaaghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)
Ok. I’ll try to pick up my thought.
As I was writing, I think I have enough education behind me to be able to suss out what I believe to be facts versus just garbage.
I’ve been down some rabbit holes lately that I think might lead to something. I reblogged a post here from Louise Mensch. *****Go to her site on your own as I’ve been warned the link I had previously leads to some rather disgusting garbage. (Thank you Mr. Seahorn.)
She has been pilloried in the mainstream media (and elsewhere) as a wing nut, wacko, crazy person peddling some ridiculous theories.
I, for one, don’t think she’s wacky and I don’t think the theories are ridiculous. I think we would be wise to pay attention. I reblogged one of her posts here because I think its important. There is more afoot than what is reported on the nightly news by “trusted” news sources. I stand by my beliefs. Read her as you please.
And now I must delve into verbal phrases, fractions, decimals and Spanish.
Vaya con dios mis amigos y amigas.