We sprouted a leak in our garbage disposal and I’ve been waiting for the plumber. So I got to spend some time watching the bird room.
There is a little field mouse or shrew or vole that has made a home under a rock in the in ground bird bath we built. I’ve named her Violet as she is so shy. She darts from her hole under the rock to the ground feeder that is maybe six inches away. I’ve seen her eat the tiny sunflowers that are growing wild. She’s very sleek and shiny. I suspect that the place under the rocks is her summer home and that she actually nests in our garage. Something darts around in there every so often, causing a minor heart attack.
I’m hoping to attract a Baltimore oriole or two, so I’ve got an orange feeder up with grape jelly and orange slices. As I change the fruit, I throw the old slices onto the ground and have watched squirrels eat them. Haven’t seen an oriole yet, but I’ve watched house finches eat both the jelly and the oranges. It almost looks like they smack their non-existent lips after gobbling some jelly.
There was a cardinal couple at the ground feeder last night as I was closing up shop. He fed her some birdseed. She hopped over to the bath and got a drink and he followed her with another bite of seed. It was cute.
I’ve watched Darryl the Downy Woodpecker pluck a peanut out of a feeder and take it over to the Hawthorne tree. There is a little depression at the bottom of the trunk and he inserts the peanut into that as his holder and eats the peanut from there. I thought he was caching, but he’s using a tool.
Hummingbird nectar is out – a sure sign that I am, in actuality, an optimist. I understand that hummers arrive in Michigan in April or May but I’ve never actually seen one much before July. Yet, I make the nectar and put it out, ever hopeful of seeing those fabulous little birds.
Haven’t seen any frogs yet or toads, but I hear them. There are spring fed ponds all over development hell (hereby shortened to devel hell) and the mating season is on.
Robins built then abandoned a nest under the deck. I’m relieved and think they are building a new nest under a neighbor’s deck. That might be better, as these are the neighbors that hate nature and never spend any time on their deck. This is the woman who shooed a bird off her deck railing by saying, “get, you dumbass bird” and then encouraged her husband to get his gun to shoot it. So, fifty fifty for the robins. Our deck gets a lot more use and Bubbles will come out with me and last year, the robins bitched at us every time. They built a nest in a slightly different location last year and ended up abandoning the nest with two eggs in it. I felt really bad about that. They gave up on us earlier this year, before any eggs were laid. I hope they succeed.
The rose bushes are all pruned. It will take a while for the scratches to heal. When people ask me if I garden, I always smile. I have this image in my head of a “gardener” who wears a sundress and hat, carrying a basket while she neatly plucks fruit or flowers or veggies. Me, I’m sweating profusely and bleeding from several places and buckets carry more than baskets any day. I don’t grow food here in devel hell. They are spray mad and compost piles are verboten.
So I’ve been growing roses. Love the flowers and scent of roses, always have. I’ve tried to grow hybrid tea roses, but gave up on those as way too high maintenance for me. So I’ve planted heritage roses here, and I’ve gotta give a shout out to Audrey.
Audrey is a climbing rambler rose. She’s grown impressively, doing exactly what I was hoping she’d do, draping herself around the deck railing. She’s also extremely thorny, so even dead heading is perilous. She’s earned the name of Audrey after the Venus fly trap in Little Shop of Horrors. My Audrey has been watered with plenty of my blood and sweat.
It’s not like I really know what I’m doing. I learn by doing a lot of the time. I’ve planted seven different bushes along the south side of our house (have had to replace 2 over the years) and have enjoyed taking care of them, but probably won’t plant more unless I can find a native variety.
Something odd is happening with another bush. This one has begotten a sucker plant that will not be killed – and I’ve tried. Now the bush is throwing up mutant canes and buds that don’t flower. I took no pictures of these phenomena last year, but I’ll try harder to diagnose the problem this year if it repeats. I can’t even describe how weird the mutants look.
And, on the topic of mutants, let me just give a shout-out to all of you mothers of non-biological kids out there. The biological moms will get their due, so I want to say to all of the women who chose to not have a child or who couldn’t have one…….happy non-mother’s day to you too!