Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guilty Pleasure Feathers and Fur

I must confess that I have a bit of a brown thumb.  I am not overly gifted with plants and quite honestly I consider yard work a form of cruel and unusual punishment.  I have no desire to garden in the least.  I make a tiny effort each spring to fill my pots on the porch with bright blooms and I did plant my lavender plant last year that I purchased from Art in the Park (which is already green) but aside from that I really try to avoid all things that involve me on my hands and knees in the dirt.  I have also been banned from attempting to grow vegetables because my one and only attempt ended with gophers taking over our yard.  Who knew we had gophers in the neighborhood?  I have never seen them but they sure found my artichoke plant.

As strong as my aversion is to cultivating our yard I have one huge success that I can boast.  I grow baby birds.  I know that seems like a strange statement but honestly I have a bumper crop of baby birds in my yard each year.  I provide shelter (bird houses) that we clean out every winter, I have ample seed in three feeders in the back yard, two sources of water that I clean and fill every morning and I even put out scraps of ribbon and nesting supplies in the spring.  And low and behold these minimal activities bring forth rich rewards in my very own yard.  The baby birds give me a green feathered thumbs up. 

In addition to the baby birds that I grow (okay the parent birds do have a wing in the process too) I also have noticed that our back yard is a host to many feathered and furry friends who visit each day for a bite to eat and quick bath.  Many of our feathered visitors do stop by all year long but some only pop by depending on the season.  Two of our seasonal visitors are featured above.  The ducks usually only show up in the spring before they nest and then we don't see them again until the following year.  The bright yellow birds also only visit during the spring and summer and then vanish.  We also have quail, humming birds and lots of squirrels.  You have not really lived until you have watched baby quail running through your yard.  They are adorable and make me smile each and every year.

The guilty pleasure here is not only the enjoyment the birds and squirrels bring but the cost of the food to keep them visiting each and every day.  The squirrels received peanuts in the shell each morning and make a giant mess out of the back yard.  All year long I find them buried in every conceivable place you can think of.  Their antics are hilarious and Raisin loves watching squirrel TV out the back door.  Jay is not quite as captivated as Raisin is but it is a scream to watch the squirrels taunt the dogs from the back porch.  And they entertain the Pei's for peanuts.

The lot that our house is situated on had awful soil.  Anthony has worked and worked on attempting to maintain a green yard and has even paid lawn companies to take a stab at our grass with very marginal results and a lot of money out of our pockets.  When I first started feeding the birds in the back yard I did not realize that bird seed dropped from the feeders would sprout.  All of a sudden we had this patch of incredibly thick and vibrant "grass" under the tree where one of the feeders was located.  Mr. Dally was not impressed.  Although I was thinking that if we just spread bird seed all over our lawn that we would have the greenest lawn in the neighborhood.  I have now sworn a blood oath to Mr. Dally to only purchase "no sprout" seed that is sold at Zamzows and let me tell you they get a premium price for that seed.  I do chuckle to myself each spring when I note that the seeds are still sprouting under the tree even though the feeder was moved from that particular location years ago.  Funny how Anthony is not quite as amused as I am. 

The best part about my furry and feathered back yard friends is that I can combine two guilty pleasures into one.  As I lay out in the back yard on my hammock I can enjoy their antics with a front row seat. 

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