Posts Tagged ‘gardening with animals’

Creatures In My Garden

 Two Worlds Collide

With one exception, I encourage critters in my garden. Creeping, jumping, slithering or flying — they are all welcomed!

You see, I am the intruder into their world where life, wonder, grace, purpose and  beauty abound.   Sure, there is struggle, even fierce conflict and death, but not senseless destruction, we humans accept as part of ours.

Yes, I experience conflicting emotions.   From youth my thinking has been guided toward  “If it is small, exceptionally large, or extraordinary, destroy it.”

IMG_0101The rationalization is this annihilation is done in the name of science ( study it), our protection and preservation (it might do harm ),  maybe boastful pride ( a trophy).

In my garden, I can be different.  There is no need to destroy simply because it is here;  the beauty of co-existence brings appreciation for the little things.    There is no need for two worlds to collide.

Stroll Through My Piece of Paradise

It is such a pleasure to be able to rise, fix a cup of coffee and wonder through my own little garden of Eden, in my PJs if I want to!   I may not have material wealth; but what I do have is priceless.

Here is my typical day.

For years I had to get up  around 4:30 am to  start my day.  It’s already been  almost 5 years that the necessity no longer is there; yet the habit persist.  Now I go to the computer and work for awhile til daybreak.

Bully Boy, the rooster, announces  the day is about to begin.

I can gallivant all night and not worry about consequences

Tigger, my big  orange use to- be- tom cat, howls from the porch outside my room , that he wants in.  Why has he been gallivanting all night?  At least I can be sure no Mama cat with a yellow brood will show up on my steps demanding upkeep, legitimately.  No way! No how!

It is 6 AM.   I wait for it to start.  Linda and Ms  Vicki are about to begin their day.  Ms Vicki, our little orange 6 month old Pomeranian is  being (not too successfully) potty trained.   Here’s the routine:

(Just before Linda’s alarm goes off), a piercing “YIP! YIP! followed by two or

three mournful whining sounds, then YIP!, YIP!

That translated:  “MOMMY! MOMMY!  i gott’a pee, hurry pleaaase, open this cage, MOMMY! MOMMY!”

MOMMY! MOMMY! Pleeeaase hurry!

When the door is opened Ms Vicki races madly around the house, all sense of bathroom urgency gone.

Linda coaches:  “Pee pee on the paper for Mommy.  Good girl.”    MS  VICKI, BAD GIRL !!  YOU KNOW YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO USE THE PAPER TO POOPSY, BAD GIRL!

Ms Vicki looks up at her with that  cute little pom grin and watery brown eyes, bouncing around as if to ask, “Don’t you think I am cute, Mommy, I go to the same spot every morning.  (Bouncy, Bouncy)  Can I have a treat, huh? huh?

‘BAD GIRL,  YOU GOTT’A  LISTEN TO MOMMY, USE THE PAPER!”    “THIS  IS NO! NO!  You GOTT’A BE A GOOD GIRL!”

YIP! YIP! YIP!   (Translated:  Yeah! Yeah!  CEEZE!)

Both of  them go about their business, now that the ritual is completed.  I sit, listen and grin…………aw, the blessings of well run home!

A multitude of winged creatures chirp and sing as the dawn breaks.

Stepping onto the kitchen steps, I spray myself with mosquito repellent look at the fish, pick up my bottle of Sevin spray to use against landlubber grasshopper hatchlings; I wonder around the yard, inspecting plants, birdhouses,

What a peaceful sight to begin a new day!

chickens;  all the while sipping my coffee before I set the cup down, and promptly forget what I did with it.

Here’s what I see:

That is part of the beauty of being able to do what I want, when I want, and be responsible just to me ( and my patient, understanding, loving wife.   She has learned to tolerate the new me.)

I Am Allowed To Come Into Their World

As I work in the my yard and garden I am thrilled as birds, squirrels, frogs, butterflies, bees go about their activities, for the most part ignoring me, until I interfere with the routine.

Chickadee

Seven hungry mouths to feed

The chickadee couple has 7 young nestling they are feeding all day.  When I work the  bed near the base of  their home Momma or Daddy will fly in, sit on a limb nearby and warble softly.   That’s my signal to do something else, giving privacy while the pair enters the neatly tailored nest  to feed hungry mouths.    Two down, five to go, in this never ending circle of day long feedings.

I step away, turn and watch the 2 fly in, then quickly  dart out,  headed  on a new  hunt.  Back to work until I am signaled to get lost; so it goes as long as I  work the area.

When I am digging the raised beds of vegetables, the mockingbird who has a nest in the hedgerow nearby flies in, does a little dance with waving wings, eyes me and proceeds to look for bugs; he is not  4 feet away.

We  talk as he hunts, well, I do; he  watches me out of one eye.  When the bug is safely in his beak, he kind’a squats and lifts off to feed Mama as she incubates eggs in the ragged nest they call home.

bluebird eggs

Five sky blue eggs promise babies soon

Mr and Mrs  Bluebird are back  for the 4th year.  Initially,  I junked their handmade, weathered old box shack and installed a fancy cedar store bought bungalow, which they inspected and promptly left;  I could hear angry tweetering  as they flew to the nearby pear tree.

He liked it; she said “Well, live in it  with the chickadees, or by yourself!”  as she haughtily preened her under wing feathers.

I dug the old  house out of the junk pile, re-nailed it together;  set it up about  15 feet from the old site.

Took awhile, but  it is filled with a pinestraw nest that, as of  this morning,  holds 5 sky blue eggs.

The couples sits on the phone line as I work in the area and softly chirp a bluebird  thank you, sir, melody!

The red headed woodpeckers nest in a rotten limb  hollowed out in the oak tree across the street; a pair of doves coo softly each   morning and evening, a nest made of loose  sticks must be hidden nearby;  this is a couple in waiting for the emergence of 2 0r 3 chicks from  tiny white eggs.

A pair of robins, and two brown thrashers busily scout the back lawn .   Somewhere in the thick hedges surrounding the property there must be nests with birdies.  Parents  are hunting as a pair, it seems.

Every evening, as the day begins  to cool, a pair of blue  jays chase a crow across the sky; poor crow never learns; he  suffers the  humiliation daily.

We are hungry. You are late!

The fish in the pool swim forward every morning.  Their gulping sound (yep! they are demanding little finnies!) inform me I am not getting food to them quickly enough.

Lately, the finned prima donnas  have been demanding that I fix the leak in the pool, the water is lowering at an alarming rate.  These  swimming beauties do not accept the idea that I have to let the pool sink to it’s lowest level to see what  has to be patched.

This morning, I think, I fixed it.  They seem to be rejoicing that the shrinking water world is once more filling up.

The blooming purple pitcher plant smiled as its  roots once more are submerged.

squirrel feeding area

A station all our own! Oh boy! Just keep it stocked.

Six or eight  squirrels are thrilled with their own feeding area–until I do not stock it.   Then it is back to raiding the bird feeders along with the flock of cow birds that have invaded.

You forgot! A guy's gotta eat!!

For the first time  I am feeding woodpeckers, chickadee, robin, bluebirds,mockingbirds, wrens along with the usual crowd.    The soft sound of the crowd remind me when coffers are empty.

How can I forget the red throated hummingbirds who return yearly to feed and nest.   They were a day late this year, but they are back!!

WOW!  what an experience to step outside in the cool of the pre-dawn hour to be serenaded by an  awaking chorus of free creatures, inviting me to share their world.

They will live today, confident that food will be found, that life will go on; it will involve work, it may even entail danger, but in the cool evening hours they will sing again, a song of thanksgiving for all life has given.

I am saddened to realize the real message from these creatures:

You have tried to conform us to your world, you have almost destroyed us and yourself.

Come into our world; it is busy;  it  overflows with purpose; yet, it is simple.

Ours is a world full of beauty and hope.

I Rule The Roost

The neighbors could hear the screams! “No! Stop! Oh, nooo!! Stop it! Get away from me! Oh! Oh! No! No!” It was unmistakably the sounds of abuse.

If this continued some one was going to call the police, I had to quiet her. “Oh! No! Get away from me!! Don’t! Stoooop it!!”

I am Bully Boy, don't forget the name!

I rushed to the door, wondering what is going on. Oh, man! Bully Boy, a 3 pound bantam rooster, is showing my wife, Linda, who is cock of the roost!

When he spied her crossing the back yard, her plastic bucket in hand, immediately he goes on the defensive! Nobody, but nobody, is encroaching on his territory!

Rush, fake attack, back off; rush, fake attack, over and over. Here is a 3 pound bird, sending a (…..let’s just say healthy),  woman into panic mode as she attempts to shield herself by poking at Bully Boy with the bright pink bucket!

Now, we all know, when being attacked by a ferocious creature we must make one of three choices.

  • Weakly resist, cower,  submit;
  • Run like the devil acknowledging  subjection
  • Boldly assert  dominance

Trying not to appear amused. I shout, “Don’t let him do that; knock him down with the bucket, Show him who is boss, or you will never be able to cross this yard again!   Hit him!”  I feel like a spectator at a gladiatorial event.

She continues backing, poking, yelling! “No, shoo! Get away! Stop it!”

“Linda you have got to knock him down!” I yell.  I am unprepared for female logic.

“But I’ll hurt him! I don’t want to hurt Bully!”

“Duh! Isn’t that the whole idea? You have got to show him you are top rooster and the only way to do is with a knock down. Geez, woman, haven’t you ever watched the fights?”

Well, with that bit of advice the adrenaline kicks in; that bird ain’t got a chance in heck now. Here he comes; a pink haze from the left sends him to the ground! He looks surprised, stunned; he not giving up that easily.

Bully Boy shakes his head, ready for another round; he attacks.

He is still trying to figure where that right side bolt of pink lightening came from as he waits there on the ground, in defeat, for the countdown.  

Okay, she won. It’s official, that woman is top rooster!

“Nobody likes me, nobody loves me, think I’ll go eat some worms”; he mumbles as he sulks away.

The ultimate insult is  to come.

Big Boy, a black silkie rooster, who has adopted Linda , since dogs killed his mate, has been watching the battle. Big Boy’s heroine is victorious!

He sees Bully slink away. Big Boy attacks, duck running toward Bully, he stabs him in the butt several times; all Bully can do is tuck tail and get out of the way!

He does not rule the roost!