Distant thunder from the southwest moving in, and Dustin dog is by my feet shivering. The cats could care less. Lacey and Charlotte are snoozing on cat trees at opposite ends of the house, Zoe’s in La La Land in the middle of the hallway, and Austin is lounging on my bed primping before his nap.
I’m snacking on multigrain crackers covered with Manna Butter amaretto almond spread with a dollop of St. Dalfour black cherry preserves, a cup of Assam tea brewed, dumped and brewed again with same bag to cut down on caffeine, and a handful of vitamin pills. Old age…I recommend it with caution.
Caught off guard with panic shoppers wiping out inventories left and right, it was as if we were hiking up Mt. Everest to get the freezer and pantry stocked, and enough kitty litter to keep the floors from becoming potty pans. It was mentally and physically fatiguing.
A crisis in the back yard a few weeks ago found me prying the Chickadee bird box off its pole and removing the nest so husband could hose out all the black ants. I had to calm myself out of panic mode and into clear thinking mode. Moss on the bottom of the nest fell off each time I moved the nest from one spot on the patio to another spot (about every 5-10 seconds), leaving a pile of swarming ants on the concrete with each move.
It wasn’t important at the time, so I don’t remember the number of featherless baby birds opening their mouths as if it was feeding time. The parent birds where complaining loudly, and I feared abandoning the nest might happen; but the dropping of ants out of the nest with each move never subsided much. Finally, I had to give up and hope for the best.
I scraped off some new moss from a log and the concrete walls to put in the bottom of the box to replace what fell off the nest and give some room for the remaining ants to not cannibalize the babies so easily. I was pleasantly surprised when all the babies quietly fledged about 1 ½ - 2 weeks later, and left the box empty except, of course, for the ants. That box is in the trash. The next box will have a better way to hang on the pole.
Monitoring nest boxes is never ending. I’ll wrap sticky tape upside down around the poles and carefully use insecticide on the bottom of the pole, but it all must be replaced every time it rains. This year the woodpecker box was trashed after a carpenter bee adopted the box and chewed a hole too deep before I discovered it. Birds don't nest with bees, and bees will re-use the box for years to come.
Throughout the history of these gardens, the bird houses will be outdoors for a few years; and then when wasps, bees and aggressive birds become a problem, they are moved into storage for a few years until the cycle of enemies is broken. It’s the only way I have been able to give baby birds a fighting chance of survival in their nest boxes.
It's a dog eat dog world in nature. Creatures have no hospitals, police, or 911 centers; so while I may try to do all these things on my own at one level or another in my gardens, it isn't feasible to think I can save every creature. To look out my window at the waning day, is to look at softness and harshness as one. Life...death...its the nature of things living.
I’ve finished cleaning the gardens. They’re still messy, but the rabbit I flushed out of the totally gone wild clematis vines near the back fence needs shelter, and if I keep cleaning, I will obliterate all safe places from its life in these gardens. That would be the opposite of all that I try to accomplish.
I'm tired, and I've taken way too many breaks while trying to finish this post. Started at breakfast and now it's past bedtime. Creativity's not my forte these days, as I seem to have passed through that timeline of vintage into being an antique.
I have a cat who has caught up to me in cat years, so I can empathize with her plight these days. She has added blood pressure medication to her growing list of pills, and it's becoming easier to take care of myself than taking care of her...poor baby.
So…………………………………….................what’s new with you?