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Another Day in the Country

Small-town wildlife

© Another Day in the Country

The weather’s been warm — even though it’s been wet — warm enough that I sat on the front porch for breakfast and reviewed the bird parade. 

A flash of yellow and orange down by the creek meant that the orioles were busy.

A sleek bright red cardinal sings from the red dogwood bushes declaring that this spot is the best spot for a nest.

His mate pays him little heed. Perhaps she remembers a season or two ago when they chose the weeping spruce, even after I warned them that they’d be blown away from that precarious spot, and she no longer trusts his intuition.

The grackles grabbed my attention.

A male was courting two young grackle girls, fluffing his feathers, dipping and preening on a swaying branch just above their heads.

They watched for a while and then hopped down to find breakfast in the grass.

He followed them, persistent, keeping himself in the sunlight that turned his feathers a purple and blue iridescence as he strutted this way and that. Did he know how beautiful he was in the sun?

The robins are busy on the lawn — intent, alert, ignoring all the courting going on around them.

I think they are ahead of the game, already nesting. I saw them by the backyard pond gathering mud the other day — quite picky about what to take.

Swallows are zipping by with their eye on my front porch.

They’ve even been darting in and out of the garage when I have the door open. They’d love to build a nest in there, I can tell, but I warn them away. Who knows if they will listen?

Jess has been talking to the swallows at her house. She’s been enforcing her words with a broom — swishing around like a real menace, having had experience with their persistence in the past.

“Terrible messes,” she mumbles to herself as they make another pass. “I’ve got to get my porch painted.”

She’s heard that if you paint the ceiling of your porch a certain shade of blue, swallows will think it is sky and not attempt to build their nests under your eaves.

As I recall, the porch ceiling over at Jakie’s house had a blue ceiling, and we still had swallows in residence. They thought it was a perfect spot, especially because the house was only used on weekends.

I saw my neighbors’ chickens dusting themselves in the middle of 5th St. in Ramona.

There’s evidently a readymade hole in the road, filled with just the right amount of sifting soil for them to choose this spot.

I took a second look because I saw something on the road, moving, and thought at first some animal had been hit and was injured.

Road injuries don’t happen all that often in Ramona. We don’t have that much traffic, thankfully, and most folks are pretty polite to animals crossing the street.

When I checked what I thought was road kill, it was happy hens, half a dozen of them in that one hole in the middle of the road, kicking up quite a storm.

I chuckled at their audacity.

If they come across the main road and try this stunt where I’ve just planted flowers, I may not be quite so tolerant and shoo them home.

This is the kind of wildlife I like most, in and around a small town! 

I try, but I find myself less tolerant of a ruckus when it’s the citizenry who comprise the wildlife.

We know what the critters do. People are more unpredictable.

Jess loves feeding the wildlife. She just bought a beautiful, new bird feeder and, believing in abundance, dumps in a whole bag of seed at one time.

Of course, the rain made it porridge!

She also loves sharing the pastries she makes with the residents of our tiny town. It’s her style of weight watching. Share the abundance so we won’t eat as much!

Last Friday night, she brought over a cake dome filled with chocolate chip cookies, “just in case we get guests over the weekend.”

When I told my California grandson about the cookies, he said, “Why would you be expecting visitors?”

This led to an explanation of Decoration Day and what it means in the country with my cousins still coming back to put flowers on family graves. He’d never heard of such a thing!

“I will freeze what’s left and bring them with me when I come visit,” I told him, always looking for ways to include him in what goes on in Kansas.

It’s another day in the country, and six cookies went into the freezer.

Last modified June 9, 2022

 

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