Winter continues in other parts of the country.
We have a severe thunderstorm watch.
Gardening changes our morning outlook.
The first thing I want to see every morning is the Jackson Bird Spa, soon to be expanded to the Jackson Animal Resort and Spa. Two neighbors have concrete blocks, the mother's milk of all construction. Then I can mulch the rest of the area near our bedroom window and bring the food and fun closer all day.
I can see birds on the Jackson EZ Bird Swing before I get out of bed, and they drop over to the feeder just below the swing. Sometimes they eat on the swing afterwards.
Activity on the suet slowed down when I began using large wire baskets to hold chunks from the meat market. The birds are suspicious of something new, so they will be cautious for weeks. Fabric bags get rather messy so they will be retired.
Since I usually wake before birds, I hear the growing chorus as they greet the dawn. A crow caws loudly each day, breaking off when he knows I am around. The largest bird is the most cautious, while the hummingbird will buzz friendly gardeners with a water hose (free bath). Chickadees are likewise just as friend and daring.
|When fed and watered, animals have more time for games.|
The woodpecker I fed all winter is ratta-tat-tatting on the trees each day. The grackles have established a home in my yard, and the starlings visit with them. Mourning doves and a charm of finches arrive daily.
I look over the needs of various plants and opportunities to transplant. I realized the wild strawberries are natural for easy growing, shade tolerance, and critter feeding. They also make an attractive ground cover around trees. The dead tree had ragweed ground cover last summer. We covered that with Jackson Mulch in the fall. Now we have honeysuckle vine and wild strawberries growing the in the wood mulch, a more attractive alternative.
Gardeners have more birds because the best growing habits foster bird feeding and bathing. A bush dripping water is also a safe shower stall for small birds. The aerial aqueduct is handy for larger birds above and below the soaker hose on the fence. I have eight or more dishes of various depths for their drinking and bathing. They get clean refills almost daily.
Robins look at me while I water roses the way Sassy looks at me while grilling. They expect to be fed soon, and they often feed a few feet away, grabbing a fat worm while I watch. Should I be taking notes? More worms? More water?
|Trumpet vine - nectar and insects.|
Mrs. Ichabod began laughing when I said I was moving the mulch closer to the bedroom window. She pictured a rug pulled by the corners. I said, "No," glaring for even more amusement, "I will put down a bigger layer over all the grass in the area. The birds will feed and bathe closer." She was still laughing so I added, "They do most of the insect work in the garden."
She objected, "But they poop all over."
I rebutted the objection - "At least they give the food back."
This morning we had two baby squirrels on the ledge feeding. They do not mind us watching from a few inches away. When they left, the finches arrived since that feeder caters to them with thistle (niger) and hulled sunflower seeds. Suet hangs from the feeder, so starlings are bound to come by at various times.