Hum along with Spring


Hummers are here! The hummers have landed. We put our feeders up on April 30, and shortly afterwards heard the low-pitched hum of their wings at about 80 hz and heard the chirping sounds of their approach. We must truly be turning the corner towards summer now that these amazing creatures have returned in our midst.

This past Sunday, we saw a soap opera performance in our front yard. A bluebird love triangle played out before our eyes. Early this spring, we had a bluebird couple appear, and the male drove other birds off away from the birdhouse. Then, we saw only a female reappear, and a week ago, began hearing the excited chirps of the young bluebirds each time the mother appeared with food.

On Sunday, a male appeared with another female. The male wanted to take possession of the nesting space, but the female who had been tending the nest would have none of it. We had aerial combat on the power wires, up in the branches, and on the walkway going to the street. I could see in the shadows on our lawn that the combat was continuing up above the house. Flashing wings thrashing against each other in a flying struggle. I could just do an anthropomorphization of the situation. “You left me pregnant, no help with the children. And now you bring your hussy and want to take over my home? How dare you!”

The winner appears to be the female who had been tending the nest. We haven’t seen the male and his other squeeze for two days now. Virtue and honor is upheld in the bird world.

Spring has blossomed in its vibrant glory. Visits to the garden center and farmer’s market have caused our hanging baskets, gardens, and containers to share the colors of the rainbow with the rest of the world. If only we can keep them watered throughout the year so that we can still see the colors in October as they are in early May. Meanwhile, the hooved rats have struck, eating only the purple blossoms from one lantana plant among four that we set out in containers. Lantana is supposed to be deer resistant, but the purple flowers must have lost their resistance.

Ever hopeful, I’ve planted the tomatoes and peppers out on the deck. Looks like if we make it past this coming weekend when the temperature may threaten frost, we will have gotten a jump on the growing season. It is funny how the dream of a juicy tomato to grace a salad can seem so overpowering in May. By September, I may be going “Are they STILL producing?” But tonight, we had our first green onions and radishes from the garden in tonight’s salad. And nothing can compare to the taste of the vegetables grown through one’s own efforts.

Spring calls for ever more things to do than there is time to do them in. The gas grill is awaiting its annual cleaning. Our siding has turned a subtle shade of green on the north side, so a scrubbing with a cleaning solution is at hand. And this is the year when I need to clean, then reseal our 20 year old deck. When we bought our home in 1992, the deck was about 20 years old then, and it looked it. Rough wood, splinter inducing, and seemingly on its last legs. Four years later we replaced it, and it is reaffirming that it still has smooth surfaces and looks like it can stand for another 20 years. We must be doing something right.

This past Sunday, it was snake day at the house. Our smaller black cat Blinky was out on a slope and was riling up some creature that was shaking the lenten roses and faded daffodils. I went out there, and saw about a 3′ long black snake that was trying to avoid contact with the cat. I have never seen a bigger snake on our property since we moved in. I managed to get our cat away from the snake, then later in the day, both black cats were bothering another snake out on the driveway. I went out and saw an 18″ garter snake trying desperately to get into the shelter of the grass. I convinced the cats that I was going to give them food inside and got them away again, then went out and looked at the snake, making sure that it was uninjured. I have gone years without seeing a snake on our property, and seeing two in one day was an aberration. I thought of my mother, who was massively phobic about snakes. She would have required that both snakes meet their master that very minute. But since she left us on New Year’s Eve, I didn’t have to yield to her past wishes. Both snakes went on their way, and I may never see them again.

The grass that we planted 10 days ago has sprouted underneath its blanket of straw. Tiny narrow green sprouts are beginning to poke up through the straw. We’ve kept it moist enough to prevent the death of the sprouts. It will be good if we can keep it in good shape till the grass is able to stand on its own. We miss our hemlock tree, but life and growth must go on. What is encouraging is that the garden does not listen to or heed any political pundits. The only spin in this zone is the tree seedlings that spin in a whirligig fashion as they seek a fertile landing point. Yesterday after a strong rain storm, the wind picked up, and then the air was full of tree stuff. You could see leaves falling amidst the tiny specks of pollen. It looked like a snow storm, there was so much pollen and spent tree flowers, and other miscellaneous organic matter. My old Prius got coated once more in its annual yellow dusting.

Spring! The hopeful season. May it bring a rebirth for all of us in this time of trouble.



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