So just when I’m talking about the dastardly squirrel who keeps sneakily sneaking in and stealing bird seed from my birdfeeders and what-all-I’m-gonna-do-about-it I wake up and this is what I find in the yard. Total crime scene, the two long feeders I’d swathed in cages (to thwart the squirrel) ripped off and strewn in the yard, the suet feeder that usually hangs on the right hand hook totally gone, and the poles bent and pulled down. Sir, excuse me, sir, was it you?A BEAR. Our bear? Hmmph. We spotted this wily fellow back in June and, while Nipsey Russell the cat made sure to let the bear know he meant business by hissing at him, I managed to snap this shot from the bedroom window before squeaking “scram! I said scram bear!” which was medium/hardly effectual in getting him to leave. We saw him again (at least I think it was the same bear) last week while Sweetheart and I were doing a painting project in the yard, but he was way bigger— as one would expect after a summer pillaging people’s bird feeders and eating mulberries. Sweetheart chased him away by banging our dutch oven with a spoon. Pretty good for a city boy. Anyway, like most country-type dwellers I think that the bear is majestic, terrifying, beautiful but… if he tries to lay a furry mitt on my bees I’m gonna… well… I guess there’s not much I can do, actually. I should have known better, Bears love Hunny:
It must be getting on fall… the dogwood started sporting red leaves back in late July, we hear the geese in chevron flying overhead every twilight, and Jeff says the wooly bears started coming out last week (the fuzzies are apparently an ancient harbinger of winter). And the birds are back. After a summer of desolation at the bird feeders, the suet melting in the heat, the millet moldering behind its squirrel proof cage, the birds are swooping in again. Chit chattering all morning through to cocktail hour, fattening up their glossy summer plumage before it’s time to brown down. Dr. Russell the Cat Scientist is constantly taking data measurements and consulting his reference tomes watching them at the window, from the catbird seat.
Oh, hello and good morning! This is the view from my bed today. A little less than a foot, it seems, and the world is beautiful. We made sure to stock the birdfeeders before it all started so today we are being treated to a swooping ballet of snowbirds coming in for a breakfast. I simply can’t get over the Cardinal and the Jay.
Nipsey Russell agrees, it makes for quite a show. We are the only people we know that have power and it may go off (never fear for us! we have the woodstove and a passel of food chosen for the exact purpose of cooking it on the woodstove) but alas, it might mean a few days of card games and playing music instead of being in this online space. That seems ok.
So, if you couldn’t tell over here at Feather by Feather we have a serious thing for birds. A certain type of person might blame my Brooklyn tenure, where you can’t swing a taxidermied cat at the Brooklyn Flea without hitting something someone’s put a bird on (watch it again, it’s amazing). But that type of person would be wrong. When I was growing up we had a big bay window in our living room and my Mama kept birdfeeders out there and I’d sit in the window seat and watch them. Tiny delicate songbirds and dun lady Cardinals and big bully Jays. I got to pick out the birdbath at the Pottery Factory (a ruffly concrete number) and when it was time to get more seed, Mama would take me with her to Southern States, a small regional farmers co-op which, in addition to fodder, seed, tractors, and tools ALSO sold Breyer model horses, another ob.session of 8 year old me. I digress. The birdseed was stored there in large self-serve half barrels, black oil sunflower seeds for the Cardinals, millet for the Nuthatches and Tufted Titmice, thistle for the noble and special Goldfinch, and cobbed corn for any lame fool addled enough to want to feed a squirrel. I remember so well running the seeds through my hands, the smell of the thistle, the dust floating in the sunshafts streaming in the windows by the big checkerboard Purina logo. So. Now that I have a window seat of my own, my Mama passed along her birdfeeders to me. Hung on shepherd’s crooks and complete with baffles to keep those fat, oil-furred country squire squirrels at bay, the birds love them, and I watch them come and go and talk and pick and dance and swoop all day (below photo taken after I chased them all away with my camera, of course).