Been There, Done That: For the birds

I saw the telltale scraps of grass and straw on the back porch, along with a feather. Oh no, not another nest! But then I didn’t see anything else for a few days, so I assumed the birds had found a better location.

Then I noticed a loose pile of nesting material on top of the umbrella that had not yet made it to the glass table in the pea gravel. Are you kidding me? That doesn’t look very stable to be raising a family in. But next thing you know, Mr. Robin is busting his behind trying to get that nest built in a hurry, while the Mrs. paced around in the back yard, kind of impatient-like.

Eventually he was done, and she moved in. We have a birds-eye view (ha-ha) from our kitchen window, which is about three steps up from porch level. We can’t tell if there are eggs in there, but she spends all her time in the nest.

Except for when one of us goes outside. The very second the door opens she flies off to the pine trees to wait out the invasion of her territory. I hope at some point she’ll come to trust us. We have no intention of bothering her or the nest until her babies have flown the coop (ha-ha, again).

I can’t help if I scare her off now and then, our garden is right behind the porch. It may have been a little early to plant, but only by about a week or so. We had our plants already and the temps had been warm, so why not?

We didn’t mess with seeds this year at all. I’ve said for years I was going to stop planting seeds, but this was the first year I actually stuck to that. They never really worked anyway. It wasn’t like a few packages of seeds for a quarter each would mean not spending $75 on plants.

With the beautiful garden boxes our son built for us right behind the house, we don’t need to plant tons of each thing anymore — six of this, half dozen of that and we’re good to go.

It used to take me a full day to put in the garden when it was a 30×40 plot at the back end of the property. This year, I did it when we got back from the laundromat after I got home from work. We dumped the wet clothes in the kitchen and ate dinner first, but I still thought I could get a couple things in the ground before it got dark.

Of course, Mrs. Robin took off out of the nest and sat in the pine trees more than a little perturbed at my prolonged presence outside. She made a few not-so-happy noises and I heard another bird sort of answer her. Then I heard more bird noises from surrounding trees. OMG, I think she’s calling in the troops, gearing up to “take me out” and not just out of the garden.

I did my best to hurry, as much for her as for me, since I was running out of daylight. I got all the plants in the ground just before Dave let our Beagle Boy Cletus out for a potty break. The very first thing he did was hop in the box with our newly planted peppers before making his way to the zucchini, stepping on one plant.

I hollered at him, and he ran back out the way he came, dragging his cable across all the peppers. Fortunately, all the plants he plowed through survived the trauma. And I set about getting the little fence pieces lined up all around the edges to keep that from happening again. I even made it back in the house before it was dark-dark, to the total exhilaration of Mrs. Robin. Glad I could make her day.

Laura Nethken
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