Preparing for Spring

By Patti Muzny

February 8, 2009 dawned with the promise of a type of day that I live for. The sky was that bright “Colorado blue,” that serves as a backdrop for beautiful. And it was a Sunday and my hubby and I did not have to go to work. Well…I mean we didn’t have to work inside our various workplaces. We spent the day cleaning, digging, planting, weeding, watering, etc.

The neighbor’s plum tree was blooming and our newly-planted Japanese Maple was proudly ensconced in its new home in the flowerbed and showing off those beautiful pink blooms. Just underneath were a cluster of brilliant yellow daffodils.

Background music to some of Ma Nature’s finest spring colors was provided by a very happy Bewick’s Wren, a Mockingbird, a Cardinal, House Finches, Eurasian Collared Doves and Mourning Doves, a Titmouse, a Chickadee, and of course the chirping of House Sparrows, Starlings and Grackles.

While we were digging in the flowerbeds, Sam tossed out a fat grub. Before the grub quit wriggling, the alert Mockingbird swooped down in a swift fly-by and snatched up the hapless grub. Yeah…one less pesky pest for the soil and a great treat for the Mocker.

While taking a break on the porch glider, I got to see our Downy drop in and land on the suet feeder at the end of our patio. My presence all of 6 feet away did not seem to deter the pursuit of a snack.

Sam had to clean out one of the wren houses that a House Sparrow had already stuffed about 1/3 full of grass and feathers. They had also began stuffing the martin house. No Purple Martins so far, but the House Finches have begun to land on the patio ceiling fans and searching for the fern I have yet to hang out there for them. I believe Brian mentioned something about possible “flurries” by Wednesday! Fern stays inside! I didn’t pamper that thing all winter just to hang it out too early and have it nipped by Jack Frost!

A recent visit to our Byars backyard with Sydney was another treat. While the wind was a little chilly, it was sunny and she really wanted her Granny to climb up the shaky ladder into her “tree house” in front of the cabin. It’s a platform about 12 feet up in some oaks. Time with granddaughters in a tree house has no price, so I got an old floor pillow and blanket and climbed up. Granny was a little tired and had been thinking about how nice a nap in the cabin would be, but opted for the tree house instead. We chatted and looked out over the pasture and the pond, and she played with her newly acquired treasures — tokens from an owl pellet, a fox skull, an armadillo tail and some newly gathered rocks.

It was chilly up in those trees, so I collapsed on the pillow and covered up with the blanket. Sydney snuggled beside me and soon I felt her little body twitch, which is the signal that she’s going to sleep. Soon it was very quiet in that tree house and both of us went to sleep. About an hour later I woke and remembered that Mrs. Smith and I had a little pie in the oven. Oops! I climbed down to find a very crispy little pie, but nothing was on fire yet. Later Sam would say, “I think this started out as apple something!” He ate the middle out and the rest was tossed. But Sydney and I made some wonderful memories. She told her parents and everybody at school about how neat it was to take a nap with Granny in the tree house. I made the right choice!

As for Byars birds — Brian, Sydney and I heard three Timberdoodles doing their thing right after sunset. It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon and evening.