Mama Bird

Sunday was sort of a waste of a day at the homestead. But I suppose Sunday is supposed to be that way, and any day you’re this side of the horizon is far from a waste.  We awoke and did our typical Sunday morning ritual of newspaper and CBS Sunday Morning, coffee and a little cereal. Disappointingly there was frost outside. But alas no snow in the air like the day prior.

Late morning found me in my studio rearranging some things, getting organized for our first art show of the year down in Fairfax, Virginia next week. I really wish I had my shelves designed and built for all of our art paraphernalia. I have it fairly well-organized, but some wood shelves would mean I don’t have to stack everything on top of each other.

After lunch we swung by Lowes on the way to the in-laws to pick up a couple veggie plants: presents to the boys grandpa on his birthday.  I also begrudgingly picked up a $28 bag of grass seed, the fancy kind with the mulch and fertilizer mixed in.  With the rain washing away the orchard and turning it into concrete, I had to add that back onto my “to do” list….boy I hate redoing tasks.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.  We also picked up another raspberry bush. There is a little space at the end of the row to squeeze in one more bush back by the garden gate fence post.  I’ll plant that and my patient boxwoods tomorrow; I ran out of time to plant anything today.

We lazily drove over and dropped the boys off so their grandmother could exhaust them in play. Taking the opportunity for an hour solo, the wife and I headed over to the garden center to look at trees.  We wanted to plant a tree for Earth Day tomorrow. It’s our plan to plant one every year on the property. If you remember our plan is to do the same with our Christmas trees as well…get a live one and plant it every year. So every winter a non-deciduous tree and every spring a deciduous one.

As we walked the aisles of baby trees, one lined up after the other, we came upon our crown jewel tree for the front yard.  Actually the only trees called for in the plan of the front yard besides our apple trees; which ended up in the back yard. I pulled the card up from the branch of the tree and sure enough, Nyssa sylvatica….black gum or tupelo depending on where you’re from. As you know we’re trying to stick to the exact species called out for on our plan and that’s what I had my hands on.  This particular specimen was tough to come by, the only place we found them were at a nursery on the east side where, while larger than these, were significantly more expensive.  Long story short a handful of these baby trees will be delivered tomorrow along with a baby river birch tree, which while it is not on the plan at all, is one of our favorites so we could not resist. The birch is my wife’s mother’s day gift / birthday gift from me. She likes listening to the wind rustle through their leaves and looking at the flaking bark. So instead of one tree for Earth Day tomorrow, we got a few.

Speaking of mom’s, yesterday while working on a design for a client I was distracted by the rhythm of birds chirping outside my office window.  Looking over my shoulder I could see my mama bird cheerfully hanging out in her nest. And then another bird would stop by. I called the wife and she explained to me that the daddy bird actually feed mama while she sits on the nest.  I had no idea.  Guess I never thought about it.  But sure enough, every twenty minutes or so all morning he’d swing by and feed her.  I’m not sure what kind of birds they are; I think some sort of song sparrow but it’s tough to tell.  I’ll have to look at my bird book again.

One other note, there is another nest on the adjacent column but I don’t think it’s occupied.  The other day there was a broken egg on our deck.  Not sure which nest it came from but someone is missing an egg.

Returning home we staked out where the gum trees will go and did a quick walk around the property.  Everything is greening up nicely, and thankfully this includes all the trees we transplanted from the playground area last year, as well as most, if not all, the ribboned flowering trees we saved or transplanted during construction.

Before we staked out the trees, I spent some time garden weaseling the orchard in hopes of driving the lifeless grass seed into the hard ground, giving it a second shot at growing. By time I made it around the orchard I settled in on my knees looking at the hard as concrete ground before me.  I was totally disgusted with the tan lifeless landscape before me.

Then it caught my eye.

Lots and lots of thin little shadows cast by the setting sun, like little dark hairs cast on the ground. Looking more closely, nearly on my hands and knees now I could see them. Little translucent green blades of grass. First a couple, then dozens…then hundreds.

My grass was growing!

Just then our household “mama bird” stuck her head out the door. I called her over to show her the grass.  She knew all along it would grow, she has so much more patience than I do. She proceeded to point out grass was growing everywhere on top of the raised portion of the orchard. It was amazing.

Alright, my kid is screaming for popcorn…I had promised I’d make some tonight. So with that I’m off for the night. Check in tomorrow to see what we’ve planted and how it went.


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