We feed the birds and have enjoyed the melodious songs of orioles and watched with delight as they taught their fledglings to fly. The young birds would take short flights from the tree tops to the ground and then in spurts they would make their way to the feeders. They discovered how much fun they could have in our bird baths, and delighted us with their antics. But after we had some of the worst torrents of rain, the orioles disappeared for about a week. They returned, but not in the same numbers as before the storms. We took the feeders down yesterday because the only thing they were attracting was bees. They love the grape jelly feeders as much as the orioles do!
|An oriole enjoying some grape jelly at the feeder.|
Please excuse the distortion. I took this in a hurry with my smartphone.
The highlight of my spring and summer has been working in my yard and gardens. I trimmed back much of the overgrowth that had filled in some of my favorite spaces over the last few years while I was recuperating from surgeries and unable to do strenuous activities. Tugging on wild grapevines is a great stress reliever! My husband saw how much fun I was having and wanted to make the work easier for me, so he went shopping and found some great garden tools that I've used all summer long. He learned the way to my heart isn't with jewelry, but with rakes, trimmers, and mulchers!
When I was a child, Monarch Butterflies were plentiful and I saw them all the time in the summer. Their population decreased due to the use of herbicides that killed the milkweed plants that they need to survive. While the snow fell in January, I ordered many of the plants for my garden and I included some milkweed plants in my order. I have to wonder what my father would think about me planting weeds in my garden. He used to scold me for opening the pods on breezy fall days and tossing the little balls of fluff in the air, scattering the seeds along the hedgerows on our farm. He didn't want them to spread into the fields where he grew crops for the canning factory. When the plants arrived, I was very worried that they would ever amount to anything, but I put them in the ground and they grew . . . and grew . . . and grew! They did their job and attracted Monarchs, who in turn laid eggs on the plants' leaves. Those eggs turned into caterpillars that ate the leaves and seed pod casings on the milkweeds. The worms then travelled to places in the yard where they could spin their chrysalis and eventually hatch into butterflies. Having the opportunity to watch this all occur in my back yard this summer brought me immense joy.
|A beautiful Monarch Butterfly visiting the blossoms on one of the milkweeds in the garden|
|Monarch caterpillar on the underside of a milkweed leaf.|
|This is the fluff that was in just one seed pod!|
So, if you wonder why it has been five months since my last blog post, it is because I have been outside as much as possible and enjoying my back yard with my husband. We have spent many enjoyable hours in the garden and on our deck looking at birds visiting the feeders and listening to their songs. We have used our smartphones hundreds of times while outside to ask Google questions about the birds and about plants we are considering for the garden. It is pretty amazing to think we carry little computers around with us in our pockets!
I will probably back track in my next few blog posts to fill in the gap from April until now. In the meanwhile, I hope you are well and happy and enjoying the blessiings of a good life. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.