Thursday, July 29, 2010

Woodland Wonders

How high does a hummingbird feeder have to be hung? We had a hummingbird attempting to get through the kitchen window, apparently attracted to the orchid on the sill. Or was it the tomatoes ripening above the orchid? This orchid was given to me by “my Atlanta girls,” Rachel, Rebecca, and Sarah, for my birthday, four years ago. It has bloomed beautifully for all four years, and is the first bloom of spring at our house in the holler. It serves to remind me of the ever-renewing love between “my girls” and me.

It just happened that Josie was the one who noticed the hummingbird’s seemingly suicidal attempt to come through the closed window. It had no way to know how badly this could have gone for him. Our cat, Buster, is a great grey hunter, who often lies in wait of prey on the picnic table just outside that window. With his faithful side-kick, Gypsy, he’s sometimes been successful at catching several squirrels, a bird or two, and many a mole. Josie’s comments and this daring feat of the hummingbird prompted me to fill our hummingbird feeder and relocate it to where we can observe these most aggressive avians from a frequented spot in front of a window.

Our wild bird feeder is in a dogwood tree about twenty feet outside the kitchen window, similar to the spacing between Jack’s bird buffet and his kitchen window. Our concern is that, as small as the hummers are, we won’t be able to see them as well as we’d like. For now, the hummingbird feeder is on a low branch in our black walnut tree outside the office window, where I can watch it as I type. The only feeding frenzy, thus far, is an army of ants attracted to its steady drip of sugar water.

Lately, we’ve been waking to the presence of a visiting bulldog, waiting for Gypsy to come out and play. I don’t know whether its Dozer or his little brother, but he puts me in mind of short, stocky Spanky from “Spanky and Our Gang,” waiting for long, lean Alfalfa with the interesting head of hair(Gypsy?) I don’t know who Buster plays in this scenario, but he certainly loves to torment Gypsy until Gypsy takes action chasing him.

Gypsy used to be so docile that she’d allow all animals visiting our front porch, including our cat, first dibs on her food bowl. Dozer, his brother and all the visiting dogs have cured her of that; she now lies down with her paws curved around her dish, daring anyone to getting near enough for a nibble.

Our usual letter carrier Garry says that the substitute mailman on duty yesterday saw a baby doe near our mailbox. We’ve never seen a doe or a deer of any age on our property -- a weasel, a bear, a red fox, and bunches of bunnies, but never a deer. We just never know what woodland wonders we’ll see.