Mills Fleet Farm is a big box store unknown before to us. Perhaps it’s a mid-western thing. But I can say that it has the best bird supply section imaginable. I’m not through yet, but we made a good go of it. Two shepard’s hooks and seven feeder stations, accommodating sunflower, thistle and mixed wild seed as well as suet and oranges and grape jelly for the (hopefully) orioles which are also supposed to abound. So far the round white fuzzy ball on the left has been the most popular. It’s nest yarn. The goldfinch’s are mad for it and I promise to provide a few more for their spring housekeeping activities. Without my old reliable and familiar bird books I am somewhat at a loss, but I did purchase a new “Birds of the Great Plains” and so far (besides the cardinal which was our first sighting) I have been able to identify the American Goldfinch, a Grackle, the Robin of course, and in the meantime I’m scrambling from the binoculars to the book to my notes to my reading glasses and back again. It’s a whole new bird world here.
We noticed a Mallard hanging out by the small pond the past few days. There are hundreds a few blocks away at the bend in the Otter Tail River and I suspected he was just a stray visitor.
But this morning as I walked across the grass to measure the small raised bed for tomato plantings, I was surprised to see that he and a lady friend were swimming in the pond and making themselves quite at home. It’s possible that they will contaminate the eco-balance with their poop, but I was delighted to see them.
We did our own “settling in” to a degree and Robert actually went to his first garage sale. Passed on the very excellent claw-foot oak table with 4 leafs, and that was hard to do as the price was also excellent, but we decided that we need not go TOO Victoriana but we settled for the very nice chairs, one of which is serving me very nicely now at the computer. Better than a box. And who could pass up a Wedgewood – made in England – Blue Willow platter for 25 cents.
And then we did our own “dining” in Battle Lake – 17 miles from Fergus Falls, at the Shoreline Restaurant and Lanes.
It was a wild family scene with honestly good food and our waitress said – you guessed it – “You Betcha!”
On the way home we stopped at the local nursery which made me swoon it was so wondrous and bought tomatoes and chives and thyme and some ornamental grasses to make our Mallard couple feel right at home. I know we are.