NO PLACE LIKE HOME

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I’m a good hostess. Plus, I’m a Libra, so I naturally gravitate to plumping pillows at the same time I’m plying delectables and treats. I invariably worry that I won’t make enough and I pore over menus and plans, arrange tables and tableau, fret about the smallness of the guest bedroom and bath. My husband calls me Paula Plethora and tells me to relax.

He’s right, of course, but I never can relax until I make certain that everyone is catered-to, satiated, and happy.

Here on Mt. Faith I follow the same guidelines with my birds – washing out the feeders every few weeks with soap and bleach, scrubbing the birdbaths and filling with fresh water, offering varied seed and suet. Occasional oranges and grape jelly. I position the shepherd hooks for best access to the shrubbery, so the birds can take turns flitting back and forth from cover. I run the small round sprinkler just for them, rather than the grass. I try to think of everything.

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Most of our avian population creates its own housing – nests in trees or bushes. For the most part I don’t worry about the “deadfall” in the thicket, because it makes for good hidey holes and building material. I want my birds healthy and happy.

The house wren is a local resident that just might build a nest in the cavity of a tree, but often prefers a manmade structure. One anxious, courting male, in fact, will prepare a number of rendezvous residences for his chosen ladylove and let her have the final say. I definitely wanted to encourage Mr. and Mrs. Wren because their song is divine and exemplifies the splendor of the garden. (See “Song Birds” 7/27/11 and “Life in the Garden” 7/4/11).

And so, to give him a leg-up in the real estate market, I hung a vast array of listings this year. 

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Ten in all! And throughout the spring and into the summer, I kept making the rounds of the garden, checking for signs of move-in activity. Nothing. Not one twitterpated sign.

Then one week ago I spotted the happy couple. Bringing bugs and worms to the cow skull!

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Go figure? All of my delightful bird houses were carefully hung within leafy branches or in secluded nooks of the garden. The skull is right at the busy entrance to the garage door. The manmade structures are charming and decorative. The skull is primeval. With a step stool I can see into the houses. The skull nest is deep within the interior and only the faint cheepings convince me that they do indeed, have a family.

Oh well. Nature always wins in the end.

Let the wrens plump and ply, fret and fuss.

I need to relax. And enjoy. 

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