Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thieves and Hunters

My garden attracts all manner of birds and squirrels.  None of them expressly invited and some of them, namely the squirrels, not welcome.

Squirrels are the thieves in my garden.  They steal the fruit from my trees and the tomatoes from my planter boxes.  Nothing is sacred; not artichokes, not pomegranates and certainly not tomatoes.  All my tomatoes.  All.  I may never recover or plant tomatoes again.  It was a painful, frustrating summer.

Squirrels also target the bird feeders.  I have a large feeder with sunflower seeds hanging on a pole, with a squirrel guard (an upside-down cone that swivels in an unstable way when touched( on the pole.  Last summer, one managed to climb up a sunflower stem and then scramble onto the feeder when the flower bent under its weight.  I cut down the flower.

The other day, one climbed to the top of the fence and leaped across to the feeder.  When it had stuffed its cheeks full of seeds, it launched onto the ground and scurried away.

I also watched a hunter make its way through all my flower beds.  At first I thought it was a dove; a big dove with a dark splotchy back.  It hopped through the tangle of leaves and branches under the shrub rose hedge.  Then it flew to the top of the fence -- where I was able to get a good look at it through my binoculars -- before landing in the flower bed below.  It wound its way through the native grass, sage and lilacs, searching for lunch small birds and rodents. 

I looked through my bird books; it looked like a hawk but it was far too small and the coloring was not consistent with the red tail hawks that are common in our area.  I found it -- a hawk indeed.  A Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Photo Credit: Audibon website
These hawks are not nearly as common as red tail hawks, which also stalk the garden.  The red-tails are larger and sit on the fence posts before swooping down into the garden and then right back up.  These little guys sneak around the garden, winding through the lavendar, and poking their heads into the lilac bushes.  It reminded me of hide-and-seek -- except that all the little birds had hidden themselves far, far away from my garden.  It was a few days before they came back.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesdays with Tex: Splish, Splash

Another thing that happened last week while I was at work...

Brett replaced another section of fence in the boy's pasture; the front pasture; or pasture number 3.  It has many names (also known as the swamp in the spring).

While he was working on the fence, he put Flash and Tex in with the donkeys, in their pasture.

Funny, how a new location can be exciting.  Tuffy loves to run.  Finessa not so much.

So most of the time Tuffy runs by himself, or not at all.  Tex loves to run, too.  So, they raced around the pasture, leaving deep divots in the mud.

Then Tex discovered the pond.  He waded into the middle and pawed at the water, splashing himself with the icy water.  Then he added running through the water to his race course in the pasture.  There wasn't much water left in the pond by the end of the day.

...and both he and Flash were covered in mud.