Fair Weather Friend

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Fair Weather Friend

Smarty Pants, Smarty Pants, where does he keep?
He hunkers right down with his friends for some sleep.

Smarty Pants, Smarty Pants, with the sun as his guide,
Arrives on my deck for some peanuts to hide.

But now who’s the Smarty Pants, my fuzzy friend?
I’ve tossed out the shelled ones to eat, not up-end.

Smarty Pants, Smarty Pants, comes and he goes;
Today he’s got frost on his whiskers and toes.

He knows me by sight, and will not run away.
Smarty Pants warms up a bright winter day.

junco junkie ©2017

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Smarty Pants

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Some time in early December, or even late November, the riot of bluejays we had coming to the yard nearly every day just stopped. So too, the trio of squirrels who were ferreting away the peanuts in the shell that I was tossing out every morning. It may be that the jays got tired of competing with the squirrels, or it may be that someone else had better food on offer at the time. Who knows? I was dismayed to lose the jays, but also felt the absence of those darn squirrels keenly.

I decided to put out the coil peanut-feeder. I filled it about halfway and hung it on the hook on my fence. I was expecting that the jays might be the ones to return, but no! It was our dark-haired friend, “Smarty Pants”.

I am one to give names to most of the creatures I see in my yard. That is not to say that I actually anthropomorphize them, I just like to be able to talk about them and distinguish who is who.

Smarty Pants came by his name because he was always the first one on the scene when peanuts were made available. “Paddy” and “Bingo” were just a bit slower off the mark and Smarty Pants was always up for a challenge too. He wouldn’t let a skinny wrought-iron pole deter him for having a go at a feeder, even if he did just slide down it like a fire-fighter.

So it was not a big surprise that he was the one to reappear the other day. We were delighted to witness his acrobatics from fence-top to feeder and watch his tail all a-twitch when he secured his edible goodies. Just look at those leg muscles! He is a top entertainer!

It’s been rather snowy of late, and SP hasn’t shown up today. I have the coil-feeder loaded up and hanging from the chokecherry. Perhaps he’s sitting out the inclement weather and will pop round again when it improves.

In the meantime, I have peaceful “Puff’n’Stuff” the dove, to keep me company.

O Christmas Tree!*

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I can get a little crazy when it comes to preservation of the wildlife in my backyard. I am determined to have a heated birdbath on the deck by Christmas and right now, the variety of food out there includes: sunflower seed (shelled and unshelled) finch mix, torn bread crusts, walnuts in the shell, peanuts in the shell and a few organic carrots for the as-yet-unseen rabbits who leave their scat and tracks all over the yard.

One of the wackiest things I’ve ever done, was to drag a neighbour’s Christmas tree from the edge of their drive where it was awaiting pickup post-festivities, and lay it out in my own backyard at the townhouse where we lived nearly 20 years ago.  It served as shelter for not only birds, but also chipmunks, squirrels and even a family of mice!

This year, I was set on having a tree on the deck to provide a bit of shelter for the small birds who visit every day.  We have an artificial tree indoors because we have cats and the tree needs to be portable. Right now, it’s sitting on my dryer, awaiting its time of glory on Christmas Eve, where it will have a place of prominence by my great room window. With our cats, it’s always best to get the tree out of the way before you go to bed.

The price of real trees is rather steep! We shopped around for a small tree and finally found one being sold by a local charity in the empty garden centre of our local Walmart.  I offered $20 for it and that was accepted.  The tree fit in the back of our Toyota Scion, so it was ideal.

We celebrated an early Christmas with my husband’s side of the family because my husband and I are busy with rehearsals and preparations for singing over Christmas with our church choir.  Both my husband and I have senior parents in their 80s (my mother lives with us), and so it was good timing for all of us to get together on the 10th of December.  The lighted tree on our deck added to the convivial Christmas spirit of the day.

My neighbours have no notion of it, but I will be keeping an eye on who puts out their real tree after December 25th.  I plan on shifting the small tree to another spot (perhaps below my window) and replacing it with a full sized “donated” tree to live out the winter as shelter for all of my winter garden residents. There will be photos!

Thanks for reading,

Kat

*O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blaeter!
(old German folk tune by Ernst Anschütz, 1824)

(translation: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, you stand in verdant beauty)