And the winner is . . .

Yesterday I asked you to guess what was behind this door:

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Many thanks to those of you who took a guess:

But Mary and Cinda came the closest: wild bird supplies.  Behind this messy door is the East Bay Nature company.  IMG_1024

It’s a delightfully chaotic store cramped to the rafters with:

Seed and Suet
Nest Boxes and Bat Houses
Books and Field Guides
Bird Baths, Drippers, Misters, and Fountains
Statuary
CD’s, Tapes, and Videos
Wind Chimes
Artwork, Posters, and Photographs
Jewelry

Cinda and Mary – where do you want me your gift – a lovely ten pound bag of suet?

And thanks again to Norm Frampton for the inspiration!

Our Lone Dove

IMG_3262I found this guy lying on the concrete patio near where I’d chased away a grey cat who likes to tease our indoor cat. At first I thought he was a goner but as I drew closer he started flopping about in a vain attempt to fly. His wing looked crooked and he couldn’t stand. His pinprick eyes pleaded with me – don’t leave me here, easy pickings for whatever predator might happen by. So I ran inside, found a shoe box, laid a piece of soft linen in the bottom and rousted Joel from his sudoku. He’s the animal person. Oh, I love animals but I don’t know how to handle them like he does. He gulped, donned his garden gloves and then followed me out to where the dove still awaited a painful ending. Luckily I knew – from years of field trip carpooling – about the wild animal hospital near us and so, after a quick phone call, off we went.

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Pamphlet urging people to keep cats inside

At the hospital a soft-hearted volunteer took our dear friend into the examination room and asked us to sign in. The walls of the lobby were filled with stories about other wild animals who’d been brought in and rehabilitated, giving us hope, although it was hard to imagine a bird with a cast on his wing.  When she returned I asked why we’d been asked to sign in and she explained that “our” bird had been given the number next to our name so if we called in they could tell us how he was doing.  She also said his hopes were slim. We haven’t called in.

Did you know that mourning doves are monogamous? Not only that but legend has it that once a mourning dove’s mate dies, he will not take another.  Kind of hard to believe, isn’t it?   Well, here’s my story:  

Many, many years ago – so many that I’ve lost track – we decided to built a teahouse on a lower meadow where only weeds grew.  It took a long, long time because we were working full time, raising children, and trying to see some of the world while we were still relatively young and so it was a weekend only project further winnowed by family visits and the like.

It was also a family affair; my father architected the elaborate roof, my teenage son buffed up during the summer months by hauling blocks and concrete down the hill for the foundation, and hubby, of course, acted as financier and project coordinator. They would work together all day often squabbling over the how-tos and then after supper fall asleep on the old blue couch (which even then had seen better days) while watching British mysteries and drinking red wine.

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Two Doves, by Connemoira

One evening Joel decided to finish off a few things down at the teahouse.  He didn’t notice that Mr. and Mrs. Dove, a lovely couple who’d visited us routinely in the past, had followed him down, probably because they knew he generally carried bird seed and peanuts in his pocket.  

TeahouseWith a screech that set his hair on end a hawk, talons drawn, buzzed  past him and grabbed Mrs. Dove by her long slender neck.  She didn’t stand a chance.  

After that  Mr. Dove held vigil in the oak near our deck. Always a welcome visitor, a he was a mannerly gent among the raucous jays, chickadees and wood peckers. We will miss him.

False Spring

Blossoms

Since it’s such a lovely day here in California and the cat has once again taken over my chair, I’ve decided to write out on the patio, listening to the jays and chickadees bicker over the seed which Hubby has left out for them.

This part of the world generally has what I call a “False Spring” sometime in January or February, two or three weeks of spectacular, springlike weather.   The blossoms blossom, the Cameilliasdaffodils sprout and the camellias show their pretty faces. 

Traditionally, and I really hope it happens soon because we are in a severe drought, the cold and rain returns.  Because I live close to San Francisco, the cold and fog can last until September.  We’re not famous for warm summers.

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Speaking of birds, I’m always amazed by people who can get a good photo of one.  I must have taken 500 shots of the fellow to the left.  This is the best one and you can see it’s a little fuzzy.  By the way, can any of you bird bloggers out there tell me what kind of bird he is?