Monday, July 02, 2007

Canada Day

Yesterday we celebrated Canada Day by inviting a coworker over for a BBQ. It was a lovely day; neither to hot nor to cool. The food was delicious and plentiful. But the best part of the day was the show that all the feathered and furred put on for our visitor.

As we prepared the food and chatted the birds flew in and almost as if it was planned creating a formation of small, medium, and large as they landed at the bird feeders. We had sparrows, grackles, red-wing blackbirds, doves, and even a male cardinal land on the feeder nearest to where we sat.

Behind us, a young red squirrel claimed the ground under another feeder. He defended it from all comers until he had his fill. He didn't seem to mind us turning to watch him stuff his little cheeks full and even turned his back to us to watch a grey squirrel as it sneaked closer to the area. He spent several minutes watching the other squirrel before deciding it was to close to his feeder and gave chase.

The platform feeder was quite popular yesterday with the red-winged blackbirds, pigeons, and grackles. Occasionally the sparrows would dart in to pick out a favourite seed then dart away. When the male cardinal wasn't feeding at the station nearest us, he was picking through the safflower and sunflower seeds in the hanging platform feeders.

There was a large group of sparrows who didn't have food on their minds. There was love in the air yesterday for this rather noisy band of courters. We don't know if this is the first clutch of the spring adding their offspring to the local population or if these were the parents of the first hatching looking to create another clutch. Sparrows are quite the rapacious rascals and have been know to have as many as four hatchings before the fall migration begins.

Even the resident chipmunk made an appearance yesterday. He darted in and out of the woodpile collecting seeds from here at there. It isn't often that we see him near the bird feeders but on occasion he'd dart in to stuff his face and off to hide them for the winter. I feel sorry for him as the woodpile he is using as his winter larder will be moved soon to make room for our next delivery of firewood.

Even the garden was putting on a show yesterday. Every tomato plant is in bloom and many have small green tomatoes visible under the foliage. The peas have recovered from the excessive heat and are putting out pods all over the place. Every pea plant has at least three pods. They will be ready for picking over the next few days. The beets are a good ten inches tall and the leaves are starting to get a reddish tinge to the edges that indicate that the beet root is finally beginning to develop. Soon enough we will be enjoying the first baby beets of the season.

All in all it was one of the best Canada Day celebrations we have ever had. The addition of our friend and coworker only made the day that much better. We didn't have fireworks but who needs fireworks when you have the loud, amusing antics of the local fauna to help you celebrate freedom and independence.

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