Go Outside, They Said. So I Did.

Out here in my field
         I fight for what's real
                  I put my back into my livin'
I don't need to fight
       To prove I'm right
                 I don't need to be forgiven...
...Suna's Wasteland

I’m still dealing with some anxiety, so when my noon meeting ended, I went out and just stood by the entry into the property. Ostensibly, I was waiting for the letter carrier, but they drove past the other way and never actually delivered anything. That was fine.

My field

It certainly wasn’t a quiet time out in my field. The incessant “peep peep PEEP” call alerted me to the arrival of the dickcissels for the summer. Those little birds are so extra cheerful that it’s almost painful. The background was punctuated by the sounds of red-winged blackbirds, scissor-tail flycatchers and one male cardinal.

Only bird that sat still.

I heard a sound behind me. Hey, look at that! It was Mrs Hummingbird dropping by to say hi. Honest, that’s what it felt like. Thanks, little buddy.

Hi!

I leaned on the fence and just breathed, like you’re supposed to when you have the stress going on. That’s when I said to myself, “Damn, it smells good here!” I looked down and figured out what was going on. The native grapes are in bloom. I believe I was today years old when I realized the mustang grape flowers were incredibly fragrant. It looks like we will get a lot of them this year, in addition to dewberries, if only it will rain just a bit.

Well, droplets of water did fall from the sky briefly, but I wouldn’t say it rained. Nonetheless, it took the horses from quietly grazing in the scenic field to racing to shelter, as if they were going to get inundated. They did not. But it was fun to watch. I also enjoyed watching Apache being friends with Mabel, which was sweet. She is doing SO much better with some magnesium supplements in her.

It never did rain, so I sort of plopped myself into a relatively insect-free part of the only field that hasn’t been mowed to a nub and enjoyed the variety of flowers and grasses I saw.

Plop

Once again, there are new bloomers coming up, including some big ones and some tiny ones. I just love the variety. Being among all this diversity brings me so much peace and joy. I am so lucky to have all these plants and animals nearby.

Speaking of animals, first, the chickens are happy as heck, because they can now go back out and roam, thanks to a screen door being added to the garage. They express their thanks by taking care of any horse poop they run into and eating all the June bugs Lee fishes out of the pool. They are hardly eating their chicken food now! And they are just so happy to be able to get all fluffy and take dust baths, which is a chicken’s favorite activity after chasing bugs.

New Resident

I don’t know if I’m happy or sad to report this, but apparently we have a new ranch resident. It’s a large, fluffy, apricot-colored cat. It was first spotted Saturday morning when Sara and I were leaving for Sandhaven. It’s still here, and was in the middle of the chicken pen this morning. Luckily, we have no missing poultry. I shall be more diligent about shutting the door to the henhouse from now on.

It looks like this. Obviously, this is not the cat, as it is indoors. If you are in Calgary, you can adopt it.

I guess it’s okay for the cat to hang around, since we have a lot of things for it to eat around the barn area. Barn cats are good. Now that the dogs are reliably fenced in, cats seem to be able to hang out here. I am unable to tell if it’s male or female, and I haven’t even gotten close enough to see if it has an ear notch that would indicate it’s been spayed or neutered. I’ll work on that, of course.

I’m not expecting to last here long. If it is here after a week, I’ll bestow a name.

Hope all is well in your world. It’s not bad here; I have no clue what’s up with the chest pains.

Cardinal Nest

morningglory
Our tenacious native morning glories always make me happy, too. And this is a nicer picture than the one actually on topic for this post.

If you live in the US, you’ve probably seen cardinals (the Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis) in your garden, in parks, or in the woods. They are a common bird at feeders, and their coloring makes them easy to spot. Their beautiful songs also pinpoint where you need to look to see them!

The cardinal was my mother’s favorite bird. I can remember sitting on our back porch watching birds at the feeder. My mom told me that if I sat really quietly, “Mama Cardinal” would come right up to us. And she did. Mom liked to point out her pretty coral “lipstick.” I think I know where I got my love for observing birds!

One thing I had not observed until recently was a cardinal nest. I see lots and lots of nests, like wrens, doves, barn swallows, and the big hawks, but I don’t think I ever saw cardinals nesting before (now, I have seen LOTS of juvenile cardinals hanging out with their parents, just not the nests).

So, imagine how happy I was yesterday when I was sitting on the porch at our office in Cameron and saw a “Mama Cardinal” fly to a little tree next to our warehouse. She has a nest! I watched both parents for a while, then went to look at the nest more closely. It’s impressive! There is string and some kind of clothing label in it, but mostly it’s made of sticks and looks almost woven. It’s deep and cup-shaped, not shallow and wide like many other nests I see.

cardnal_nest
Honest, the nest is in the center of this photo.

Unfortunately, while it’s easy to see with the eye, it doesn’t photograph very well. And I’m not going to climb up a ladder and bug the birds. I look forward to watching the fledglings flying around in a few weeks.

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