Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A post that flutters . . .



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We do so love to feed the birds here in our little oasis in Cheshire. We don't get quite as many as we used to get when we lived down in Kent, but we do get some . . . and now that the weather has turned cold,   they are really quite dependent on our daily ministrations.

A tiptoe into the garden early in the morning catches their little chirps and peeps as they wake up . . . the hedge bristles with the flutterings of tiny wings . . . and here and there a head pops out now and then . . . as if to check out the lay of the land . . . or the weather that today might bring. I do feel particularly sorry for them at this time of year when it begins to get so cold. They are so tiny and the air so frigid and I wonder at the miracle that they do not freeze to death as I watch their little puffed up bodies hopping here and there and flitting from the hedge to the feeders and back again. Nature is a wonderful thing. It has allowed for every situation . . .

We have a few different bird feeders out back. There is an old beat up bird table down near the end of the clothes line, which has surely seen better years. It used to have a top on it, but that is long since disappeared. It is the first thing to blow over in a wind storm and so it got knocked off long ago and never replaced. We always say we are going to buy a new one, but then we check out the price of them and think again . . . it can wait we say.

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That is the table that we often see the wood pigeon sitting on. He sits and waits there in the morning for Todd to go out with the bread. That is the bread table. He's a very fat wood pigeon so he obviously feeds well. There used to be two of them but alas . . . I fear the cats that frequent our garden got the other one . . . judging from the trail of feathers they left behind. Most annoying. We have tried everything to get rid of the cats, but nothing really works, not even a crazy cocker barking her head off!!

There is the supposedly squirrel proof nut feeder. We had a lot of squirrels down South . . . very cheeky ones. There was no keeping them out of the nut feeder . . . squirrel proof or not. They always figured out a way to get at them and empty it pronto. A squirrel proof feeder that they can get into is not very squirrel proof I decided . . . and then thought, well . . . they need to eat too. Here we have never seen any squirrels at it, so it is quite obvious to me that Cheshire squirrels are not quite as smart as Kent Squirrels, or at least that is my theory.

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A long thin cylinder is kept filled with finch seed for the pair of Gold Finches which frequent our garden. They are so beautiful . . . and always come in a pair. It may be several pairs . . . but we only ever see one pair at a time, and they all look the same to me. Not bright yellow as the American Gold Finches are . . . these are a bit larger than a sparrow and brown streaked with black and red banded wings, with a thin stripe of gold running across them and a bit of red on their brow, so really quite different.


There is a suet cage as well, which we keep filled with suet in the colder months. I sometimes make my own mixture which they seem to love . . . it has suet and peanut butter, chopped apple and seed in it. I make it into little flat cakes and freeze them, then pop one in every few days or so as the old one disappears. I also save my bacon fat and use that in it as well. We don't often have bacon though, so that is a rare treat . . . even for the birds.


We have another feeder which looks like a giant black pine cone. It hangs from a chain, it's petals unfurled and open with just enough space between each one to put some wild bird seed. I love to watch them at it . . . hopping here and there between the petals, wings fluttering, voices chirping. It swings a bit beneath their weight. You wouldn't think it would . . . but it does. They don't seem to mind.

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We have too . . . a little iron water dish, which I think quite pretty . . . and a tall fairy holding a dish amongst the rose bushes. She's pretty too . . . crumbs and crackers and bits and pieces go into her dish . . . water in the other, a fresh supply each day. It is work feeding them . . . but we don't mind.

Each morning as we fill the feeders and tables, we know that they will be empty again come the end of the day, and the work must begin again. It is truly a labor of love for us though as we do so love to sit and watch them from out dining room window which looks out across the back garden. We mostly get sparrows here . . . with the odd robin and black bird thrown in, and of course our resident wood pigeon and the pair of gold finches . . .

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There are no jays, or woodpeckers, or nuthatches like we used to get down South. It is an urban environment and not wooded as such, but we don't mind. We seek our pleasure where we find it, and sparrows it is. As much work as it may be filling the feeders each day . . . we get rewarded for ten times over in the joy we experience in watching them feed, which only goes to prove a point . . . you get out of things what you are willing to put in . . .

This week they have an added treat of mealy worms. Yes . . . we were feeling a bit flush and thought why not.  It's Christmas.   I'm quite sure that we will be treated to a new dance or two for our efforts. ☺

It saddens me to see a bird in a cage . . . I am glad that ours are free to fly, to come and go as they please.

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A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

 “The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall 
and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. 
Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off - 
and they are nearly always doing it.” 
 ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden    


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Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Christmas Ginger Cake.  So good and it smells heavenly when it is baking.  It's worth it just to smell it!

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Have a wonderful Wednesday!    I hope it is filled with countless blessings and oodles of joy.   May you be able to keep the world at bay . . .


13 comments:

Sybil said...

I like your final quote today..".Keep the world at bay"
How good that would be when there is so much bad and sad news out there at this time..Oh to be like the little Robin,,,who says;
Said the Robin to the sparrow I really wonder why these anxcious human beings rush about and worry so..said the Sparrow to the Robin friend, I think it must be they have no Heaveny Father such as cares for you and me " I pray that today you also may feel our loving Father by your side xx

Suze said...

One thing I miss horribly is dad and his birds. He loves them and they love him. Wild birds will eat out of his hands and fly to his shoulders. He used to feed the birds and that is gone now.

God bless you today.

Marie Rayner said...

Sybil, thank you so much for that quote about the Robin. I loved it and have written it into my quote book! What a lovely gift! xoxo

Suzan, I am sure you dad treasures memories of the birds in his heart. Sending you extra love. xoxo

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

We have wood peckers here and some nuthatches too but mostly it is the little sparrows that come to the feeders. Sadly it is the neighborhood squirrels that get the most of what I put out. I need to put out a new suet cake today. It is getting much colder here. Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

Rhondi said...

We love the birds too. We get cardinals, chickadees, bluebirds, sparrows, wrens, goldfinches, mourning doves and lots more. I have a little dish of water on our deck and it's only 2 feet from the window. We love to sit in our chairs right there and watch them. Sometimes there will be as many as 8 or 10 cardinals flitting about. God has taught me so many lessons about his love and his provision as I've watched the birds!
Hope you enjoy a very happy Christmas. Hugs, Rhondi

La Table De Nana said...

You have chosen such charming images to go along with your beautifully written post.
Me too I wonder how they do not freeze..How sweet is that heart?

Valerie H. said...

I love that you don't forget the birds! Great pictures too! Wishing you everything good today Marie. Chin up! xoxo

LeAnn said...

I love that you love caring for the sweet little birds the come to your garden. I enjoyed reading about the different ones. You two are so kind to feed them. I do see that you find great joy in the little things. Your pictures were lovely.
I do love to hear birds chirpping outsede my window. In the winter we don't really have any that grace this area.
I too love Heavenly Father's creations and I enjoy watching birds.
Wishing for you a blessed day. Love and hugs!

Marie Rayner said...

Am on the iPad this morning so no long comments from me. I love that we all love birds! I knew we would. Thanks all for your support and love for today! I will tell all tomorrow! Xxoo

latabledenana said...

Well..?:-)

April said...

Ahhh!! You just reminded me to refill my feeders!! I love my birdies sooo much, I call myself a crazy bird lady. I have a squirrel feeder that actually does deter squirrels, but not deer! Have you ever had a deer eat out of your bird feeder? It's pretty funny looking, but they make a huge mess. Fingers crossed and good luck on your screen test! Just have fun, and your son is right, be yourself. I know we're all our own worst critics, especially us women and our appearances, but you are so talented and so loved! Don't worry about it! *hugs*

Valerie H. said...

Can't wait to hear how it went Marie! Been thinking of you! xoxo

Marie Rayner said...

It went well. I will tell you in a post! xx