Pure fallen snow as a canvas for the artists in my yard
It’s seldom we can look upon a pristine world. Our grandparents spoke or wrote of an ‘untouched’ field or pasture, but with people, and cars, where ever we look, that untouched world has become naught but an almost Biblical memory for us.
But, wonder of wonders, in the last two weeks, I’ve wakened to two such days, and have been held a most happy captive to my windows looking out over lawn, hill and fields (now Mick Riley Golf Course) to glory in the untouched view, and wondering who or what would make the first step to break that ‘just finished’ view. To find out ‘who comes to visit me’ when I’m not looking.
There never was or will be an untouched moment at the front side of my home, for there are always moving cars, and at the first sign of a snow ‘storm’, the plows begin making their rounds. And it is good.
My first ‘untouched’ view began one afternoon about ten days ago, and by morning I saw there had already been a visitor. I saw the hoof prints of two deer. I knew they came to my son Bill’s back yard to find his tomatoes and the tender new tree shoots, for he installed a motion camera and discovered who was raiding the garden.
But this time, with the snow leaving marks of their hooves, I see that they cross the lots and also come to my back door. It surprised me for the only food left there is Cat Food, but who knows what a hungry deer will eat?
Then quickly I saw Raccoon prints, and dang it, they’re welcome, too, just so they keep out of my chimney which they found and went up and down one year. There were cat’s pathways, going right to left and crosswise, but all ended up right at my back door, where food is left at night.
As the days went on, I saw that the smaller animals had found and were using the deer’s pathway, which got larger and deeper, while the others were left unused. Who says animals don’t have, and use, their brains?
Then one day, straight across my lawn, there was a dark line. So straight it looked either like a shadow of some upper electric wire, or that something had fallen there. But no, it was neither, and then my son, Bill came to see, and found it had been made by quail. Small, small ‘claw’ prints right on top of each other, making a pathway as straight as if an architect, had drawn that line, with not a waver in it.
I could only see the Results of a lot of activity in my back yard, and made me want to sit up all night, with all lights off, and watch for the Cause. The hustle and bustle that goes on ‘right under my nose’, when I’m not looking, and I wish I could tell them how welcome they really are.
And now, today, the 11th, I wakened again to a pristine world and as the day passes, not a single track has been made there. The road side is as usual, busy, busy, busy, yet so close, so very close, lies my untouched lawn and the Golf Course beyond with not one blemish on either, to mar the perfection.
Unconsciously I found myself glancing out the windows over and over, hoping to see who and what would be the first to break the untouched panorama. It won’t be me, for I wait for Ron Bateman who has kept my pathways clean of snow for many years past to come and do his ‘duty’.
Yesterday, between storms, the sun was warm, the temperature rose, and the snow, that had covered all, was gone before dusk, and with its retreat, hundreds, and I’m not exaggerating, of Starlings came. In swarms. First I saw then on the Golf Course, pecking, pecking, pecking. Then suddenly swooping up in a black cloud, whirling in high circles before again landing to eat, eat, eat.
Then, this time, they came down on the hillside nearer my home and with a blink of an eye, my entire back lawn was a moving mass of black. It looked almost like dark, moving water, but it was Starlings, caught up in an orgy of eating, and when I stepped closer to the window, I alarmed them (and myself) as they rose at once, flew off, but I had time to see that they were right up to the outside walls of my basement. Could there be a bit of warmth there?
And I wondered, what were they finding to eat? Surely there were no bugs, but I read somewhere, that birds eat the roots that are close to the surface of the lawn. And with that, I recalled one year when I had fed Mallards on my back lawn, and found that my lawn was dying. They were not eating my lawn, but ‘digging’ up the soil and finding, and eating, the soft tender roots which are full of nutrients they need.
It must be the same with the Starlings. Not only my yard, but the Putting Greens of the golf course were black with their constant pecking, and eating. But they were avarice, and I thought that ‘tomorrow’ I’d go out and see if they left marks of any sort of their orgy.
But today, my world is again under inches of snow, and I hope they ate well, for it will be a week or two before the snow will be gone and the new tender roots there for them again to gorge upon.
It’s been a wonderful two weeks for anyone who has the time, and open fields to see such wonders. I do, and thank The Source often for my bounty.