Two days of extremely warm weather and a lot of rain have awakened the buds on the trees and bushes. They are slowly coming back to life with tiny leaves that are starting to unfurl. From a distance, there is a slight greenish tinge surrounding those predominantly still-bare branches. I passed a few magnolia trees and their buds were open slightly, lending a pink glow to the still-drab landscape. And, how about those weeping cherry trees, just dripping with pale blossoms?
Ahh Spring, you make my heart sing.
We knew those Summer-like storms last night would happen; they were the penalty for a pair of delightful, but, overly warm days for early April. While it may have dawned clear but overcast this morning, yesterday’s thundershowers left their mark in large puddley potholes, or, as pools of water on the sidewalks, which walkways I was obligated to share with the worms. The worms were everywhere once again, and they were all sitting ducks, just waiting for the Robins to gobble them up as quickly as their spindly legs could hop over there. Those red-breasted birds will feast ‘til they burp, slurping the worms, like we kids used to suck down our spaghetti noodles when Mom wasn’t watching.
Good thing I don’t have an aversion to worms or their ilk.
I tolerate them, just as one would deal with a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater should that creature ever cross your path.
The Park was peaceful and the walkers were plentiful this morning, which was surprising, given the still-damp condition of the perimeter path. But, we are all creatures of habit, and there was no precip this morning, so we laced up our respective walking shoes, and gathered at the Park – a group of strangers getting their infusion of nature while stomping out a few miles. The birds were singing in the trees, and it was all good, until the tree cutters started up their chainsaws in a nearby yard. I didn’t even see the crew assembled around a huge tree, until the chainsaws interrupted the peaceful morning.
The Easter holiday is slowly creeping up on us. I made my annual pilgrimage to my friend and neighbor Marge’s house to drop off her Easter treat. This is a longstanding tradition between us which goes back around twenty years. We keep it simple … tradition is important.
No, there was no fanfare or big extravaganza involved here. No elaborate Easter basket filled with treats or trinkets nestled in cellophane grass and a tall chocolate bunny presiding over those goodies. Nor was there a box or fancy bag festooned with curling ribbon.
It was simply a box of Peeps marshmallow chicks dropped into a plastic Meijer bag and tied onto the handle of her screen door.
For Easter 2017, it was purple Peeps:
So, I guess that once Marge breaks open the cellophane and bites into one of those purple marshmallow chicks, she would be classified as a hazel-eyed, no-horned, armchair-sittin’ purple Peep eater?
This Peep-giving ritual began two decades ago, when Marge lent me her two-tier, wrought-iron outdoor table, so I could feed the birds and squirrels during the Winter in my backyard. Of course, you knew I didn’t feed only the birds and squirrels at Council Point Park. No, I began that ritual eons ago in the backyard. I wasn’t big on a more-traditional means of feeding the birds, because, no matter whether you use baffles, or squirrel-blocking cage devices on your bird feeders, those pesky squirrels always maneuver to find a way to alight on the feeder and feast upon those seeds. I even tried the Birdola seeds blocks, suspended on a clothesline, only to find I had not foiled the squirrels because there they were, shimmying up the shiny metal pole and gingerly walking the “tightrope” to access the seed block.
In nice weather, I fed the birds their cut-up bread and the squirrels their peanuts before I left for work, but in Winter, it would be pitch dark in the morning and at night when I returned home. In the a.m., I had a bus to catch, so there was precious little time to spend loading a birdfeeder, so, I was hurrying out the door, then quickly I would fill the makeshift “feeders” and off to work I went.
The plan to feed the backyard critters all year ‘round was brilliant – at least I thought so anyway. I borrowed Marge’s ornamental table, and went and bought two perforated pizza pans, one 15-inch pan, and a smaller 12-inch pan. I then laced long fuzzy pipe cleaners through the pizza pans and fastened one pan onto each table tier. The top tier pan would hold bread tidbits for the birds; the bottom tier pan would be full of peanuts for the squirrels. No birdfeeders to mess with or squirrels hijacking the feeders for their own use. The squirrels got their treat and weren’t all that interested in bread tidbits. We bought the bread in bulk … inexpensive, day-old loaves of bread from the nearby Wonder Bread outlet, and stocked up on oyster crackers in case we didn’t get to the bread store. Peanuts were bought in bulk and similarly stashed away. I fed them daily.
Come Spring, I removed the pans and tossed them in the trash, getting new ones the following Fall. I scrubbed up the table and returned it to Marge, accompanied by a box of Peeps – it was a thank you from the birds and me. And, oh yes … the squirrels as well.
Back in those days, Peeps were only available in yellow – now they come in many colors, according to the holiday season. They also morph sometimes into rabbits.
But, Marge has always loved eating those Peeps and got a great big smile on her face from the gesture (and a sugar high to boot).
As neighbors, we’ve made memories and shared many tasty treats through the years. A half of an angel cake, or a third of a mince pie, or … even tomatoes or cukes, still warm from the Summer sun, have been stuffed into a plastic store bag and tied onto our respective screen door handles.
Share and share alike is a mantra for family, good friends, or neighbors … or, for a person who is really all of the above.
Borrowing a cup of sugar for a recipe? Nope, we’ve never done that! Meanwhile, my lips are sealed and I’m not saying a Peep about all those goodies shared or exchanged and enjoyed these past 25 years, not to mention the calories!