About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Friday, April 16, 2010

They're Baack!

For a couple of months in early spring I'm a reluctant landlady. Just last week I spotted signs of new home construction in the viburnum in front of my house--straw,dead grass and a lot of fresh chat from the construction workers every time I walked past the building site. Yes, the Robin Redbreasts have moved
in again and started a new family. They've been squatting on Summit Court property for many years now. Each year I try to negotiate the terms of their lease, but they always win out. The Robin Redbreasts don't care that building their home and accompanying nursery interferes with spring planting and sprucing up the landscape for the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

Before the viburnum grew large enough for the Redbreasts to build in it, they used the window boxes along the front of the house. In mid-March I planted cool season pansies for a touch of color as winter ended. The Redbreasts used the window boxes for their condos. Very handy as there was already some good mulch around the pansies that they could use for nest building.

By mid-April the nests were usually full of fat little fledglings, so many that they threatened to tumble each other out of the nests. Each time I passed their digs I gave them my best landlady lecture. It went like this: "Okay, I'm warning you all that it's time for you to learn to fly and quit depending on your parents to feed you. If you're not out of here by the last week of April, I will evict you. I am ready to plant the summer window boxes for Derby." This is how a Derby window box should look. Note: absent the Redbreast nursery.

So, I spent the last weeks of April designing that year's color and plant scheme--looks like pink impatiens, white daisies, and English ivy this year. Then I hit the greenhouses for flats of flowers while the pickings were still good. Finally, before landlady and tenants came to words, I would see the fledglings diving out of their nest, doing a belly flop in the driveway, but finally working out how to fly. Finally! I could remove their condo and plant Derby window boxes. Truthfully, I hope the Redbreasts will come back next year. It's tradition.

Bonus photo above, taken this morning: this is how a double (single?-I forgot) file viburnum looks in full bloom. Gorgeous! Later in the season it will have clusters of jewel red berries that the birds love to eat.


Jan n Jer said...

Haha...those robins have a mind of their own...we always had them build nest in our pine tree in front of our garage..but his year they are out of luck...we removed the pine n planted a smaller spruce in its place. Your verbinum is beautiful as well as your window boxes.

Debs said...

That's a solid looking nest, what clever Robins to be so thorough.

Your window boxes and viburnum look amazing. My garden is starting to come to life and it's all beginning to look colourful.

Faye said...

janis--you're exactly right. Robins do have a mind of their own. When they built nests in the window boxes it was always the same one. Now it's the same with the viburnum--always the same spot.

debs--their nests always look like the one in this photo--large, tightly woven with grass fringes--don't know what purpose the "fringes" serve. This year there's only a couple eggs. In past, the nest may have 5-6 hatchlings--a nursery full!

As for your own garden, does living close to the sea speed the gardening season along?

KittyHawk said...

I like the drapey design of the nest. I had a robin check out my lilac tree by the front door for a nest and was hoping they would choose it, but I walked by the window too many times and disturbed them so no nest in that tree.

Gattina said...

How nice ! impossible in my garden, with four cats, lol !

Faye said...

kittyhawk--I spied Momma Robin on the nest several times and tried to photograph, but the click of the camera scared her off. Gave up. After I spotted the nest, kept bring out a stool so I could check for eggs. There was all kinds of complaining from an adjoining tree. Now trying to just let them alone.

gattina--Arthur the Comedian would cause all kinds of trouble in this nursery!

Sayre said...

Those robins... you just can't tell them anything!

Your window boxes are beautiful!

The Church Lady said...

Gosh, Faye that shrub is gorgeous! I love your choice of colors - the purple and yellows in your window box.

You had a "bird's eye" view of that nest! lol

p.s. thanks for your nice comment about my girls.

Faye said...

sayre--I lost track of the number of times I got "told off" for peeking in the nest. I beg their pardon--it is my viburnum!

church lady--nothing says spring better than purple and yellow pansies--with "monkey faces". Although I do like the newer varieties in pale watercolor shades w/o the "faces.

Pamela said...

nice that they moved on up!
I know that we have song sparrows that nest in the bushes -- (and sometimes they raise cowbirds. Darn)

And the house sparrows build in our little bird house.

I think a squirrel has claimed the owl box.

Your boxes look lovely. I'm just starting to plant annuals.