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Friday, April 26, 2002

Shameless shirker that I am, I didn't think twice about bagging the work ethic at 3:30 this afternoon so I could get some weeding done. I still had plenty left to do in the office, because I've put off most of the quarterly tax reports until the deadline. But the deadline isn't for four more days, and I wanted to spend some time outside before settling in to watch the game at 4:00.

What can a person get done in a paltry half an hour? Not much, in the grand scheme, but a half-hour is pretty close to my limit for physical endurance anyway. Plus, I didn't actually get all the way out the door at 3:30. I stood and watched the birds for ten minutes, not wishing to disturb their little backstage circus.

Last year at this time, the garden was ruled by scrub jays. Those bossy creatures are living somewhere else this year, and the result is a greater variety of species for me to watch. Today the house finches and sparrows were chasing each other in and out of the birdbath. A couple of goldfinches watched from the tree above for awhile, singing loudly, and then moved on.

Later on, after all this commotion had died down, a mockingbird visited the birdbath. That's something I'd never seen happen before.

The house finches are aptly named. They love hanging out under the eaves, like no other birds I've seen around here. While I was standing in the doorway, the pair of them flew up and landed on the porch light just above my head. I can't see where they've built nests, but since I put up the feeder on the back porch, they're always around. They must live fairly close.

When I finally did get around to pulling weeds, the birds wanted nothing to do with me. My only visitor while I was in the garden was a hummingbird, who sized me up closely for several seconds before moving on. These are funny birds. As tiny as they are, they show less fear of my presence than any of the others, including the big, boisterous jays. They'll come up and look me in the eye, as if they expect me to sprout blossoms and offer them my nectar.

grass and a rock

A clump of the wild grass that grows everywhere in my yard (whether I like it or not).

It was a long, cold, wet winter. I couldn't get out in the garden at all for months. Why wasn't I as diligent about keeping the house in order then as I now seem to be about the yard? I could be living in a much cleaner, tidier place, instead of what sometimes looks like one big neglected storage closet. Clutter is everywhere and cobwebs are out of control. I don't have much to show for those months of forced internment. I might have well have been sleeping all winter. In fact, I'd be better off now if I had been.

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