New arrivals

From cold, cold to warm, warm, the weather switched almost overnight. It was from heavy jackets and winter boots to shirtsleeves and sunglasses. Spring has sprung, the grass has been raked, and I’m just awaiting the first green shoots to appear. Needless to say, I have been spending most of my days outside. Fresh air and sunshine have an immediate effect in the upgrade direction of my mood.

It is great to see the individual species of birds returning. The first of the songbirds that I saw were horned larks, followed shortly by song sparrows, robins, and bluebirds. I am waiting now to hear the killdeer, meadowlark, and bobolink. Of course, we are almost inundated with the cursed blackbirds and starlings. They seem to empty my feeders in a single swoop.

The other morning, as I took a breather from lawn raking and picking up a few stones that had been uplifted by the winter frost, I saw three pair of bluebirds squabbling over a single nest box that I had put up a couple of years ago. That is a strong indication that they want to stay in our area, so I guess I better get off my butt and put up a half dozen more nest boxes for them. If I don’t, the tree swallows will give them a rough time and claim the house as theirs.

Incidentally, in addition to the tree swallow, we have the bank swallow, the cliff swallow, and the barn swallow, all of which are not back yet, and I have hopes of attracting a colony of purple martins as I have been given, as a gift, a martin house, which I have hopes of getting up on a pole before they come back in early May.

The pair of mallard ducks that frequented our farm pond on previous years have once again returned, but it looks as though they will be sharing the space with a pair of Canada geese as I have seen them quite often dropping in from over the hill.

New, too, on the farm front, we have acquired a beautiful pair of peacocks and a beautiful talking white umbrella cockatoo. Those are not new to me as I used to hatch peacock eggs by the dozen for a farmer friend who just liked having them roam around his establishment.

And the cockatoos I used to raise, hatching the eggs in my incubator and hand-feeding the young from day one. Those birds are interesting and fun to have around the house as they learn to talk quite freely.

In addition to that, I have just set a selection of fancy bantam eggs in the bird room incubator that I have had in my possession for well over 30 years. It still works well so I am expecting to hear the tiny, tiny baby chicks peeping in a little less than 21 days.

And yes, too, it is gardening time again. I have just mulched heavily my asparagus patch as well as my rhubarb, which already has its little red noses sticking up to welcome the sun. Next on the list, I will be setting out a very long row of the double-bearing raspberry canes. Those are very prolific; they have a crop of berries in August on the old canes and a late fall crop of berries on the new canes in late October, early November.

And, too, folks, I have my heart set on planting a large patch of strawberries. So if you know of anyone whom I could buy a couple of hundred plants from, please have them give me a call. I am right now getting a garden area ready for them. That’s it for this week.

Take care, ’cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins