For the Birbs

My backyard is in a state of cacophony, but I only have myself to blame.

For the past few months, Li’l Jon has taken a deep interest in the garden. This is a source of pride for me, well, because reasons

I can’t help but be enchanted by his enthusiasm, especially when he screams out at the top of his tiny lungs “Birb! (L)ook! Birb!”

The hummingbirds are his favorite. They are mine, too; so, I bought a hummingbird feeder. Dinners by the back door have been delightful since then. We enjoy watching those buzzing jewels dance above our porch in the sunsets. Perfection!


Of course, I thought “Why not attract the other species?” I was keen on treating the sparrows, finches, and doves too, so I set out an old bird feeder cup. This was fine for a bit, though a little messy with all of the seed remains, but I noticed a few of the birds fighting and a couple fledglings having a hard time.

Jon was in heaven, staring out the backdoor for hours.

What would it hurt to buy another feeder and give the bullies less chance to make mischief? I bought a hanging feeder and hung it beside the hummingbird feeder on the porch.

This was not well-planned.

The bully birds started really annoying the hummingbirds. Then, the larger feathered visitors invited their friends, lots of them. No joke. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and coworkers all showed up to the barbecue! The mad frenzy, while funny to watch, was leaving seed and droppings EVERYWHERE.

Then, Jon, being the helpful child he already is, took the cup feeder and tried to fill it up with seed. He broke it. Now, we are down to one feeder that the gang of birds still fight over.

Scrubbing the back porch everyday was a pain and our hummingbirds didn’t deserve harassment. So, I decided to relocate the darned thing. I finally settled on placing the feeder on a glass plant table and positioning it by the yellow lantana, a short distance from the porch. Jon can still see his lively show and the hummingbirds can sneak in from the back, unhindered.

I must admit, though, that the inconvenience of it all really hasn’t bothered me too much. I enjoy interacting with the wildlife, feathered or not, and the pure joy it brings the li’l tyke is enough to make any bother worth it.

Besides, it gives me perfect opportunities to stop, reflect, and try out my lenses.



River Morning

I needed a little more nature, so the babe and I went for a walk yesterday at the Salt River. We started at the Rio Salado Audubon area on 7th Ave. (east side) just north of Broadway Rd. and took a leisurely stroll to 19th Ave. and back.

The waters had been released from the dams upstream a few days before (hurrah for snow melt!). There was some muddy damage from the flooding and quite a bit of trash, but we had a wonderful time taking in the almost-spring colors and meeting the rabbits and birds (among them a curious egret).

I’m happy with the time spent and pleased with many of my photos. I am, however, looking into getting a 500 mm zoom lens for future walks.


The Spider on the Stalk in the Woods

Yesterday was my birthday—my 36th. It’s not a particularly high number, nor a rounded one, but this year will probably be one of the most memorable for me. You see, last week, I did a thing, a BIG thing. I quit my job of almost 10 years.

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The Smell of Sawdust

My Paw Paw Kelly (grandfather) liked to work with wood. He had a workshop in a shed beyond the swing set and the garden. He would make fanciful things mostly. My favorite was a little girl in a red dress sitting on a swing. He hung her in the front yard from a tree, and she always made me feel welcomed whenever we visited his bosky home.

Like Paw Paw (and my creative Maw Maw), I’ve always found working with my hands interesting. I like to learn new things and shape something into something else. Sewing, painting, photography, gardening, woodworking, writing, and so on: they all stem from a need to make.

Humans are awesome that way. But, sometimes we make without conscious planning. We gather our materials without wondering about where they came from or how they are created.

My friend Silas Kyler made it his mission to remind us. He took his passion for woodworking and turned it into a beautiful documentary called Felled and a how-to book called The Art and Craft of Wood: A Practical Guide to Harvesting, Choosing, Reclaiming, Preparing, Crafting, and Building with Raw Wood. Both offer a glimpse into craftsmanship from start to finish and a real plea to look at the possibilities in things we take for granted. Like the Lorax, Silas and his colleagues “speak for the trees” and speak through them.

Like my grandfather, they are carrying on a tradition as old as civilization.

I love that smell of sawdust, it evokes so many memories… and possibilities.