catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 10 :: 2007.05.18 — 2007.06.01


Gardening lessons

Part 2 of 10


Every year in late January, the sun comes back.  For almost five decades, I have seen the lengthening of days and it still comes as a surprise and a deep pleasure. The temperature may be cold but the sun warms my rooms and lightens my spirit.  With the longer days, the scene outside my window changes again. Plans and decisions I made in the garden last fall are making themselves known this early in the year.

The return of some of the little creatures as they scamper and twitter in the sunlight usually brings joy to me but this year a bit of frustration, too.  I wanted to have birds come to my feeders this winter.  As a first timer, I researched the process and thought I did it right.  I scattered seeds and breadcrumbs in the fall to let the birds know that food was available.  I bought a feeder and hung it high enough so cats weren't a concern and put it out filled with seeds and nuts.  I also nailed an old canner lid to the fence for a platform feeder.  Then I shelled a bag of peanuts that no one in our family was eating, blended them to a chunky consistency and added bulk sunflower seeds.  This went into a suet feeder.  I was ready.  The birds weren't. I was hoping for chickadees, sparrows and maybe nuthatches, but I don't think the squirrels are even raiding the feeders. 

But with the return of warm sunshine, at least some of God's creatures have decided to feed in our yard—well, not really the yard. Ants have invaded our house.  It is very disconcerting to find black ants crawling in your bathroom and down your hallway in the middle of January.  After discussing this strange occurrence with an exterminator, I found out they are wood ants and have probably found a crack in our foundation.  The warm sun woke them up and they found us.  Great.  I was kind last summer when I saw burrowing holes in a railroad tie by our house and didn't kill the ant colony.  Now they have moved in.

No birds but plenty of ants are the not results I had anticipated in the fall.  No ants and lots of birds would have suited me better.  It is just another reminder of how fallible I really am.  God's created plan for these creatures, the instincts they have to find food, shelter and to be safe won't always fit my wants of a pest-free home and amusing birds outside my window.  I will just enjoy the blessing of warm sunshine filling the rooms of my house and hope the birds will find my feeders next year.  And as for the ants, I appreciate their tenacity and even respect their right to live in my lawn but draw the line at sharing my house.  Next spring the railroad tie that they made their home will be removed and I paid the exterminator. You can guess why.

Next:  April 

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