Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring in My Step, Not Quite in the Air

The following morning of a surprise, six-inch-deep snowfall saw my marking out rough footpaths while wearing the Calm One's Wellies.  On my small feet, they looked and felt like black clown shoes.  However, they are a treat to remove. I just flick them off with a sharp motion, and they go flying to a corner of the mudroom.  My quirky, snow-clearing technique was notably faster than  Monsieur M's, our kind and gracious neighbour, whose painstakingly cleared paths made me suspect a toothbrush was hidden along with his brooms, shovels, and ice breakers.

The time I saved was used setting out food and water for the birds while monitoring the location of our young tabby cat, Dayo.  Not much into hunting, he had little interest in birds, but was quite taken by their food.  The majority of birds in my winter garden are insectivores requiring a high protein diet, and thoroughly moistened, dry cat food is the purrfect meal ticket.  Sounds odd, I know. My initial reluctance faded when the food was merrily devoured, that is, by the birds, not Dayo.

For a couple of weeks each short winter, one of my morning chores is to smash with a hammer the solid ice in their bath.  Monsieur M sweetly assures me that they drink the snow, but I remain doubtful.  A well tended birdbath is essential for co-habitation.  Birds will often eat fruit to quench their thirst.  I may not always feed them since our hot season is so long, but each day they get at least two fresh baths. I get to see their antics during bath time plus I  harvest more fruit, especially my favourite, luscious figs!

Telling the difference between good and bad laziness is a cherished skill.  My choice of snow clearance was an expression of my good laziness.   I know, because a little bird, well, actually, many little birds told me.  Although, the major benefit was just the fun of it.   Being a slow-moving, human snowplough got me in a mood receptive for creative connections.  Eventually, I realised that I could use my oversized, booted feet as a drawing tool writ large.  Duly photographed, this free-form design will guide my creating a sinuous style for the new orchard, providing a soft foil to the rectangular block beds containing vegetables.

What happened to the snowplough and drawing tool?  They happily snuggled into some nice warm slippers.