Last Wednesday, while we were out looking for a few last-minute grocery items (eggs, cilantro, etc) we stopped by the local Wild Birds Unlimited (a chain of franchise stores, our local one has been around for a very long time). The people there are always so kind and knowledgeable. Tom had been in a couple weeks before to locate birdseed that didn’t have any of my allergens in it (surprising how much birdseed contains wheat, barley, or rye!).

We were hunting for a squirrel-proof, or at least squirrel-resistant, feeder so the littlest birds would have a chance at eating the yummy food we put out for them. And the amazing Francoise was ready with excellent suggestions and advice. We left with a very pretty copper birdfeeder. It took the little guys (black-cap chickadees and juncos) a day to find it, and another day or two to trust it! Not sure how long it took the squirrel to realize it was there and not going to feed it… we had a very frustrated, VERY sad gray squirrel moping around this morning.

We had also (same day last week) purchased a squirrel/jay feeder which looks similar to a traditional feeder but requires the critter to figure out that the lid has to be picked up to get to the yummy treats inside. I filled it this afternoon when we got home and also scattered some squirrel food (technically “critter” food) we picked up today. The squirrel, once she realized there was special food for her today was SO HAPPY.I think she buried all the peanuts (they are still in their shells)… we’ll find out in the spring, I guess!

The BIG DEAL today is another bird feeder, also squirrel-proof but one that will allow larger birds like the towhees and grosbeaks to dine. I felt so sad for the towhees who couldn’t eat at the smaller feeder that I ended up scattering food on the ground for them. But that’s not ideal as it does tend to invite rodents. They should enjoy the new feeder once they figure it out. And so that the feeders would be accessible to me even on days I cannot walk or stand, we bought a post and set it up just off the front patio.

And we picked up another bag of food for the birds – it’s a mix with a slightly higher calorie/oil content than the one Tom picked up last time. I wanted something that would provide an energy boost as the weather is getting colder. I really like the food we have purchased from this store in the last couple of months – the food is nutritious, no extra dyes or weird preservatives, and so far the birds love it.

It’s a wonderful winter gift for ourselves – Tom and I can both see the feeder from our work spaces, and it’s also visible from the front porch. Eventually, maybe, we’ll add some feeders in the back yard, too. I like doing things that support the wildlife in our area. As long as we don’t attract a cougar. Cougars are pretty scary…

We had so much fun shopping today, thinking about where things would work in the garden, discussing our choices for feeders and such. I really enjoy spending time with Tom. After more than 30 years, we have settled into such a nice partnership and rhythm in our lives – it’s not exciting, but it’s comfortable and comforting (usually, but ask me about when he took a tumble while on the roof…). We get along, we enjoy each others’ company, and we are happy doing our own things, too.

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