April 2008

Many Happy Returns of the Day!


Today is the second anniversary of my venturing out into this bloggy-world. I am so grateful for all the conversation and connection we have shared here, and am wishing us Many Happy Returns of this Day!

In honor of my “blogiversary”, I designed the new banner…my attempt to evoke the post-office-in-the-hedge that I have come to feel this blogging world can be for us. I started with an image from an old childrens book of a wooden box on a post, covered in vines. I am not sure what it is supposed to be in the story…a bird house, perhaps? It is empty in the original illustration, with several birds perched about it and giving it a careful look-over. I erased a bird or two and “trimmed” back some of the vines and wildflowers….so that we will be able to find the letterbox when we wish, and not prick ourselves on the bramble’s thorns.

Next, I filled the empty space with letters and flowers…. looking at it just now, I imagined the bundle of letters as my old posts and your comments, tied up with a bit of old ribbon, and there for the perusing. The tulip bouquet is a recent post and you have been kind enough to leave me a note in a little pink envelope. I can envision it so clearly…taking a walk along a country lane and anticipating the moment when the little letterbox comes into view. May the click of a mouse and the typing on the keyboard somehow translate to birdsong in the hedge and the papery rustle of what we leave for each other.

I have been thinking about how I would like to celebrate this anniversary if there were no barriers of time and distance….I would invite you all to a picnic in one of our meadows. Before you arrived, I would raise a roof of cloth upon four stout branches so that we would have some welcome shade from the warm sun. And there would be cloths spread upon the long meadow-grass, as well, tho’ we would be careful not to sit on the poppies that are sparsely scattered there at this time of the year. There would be little stands and little tree stumps full of delectable savories and sweets and there would be cups of freshly-brewed tea…an ever-replenished supply throughout the long hours we would spend conversing in the meadow.
Won’t you please come?

If you leave me a comment, I will know that you would like to come to my picnic-in-the-meadow….and if I can manifest another idea I have had…I will someday make a collage of us all there amongst the poppies and cups of tea. In quiet moments lately, I imagine how I would represent each of you. For instance, if Alicia was a reader of my blog, I would not put a photo of Alicia in the collage, but a photo of her Clover Meadow. For Amy, I would probably use her new little bird…for Dori….perhaps a tea cup? If you don’t want to leave it up to my imagination, do let me know what I might use to portray you.

And finally, it is a continual surprise to discover that my blog has been mentioned kindly somewhere…a humble and lovely surprise. I don’t have a blog roll of my own here at The Bower, for serenity’s sake, but I am so grateful to be appreciated and send that appreciation right back to those who have sent it to me. What follows is a list I have been gathering the past few weeks, of places that have sent visitors my way. I apologize that it is not a complete list and know that I must have left out some…but I hope to have acknowledged those in the past, or will do so in the future.































Catching Up & Cowbirds

Last time I wrote, I was celebrating my birthday and getting used to letting go of Winter and welcoming Spring. In the weeks since, we have seen the blossoms come and go on the trees, and we have celebrated Easter….

We have delighted in the warm days and sweet breezes and tried to accomplish our studies and tasks. I managed to make all that I had hoped to make for my Spring shows, which were wonderfully successful and filled with appreciation and satisfying visits with dear customers.

The days at home since the show have been mostly grey and rainy (lovely!) and good for rummaging through closets and cupboards, restoring order. I intend to spend as long as I need to going through the whole house, a little bit at a time, and paring down and freshening every corner. But I intend, also, to make some more of these new creations and share them on my website later in the month!

In fact, I have so much I want bring into reality with Small Meadow Press, and so much I would like to do here in the hedge…but our dratted internet connection is making that all so tedious these days, and I would like to talk about birds instead, if you don’t mind.

We are rich in birds around our home and I am very grateful, for they have been my favorite creatures since I was a young girl and enticed ducks from the lake into my lap and searched out the one field left near my neighborhood-with binoculars and Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds in hand. My sweet husband has given me a bird feeder outside my studio window and one outside the window by my seat at the dining table. So each day, all the year long, they are my companions and I do understand Emily Dickinson when she wrote-

“I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”

So what am I to do about The Cowbird? In the bird-scheme-of-things? I truly hope that you might be able to help me stop resenting their presence…and even more than that….their habits.
This picture is from an old childrens book and accompanies a very short story about the father bird providing for his little family.

No mention of the cowbird youngling stepping on the other little bird (or that it and the others might soon be pushed right out of that cosy nest!).

The songbirds have been filling the air with music for weeks, the robins have been hopping across the lawn, the woodpeckers are tapping away in the trees….oh, I could go on and on. This is one of my favorite little fellows, the Chipping Sparrow.

He and his brethren spend alot of time at the feeders and on the front walk. But for the past few weeks, he and all the other little birds are startled off the feeder each time a flock of Cowbirds descend. They always come in groups and eat so much, so quickly. They are overwhelming. I find myself shooing them away….which is not charitable, I know. But as soon as I do, the little birds come back immediately and stay until the next round.

I was fascinated to watch a Mourning Dove visit the feeder yesterday-and chase off the Cowbirds that were there. Over and over again, the dainty dove pecked at and ran off the Cowbirds. Oh Valiant one!

So I constantly wrestle with wanting to shoo them off and knowing that they deserve food and Life, too…but really….what must God have been intending with the idea of Cowbirds? My peace-loving, Quakerly instincts are being sorely tested. Thank goodness we have run out of food for the moment and the Cowbirds are nowhere to be seen.

But we did have a bluebird in the house today….for the third time in as many weeks! It (or they) insist upon squeezing into the unused woodstove pipe and into the cold and ashy woodstove. When we hear the fluttering of wings in the stove, we open the top and eventually catch the bluebird and release it to the wild again.

Please write if have any thoughts on the Cowbird Dilemma. Until then, I wish you all the joys of the season, hoping that there are some wherever you reside.