These end-of-December days are very short, and seem to rush by. It’s not a bad thing that we are nearing the end of 2011. It has been a tough year for many, and I’ll be glad to see the end of a frustrating and uncertain time. Still, it is always good to look back to see what has been accomplished, and when I do I can see that this year’s clouds had many silver linings.
December is a time when few birders come to the yard. There’s new snow on the mountains, and lots of birds, deer, and other wildlife in the yard, but it’s too cold to be outside as much as I’d like. There’s work aplenty indoors, however, getting rid of things I don’t use or need any more. I have time now to mend broken feeders, reposition and hang new feeders, get the nesting material out for the early breeding Anna’s hummingbirds, and dream about the spring to come.
My privacy wall has been beautifully rebuilt since the fire in June. Fire fighters were forced to knock holes in the wall to get hoses into the yard.
Their actions were what saved the area to the south of the house, where most of the hummingbird feeders are.
I was fortunate to find a local craftswoman and artist who demolished the remains and rebuilt it using earthen bags covered with stucco, covered with a top coat colored with natural earth pigments.
As weather permits, I’ll be moving dirt and rocks around, and continuing to plant wildlife-friendly trees, shrubs, and perennials in the burned areas. In spring, it will be clearer to see what trees have been lost forever, and what to do, if anything, about the ones that are coming back, whether from the roots or the crown. Though the landscape lacks the lushness it had, the open spaces created by the fire will fill again, and there will be new and different birds and wildlife here.
To counter winter’s somber tones outdoors, there’s a spot of color inside — my Christmas cactus is blooming beautifully at a south-facing window.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmastime and a happy New Year.