red flannel pantry

creative pursuits in the kitchen, garden, library and sewing room

the birds and the bees

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This morning I worked in the gardens early, hoping to escape the worst of the heat. The bees were working as well.

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Aptly named bee balm is their favorite. Their visits and attention to task have urgency, as if they know this treat will soon be gone. They crawl over the flowers’ bald pates and then dangle like circus performers from the few remaining blossoms.

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Lately this greedy little fellow has been a frequent visitor to the feeders along with his surrogate father. He’s a cowbird, the only parasitic bird in Missouri. The mother lays her eggs in other birds’ nests, leaving them for host birds to hatch and raise.

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In this case the adoptive parents are a set of cardinals, with the dad seeming to do most of the feeding.

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Although I admire the resourcefulness of cowbirds, it does make me a little sad that the demanding cowbird was likely tended to the exclusion of any baby cardinals–so it goes.

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This cardinal sits at the periphery of the gardens and looks longingly at the feeders–we call him Frankenfeathers.  He’s either molting or he has a bad case of feather mites–he should grow new head feathers in a few weeks. In the meantime, the other unaffected male cardinals pick on him and chase him from the feeders–poor guy.

I received a couple of beautifully quilted quilts from Lynn the other day. I hope to finish binding one today.

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