Saturday, January 31, 2015


Well, here we are on the last day of January and it has not rained once this month.  And I think I can safely predict that it will not rain before midnight tonight.  In fact, we have had no rain since Christmas Eve.  As I write this post the current temperature outside is 79°F.  I was pruning in the Pinot grigio block (which I started today) and I had to come in for a drink of water because I was getting too toasty.  I also made sure that V2 had fresh water in her bowl, but she was too busy off somewhere up the hill digging for gophers (her water bowl will undoubtedly be full of mud later).  Actually, V2 has several water bowls dotted around the property which she very generously shares with some nocturnal visitors to Vinoland.  I know this because I discover fresh new offerings of raccoon and skunk scat each morning when I take V2 for her morning constitutional.
Vinomaker is the person around here responsible for taking care of the avian population, (although it is me who is trying to nurse a house finch back to health at the moment).  I cannot tell you how many pounds of seed the birds go through in a month, but it's a lot.  However, the reward for Vinomaker schlepping all that bird seed around, and making sure that they also have lots of fresh water, is that I get to enjoy some very cheeky feathered friends who are enormously entertaining. 
Necklace, the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), is definitely my favourite.  A contemporary of Mr. Beakly (may he R.I.P.), Necklace, with his distinctive ring of light coloured feathers, is a feisty little fellow and must wield some authority over his other junco pals as he is always noisily chasing them away from the smorgasbord that Vinoland's deck-railing becomes every morning and afternoon.  Necklace is always the first to appear when the seed is put out and will even sit in a big oak tree above the deck protesting if his next repast does not appear in a timely fashion.  Love it! 
California is in desperate need of rain, as this is the 4th drier than average winter in a row.  (However, this dry spell is nowhere near as bad as the one California was experiencing when I first moved to the US - that particular drought was 7 years long).   I can't help thinking to myself though that if I was stuck indoors due to inclement weather, I'd really be missing some great stuff going on outside.  Just a thought.


Thomas said...

Hah! We keep a bird feeder on the back deck, right in front of the kitchen window that faces Keuka Lake and hosts our daily breakfast and lunch seatings. Since winter is always inclement here, the view from the bird feeder is entertainment that exceeds TV--but almost every entertainment exceeds that useless box.

I read that in winter, birds eat twice as much as other times of the year. It's true; I have seed bills to prove it.

At about this time, migrating birds are beginning to show up--starlings and white throated sparrows are first in line this year.

VG, did you know that squirrels don;t like safflower seeds? We finally found a way to keep the cute bastards away from the feeder...I had to re=move five red squirrels from the attic this winter, where they have been storing the walnuts from our English walnut tree, which I have threatened to have taken down.

Anyway, the birds are an entertainment, and Oliver the standard poodle would love to get at them. He stands by the back door watching them with wanting eyes, and whining.

Thud said...

Yes I don't like it.

New Hampshire Wineman said...

The older I get the more "schlepping" appropriately describes how I move.
As for feeding the birds, Thomas made me think of a story I recently read stating that Goldfinches, in cold weather, shiver all night. Now that made me very sad! So, when I fill the bird feeders two or three times a week, I now think of those beautiful creatures shivering all night and just how happy I am to help them survive for another day.
"His eye is on the sparrow. . ."

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: Birds are great entertainment aren't they? V2 is pretty good with the birds flitting here and there about her, she generally ignores them. She even ignored the poorly house finch in his convalescent-cage (released successfully today). But quail on the other hand...I think it's because they run.

Thud: Thought as much...if it's any consolation, it only reached 68°F today.

NHW: Poor goldfinches, that is sad. We only have lesser goldfinches here and they never come to the just see them flying from tree to tree in mobs!