Toward days in the breezeway

Jun 8, 2017 By Betty Starks Case

Finally, it's spring -- grass lush and green, birds singing, and flowers reminding us again of the wonder in life's renewal.

A couple of days ago, we got the geraniums planted in the big brown pots in front of our home, along with purple, pink and white petunias in the brick planters. It's reassuring to see them there, along with the three blooming barrels and several hanging baskets in back.

So now are we convinced spring is here? Now that we have created for ourselves a daily job of watering? We don't wish to see all those hopeful young flowers wither and die an early death, do we? Not in our yard.

Last year so many volunteer flowers had blown in on the Wyoming wind that we decided we'd just let them stay and do whatever they wished to do -- like take care of themselves while we recline in our chairs in the breezeway and sip a cold lemonade.

Result: One of the brick planters in front is overflowing with violas this spring. They're nice, but like tiny hobos they seem to think anywhere the train slows is home.

Then there's Ned's large perennial flower garden in back, cleverly designed to be in direct line of vision with our breezeway between the house and garage. The comfortable table and chairs in that area provide the perfect setting (or do I mean sitting?) for eating a slice of cool watermelon on a hot summer day. Especially when hummingbirds and butterflies visit the flowers.

By the way, that first watermelon of this season was about the sweetest and best I've ever thumped.

While we're on the subject of food, I recall a number of family picnics in our breezeway, replete with homemade ice cream. I mix it up, the men get it frozen.

It's an old tradition, carried forward from the days when the freezer was cranked by hand, and a firm turn of the crank was required.

"Homemade ice cream," muses my mate. "Just one more thing that shouldn't be allowed to change with time."

We recall many summer events, one of our favorites being the story of a robin who insisted our breezeway was just the right place to build a nest and hatch her springtime babes. That was one determined mom.

First, she built a nest on the garage door opener inside the garage. A fine nest, it just didn't seem to stay in place.

Ned decided to keep the garage door closed so she'd build outside.

The robin moved into the next best location in her view - the breezeway - and a hanging basket with a plant in it.

But we must go through that area to get from our house to the garage. Robin scolded us regularly for invading her territory.

Because Ned was outside more than I, she grew more accustomed to him, so I became the main "dirty bird" (avian language).

Ned felt Robin could build a better home in a nearby tree. He put her nest in the garbage can and watered his plant in the hanging pot.

Next morning, shocked at the bird's resolve, he found three beautiful blue robin eggs in the mud around his plant.

While Robin was out to breakfast, Ned ran to the garbage can and got the nest, put it back in the pot with his plant and placed the eggs carefully inside the nest.

Satisfied that Ned knew what he was doing, Robin returned to the nest and spread her feathers like a warm blanket over the eggs.

In due time, three baby robins wriggled out of the beautiful blue eggs.

A friend reminded us that when they left the nest, they'd die if they fell onto the concrete floor of the breezeway. Ned hung the basket-nest outside over the soft soil of a flower garden.

Strangely, the next few days didn't faze either Robin or her babies as Ned worriedly moved their hanging basket home outside the door, then back, according to the whims of the wind.

Two of the baby birds hovered at nest's edge for a short while, then stretched their wings and floated down to the flower garden and strawberries below.

The last tiny bird, frightened, relented and toppled from the nest only when its mother perched on a board fence a few feet away and waved a fresh worm its way for about 10 minutes.

Never again will we declare something that's distasteful or beyond our understanding as being "for the birds."

Birds and bees and flowers and butterflies are just not that simple.

Print Story
Read The Ranger...