In Atlanta, spring has started to dust us with pollen. By the end of this week our cars should turn yellow, our front porches will follow suit. We will not complain. We haven’t seen the sun in ages. It is during this time when the sun shines that a fever consumes us. We rush to the store and purchase vegetables that are WAY too early to plant. (Atlanta folks don’t plant your tomatoes yet).
We fire up the lawnmower, or in my case, the chainsaw. Yes my friends, a chainsaw.
Those who have read my book In the Garden with Billy recall that I had a deep desire to own a chainsaw. For those who would like a copy of the book, upload to Kindle here or order here. Reasoning that I could have a fantastic garden if I took out a few trees, my dad let me borrow my mother’s electric chainsaw. It is capable of dropping anything three inches in diameter, or less. For the tree lovers in the group, please know that my front lawn is home to at least two hundred gigantic trees. I’m just thinning the saplings.
My first project is an eyesore beside the house. I live in a much-older home in the Atlanta area, far, far away from a subdivision (Thank you Lord). For years I have despised the hedge bushes beside the house. If they were thicker at the bottom I would like them. Alas, they are thin and ugly at the bottom.
Plus, they encourage green mold on the cedar. I have discovered Tea Olive. Tea Olives are evergreen shrubs from the Osmanthus family. Envisioning their lovely fragrance, I plugged in the chainsaw and pulled the trigger.
I discovered the Cardinal’s nest, shortly after I removed most of the first shrub. All work ground to a stop. I recalled the times my dad brought home injured and orphaned animals. As a lineman for the power company, sometimes his crew was tasked with clearing limbs from the power lines. Many times he brought home animals in his yellow hard hat. My mother always kept a baby bottle so we could feed the babies. The Cardinal at my house had laid only one egg.There was something about the single egg that spoke to my heart.
With her nest now revealed, I worried about the cussed-infernal crows I had just (last week) seen flying with a baby blue jay. After I posted my loathing for crows, I received some flack from my Facebook acquaintances saying that crows are necessary, the “circle of life;” but from my front porch all I ever see is crows stealing defenseless baby birds.
Not in my front yard. No sir.
Picking up the removed limbs I wedged them in the shrub then secured them with that most-important gardening tool . . . duct tape.
When the tape failed to hold the heavy limbs I wound a bungee cord through the limbs, holding them in place so the mama Cardinal would feel secure. So now, my beautiful envisioned project is far from that. This morning as I checked the limbs to make certain they were secure, I stood on tiptoes and peeped inside the nest; there is another egg. I’ll overlook the eyesore as the Cardinals raise their babies. And I’ll stand watch for crows, and snakes.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. In 2012 she released Stress-Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. 2014 will see the release of In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is currently working on her first novel. She would love to hear from you. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com