While I am on the theme of fun things (I am still thinking about yesterdayʼs post) in our lives, let me contemplate another early spring purchase that has filled our days with delight since.
Having returned from the flower-watering that I told you about yesterday (of course you remember, and if not thatʼs what those lovely little links, like this, are for: click it, read the relevant article and return via the “back” button on your browser of choice or necessity), I feel inspired by the need to scrub and refill todayʼs subject… our birdbath.
The Lovely One suggested we might want a birdbath more than a decade ago, perhaps as early as my regularly cited mid-Nineties, and a trip to (where else?) our local Wal-Mart, at that time not supersized yet and still placed in its original downtown-slaying location west of town, where today our relocated Theisenʼs resides, provided us, for the proverbial and detestable fee, a concrete stand and separate (and separately priced) bowl, as well as a round cement disk to insert in the earth as the base for the contraption.
The disk remains today, still unbalanced and uneven, although undergoing my best efforts with dirt and a spirit level to adjust its angle several times each year. We positioned it in the middle of the back yard (middle east to west, that is), placing the base in the ground, the stand on the base and the basin on the stand (rather predictably, I realize). The original bath was very plain, suiting my tastes, and the birds flocked to it, increasing our annual congregation of avians considerably. [Go on, click that previous link and look at those pretty birdies, most of which we actually have sighted in our back yard.] We enjoyed spotting the cardinals (often we have had two pairs around the yard) both there and amidst the large forsythia, as well as various sparrows (probably about half a dozen kinds), mourning doves, robins, and unfortunately redwinged blackbirds and crows. We have enjoyed watching the littler birds periodically driving the aggressive bullies (crows and sometimes blackbirds) from the bathing facility, and we ourselves have descended to the basement to thrust ourselves noisily outdoors, even in the winter, to (temporarily and sometimes unsuccessfully) frighten the big, black baddies away. I have grown fond of watching bird antics and even coming to recognize some species and their distinctive calls.
For the first years, we carefully brought the birdbath into the garage for the winter, but in the last three or five years, it has remained outdoors, gathering a big bloom of snow on the basin and sometimes (on warmer days) offering the wintering fowls a drink or dip. Both its cap of drift and the depth of ice and powder around the stand gave us an indication of snowfall amounts. Early this past spring, in moving the birdbath from its perch in order to mow for the first time in 2010, the bowl cracked surprisingly, dividing without a sound into two pieces that nearly mashed my toes. I figured that when I told Janet she would: a] determine for herself that I had done something wrong to break the basin and b] decide for both of us that we didnʼt need a birdbath any longer. But she surprised me (as she frequently does) by taking my tale at face value and suggesting we go out that very weekend to see about acquiring a new birdbath.
Without much searching, we located one a weekend or so later, on sale, in the parking lot of the Dubuque Wal-Mart, and even though we had bought other large-ish stuff and were in Janetʼs little Corolla, we went ahead and purchased the new one (even though it wasnʼt as cleanly simple in its line and decoration as the old one). We carried the heavy objects to her trunk after the purchase was approved (and wondered more people didnʼt just steal such objects-stored-outdoors-at-Wal-Mart as no one paid us the minutest attention as we took the thing). It needed its own pillar (sold this time as part of the whole price package) as the cavity on the underside of the basin didnʼt match our old stand at all.
I got to lug the stand and the bowl around from the trunk of her garaged car to the concrete disk in the back yard (not too bad a chore), placed them, and filled the basin. I realized quickly this basin held a lot more water than our shallower old one. Birds descended on it almost as soon as I disappeared indoors. And they have kept coming around ever since.
Now I just need to decided if the new birdbath remains outdoors through the winter or gets carried into our already overcrowded garage for protection. I am sure you are each individually and all collectively perched (like birds?) on the edges of your various computer chairs, eager to discover, once the snow falls, what the decision will be. Maybe Iʼll remember to tell you.
Thanks for reading!