Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I only wanted to shake a rug.


Easter Sunday.

It was also our 34th wedding anniversary. When someone asks, “How long have you been married?”, I used to do the math in my head quickly and give a cheery answer. Now, I just sigh and reply, “A long, long time.” Smiling, “My, oh my, how time flies.”

It was also my three-month smoke-free anniversary. Wow. Another good reason to keep away from those blasted jelly beans I love so much. Instead of enjoying the usual entire bag of beans, I ate half the bag which only yielded a measly 25 beans. Why bother.

It was also the final day of the Masters Golf Tournament - a sacred event at my house. Let’s be quiet, everyone, so we can hear the announcers whisper about the birdies, eagles, and drat! those sand traps…

So, in preparation of the televised event, and in celebration of everything else this day represented, I vacuumed the floors, worked on the laundry pile, and prepared for dinner.
All of this lead me to the most significant event of the day – a tiny story that only I can tell because only I was there. It had to do with shaking the dust from the scatter rugs. I made a foolish mistake. I knew the House Finches had a brood under the roof of the front porch but they have quiet babies. Who knew they were ready to leave the nest? Not me!

The rug was over my head, ready for the shake and snap, when out of the corner of my eye, ten feet away, I saw two baby house finches dart from the nest, each flying in opposite directions of each other. One of them flew down the steps and around the corner of the house, out of sight. The other flew down from the nest and up towards me, over the railing, down the hill, across the street and up into a tall maple tree. A very long first flight. All of this happened so quickly – I froze, clutching the scatter rug to my chest, and listened to Mom and Dad scream. I don’t know how they decided on which way to fly first.

Shocked, I fled the scene. Inside, I hid behind the window like a criminal and watched their crisis through the blinds.


Look at stressed out Mama.

I felt awful photographing her grief. To sympathize with a female bird… It’s the mother’s instinct we have in common, I guess.


Did she see me peeking between the window blinds? Was I to blame? Apparently, I was.


It’s an accident that I didn’t capture her mouth wide open and tongue wagging and rolling because she was certainly hollering up a storm.


I believed she was in good control of the situation but I certainly wondered why she remained on the porch instead of hunting down her offspring?


Oh. That’s why. The one that didn’t get away.

I had to go about my own business for a few hours. Mama Finch certainly didn’t need my interference again.

After dinner, I heard ruckus on the front porch and found this:


Where did everybody go?
It’s very poopy up here and I don’t like it.
Ok! Ok!
Ready or not…




Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Your retelling has me grinning ear to ear! In one of those pix I think mama is really giving you the evil eye.

Congrats on all of your wonderful anniversaries.

(sorry, but golf is lost on me...)

jason said...

LOL! Thank you, Mary. That had me rolling on the floor. How delightful and fun. Oh, but wait: How terrible of you to cause such a commotion. Shame on you... And thank you for sharing the whole experience with us. What a marvelous gift for your anniversaries.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Congrats on such a LONG married life. Good for you two. We also watched the Masters. Some of our company watched through closed lids but hey, they were entertained. Those finches might think twice about nesting in that spot again. Silly birds.

Ruth said...

Congratulation on your wedding anniversary, your smoke free anniversary, your almost here birthday and your wonderful house finch story.

Susan Gets Native said...

See what you get for CLEANING????? SEE????

Don't lose any sleep, dearie. They were ready to go. And that last one wasn't, yet.
I felt bad the other day that I cheated a Coop out of a Chickadee Dinner!
Loved looking at that FABO nest you made...remembered it from last year.
You are such a bird geek. I love it.

Happy anniversary, by the way! 34 years? That is only two years less than my WHOLE LIFE.
; )

Rose said...

It's hard to see the last child leave the nest...no matter what species you are. My youngest is still home and contemplating grad school in either California or Oregon next year--my God, what am I going to do???

Congratulations on your anniversary and another month of being smoke-free. Now just remember that too much housework can be dangerous for you:)

Dog_geek said...

Happy wedding anniversary, and happy smoke-free anniversary, and... well, it was time for those babies to leave the nest anyway!

NCmountainwoman said...

What a funny post! Congratulations on all the anniversaries!

Mary Lee said...

Oh, Mary...! So much to celebrate! Clean house, clean lungs...you go, Girl!

Have to say...you must have fabulous reflexes! Love Mama Bird's pictures. Looks like a hair-raising experience for her.

What fun!

KGMom said...

You are really hard on your birds. Aren't you the one who broke the swallows' nest? Hmmm?
Oh, I shouldn't remember that?
Well, if Mama finch forgives you, I will too.
And I will say--congrats. All those anniversaries! Wow. If you hung in there for 34 yrs. with Mr. No-Talking during the Masters, you will definitely make it with the smoking ;-)

Richard said...

Bad, bad Mary but congrats on your two anniversaries.

JeanMac said...

Belated happy anniversary. For the first time in my life, I watched the last hour of golf!

Dawn Fine said...

Oh my...hope the birdies are happy again.
Congrats on the anniversary.
You photos are lovely..

Anonymous said...

Oh my, Mary. She was one ticked off Mama. Totally giving you the stink eye! I guess you learned your lesson . . . cleaning house is just NOT worth it! :)

Sky said...

sounds like a lot was going on at your house! the thrill of that first solo flight - wow.

The Quacks of Life said...

aw bless.

House Finches are one of the great stories aren't they? is that the bird that was introduced in the east and has met up with the western population?

Jayne said...

Awwww... how sweet! I am sure they were ready to go, and maybe mom was there to thank you instead of scold? :c) Heck, if I'd have to live up there in all the poop, I'd be wanting them gone too!

Cindie Ulreich said...

This made me smile. Thanks for "confessing" it. And I agree that you are getting the evil eye in one of those pictures.

And Happy Anniversary!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Aw, Mary, if the fledglings flew that far and that strongly it was time. Don't be so hard on yourself. I've caused many a nest to explode around here, and after a while you have to figure if it blew, it was ready to blow.

We have a pair of phoebes this year, after two years without!! Whee! (They explode real bad).

Diane AZ said...

Your story and the expressions on Mama finch's face are priceless. Happy anniversaries!

Cicero Sings said...

Cute Easter doggy basket. I'm in the throes of deciding to get a puppy in May or in August. Hmmmm.

Happy anniversaries. I had a good laugh about the jelly beans ... read that part to D!

Not the most opportune time to be shaking the rug ... but I'm sure you redeem yourselves to the birds many times over in other ways ... ie ... food, food and more food ... cute nest sites ... !!!

Balisha said...

I have the same thing on my front porch. We tried to discourage them from building, but they are determined little buggers. Now here we are with 5 eggs in my wreath above and underneath is where we sit to enjoy the outdoors.

Tina said...

Wow! How best to celebrate all those anniversaries than to see/be part of a new life take to the air!! I believe they were ready to fly..but there is always just one who needs some xtra encouragement!! Great pics and wonderful little story.. enjoyed it all!

Kathie Brown said...

Happy wedding anniversary.
Happy smoke free anniversary!
Happy setting the babies free!

Wendy said...

Ah yes, that's what we get for cleaning! I often wonder what the neighbours think when I shake scatter rugs outside the front door. I rarely see anyone else doing this, so am I the only one? Do other's vacuum scatter rugs? Not likely, the vacuum would eat them up!

Congrats to your long and happy marriage! And to going 3 months without cigarettes!

Your pics are priceless!

Heidi said...

I can totally see me doing that... and feeling just as bad! That mama finch does look ticked... but they obviously could fly away, so just as well :) Pretty sure she'll forget too.

Happy anniversaries! Keep up the good work!

myonlyphoto said...

Ohhhhh so cute!
Anna :)

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

Happy Anniversary, Mary! That's hysterical! You've managed to start my day off right, rolling with laughter!

dguzman said...

Happy anniversary to you and your Guido! And happy non-smoker anniversary; that takes more work than the marriage!

Like Susan, I was going to say that those little ones were probably ready and just waiting for an excuse to take to the air. Love your pix of Mama. I love house finches!

Kathi said...

Congrats on being smoke-free!

And, don't freak out too bad about the nest. They don't fledge unless it's time, and mom and pop will soon gather them up and watch over them while they build up their flight muscles.

I caused a clutch of Mockingbirds to fledge by accidentally watering them. They were in my hanging basket, and I had carefully avoided the nest till that day. You want to hear ticked-off parent birds, try mockers! Boy, did I get an earful!


Dawn said...

Congrats on your wedding & smoke-free anniversary. You deserve the jelly-beans!

I love your story about the birds flying the nest. And your photos of the Mama and Baby are delightful.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Congratulations on continuing to be smoke free, Mary. Right now my daddy is SUFFERING after just having a lobe from his left lung and three ribs removed due to cancer. His prognosis is still not good, even though they think they got it all. I've thought about you often during this ordeal and was hoping you were hanging tough. Keep up the good work! It most definitely is not worth the risk.

Congratulations on your wedding anniversary too!


You had me on tenterhooks, Mary.

Happy Anniversary! :o)