Submitted by Art & Barb Straub
The once handsome figure caught the attention of many entering the LeSueur Library parking lot. A grandpa and granddaughter shared many a chuckle as their snowperson took shape on the curb’s edge on Christmas Eve. Golf club arms, cocky hat, carrot nose and eyes and sporty colored buttons attracted many a passerby. By Christmas evening, a grundy sagging stomach, frozen hat, and veggie nose and eyes were lying in the sodden snow, while rusty tilted golf clubs were sad remnants of the proud snowster.
Jerry Gilman’s weather prognostications for the weekend were almost spot-on; only the arrival time of the freezing rain was a few hours off. (Hey, it’s a big state!) Sunday eve, clacking, ice-coated glistening branches and a roaring wind high in the treetops bore tribute to Jerry’s accuracy. How does he do it?
The crestfallen snowperson tempted one to take photos of the pathetic figure in the rain late Christmas Day. (See picture) As we did so, with wind blown moisture coating the camera, we noted a bird ‘working’ the blue spruce trunk behind said sad white figure. Sure enough, a little brown creeper, in full camouflage, was maneuvering itself around and up the brown-barked tree, searching fruitlessly for insect eggs. Are we addicted to this bird? We suppose so, in that we see them so infrequently. Bear with us. Moving with jerky motions, they fly to the base of a tree, make close circular foraging inspections under the bark, and after reaching lower branches of the evergreen, drop down and repeat the action. Suet and peanut butter are special treats when natural food is scarce. Scrunch the suet into miniscule bits, making the yummy treat more accessible.
Yes, it’s expensive, but suet attracts all manner of creatures to its life sustaining energy. One expects many species of
woodpeckers to the treat; downys, hairys, nuthatches, pileateds, red-bellieds, and even the over-wintering northern flicker. But surprise, surprise! Madam Red-tailed Hawk made her appearance the very first time suet dropped from its tree mooring onto the earth. She arrives at dawn, and makes numerous forays throughout the day, sometimes accompanied by a male companion. One would think that all other creatures would leave the area upon her arrival, fearing her sharp talons, razor sharp beak and glaring demeanor. Yet, squirrels of three species feed within a yard of her ominous body, and we’ve yet to view her taking one for a meal!!! In addition, Cooper and sharp-shinned hawks have not been a problem molesting smaller birds. Hawkeye looks with disdain upon the small birds like American tree sparrows, juncos and the like. Odds bodkins!
Has anyone discovered a squirrel-proof bird feeder? We thought we had the answer a couple of years ago, but the toothy long-tails, like the black squirrel in the photo, discovered the so-called impervious plastic cap was just that, plastic. Over Christmas, Tom and LaDonna Bender have enabled us with the newest version of said feeder. With an all-metal frame, it is equipped with everything but an electrical current, barbed wire and a voice that says, “Get lost!” Previous feeders of its kind have a plastic inner tube, which holds the birdseed. IF the birdseed gets old, woodpeckers will poke holes in the plastic to obtain the insects in the soggy birdseed. There goes another feeder! Keep the birdseed dry.
Wishing you the very best in the year, 2017, as we, a people united, sort our way through this challenging period of history.