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self portrait - circa 1996


Planting Fall Seeds

repurposed steel bucketThe birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other wildlife have begun to plant a harvest, the harvest that will take them through the next season. We plant in the spring, they plant in the fall. There are freshly dug holes one to three-inches in diameter all around our home and seeing those holes makes me think of all the tiny hands or bird bills that dug them. I realized that they were engaged in a vitally necessary activity that put them in peril, because while their eyes are focused on their task predator eyes are watching.

Last Sunday as I walked around our home, I took my finger and gently prodded the tamped dirt looking for the hidden treasure and just under the surface of the soil I found a clump of seeds that a chipmunk had pushed out of its pouches and a single acorn that a perhaps a blue jay had buried; a nearby chipmunk began his soft “cluck, cluck” warning call scolding me for disturbing its cache. I wondered if they get dirt under their nails.

One of the containers I have used about 30 years to haul birdseed and provisions to the many feeding stations around our home is a metal, 5-gallon All Laundry Soap bucket. In this day of reduced packaging materials, this handsome bucket would have “greenies” screaming “excessive!”  It is probably from the 1950’s, is made out of galvanized steel and it has a metal handle with turned-wood handle grip. Given how long it has lasted in various stages of re-purpose, and will continue to be of service for decades to come, maybe it's rather green afterall.

As I filled and cleaned-up the debris around the feeders I felt comfort in knowing that the wildlife will probably survive another winter season because of the substance that we provide. Dale Sawyer (one of our earliest employees at J.J. Cardinal’s) once told me, “Mother Nature sows her seeds in the fall.” Yes, they do…yes she does.

Louise Dawson
on behalf of the the Naturalists at J.J. Cardinal’s

"The best gift is the one that includes a part of self."


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J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store ®
12830 S. Saginaw St., Grand Blanc, MI  48439  810-695-8733
09/22/10 illustrations, text & fun © J.J. Cardinal's 1992-2010
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