Saturday, May 4, 2013

A wonderment in the midst of blue

Hayter Get-together 

ROOFTOP – Okay, before you get situated, I’d like you to turn slowly and face the backyard. Slowly! If just one of you falls, it could start a chain reaction the results of which would end up being a pile of elbows and rear ends down there in the hedge. Stuff like that doesn’t just happen to lemmings, you know?

    All right, now look beyond the oaks to the small field of bluebonnets. Yes, they’re beautiful, but that’s not what you’re looking for. Do you see it? There, that speck of red. Yep, it’s a poppy. Kay sowed a bunch of seeds out there in the fall. And, that’s what we’ve got to show for it – a lone red poppy in a healthy clump of bluebonnets.

Looks cool, doesn’t it? More of ‘em may bloom in late spring, early summer. If so, the flowers only last about two weeks. That’s not nearly enough bloom time, you ask me. Even if this is the first and last of the flowers, when seen amongst all the blue it’s still a worthwhile sight. A wonderment, even.

You wanna know what’s weird? I’ll tell you what’s weird. We have never been able to grow anything in that little patch back there. Weeds aren’t even that crazy about it. But, bluebonnets thrive on the plot. If I were to try to fertilize or water it, the bluebonnets would disappear. Weird plant. The blooms are on the wane, but still beautiful. 

Hold it! I don’t want anybody chasing that piece of dandelion fluff that’s drifting past us here. It’s tempting, I know. But, if you reach for it, you’re going to end up following it over the roof. Then we’ve got the whole lemming going again.

Boy, if you had been here Saturday, you would’ve seen a yard full of Hayters. And, you would’ve feasted on a couple of smoked pork shoulder butts. I didn’t know pigs had shoulder butts. I knew they had shoulders and butts, but not a shoulder butt.  There’s at least one butcher in town who seems to think they do. Anyway, I served pulled pork and link sausage sandwiches. No one complimented me on the meal, but some of ‘em wrestled for the leftovers.

A tribe of cannibals in Papua New Guinea compliment the cook by belching loudly after the meal. The Hayters show their appreciation by taking all the leftovers.

The get-together reinforced my belief that I would’ve been a bad father. There were four young grand nieces and nephews running around down there. Each wanted someone to play ball with. Trouble is, not a one of ‘em could throw worth spit. They’d grab the ball and throw it over your head or in the bushes or down the driveway.

I don’t have the patience for stuff like that. Grandpa Big Al sure does. Grandparents will do stuff with grandkids that they never dreamed of doing with their children. Just beats all I ever saw. I just sat in the lawn chair, sipped my coffee and watched. Do you think any of those little bad ball-throwing youngsters will remember their Uncle Mark? – “Oh, yeah. He’s the one who wouldn’t play with us. Is he still alive?” -- Sad. Not sad enough to get me off my shoulder butt, though.

Okay, enough of that. We can now turn and face the front yard. I want you to look at the birds around the feeder. They’re goin’ nuts down there. I used to put out “wild birdseed” or “seeds for wild birds.” (I’ll let the grammarians sort that one out.) Anyway, the birds around here don’t care two hoots for seeds that are non-sunflower. They just pick through all the little round tan seeds and grab the sunflower seeds. Just like me with a can of mixed nuts. As soon as I’ve picked out all the cashews, I’m at my wit’s end. Brazil nuts? What’s that all about?

Yes, the sunflower and cashew seem to be the seeds of preference around here. Oh, that and suet cakes. Those go pretty fast in the winter. The woodpeckers particularly love ‘em. Kay says they like it during the winter because it’s a provides a source of fat. Fat is apparently good for cold birds and Eskimos. Not so good for people who live in the South. 

Still, suet cakes look fairly appetizing to me. You pour a little syrup on one of ‘em, and I might just take a bite. End up chirping like a gnatcatcher. That’s the name of a bird I ran across on the Internet. Creamy bellied gnatcatcher. Eats tuna. (I made that part up.)

And speaking of honeybees, I saw six of ‘em last week. May have been the same two bees on three different occasions. They had the same features. Small, chubby, torso stubble, short wings. I couldn’t pick ‘em out of a lineup. – “Mr. Hayter, which bee did you see on the petunia?” – “I’m not sure. Could you get number four to turn sideways?”

Bottom line? Honeybees are rare around here. There are blooms aplenty, but few bees to appreciate ‘em. Maybe they’re waiting for the poppies to bloom. Kay said that she planted corn poppies, not opium. I didn’t even know corn had poppies. I knew Kellogg had Corn Pops, but…

No, I don’t know much. I’m just a guy sitting on a roof tempted to pour syrup on a suet cake. Hey, you were thinking it, too. Don’t say you weren’t. – Later.


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