Ian took this nice photo of the Tinpalace from the back when he and Julie were here a couple of weekends ago. My flowers on the bumper are overflowing now.
After several days of hot weather, which occasioned sitting in the garden, migrating with the shade, getting sunburnt, spraying myself with water, slinging a wet hand towel around my neck and wearing a shocking lack of clothing (my apologies to the neighbours!) it finally cooled yesterday. We woke at 6:00 am to the patter of rain on the roof. Is there a more lovely sound?
Yesterday two pairs of sparrows brought the youngsters out for dinner. The kids, five to a brood, were mobbing their respective parents, with gaping mouths and the "shaking wing" bit that says, "FEED ME!".
The parents brought the kids to the feeder, put seeds in the little open beaks a time or two to show them what was available, and then began pecking the bejabbers out of any baby that begged. Talk about your tough love!
One little male was insistent that his mama should feed him. She chased him all over the driveway, giving him such a thwacking. He soon decided to investigate the menu rather than risk tenderization at the hands of a very irritable mother. (Having raised a house and yard full of hungry kids I can tell you that some days you feel like doing just that.)
Within a couple of hours no one was begging, it was every chick for himself, and they are an industrious lot, though the babies are so small they are almost hidden by the inch-high grass under the feeder. At first glance they look almost the size of the parents, but they are primarily fluff and feathers at this point. The little bodies beneath are so delicate, nothing like their temperament I might add.
Years ago Zak discovered a newly hatched sparrow which had fallen from an inaccessible nest. It was a brutally hot day. Zak got some whipping cream from the fridge - he was working at a restaurant at the time - and fed the sparrow chick whipping cream with an eyedropper. It was fine when I came to pick him up. We bought birdy pablum and raised the darn thing, but it never learned to recognize us. It was a fundamentally pessimistic soul who was sure we were there to eat it every time one of us came through the door. I fed it at 20 minute intervals all day, and Zak fed it at 20 minute intervals once he was home from work.
In the three weeks it took to fledge it never learned to recognize us, or to open its mouth for food. We would load the flat stick we used to feed it, hover, wait for it to scream "Murder most FOWL!", then we'd shove in the food. It would swallow and give us a look that would have been right at home on the face of a T-Rex.
When it got old enough to eat seed and was flying around the room in wild panic every time anything moved we took it to the park and let it go. I hope it survived. Like the sparrow mother, I was at the end of my rope with this miserable, lunk-headed kid.
Today it's raining steadily. It's cool enough for a long sleeved shirt and jeans. Sal has slept for two days, after panting his way through the hot spell. I felt so badly for him. I couldn't do anything to cool him. I squirted him with water, but his coat is so thick his skin never gets damp. I did watch his face and ears repeatedly with a cool wet cloth, which he enjoyed. But he's all fluffy now, as a result of a sort of "washing" he got from being wet several times over with a cloth or the hose.
We don't need that air conditioner today, and probably won't this week, as the forecast is for cool weather, but when it does turn hot we won't be so ill-prepared.