Resolution: Keep the Feeder Full

On Friday, December 27, 2019, I filled my bird feeder for the first time in four months.

These past four months have been beyond difficult. We returned home from a blessedly relaxing vacation on August 31, and things fell apart the very next day.

This fall, my family has experienced two very serious health crises; September 1 marked the beginning of an extremely rough time. For six weeks, I spent about half my time traveling back and forth to northern New Jersey to help with things there. After that, an illness closer to home kept me here, taking care of one while simultaneously feeling guilty about leaving my family “up north” behind.

And just as things began to settle down, we emptied our entire home into the basement, the garage, and a storage pod so some long-overdue renovations could be completed; we lived in an extended-stay hotel for 2 1/2 weeks.

On Saturday, finally, I loaded my brand-new bookcases with books I hadn’t laid eyes on since early November.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

All this to say: My bird feeder has been sorely neglected. I was barely keeping up with work. I took shortcut after shortcut when it came to meals, and the laundry got done, but when I sat down at 7:30 to relax with a book, I’d be snoring on the couch within 15 minutes. I had no bandwidth left for birds, or anything else.

We’re back in the house. My loved ones are still feeling the effects of those health crises, but things are improving for them all the time.

My bookshelves are full, and so is my bird feeder. I’ve missed taking those five minutes to fill that up. I’ve missed seeing the sparrows, cardinals, and house finches nibbling at the birdseed. I’ve missed hearing the birds gleefully begin to chirp when I approached the feeder with cups of seed in my hands. In all the necessary rushing around, I’ve missed those moments.

Four months is a long time to let a feeder go unfilled. That 5-star bird feeder rating that I’ve worked years to achieve is not mine to claim right now. But I hope that by the time the juncos return to herald the winter snow, the neighborhood birds will have discovered that my feeder is open for business.

This New Year, I’m resolving to keep the feeder full. Because it feeds me, too.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz

The Groundhog was Wrong

I knew all along that it would be an early spring. How can that groundhog avoid seeing his shadow with all those lights for the TV cameras?

It certainly feels like spring this weekend. Monday’s igloo that was built by Middle Sister, Boy Next Door, and Big Brother collapsed on Friday and there’s not a trace of it left, save for the sand-diggers and small shovels strewn around the front yard.

We’ve got the windows open and I am listening to the birds sing. I spent 20 minutes already today on, trying to figure out what bird woke me up this morning. I never saw the bird, but his call goes “whistle whistle, twit twit twit twit twit.” He whistles twice and twits at least 3 times, and each time, he adds a few. Then he gets quiet and starts all over again. Yes, I am compelled to count how many twits each time. So if you have a clue about this bird, I’d be so grateful.

We saw two robins in the yard this morning, and the kids wore shorts yesterday.

AND we’ve already had our “spring ahead” on the clock. So it must be spring. So there, groundhog!

Who’s Visiting the Bird Feeder?


This week I’ve seen a huge increase in the number and variety of birds visiting the feeder outside my front window. Since I moved it away from the lilac bush, the squirrel hasn’t been able to jump onto the feeder and empty it. But there have been plenty of birds:
blue jay
purple finch
mourning dove (they eat what drops on the ground)
robin (not at the feeder, but in the yard)

And I’ve heard the mockingbird singing, but I haven’t caught sight of him yet.