Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sunflower Days and Lavender Nights as Summer Delights

What a blessing to have my busy (jam-packed week) wiped clean save for a few delightful activities like a swim party with dear long-time friends – three generations worth!

Sheer relief!

My loving Father above knows that even in the amusements of life one must exit the roller coaster with flushed cheeks and racing heart seeking a cool quiet spot to sip refreshment and repair the body before the next big plunge.

These moments here with teacup in hand and gentle tunes filling the air soothe me. The heady fragrance of luscious lavender fills the air, lingering from yesterday’s task of stripping the dried lavender buds and placing them in a jar

for use in teas and tubs and tasty stews throughout the coming year.

Elizabeth’s deft hands gathered and dried and “put up” a goodly amount of my favorite herb/spice/elixir in this busy life.

The diligence of my daughter sitting at the table tasking away filled our home with a fragrance of beauty akin to the finest of spas. I fairly floated through my vacuuming and dish-washing duties, smiling all the while.

These days of heat and bright and busy can overwhelm me if I choose to let them.

But . . . I don’t.

One advantage of living life with a “special” child or two lies nestled in the rough-and-tumble pace of the unexpected – I see beauty in the tiniest of things, because I tune into the mere hints of change. God has given our family the task of remaining lithe and deft toward the portend of change. Whereas another parent may not even hear the gentle sound of a strained breath, I know that signals the first stage of overload for my sensitive son.

The rest of our family hears it too, though our guests remain completely unaware of the communication that we receive loud and clear.

This well-developed sensitivity lends a depth to my gentle life here at Wisteria Cottage that allows me to rejoice though I cannot run free and wild along the World’s highways and by-ways tasting and seeing with abandon as so many may do. (I may add that once-upon-a-time I begged the Lord for “normal” in so many areas of my life in which I now thank Him that He did not erase the “special” at my request. Wisdom grows with time . . . sometimes.)

My battles with “The Way Things Are” versus "The Way I Wish They Were" will surely never abate entirely, as evidenced by the Baby Birdie event these past few days. I know that nature has its own rules and customs, but sometimes they clash so with the gentleness it has seemingly cloaked itself within as it slipped into my life in the bodies of loving kitties and gentle song-filled birdies.

What does one do when one finds that their two playful and oh-so loving kitties have discovered a feathered football? To and fro the frightened little ball of fluff flew, unable to fly or flee, caught in a game most natural for cats. Enter one princess to the rescue: Elizabeth scooped up the baby bird and brought it inside. Though it looked dead, she knew life still fluttered his feathers and she set about making a “nest” for him. We tried and discarded boxes of various sizes; since he had regained his vigor and flitted furiously, we knew the “nest” would require fortress-high walls. Thus I dove into the “gift bag” cupboard and emerged with just the right fit. A fleecy kitchen towel bunched just so completed the outfit. Now for some food and water . . . hmmmmmm . . .? The tiniest dropper from the chemistry set, a glass of water, and a mushy plum served via retractable pickle fork rounded out the menu. And so another “experiment” commenced here at The learning Kingdom.

I feared choking the tiny one with such uncontrolled portions of plum flesh, but Elizabeth’s steady hand and eye satisfied his gaping mouth and he finally settled down to sleep. A clothespin at the top of the gift sack prevented escape while allowing plenty of fresh air. His day ended, but our prayers continued.

Next morning, “peeping” and gaping mouth greeted the day as the little one had survived. Elizabeth returned him to the “wild” from whence he had come, but our playful kitties showed up for another game of toss across. NOT! The furred ones earned a time out (though they had no idea the offense) and the rescue mission continued as the frightened little bird sat mute and stunned. Slowly he opened his eyes and let out a “PEEP!” Instantly two parent birds swooped to the foot of the redwood, which housed the fragile nest, and began searching for Junior. “PEEP!” he cried again, and the family reunion commenced. The adult birds fluttered and flapped, imploring the youth to join them. He tried. He failed. Those baby-bird feathers just would not hold him aloft. And so they set about feeding him and coaxing him to a safe haven.

Truly amazed, we watched in near disbelief as the parents worked long and hard to keep their baby safe. This parental dance erased that long-held notion that if we touched the baby it would be rejected by its parent. Instead, we saw otherwise. This baby birdie had slumbered in a gift bag in Elizabeth’s room, having been handled often and fed most unorthodoxly, and still the mamma came to reclaim her child. My heart stirred, tears welled. I watched in awe. Then I left the little family alone as I returned to care for my own.

Toward dusk Gary and I walked out to visit the chickens and toss in some gnawed cobs of corn (the #1 favorite snack in chickenland). All of a sudden Gary took off running! I called out for an explanation, but then saw Mr. Darcy cat engaging in toss-the-tot once again. Oh NO! That birdie babe had fallen under attack again. I scooped the athletic cat and remanded him to Rachel’s arms for depositing in the garage for the second time in a day. Gary scooped up the feathered tyke and removed him to a safe haven outside the confines of our designated gardens. I scanned the trees and much to my surprise I spotted Mr. and Mrs. Bird once again calling out and searching for Junior. AMAZING!

We left the feathered family to deal with the pressing matter and I set out to find Mr. Bingley, currently away at play elsewhere.

As twilight fell I danced in the gardens calling for the errant kitty. I marveled over the prodigious output of the gardens. I nibbled rosy orbs of tomato heaven (still warm from the newly set sun), I remarked on each new budding rose in the recurring flush of blossoms, and I danced with delight under one of my mimosa trees and its first flush of blossoms after nearly nine years of nurturing.

The once 3-inch-high sprig gifted to me as a housewarming present so long ago has finally attained maturity. What joy!

A familiar rustling in the leaves alongside our teahouse interrupted my dance and brought me ‘round the corner with a smile and a set of welcoming arms for Mr. Bingley.

“What Ho!” I stopped cold. “A striped coat of black and white Mr. Bingley does not own!”

I gently backed away from the flaring tail that now pointed precisely in my direction. On muted footfalls (hard to do when one has selected clippity flip-flops before entering the gardens for a stroll) I backed gingerly down the pathway, over the bridge, and onto the main lawns. Mr. Stinker decided I posed little threat this time, but scurried away under the Wendy House just to be sure. I ran the other direction without a polite farewell.

Whew! Close call! Once Gary received TWO DROPS of skunk spray on his jeans and I had to throw them away – unbelievable odor!!! I had chosen shorts for today's togs – bare legs cannot be merely tossed. Oooooh I shudder to think of testing the “tomato juice” cure.

Later when Mr. Bingley came to my second calling I shut him up in the garage post haste – stunned and confused, the poor guy had no idea why he deserved such abrupt treatment. But forgiveness flows freely from that perpetually purring one.

This morning we checked for the baby birdie and found no sign of him or his parents. I know God has his eye on the little guy and I need no longer worry.

As for the striped lodger . . . ? He will be treated to a blaring radio in the hopes that he will move along to another address elsewhere . . . far, far away, I pray.

Lastly, I must apologize to Mr. Squirrel for my recent dressing down over his gluttonous demeanor in my strawberry bed. I fear I have mistaken one bushy tale for another. *sigh*

And so it goes around here.

What summertime adventures have you to share?


scrappy quilter said...

Beautiful words my friend. You have such a great way with words...they speak volumes and are so encouraging. I'm reminded as I read this that one of my "baby birds" is flying the coop, at least in part. The transition has been difficult, however I need to remind myself that He alone is my source of strength.

I love reading your blog...it's such an encouragement to me. Hugs..

Linda said...

I don't know how you do it. You can take the everyday situations of life and weave a tale of delight!

We were watching the birds tease the cats last night. They would fly and swoop over the cat's heads. They would fly from every direction, and the poor cats couldn't figure out where they were coming from, or where they were going. The birds were really having fun playing 'Catch me, if you can!' The birds won!

Earlier in the spring, we had 'cousins' of your Mr. Stinky. We think it was a Mrs. Stink looking for a nesting site. She wanted to be in my hubby's shop. He 'smelled' the evidence of her when he went out one morning.

He went on the internet to see what could discourage her choice of a 'potential home'. He found out that they don't like the high pitched sound of 'Rodent' devices. I had a couple, so he took them out to the shop, and plugged them in. The next morning, she had gone, but left her lingering fragrance. She then headed for the nice wood (read junk) pile he has, so he plugged the device in outside, after making sure the doors were closed tightly.

Mrs. Stinky left this 'unfriendly' neighborhood, at least for this year.

Thank you for allowing me, and I'm sure, the rest of your readers to see the good in our lives.

Blessings to you, dear friend.

jojo said...

Beautiful post. There are many miracles to be found along the garden path..;p

Cloudhands said...

I am always delighted to read your reflections and note how you have come to view the world close to home. You express the sheer joy of knowing you are a beloved child of God and I am blessed as I read. It doesn't hurt that you have a delicious sense of humor either.

Joyce said...

Good afternoon, Debbie,

I enjoyed my glimpse into all your family's busy activities.

I have never thought of using lavender in cooking. Hmmm....It's good?

Isn't it true that the Lord knows just what we need, even the special things that we never thought we would want. He is so good, and so wise.

Thanks for coming to visit my blog, too.

Karen Deborah said...

What a lovely visit. I could smell the lavender, smile back at Elizabeth, and Lydia too. Where was Miss Rachel Kaye for all the doins?
We had a baby bird incident too and also noticed the mom doesn't care at all if we had touched the baby. It was impossible to find the nest. Those little guys that hop out too are often kitty nerf balls.
Just the way of nature.
Close call with the striped stinker!
Heather found out that hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dawn dish soap work well. Axel tangled with a skunk and got a full in the face spray. Hopefully he learned not to do that again.
As for the rest of our summer escapades I think your current, except you may want to see the lovely loaf of bread I baked today.

Tricia said...

I LOVE it when God sees fit to clear the schedule. Often serves as a nice reminder of how He wants me to live. Praying that you get the refreshment you need this week. God bless.

Werna Gail said...

I knew I could count on your for an interesting tale,with a little humor tossed in....Trust all is going well for you. We have been a little out of the loop for the past few weeks. Much prayer is needed right now.

Kat said...

I too thought that if you touched a baby bird the parents would not come back to it. Just recently a brand new baby bird fell out of a nest from our bushes. My boys found it and were beside themselves. Luckily, the hubby ingeniously thought to very gently pick the baby up with salad tonges and put it back in his nest. It worked! We were thrilled.

So glad to hear you are all about saving animals too. :)

Beautiful post!

Elizabeth said...

We've had no experiences with any baby birds, but my own babies keep me busy...We've no adventures with Mr. Stinker, however I have a few stinkers of my own to keep me running...:)

Have a wonderful day and thanks for the visit (you are wonderful, I hope you know) :)

Britt-Arnhild said...

What a beautiful, lovey and aso bittersweet tale from The Wisteria Cottage.
And I can glimpse a Norwegian t-shirt :-)

An email will soon be on its way.

imbeingheldhostage said...

What a great little escape you just gave me. I held my breath through the baby bird story (yea!!) and a skunk-- how fun for you ;-)
Lovely post. Hugs from a wet country (statement, not a complaint).