Toad in the Hole

March 10, 2005

Frog Shoes?

Open Toad, of course.

Time to come out of hibernation; we've had oh four days in a row with sun in 'em.

I'm enjoying how vices becone virtues. The damned old banksia rose is all clambering up and into the (second-story) kitchen window again, and yet another year has gone by that I didn't cut it back and wash the filthy window. It's a big window, over the sink, and the curtains need replacing too. But there are blooms on the rose already, and I almost don't have the heart to whack it when it's blooming where I can see it from the house. I get little enough pleasure out of the garden at eye level; let the second-story flowers bloom at least.

The decision was sealed the other day. We were eating breakfast in the dining room, and heard an odd, off-beat tapping. First thought: the mice were back. It wasn't the feeder rat at the water bottle; it wasn't the turtles knocking around in their pen; it certainly wasn't the snake; it was coming from the kitchen.

I tippytoed out there, and no, the tapping wasn't from under the sink where the mice had been before Joe stuffed the hole around the pipe with steel wool. Higher. Also, not on the sink cabinet's plywood: sharper.

It was coming from the window. A bushtit was hunting bugs in the rosevine, and now and then going after bugs in the cobwebby schmutz at the edge of the window. TAP tap tap. Very businesslike for a little gray bird... Wait, one bushtit? It must be breeding season. Spring. The rest of the time they run around in fluid little flocks, peeting to each other for contact and tracking, noshing on those little bugs that hide so well in the garden plants.

I have a fond hope that they might even nest in the rosevine. A bushtit's nest looks like a disreputable old ravelly gray wool sock, with a hole near the top. OK, that hope is fond in the old sense, foolish, but I have more remote hopes socked away in the fantasy attic. It'd be fun to watch.

And if I'd kept the windows clean and planted that rose somewhere it belonged -- instead of forgetting the gallon can in the space by the driveway long enough for the plant to root right through it -- we wouldn't be able to watch, from two feet away, little birds forage and pause for a friendly rap on the window.

Match that, Martha.

I was talking about bushtits and wrentits and titmice, um titmouses? the other day and Geoffrey Coffey asked why so many birds were named after tits. I answered and he put it on
his blog which is a pleasant compliment too.

Posted at March 10, 2005 06:33 AM


What I wonder is, are there any tits named after birds?

Posted by: Craig at March 10, 2005 09:51 PM

Well... Not mine, I'll tellya that.

Posted by: Ron at March 13, 2005 08:19 PM

Weren't you thinking of naming them "Rufus" and "Tawny"?

Posted by: Chris Clarke at March 14, 2005 07:47 AM