On Sunday afternoons, especially in the winter, Clif and I like inviting friends over for tea. When the weather is cold, there is something so cozy about sitting around the dining room table as we chat, drink tea, and nibble on something I’ve baked.
Yesterday our friend Mary Jane came over. As I was getting ready, I looked out the kitchen window and saw a female cardinal at our feeder. I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my camera, and trotted to the bathroom, which has become a sort of bird blind. Slowly, slowly I opened the windows—there are two down in the winter—hoping I wouldn’t scare her away. Success!
Cardinals are relative newcomers to Maine. Even as recently as eleven years ago, we didn’t have cardinals in our backyard, and my mother, who died around that time, never did see one in Maine. I sure wish that she had lived long enough to see cardinals in our yard. I suspect that climate change has brought these lovely birds ever farther north, and if so, this is an example of it’s an ill wind that blows no good. We love having cardinals come to our feeder.
After taking pictures of Mrs. Cardinal, I returned to the kitchen to finish making my oatmeal squares and to get the table set for tea. Glancing out the dining room window, I saw a movement in the woods, a flock of turkeys picking their way through the trees. The dining room windows do not open easily. Could I get a good picture through the window? Turns out, I could. Not quite as crisp as the cardinal, but not too bad, especially when you consider the shot was taken through the window, and the turkeys were quite a distance away.
Turkeys are another newcomer to Maine. Or rather, they are a species that has been reintroduced. Twenty years ago, I did not see them in the woods behind my house. Between habitat loss and overhunting, turkeys had been wiped out in Maine. The technical term is extirpation, meaning that the species is not actually extinct, just no longer in an area. A cold word for a brutal act.
Well, the turkeys are back. Hunting is more controlled than it was in the old days, and Maine is actually more forested now than it was in the 1800s, proof that not everything is going to heck in a handbasket.
With all that excitement, it’s a wonder that I managed to bake the squares and set the table. But somehow, I did.
Mary Jane came over, and we had a wonderful chat. Clif and I even shared some poetry from From a Far Corner, a new book that we received from my friend Jerry George, who lives in East Machias, way up north by the Canadian border. But Mainers call it Downeast, a sailing term that sailors used to describe how they utilized downwinds to sail east from western ports. Downeast Maine is a beautiful, remote place that, believe it or not, is hospitable to poets and retirees. The cover of the book, taken by the talented Ray Beal, gives a good indication of the stark appeal of the area.
All in all, it was quite a Sunday.
38 thoughts on “Birds, Tea, and Poetry”
It was a lovely afternoon ! The treats were delicious and the conversation wonderful as always! Thanks for inviting me!
‘Twas our pleasure!
Sounds like a lot of fun and thanks for those pictures of birds you don’t often see in your part of the world.
A lovely way to spend a winter afternoon.
Congrats on your winter cardinals! We are overrun with turkeys in our yards and in woods this winter. We first remarked on ME warming when we saw grapevines!
Poetry, oatmeal squares, tea, bird watching and great company make it sound like a finest of days dear Laurie – so lovely to see a cardinal too! 🙂💖 xxx
What a great way to spend a winter afternoon, especially with some poetry in hand. Lovely to see Cardinals they are very striking birds.
Cardinals are beautiful birds. We so enjoy having them come to our backyard.
Sounds like a lovely Sunday. I just read a Cornell article about how the surge in bird feeding since the 80s may be enabling southern species to expand their ranges northward. Hard to know exactly what to account for it, but I imagine it is more than one thing. Habitat pressure has caused most species to decline. At least our feeders are a help during this harsh time of year.
Food for thought, so to speak. 😉
I am a fab of shooting through the window. It is easier than erecting a bird hide in the garden. 🙂
Sure is. Seems a little silly to use the bathroom as a bird-blind, but I have an awfully good view of the brown feeder and the yard from the bathroom. 😉
I shoot through the window fairly regularly. If the window is clean and I’m careful, it’s just as good as open air. Your photos were great. That book looks very interesting too. And I’m wondering if I can get the oat squares recipe…you have my email… 😉
Lisa, I will send you the recipe today. It’s from another blog, and I can send you the link. They have become my favorite squares to make. Simple, tasty, frugal. All things I love.
Lovely cardinal and delicious looking oatmeal squares. 🙂
Happy to see your lady cardinal! Our bathroom window also is the best spot for viewing the backyard birds. And those squares look extremely yummy!
You were on a bird safari, took photos and recorded your thoughts, and still managed to make oatmeal bars and to serve tea! Very good!! ( and never had to leave home, the best part, yes?)
You bet! I love it when birds come to me. I am what you might call a casual (or lazy) birder. 😉
You do such a good job of giving tribute to a full life!
An excellent day. The pictures repaid bigifying
Thanks for sharing your wonderful day and photos!🙂
my kind of Sunday! Lovely post=love Michele
Cardinals have a calmness that reminds me of UK robins and the same kind of striking beauty. We don’t have them here, more’s the pity. I saw my first flock of wild turkeys last year, ambling in a line across a 50 miles per hour road.
Cardinals are beautiful birds, and what a treat to have them in our backyard. Hope those turkeys made it safely across the road. Yikes.
I’m surprised that Cardinals are new to Maine. They are beautiful birds though, certainly one of my favorite songbirds.
I know! But I did not see them in Maine until I was an adult. A wonderful addition to our backyard birds.
Laurie, I loved seeing photos of your female cardinal. I’m so glad you got to see her at your feeder *and* get a clear photo. And turkeys! You have turkeys. You live in a beautiful place.
What a lovely description of your Sunday! How good to know you see more birds from your window now even with the help of climate change.
So far, so good! We still have plenty of winged visitors in our yard.
So warm and cozy. Oatmeal squares, tea, and birds. My kind of afternoon!
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