Saturday, December 11, 2010

The little things do count.

In the winter of 1983-84 the state of Iowa saw the 10th highest snowfall in a winter season, a total of 57 inches. This also happened to be my first winter in the state. My roommate Nancy and I lived in a trailer park near the Skunk River on the very southern edge of Ames Iowa. Nancy was a graduate student at Iowa State University and over the winter break she was flying home to Seattle to plan her upcoming June wedding. Her last words to me as she went out the door were, don’t let the pipes freeze and keep the bird feeder full.

The feeder hung in a 10 foot tall maple tree, growing in the grass strip between our trailer and the neighboring trailer. The feeder must have been the talk of the bird world in Ames; it did a brisk business, patrons waiting for their turn in the branches of the tree.

I was working a split shift at a Pizza Hut about a mile up the road. I went in at 10a.m and worked till 1p.m., then back for the dinner shift from 4pm to 7pm. I made a habit of checking the bird feeder when I came home from the lunch shift. Even though I kept the feeder full, from time to time the wind and cold would be too much for the smaller birds, I found their tiny little body’s in the drifts up against the trailer.

I have to admit, some days it was all I could do to force myself to check and fill the feeder. I walked to and from work, four times a day six days a week. Some days I just wanted to get inside, put my feet up and get warm!

On Christmas Eve I came home after the lunch shift to find a bag of wild bird seed, adorned with a red ribbon, a note attached, leaning against the door of the trailer. The Note read, “Thank you for thinking of our feathered friends, even on the coldest days.”

So to all my friends who are donating to food drives, toys for tots, taking used blankets and towels to animal shelters, dropping 50 cents into the Salvation Army bell ringers kettle, or keeping the feeder full, thank you, every little bit helps.

Pine cone bird feeder, remember these??

Big pine cone

Bird seed

Crisco shortening

String for hanging


Put some bird seed on the plate. Tie the string on the end of the pine cone. Slater on the Crisco. Roll the cone in the bird seed. Hang the cone and watch the birds feast!

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