Goldfinches return–it must be spring!

Goldfinch enjoying nyger seed at our backyard feeder.

Goldfinch enjoying nyger seed at our backyard feeder.

Dave filled our bird feeders to the top last weekend.  What perfect timing!   We have two–one for the sparrows and chickadees and one for the finches–and chickadees as well.   The squirrels are foiled by the sparrow bird feeder–they really cannot get onto or into that model! It is smooth all over and the lid screws down tight, so they are flummoxed.  It isn’t easy to flummox a squirrel.  They may be rodents, but they would take over the world if they could figure out how to cross a street.  Some of the seed invariably drops to the ground, for the enjoyment of pigeons, mourning doves and other ground feeders.

Our long wire mesh feeder is filled with nyger (a kind of thistle) seed.  The individual seed is tiny, but doesn’t fall out of the feeder easily.  The top of this feeder also screws down tightly, so the squirrels hang on it and can pull out seeds, but cannot dig into it.  Wednesday we saw a pair of goldfinches on the feeder. The iridescent golden yellow of the male, the subtler yellow brown of the female–hooray!  That is the whole reason I bought that feeder.  After reading in the local paper a few years ago that if I put out a thistle feeder, goldfinches would come, I had to have one.  Just like the baseball field of movie legend, the promise came true.  By the middle of summer we will have three or four goldfinch couples feeding in our yard.  Somehow they work a deal with the squirrels, because we see our furry neighbors as well.

The robin’s nest in our flowering crab out front still has the robin’s nest from last year.  We don’t know if they return to the same nest.  I’ve heard the robins outside, but don’t know when to expect them to start raising a family.  We were surprised they nested right by the front door last spring, other than the fact there are just the two of us, Dave and I, coming and going most of the time.

Spring is everywhere, in the midst of strong winds and the threat of snow on Monday.  What would April be if we didn’t get snow?  The crocuses are pushing through the bricks, the morning glories are sprouting.  Tulips have shoots and the crab tree has buds. Our honeysuckle is greening up as well.  With so many windows in our house, I can track hourly the growing of shoots and buds!  There are some advantages to growing older–having time to pay attention to details.

Yesterday we went to the park with our grandsons. We grilled some brats and hot dogs, much appreciated by all.  We ate too many potato chips–the reason we never buy them except for special occasions.  Boys are amazing–climbing, running, jumping, digging.  They had a great time, as did we.  If felt good to feel the sun on our backs.

Later on all of us gathered at Jen and Rich’s house for a hamburger cookout.  This get-together opened the season of fun times together for celebrating lots of birthdays and special occasions.  The Cousins–Julia, Andrew and Beck–ran from back to front, playing, digging, kicking balls, performing a “show.”  It is always gratifying to see everyone together again.

Three cheers for the grass, the trees, the flowers and the growing of children and family bonds.  Renewal abounds!


An old wedding dress…

Julia with her fancy "up do"

I have been involved in “e-tailing” for almost four years now.   I own and operate three virtual stores.  One of these stores markets antique and vintage items.   While checking out the competition recently, I focused on the category of used wedding gowns.  The ones that sold fetched good prices.

Vintage clothing is not a category in my shop.  I have an “accessories section” for leather gloves from my mother and aunt and some vintage scarves I’ve collected over the years.  I wore scarves wrapped around my head as headbands or ponytail adornments in the 1970s and tied in fancy bows or knots around my neck in the 1980s.   Otherwise, I never keep clothing, except for the lovely satin wedding gown up in our attic.  It has been in the family since 1942.

My mother chose this dress it for her wartime wedding that year, and my sister and I chose it for our weddings in 1968.   However, my niece and daughters did not want to wear it for their 1990, 1999 and 2000 weddings.

My 8-yr old granddaughter, Julia, spent the day at our house this past Monday because her school had a “non-pupil contact day.”  I told her about the dress while I looked through old pictures to use in listing the item.   She looked at wedding pictures of my mother, my sister and me in the dress, and then pictures of her mother and her aunt in their wedding gowns.

She wondered aloud why her mother and her aunt did not want to wear the shiny satin gown with a sweetheart neckline, rucked  (fabric sewn into folds) bodice, long tight sleeves and a cathedral train.   I explained that they wanted different kinds of weddings than the older generations did.   “Oh, I can see that,” as she explained the differences she had noticed between our formal church weddings and  the smaller gatherings in an old historic home for her mother and a city park for her aunt.

After a pause, she wistfully commented that it was nice when things were passed down.  I asked her if she wanted the dress and she softly answered, “Yes.”  I quickly replied, “I will save the dress for you. It is yours.  Do you want to see it?”  Oh yes, she did!   I took her up to the bedroom and flipped opened the window of the “acid free chamber” in the box where the gown has been stored since I had it cleaned and  preserved.  I explained the fabric was called a “blush” satin because it was originally white, but turned a cream color over time.

When I said, “Grandpa will put this right back in storage,” she smiled a big smile, then added,  “I won’t be getting married for a long, long time.”

So, I’m not selling the dress, for all the right reasons!