Warmer than normal

Ah spring. The Blue Jays are starting to courtship feed each other, instead of terrorizing the small birds and stealing their lunch money. Mourning Dove males have begun beating the snot out of their females. Birds of peace, dontcha know. And the Henbit is growing with such enthusiasm, it’s practically begging for a spritz of 2, 4-D.

We’re a month ahead of schedule this year. It’s been 80 degrees a couple of times already since late February and my fruit trees are in full bloom, right on time for a killing freeze that will insure that no plums or pears will be had this year. Just like last year and the year before. The stupid trees seem to be enthusiastic supporters of the earlier the better philosophy of blooming, and miss it every dang time. Ma Nature is a mean old crab.

Also, the whole Doves as symbols of peace is a load a bird poop from my point of view. Mourning Dove males start chatting up and pursuing females as soon as warmer temperatures start showing up. At first, it’s just stalking the female and being everywhere she is, along with the mysterious phone calls late at night. Soon they start bumping into and crowding their intended victims, and shortly after that, the pecking and wing beating begins. They end up hounding the females to the point that I’ve been tempted to open a home for abused females of the Dove tribe. I looked online for information from other birdie weirdos, to see if they are seeing the same things that I am in my backyard. Nope, nothin’. Just waxing lyrical about the gentle dove and cooing and, I don’t know. Am I supposed to believe these anonymous fan boys on the web, or my lying eyes?

Or maybe I have some weird strain of Muslim Mourning Doves. With everything wacky in the world today, it wouldn’t be a stretch of your cognitive processes to ponder the possibility. I’m dropping a lot of “p’s” on you there, so you know it’s got to be semi legit. It also occurred to me that living in the sticks, miles from anywhere, with only a dog and cat to talk to has skewed my rational thinking to the point of anthropomorphizing about birds that like to beat  their mates, maybe converting to a religion that endorses that kind of thing, claiming “no it’s a peaceful beating.” That was a mouthful and nah, I’m not seeing it. However, the old saying, “just cause you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you” seems to have a bit more validity as the daze days go by.

While the dog is good company, he really doesn’t hold up his end of the conversation when we get to chatting. Sure, he’ll howl on command and he likes singing with his wild cousins in the wee hours of the morning, but with me, nothing but a bit of whining when he hears the salted nut can getting opened. He’s got a thing for a big ugly nut I don’t care for. Last summer we gave him an antler that we found on our North pasture. Oh man, he was in disbelief that such a fine piece of happy good times was being offered to him, and that old question of “who’s a good boy” had just been answered. Sure, horse hooves and cat turds are fun and all, but an antler was the Skoal Wintergreen of a dog’s chewing pleasure. Immediately after getting it in his mouth, a new game was created. Rhino Tag, where the pointy end of the antler gets to tag you, most often in the uncomfortable zone, after which, checking to see if blood was drawn, you chase the dog around the kitchen table. Much growling and other such nonsense occurs until finally, the boom is lowered by She Who Must Be Obeyed. The dog and I retreat to our respective corners, but end up making faces at each other until one of us can’t stand it anymore and we are off again. Good times, good times until the rolling pin comes out.

Ole Sweet Pea had chewed his antler down to the nubs, and the other day, I had procured a new antler  and thought this would solve the “nothing to chew on but the cat” argument we’d been having. I called him over to me and whipped out the surprise from behind my back. He stood there, wide eyed but confused, holding the old one tight in his mouth and nosing the new one. He’s got a big mouth, when he yawns, his jaws open like a hippopotamus, with plenty of room for the new antler, with deer attached, but that only works when you are willing to unclench your teeth from your favorite chew toy. Being that I have opposable thumbs and all, I was able to conjure a way for him to solve his dilemma. Pry his stubborn double German jaws apart, grab out the old stub and insert new awesome chew toy.

The dog’s a bit thick headed to new concepts, but eventually he saw the method to my madness, as I shoved the new and unsullied antler into his pie hole. A few moments later The Brown Peril had a froth worked up as he went to town on his new favorite chewer. I asked him to smile for a picture, but yeah, whatever dude, I’m chewin’ here. It’s assumed that as soon as the boy has had his fill of gnawing, an impromptu game of full contact Rhino Tag will be initiated, when my back is turn and I’m bent over. You get extra points for sneak attacks and with no troll in the kitchen to rein us in, well, good times!