Yesterday was a work day so today was a play day.
We love our treasure trails and had one for Salisbury that we had not finished. We'd tried it last year but abandoned it as it was cold and wet and pretty miserable, so we headed off there today.
I love the drive to salisbury as it takes us over Cranbourne Chase which I just love. It was a lovely day too, though actually a little muggier than was totally comfortable.
We did really well with the treasure trail although we didn't quite finish it as dear old hoppity was tired and whilst the ankle lasted, it was sore.
We sat and had lunch at a fabulous little bakery - which we are really pleased is in Salisbury and not at home else we would be the size of houses. Their pastries are all baked on site and are gorgeous and one of the things that is a wicked treat from there is their warm freshly made cheese straws which are to die for - it is called Reeve the Bakers ... if you go to Salisbury don't miss it.
Just outside the bakers, by the seating area where we were enjoying the sun, was a busker with a difference. It was a man with a puppet and he was playing taped violin music but beautiful music and somehow it was like sitting in a pavement cafe in France. It was really nice and he played the whole time we were eating. We helped fill his collection pot and took a couple of pictures.
I have another page made with Dawn's Create Art collection and this time a page of little Emily.
and I also have a lovely story to share.
My brother-in-law Jim write and one of the things he does is write articles for the local paper in Concord. This is his latest piece and I asked him if I could share it here.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
A VISITOR FROM THE SOUTH
Percy flew in from Panama in early May. The truth is, we are not sure whether he came from Panama or elsewhere in Central America, since we do not speak the same language. Nevertheless we have enjoyed his company all summer long. Indeed, this is the second summer we have received his visit. Last year also he was here from May to September.
He came alone at first, crossing the Gulf of Mexico and flying up the coast making stops along the way to refuel and rest. Once he reached our area we invited him to stay, and he has wholeheartedly accepted our hospitality. We spend an early morning breakfast time with him (he is always up and ready for the day at dawn), and although we see him intermittently during the day, we are not sure how he spends those hours, but by suppertime he is back, preferring always to take his nourishment in the waning light of dusk. Once he is finished, he simply disappears for the night, often so quickly and without ceremony that it is almost as if he has simply dematerialized in a green flash.
After he had been here for a few weeks, he invited his spouse to join him, which we were happy to accommodate. They both eat very little, although they do have a very sweet tooth, and are ideal guests to have around for the summer, so even when the children came along, too, we were delighted to have more activity around the house. They often dart around outside, chasing each other back and forth while Percy presides over them with forbearance from his favorite seat, but if they become a little too rambunctious, he will be the first to take them to task.
They are a very colorful family, always clad in bright green. Percy himself always wears a black cap and a bright ruby collar which lends him an air of authority and distinction.
Of course, they have never actually come into the house, so our visits take place divided by the screen to the dining room window, but when we go out to replace the nectar in the feeder, one or other of them will come to buzz around our head and thank us for the fresh food. The feeder is suspended from a shepherd’s crook perch, which serves as Percy’s favorite seat, although he also likes to survey his territory from the heptocodium on one side and the linden tree on the other. These are his thrones, which he has successfully defended for two springs and summers. In the evening he particularly likes to establish his position, spending often forty-five minutes to an hour alternately perching and feeding, all the while constantly looking this way and that, alert for any challengers who would compete for his food supply. Sometimes he hovers over the shrubs by the feeder stopping at one branch after another, as if to say, “this is mine, and this is mine, and this is mine,” making himself master of all he surveys.
Although he weighs only about three grams, he is able to assert himself with much bigger birds, remaining un-intimidated by orioles, goldfinches and other would-be encroachers upon his territory.
He does not seem to mind having his photograph taken, but by the same token, he does not stay still for long enough, with the result that the digital camera with its slight delay captures him as an iridescent blur, or simply produces the image of where he has been, while he looks on from off-camera.
Clearly we have become rather attached to our tiny feathered friend, watching for him every evening, being entertained by his displays and dances. We particularly like the pendulum, where he buzzes up and down in a graceful arc momentarily stopping at each peak, or the shuttle flight in which he zips from side to side to show off his strength and agility both to impress his mate and to discourage competitiors.
Now as August is racing towards Labor Day, we anticipate with sadness his departure. First he will leave, then his female companion, leaving the children to fatten up with a few grams of nectar and insects, so that they, too, can make the journey to the winter home, which they have never before seen. They will fly alone the thousands of miles to warmer climes, and we will hope for their return next spring.
We have no idea how old Percy is, but we hope that he has a few more years ahead of him. Now that he has found a summer place, to which he can return, perhaps he will continue to be a regular visitor, or perhaps it will be his boys, white-breasted now like their mother, but ready to put on their ruby throats as adults and challenge for territories of their own.
We will be certain to put out our invitation next year (two bright red hummingbird feeders) and will begin the watch again in May, in hopes that Percy will reclaim his throne for another season.
Isn't it lovely.
And here is a photo Jim took of Percy
Today I am thankful for
- another lovely day
- talented people of all descriptions