There is nothing more satisfying than growing and preparing your own food. I am an Oregonian transplanted to Austin, Texas. I can garden year round here; of course, this also means I am pulling weeds every day. I practice organic gardening principles and enjoy the challenge of outsmarting garden pests. Occasionally I lose these battles, but I don't mind sharing a good meal.
One of the things I miss from my youth is the constant animal companionship from the farm. Dogs, cats, sheep, cows, pigs, the goat, the horse, chickens, pea fowl and even the occasional little sister followed me everywhere. As an adult I've been lucky to have pets that enjoyed supervising me as I garden, but right now I'm in a bit of a void. Anna, by choice, is a strictly indoor cat and only wanders out on the patio on occasion. Oh sure, there's Ed. But sometimes I'd prefer a little hairier or fully feathered friend.
Help has arrived.
A few weeks ago I noticed a pair of robins hanging out at the bird bath. I, of course, was out digging ditches in the front yard and would take a break to watch them bathe. (I know, indecent of me, but I couldn't turn away.) It didn't take them long to get used to me, and pretty soon they would simply ignore me as they splashed around. I guess they figured I was harmless, because they started following me around as I was digging. At first, they would stay at a discreet distance and wait for me to move off before they flew over to grab whatever I'd exposed. But it wasn't long before they were practically pushing me away to get at the juicy grubs, pill bugs, and occasional earthworm that I turned up with my pitch fork.
It's in a prime location because they have a perfect vantage point of all my current ditch projects and can swoop down as soon as I show up to work for them. Ed and I are envious. We wish OUR grocery store was so convenient. I can't wait for the chicks to hatch, but I worry that the robins will be pecking on the windows for me to get outside and get digging. Hey! You! Slacker! Get your butt out here! I've got a family to feed! I guess I should be more careful what I wish for.