Today after it stopped raining I got up the courage to go and inspect my small vegetable garden. I knew I had neglected it for the past couple of weeks while I was moving wood chips and I was a little afraid of what I’d find. Did the ground hog leave me any green bean plants at all? Would the tomatoes be falling all over themselves? Did I have any peas ready for harvest? Rounding the corner of the house I saw that the poor garden was totally overgrown. But there were some bean plants left, some peas down among the weeds, and the tomatoes had set some fruit.
As I settled in to at least get the weeds pulled from around the plants I noticed a male cardinal yelling at me from one birch tree, and a female doing the same from another birch tree on the other end of the garden. As I worked they got more and more riled up, the male flying over my head and landing next to the female, as in chorus they increased the volume and speed of their comments. They obviously have a nest somewhere near, and they wanted me out of there. After a bit I took my half filled weed bucket down to the weed pile and then stood there and watched the two of them. They cried for some time, then settled down. Mama cardinal came out of the tree and waked the split rail fence that surrounds the garden, then hopped around in the yews planted next to the fence. I waited for as long as I could, until the mosquitoes found me.
I really needed to get the garden weeded, so eventually I went back to work on it. The cardinals started up screeching at me again. I tried to keep my head down as they flew back and forth over me, and I began to weed faster, the sooner to be out of there. The garden wasn’t weeded nearly enough when I gave up, bent to gather my weed bucket handles and happened to glance up into a privet bush. There a mere yard from me was the nest, one young bird sitting inside it, with topknot just beginning to develop, chest heaving in fear. I quickly gathered up my stuff and retreated. As I glanced over my shoulder before I rounded the corner, mama cardinal was flying into the privet bush to reassure her youngster. Daddy sat up in the tree and continued to give me what for.
I’m not sure I’ll be allowed to go back into my garden until the young one flies. That’s OK. I can wait.