May 14, 201411:24 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Nature calls on a Madison backyard
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After one of the cruelest winters I can remember, this has been a joyous (if belated) spring. Visiting the Blaska Experimental Work Farm this week were new visitors: a bright blue indigo bunting and three rose-breasted grosbeaks (two of them male). All are related to our over-wintering and sweet-singing cardinals.
Must be the sunflower seed in the feeders, which replaced the safflower seed. The goldfinches are back, too. They take the Niger seed.
Our house cat, Young Bluster, on Tuesday alone took a baby bunny and a chipmunk. These are cute creatures but, heaven forfend, Orchard Ridge is overrun with these two species! If they’d just leave the tulips alone!
Their survival strategy is to multiply; mine is to subtract. They are why hawks circle overhead; one even perched on our fence line a week ago for the longest time. Our kitty cat is the successor to the much-loved Mr. Bluster (a snorter and explorer of cardboard boxes, RIP). Our game keepers are sensitive to songbird predation and Young Bluster leaves them be. Indeed, he seems not to stray beyond the perimeter of the premises.
Nor did he trouble a tiny creature the chief game warden spotted clambering through the lawn — it must have seemed like a forest. The tiny painted turtle must have just emerged from his in-ground gestation; he already knows how to right himself if turned upside down. Number One Son and I carried him to the nearby pond, which seemed like a more conducive environment. Who knows? Perhaps it has been devoured by a predator less choosy than Young Bluster.
Last year about this time, we found turtle egg shells (they’re soft) and an empty hole on the Blaska Memorial Walkway — a raccoon’s breakfast. I guess turtle moms can’t sit on their eggs — they would crush their progeny — so they bury them and wait for old Sol to do the work. The white coats here at the Policy Werkes are fascinated by turtles, elephants, the great apes, and octopuses.
Now if I could just stop Worm Boy, our returning (and regular) robin, from relieving itself all over my little red car. He likes to see himself in the mirrors, so I cover them with plastic drugstore bags secured by rubber bands. It’s been a good year for worms, apparently.
Mary Burke’s teachers union quid pro trek
Madison Teachers Inc. was among the first to endorse Mary Burke for governor. (Recounted here.) No doubt the union will contribute money and manpower to elect her. MTI retains one of the few collective bargaining agreements for government employees remaining in the wake of Walker’s Act 10.
MTI’s contract has already been extended through the next school year; now MTI wants more. (But don’t they always?)