Friday, June 15, 2007

R.I.P.

I'm so heartbroken. Dora caught one of the little hummingbirds yesterday, right after I wrote about them. Sob, sniff.

She's such a dork, she has to bring in all her outdoor toys. I think she must have some kind of dog marbles in her little gumball machine, because she's such a nut about chewing sticks, pieces of bark, carrying around bamboo pieces in her mouth. And she pops in the window with them to play around in the house with whatever chunk of junk she's found.

At night all this week it's been moths. She's moved from flies to moths. She bats them down, picks them up in her mouth, hops in the window and then tortures the flapping bugs around my bedroom for hours. But yesterday, just as I was leaving the house, I went to lock up and she was smacking something next to the shoes on the bedroom carpet. Oh God, it was a baby hummingbird. I think. I'm not sure if the babies are actually out yet, but it looked smaller than the ones I've been watching.

Maybe they just look tinier when they are stiff on the floor, and not winging around the garden. Anyway, I grabbed it fast and scurried it away. She was so befuddled that her toy had suddenly disappeared. She had her entire head in a shoe pushing it around, one after the other, trying to find her little buzzy toy that was just there. But I was devastated and ran outside to shout my apologies to the heavens . . . or the trees. And there was one lonely hummingbird, high up in a branch, clicking forlornly. Oh God. What if that was his/her mate? Or their baby? I couldn't stand it.

So last night I did a bunch of googling of hummingbird habits. I'm only slightly relieved to know that they are not romantic birds and do not mate for life. Or for more than the act, really. The males have a territory. The females drive by, watch their high flying act, and decide if it's entertaining enough to want to mate with him. If not, they move on. If they do mate, that's about it. The female does every single bit of the nest building, the child rearing and the feeding. They have about 3 babies and most don't live to see a year. The few that do, have a life span of tops 3 or 4 years. From what I could find. But they are supposed to be smart birds. They recognize places, even people, when they come back the following year.

I really, really hope that they have figured out how to avoid the dumb cats. I know they watch me when I'm out. But they always seem so comfortable when I'm standing right in front of the plant they like the most. Maybe that will change and they'll move off. I feel so horrible about planting all these lovely plants that they like and making it attractive for them, and then having them picked off by my stupid pets. What can I do now? I left the cats out all night last night so they'll sleep the entire day today. Hopefully. And not be so wound up and hunting today while I'm gone.

It was a new plant that bloomed huge red tulip-y flowers just outside my bedroom window. They realized that the birds could see them when they stalked from the window sill, because they were eye level. I found Dora twice yesterday afternoon sitting in the very base of the plant, hiding, waiting, eyes glued upwards. She can hear when they are feeding at the other bush, and just waits expectantly in the shadows until they come over to her plant. They don't see her until it's too late and she's already pounced and batted them out of the sky. I know that's how she did it, that bugger.

No matter how much I've stopped them, and scolded them, and dragged them away, they still don't get the difference between the hummers, the bumbles and the moths. Ugh.

So anyway - I set up Sorticulture yesterday. I was pretty early and only a few tents were going up - but there was a lovely display of antiques and garden junk, lots of plant people, rusted metal stuff, birdhouses and structure stuff, super cute. I'm really excited about seeing the rest of it today. Even though it's raining again, double ugh. The plants like it and gardener's won't care about a little drizzle. But I HATE standing outside all day in the dripping rain trying to keep the soap dry. HATE. In case I hadn't mentioned it. Which is pretty stupid since I live in Seattle and have chosen a life of selling stuff outside, where it rains. A lot.

Wish me luck that I won't spend every last dime I make on more yard items and plants I don't have room for! We start at noon today -- goes til 8pm. There will be plenty of sunbreaks later in the day :)