The wren sings and insists.

The song of a Bewick’s Wren came through my bedroom window as I was waking to the morning. I’ve never heard one of these birds carrying on so long.

If you are not familiar with it you can listen here: Bewick’s Wren

What busyness in my life all at once. June warmth makes my blood to move faster, and days fill up and empty themselves, as the thermometer on my patio rises and falls. A few of the many things:

**Half the plants in the garden need trimming already! I severely pruned the plum trees, trying to keep them small, as per Grow a Little Fruit Tree. Santa Barbara daisies, wallflower, helianthemum, gazanias, bush lupine and salvias, all needed a midsummer shearing. Then there were all those one-gallon salvias and such for which spots must be found in the ever more crowded landscape. I’ve been gardening for hours every day.

**Still seeing butterflies and wasps that I don’t know, and which I can sometimes identify. These wasps that my Seek app says are paper wasps ignore the sunflowers that are open, and hang out on the fat buds. I wonder what they are doing…

**Rats seem to be eating my garden as they did in 2016. Then it was tomatoes. This time it was the single collard plant that came up from some old seeds. After it grew back for a few days they ate it again. Then they tried the unripe Painted Lady runner beans but evidently didn’t like them. I’ve planted fresher collard seeds and am trying to figure out how to protect them when they sprout. Rats spurn Swiss chard, and all the other current offerings, though they did nibble on snow peas back in April.

So as not to attract rodents unnecessarily, I’ve been bringing the bird feeders into the garage at night. At first light finches and mourning doves and even crows are waiting for the sunflower seeds to reappear.

View from my bedroom window.

This morning, as I often do, I pulled on my robe and went out to hang their “chapel” feeder on its hook above the patio, and then I looked up into the redwood tree, because I could tell that the wren was broadcasting from there at that moment. But I couldn’t see him. A junco and titmice and a hummingbird flew back and forth from that tree, to and fro across the yard from tree to rooftop to tree; but the wren followed his routine of staying out of sight while visiting in turn every tall tree in the neighborhood, making sure he communicated to each household, insisting on joy.

**I’ve been cooking a lot. I love having fresh tarragon with which to make the Tarragon-Parsley Salsa Verde. This time I used walnut oil instead of olive oil and it’s great. The yellow in the picture above  is lemon zest.

I took all the remaining Painted Lady beans I’d stored and soaked them together. The older they get, the more they turn dark and red and shiny. The older beans took longer to soak, and longer to cook to tender.

**My computer comes and goes with my Computer Guy, and while he’s always interesting to talk to on almost any topic, the other day when he came merely to pick up the PC he wanted to talk for an hour before he even unplugged it. He has lots of ideas for how to improve the state of the nation. I told him he’d need to be king so he could make unilateral decisions.

new shower curtain

**The construction workers came back! The new bathroom is perfectly usable now, though it has a couple of details unfinished. I soaked in its tub the night after my most strenuous day of pruning. Lovely. My master bedroom walk-in closet is almost done — maybe tomorrow I will be able to start moving into it, after more than a year of shifting my belongings from one room to another. This was the closet that I basically wanted to get unextravagantly spiffed up before the major remodeling was begun. And it has been the biggest inconvenience. That is sometimes most aggravating to think about, but on days like today, the wren makes me laugh aloud.

**I pulled this weed out of the germander and was impressed by the little black seeds. I think it is Black Medick.

**Yesterday morning I was surprised by daughter Pippin appearing in my front garden and calling “Mama!” up to me where I sat by a sunny open window. Such a familiar voice and word… ❤ How she happened to be here is too long a story, but we enjoyed the best hug ever — well, at least since I saw them in March. And then we sat in the garden and chatted and it was so good for our mother-daughter hearts. She and I are not phone-talkers at all; we really need to be together in person to be fully satisfied.

Violas surviving in the shade of asparagus.

**I don’t like to write much here about things that are expected to happen in the future, because they aren’t real yet. But the excitement I feel is terribly real, over the imminent arrival of Kate and her family; they will stay with me for several weeks! She is my youngest, whom I went to India to see, and whose two babies I was blessed to see come into the world, one in India and one in DC last summer. Her family actually contracted the coronavirus and got over it while cooped up in their DC apartment; otherwise they would have been leery of coming to California to see all the grandparents before they go abroad again.

We’ll see what kind of blogging communications I will be able to accomplish in the next while — maybe it will be the little boy voices that wake me morning by morning to the important realities of this particular summer season. That will also be music to my ears.

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the end of the universe.”
-Psalm 19:4

19 thoughts on “The wren sings and insists.

  1. My Carolina wrens have gained courage, and now sing from the bird feeder from time to time. I always thought the cardinals were the first to sing (well, and the mockingbirds), but those wrens are first-light birds, too. They’re quite wonderful.


    1. One whole summer long, more than ten years ago, a robin sang to me every morning as I woke, and in the evening as I was cleaning up the kitchen before going to bed. It took me months to figure out what bird it was; I tried listening to tapes of bird songs, but the way I found out was to have my daughter visiting and listening. She knew immediately! We haven’t had mockingbirds in the neighborhood for a long time, and no cardinals around here at all! I must go online and listen to a cardinal’s call; I doubt I’ll ever hear it in person.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I grew up with robin song. Morning and evening, it was the most peaceful sound possible. When I hear one now (usually via YouTube), I’m ten years old again, fussing about having to go to bed while it’s still light outside.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You have many wonderful things to take your mind off current events. I love all your photos and descriptions, but the bean photo is a work of art! So much beauty to be found in the simple, day to day things. Thank you for sharing. I wish you a most blessed time with your family!


    1. Silvana, I am trying to focus on current events that are those of my own daily life — those that I participate in or at least witness with my own eyes, not mediated through screens or news media. These most immanent ones are also the most transcendent! I don’t want to be distracted from them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wrens are the cutest birds! I need a new laptop, since you’re mentioning computers. I’m trying to schlep along with it, since I’ve been paying all the bills since mid-March, so don’t really want to spend so much money at present. I’m glad you’re having these family visits. 🙂


  4. I am so happy for you that at long last the construction will be finished. Who could have imagined it would drag on so long!
    Wonderful that your Kate and her family will be with you for a while. How fortunate that they got over the virus without having to be hospitalized.


    1. Well, it’s not finished – and may not be for months. Because the contractor hasn’t started making the many closet and cabinet doors for all the other places. The master closet shelving is from/by another company and that is the man who will be done with that part this week. Still, this might be the last you hear about it from me! I’m not much into pictures of closets 🙂


  5. What a lovely post! You have so much to look forward to — and a new bathroom on top of it! The garden looks lovely. Have you tried hardware cloth (vs. chicken wire where I suspect the rats can get through?) The spaces are quite small yet the light still gets in. I don’t know if it would help but it’s worth asking at the hardware store.

    So glad you’ll be with your “tribe”soon.


    1. For our big garden that we had many years ago in another place, my husband made several row covers to keep the birds from eating the seedlings. After we moved here we didn’t have the kind of setup to use them, but I’ve been thinking that they are exactly what I need right now! Thank you, Jeanie!


  6. I love reading your beautiful observations and thoughts, Gretchen. I have a house wren that lives in my backyard and I love listening to its voice day after day. An oriole family abides in a backyard tree too. Crazy noisy, but fun. God bless your time with your loved ones.


  7. What a lovely collection of vignettes in your days. I know what you mean about the garden to-do’s that seem to renew every few days. Last week, many of them got done and then a handful of visitors (my parents and later some friends). For once, I felt the garden was ready!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I should write down somewhere, that late June, *before* all this pruning, would be the ideal garden-party time. It’s still nice, and new things will bloom, but that spring extravagance has faded and/or been trimmed away!


  8. I’ve had to remove my feeders because a neighbor down the road had a mother bear and three cubs in their yard. I feel bad for my birdy friends, but I’ll put them back out in the winter when they really need them. So glad you get to see your family! 🙂


    1. So many sweet, happy things and thoughts! I love morning birdsong, too. I live in an apartment but am surrounded by a yard with lots of growth and places for birds to hide. When I talk with my kids on Zoom, they always comment on so much birdsong! I tell them I sometimes feel like I live in an aviary. Enjoy your family! How special.


  9. Don’t you just love that site “All About Birds”? I hopped right over there to listen to the Bewick’s Wren. Wrens are lovely in song and countenance. We enjoy our Carolina Wrens and their beautiful songs and I have a funny story about a pair of them back in May. Perhaps I will share it on a post.

    These days we hear the taunt of “What is truth?” Truth speaks in reality.

    I am so glad you have had visits with family members. Nothing like waking up to little ones for a change. I had that with Ivy at the beach last week.


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