The granary was about 200 feet north of the shop, and was a small white rectangular building with blue trim. Inside were wooden bins suitable for wheat, oats, and mice. In the facing above the heavy sliding door, there were rows of “decorative” pigeonholes forming a pyramid, with boxes behind the siding built to accommodate nests. Why Grandpa wanted birds there, I do not know. But one of my boyhood memories is waking in the early hours of the morning, all cozy in bed, and hearing the cooing and calling of the mourning doves at the granary.
THE MOURNING DOVE
Good morning, mourning dove
I hear you cooing up above.
Are you calling to your love?
“Wake up, it’s morning, mourning dove.”
I hear you coo at break of day,
And, when the daylight fades away.
Your happy cooing at first light,
Turns to mourn the coming night.
Just like me you greet the sun,
Then coo to mourn when day is done.
To greet the light from God above
“The light of life,” coos mourning dove.
Mom loved birds! Bird feeders lined the wall of the house outside the kitchen window, and a slab of suet was always nailed to the willow tree where the branch had been cut off, and we could see the birds come. Every spring, two large apartment-style houses were raised on big posts in the yard for the purple martins. Each house would accommodate eighteen families of martins. Wren houses were hung under the porch and in the maple trees. If there was a “bird grapevine,” the word would be that Mom’s Place, just up the hill and north of the apple orchard, was a great summer place with lots to eat!
Each spring, the yard was alive with the music and activity of birds. The robins and martins and wrens arrived and started building nests. We listened for the oriole that built a nest high in the trees. Red-winged blackbirds flocked to the pond, and later to the mulberry tree. Redheaded woodpeckers came to work on the suet, and to “knock” on the willow tree for bugs. A pair of cardinals would “stake out” their territory in the yard.
Mom watched out the kitchen window hoping the bluebird would like her newly painted house perched on a pole near the lily pool. Sparrows, who were year ‘round residents living in the barn, chattered constantly, as if annoyed by the summer competition.
IN THE DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT
The sun is up; it’s time to sing.
The herald birds announce, “It’s spring!”
The break of day begins the dawn,
And all the birds burst into song.
Chirps and whistles pierce the air.
Birds are singing everywhere!
Twitter, tweety, chirp, and peep.
I love the birds, but I’d rather sleep!