DSC00098There’s something about working in the garden that soothes the frayed edges of my nerves and makes the pressures of time and tasks go away.

As much as I lament not having a fresh can of Killex to get rid of the weeds flourishing in the lawn, I marvel at how the birds have returned in droves. There are some I’ve never seen before, with tan backs and reddish bellies, tiny blue winged creatures that fly as fast as mosquitoes. Great honking arrows of Canada geese fly low overhead and the squawks of blue jays and cardinals fighting over the bird feeder break up the silence.

The slutty robin who nests every year under the deck by my office window was late this year. She’s built a grand new nest on the top of the post supporting the deck. Protected, but closer to freedom if something were to happen. When I’m outside, she sits in the dappled willow nearby and watches, but she’s never far away. At least she’s learned there’s no need to divebomb me when I go to the plastic bin to retrieve my tools. Surely it can’t be the same robin returning after all these years? Must be some sort of genetic memory that keeps them coming back to the same three or four nests every spring, renovating them and raising multiple families. The fledglings make an incredible racket when it’s close to feeding time. And they’re picky, too. The freshly dug worms from the flower beds are a family favourite. No need to dig around in the lawn for food.

I wish they could be trained to dig for the grubs that are lurking in the grass. As I clean up the flower beds, I’ve turned over some fat white ones and mature brown-backed adults. OF course, the raccoons will be by soon to tear up the sod and get at their buffet. I’ve been planning on turning some flower beds back to lawn – less upkeep. This year, because of my back, I’ve been less aggressive about heaving bags of mulch around. I’ll do a little bit of digging then just stand there admiring the clean slices of rich dirt and the perennials almost ready to bloom. I feel content.