HELEN LANG: Remembering our veterans is not for the birds

This is a difficult day for many of us who grieve, especially on this day.

This is a difficult day for many of us who grieve, especially on this day.

We miss the loved ones who served in the armed forces, came safely home, married, had children and now have departed this life and hopefully are now enjoying a joyful existence in a better place.

There is usually a well-attended parade to honour the veterans. Each year there are fewer of them but they still march with pride, shoulders back, head high and a look of well-deserved satisfaction on their now-elderly faces. It always reduces me to tears. They are an honour to their beloved Canada and we owe them their moment of glory and much, much more.

 

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The world as we know it has almost entirely disappeared. No Salt Spring Island, no Malahat and not even Dean Park is visible today from Sidney We are enveloped in mist. I don’t like it much but what’s a person to do? Stay inside, I guess and try to lose yourself in a good book and leave the great outdoors to the poor birds who are probably wondering just where they are and what they can expect to find for lunch. The robins are so smart, they listen for the sound of a poor worm edging his way through the cold ground and are ready to pounce after a quick scratch or two. But what about the chickadees and the bushtit? I don’t think they fancy worms and the seeds are getting scarce.

Which brings me to feeding the birds. This becomes a sort-of duty once you start, because the birds begin to depend on your kindness. May I suggest that you try a feed store where they have sacks of feed (corn, millet, barley, etc.) and you can choose the amounts you want. I used to feed the birds just outside the dining room windows, and really enjoyed their feeding habits.

Some birds were greedy (crows, who made pigs of themselves when I hung chunks of solid fat from the branches of a Hawthorn tree) but the bushtits were the favorites. They were so nice to one another.

If you start feeding the birds you’ll soon have a following that will amuse and delight you all winter.

The chunks of suet hanging from the branches of that Hawthorn tree nearly drove our Boxer dog crazy. He would spend an age trying to reach it, without success, or until we brought him inside when he and the cat would lie beside one another and watch the feeding birds.

The cat’s teeth would chatter as she dreamed of catching one, but we kept her inside while the birds had their lunch.

 

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.