Sunday, January 10, 2021

Suet for the suetless...

There are times when a word or phrase hits me with nothing less than "stark reality." It might be the punch of an opening line from a good book or a squirm from the awkwardness of a phrase, that makes me wonder why anyone would string those particular words together and call it a sentence.

Well, it happened again the other day. I was online looking for bird feeders - I had a bathroom to clean and was in avoidance mode. My daughter had given me a wire globe for Christmas that could either be a feeder or a place to put out nesting materials - no string, just fluffy fibre. I decided that nesting season was about two months away and since I needed some lockdown entertainment, I would fill the gift with suet balls.

Off, now, to find a source of suet balls. Fortunately there are many and some come with inexpensive holders as well. It was in this search that I may have met my writing soulmate (or not) as the case may be. Some copywriter, stretched to the limits, writing about the advantages of this bird seed over that and vice versa, made one of those stark statements. Here it is:

If you are looking for a well-sized tub of suet, look no further.

I wondered about the possibility of using it as the opening line of a novel. Would it be set in farm country, sometime in the dirty thirties, where anything resembling food looked good? I can hear the snake oil salesman now extolling the virtues of suet balls, "I say, put the fat back into the land and thrive." Or perhaps the setting would be some urban tangle of alleys and refuse, sheltering souls desperate for a hit of anything. "Psst, wanna buy a suet ball?"

But I digress. I did buy some suet balls and another holder for them - I have two now - and set out to feed the birds, as follows:

Day 1 - no birds

Day 2 - no birds

Day 3 - still no birds

Day 4 - I went online to see where all the birds had gone. Well, I was told that a) there may be better feeding stations elsewhere in the neighbourhood, (hrmph) b) there may be better natural sources of food  (humph, hrmph) or c) there may be a predator in the area - eureka! I did see a hawk a day or so ago.

Day 5 - Sometime about mid-day close to two dozen Juncos invaded our Rudbeckia patch. Juncos are ground feeders, though, and not one of them looked up at the suet balls. 

A week has passed and I have not seen a house sparrow, a chick-a-dee, or any other suet loving bird - sigh! I did see a male and female cardinal briefly, but they are not known for liking suet and didn't even sniff at the feeders.

Well, with no other time wasters to divert me from the tasks at hand, I guess I should either clean the bathroom or write a book with a riveting opening sentence. Wish me luck!

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