The guests were my very good friends, Dave and Anita Cooney, leaders at the Jamestown Audubon Society, good cooks and fabulous birders. This time, I cooked. My oven quit (I can just use the top burners.), and it is too old to find replacement parts. (I suppose that might happen to me someday). I bought a small counter-top oven at the thrift stop. The ticket said "works."
I used it for the first time to cook toast for the Cooneys. It did turn on, but it did not heat up. Bad news. I then tried browning the bread in stainless steel pans on top of the stove. I kept the bread. Finally, I retrieved three before they burned. The same thing happened with the bacon. I'm a slow learner (and cooker). The eggs were easier, because I could add water. (Did I hear you suggest that I should have done that with the bacon and bread? I just thought of that).
Then, Dave and I like coffee. I make myself a cup every day. But, oh no, for them, all the water collected in the thing-a-ma-jig, before it traveled through a filter to the grounds in the pot. When it was done gathering, it just spilled out grounds and water. What a mess. Finally, I was able to retrieve a couple of cups for us. Anita had asked for orange juice and I forgot that request. She had to do with almond milk. Poor thing.
All I can say is, I have had them before with more success. Thank goodness! However, what do you bet that the next time they suggest we eat out? (P.S. Since I first started this article, I have just bought a used toaster and coffee maker at Second Chances Thrift Shop, on Fairmount Avenue. Their profits all go to support the Jamestown Humane Society. I am cheap, and they are not expensive, so I volunteer there and mostly shop there. I did learn that I need to ask them to make sure the product actually heats up - not just that it receives electricity. They are very busy so they don't have time to do that with every product.)
OK, would you like to learn about nature? Oh yes. The entertainment for the Cooneys was watching the feeder birds, from my kitchen table. The regulars were all there - blue jays, and only two woodpeckers - downy and hairy - rose-breasted grosbeaks, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, chickadees, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, etc.
Then, there was a strange looking bird. What could that be? It must be a rose-breasted grosbeak, but it seemed different? I had my binoculars right on the table, just in case. We all took turns using them. What was that mystery bird?
Time for the field guides. David Sibley supplied the answer. It was a juvenile rose-breasted grosbeak. Yeh! I'm a grandma. (Having had no children, that's probably the closest I'll get to this distinction.) I'm very proud of my birds and habitat that I provide for them on my property. Of course, the woodlands down my road.
Research time. Let's find out about rose-breasted grosbeaks. These birds often hang out in deciduous forests, woodlands, or areas with second growth. Yes! I have all of those on my road and property.
It feeds on seeds and fruit buds. I bet that's one reason my blackberries disappear.
Now, on to other interesting breeding facts. In courtship, the male will sing while flying to chase the female. Then, he crouches, spreads, droops his wings, and spreads out his tail. Following that very enticing behavior, he pulls back his head so that his nape is touching his back. Here comes the best part, in my opinion. He then sings to her and performs an erratic dance. Wow, oh wow!
My editors are extremely lenient with me. Here are more interesting bits about the Cooneys. They used to be airplane fanatics. They exhausted that topic. Now they like trains. I followed them to Westfield, to watch trains. I had such a good time and learned so much. Thank you Cooneys. I love you!