For the past two years, a family of cardinals has nested in the young pine tree above the girls' sandbox. In spite of their notoriously aggressive nature, we think they make great neighbors.
The girls love them because their bright coloring is easy to spot. We often mimic their harsh, whistling song, watch their babies practice flying, or the parents gather food. Joe and I share some nostalgic fondness for the animal that was once our high school mascot (and that of most of our relatives).
Unfortunately, the chicken ladies don't think the cardinals make such great neighbors.
Today all five of the juvenile cardinals snuck into the chicken run through a gap in the roof of the fence. True to their inner nature, the pushy cardinals darted around, fiercely and noisily pecking at the corn we had just laid out for the ladies.
Our ladies didn't work up the guts to leave the coop for a good 15 minutes. Even then, Maya and Elliot lured them with freshly plucked dandelions.
Lately, it has been so tempting to make these sweeping observations about the girls, their similarities, their differences, their inner natures. Maya the tender heart... Maya the helpful. Elliot the gleeful... Elliot the willful. Intellectually, I want to resist this urge. I would hate to box them into expectations or label them in some limiting way.
But the chickens and the cardinals weren't the only ones demonstrating their inner natures today. Helpful Maya covered the newly harvested chicken eggs with sunscreen, so they wouldn't get burned in the basket while we took them inside. She also helped set up the tent for a little "pretend camping." Meanwhile, impish, gleeful Elliot was pulling up the stakes, hiding them in the sandbox, and then running laps... up the ladder, down the slide, up the ladder, down the slide.... Perhaps, this isn't an inner nature thing, just a 19-month-old and an almost-4 thing... Or a big sister little sister thing.
Either way it has been a highly entertaining morning.
Gems worth Re-Reading
About Growing Baby Doing Good Together Elliot Rose Family Rituals Fie Flora and Fauna For the Love of Learning Greenish In My Opinion Just for Laughs Just for Me Making Tinkles Maya Mindfulness Mmm... So Tastey NaNoWriMo News of the Day Noveling Photo Friday Sewing Sisterly Love Sweet Dreams The Chicken Ladies the end Tonsils We like to Move It Move It Wonderment