Two Saturdays ago, before the government shutdown, I visited my local home improvement store to pick up the items I needed to create a “flower tower”.
I was inspired by the beautiful towers that Adrienne of Adrienne’s Corner had created some months back using petunias.
I already had the tin snips for shortening the 4-foot wire fencing needed and the scissors for trimming the landscape fabric. All I needed were the utility knife, some zip ties, the fencing and the fabric.
I also went to my favorite greenhouse and purchased several trays of Cool Wave® pansies. This series of pansies entered the marketplace last fall. The owner of the greenhouse told me that they are ideal for planters and hanging baskets because they bloom profusely with little fuss and there’s no need for deadheading. They are perfect for my plant hardiness zone.
I selected Golden Yellow, Frost, Berries and Cream, Blue Velvet and Pink Vein for my colors.
Pansies are one of the most popular and recognizable cool weather annuals. In Germany they are known as Stiefmütterchen, which means “little stepmother.” Anyone who’s read any of the Grimms’ fairy tales will know that stepmothers had an image problem in old Germany. They have little frowning faces, hence the appropriate moniker of “little stepmother.”
My plan, at the time, was to construct the towers on my days off which are Sunday and Monday.
Friday night after work, just two miles from home, my power steering gave out. When I woke up Saturday morning, I called the car repair shop I trust and asked if it would be safe for me to drive my car back and forth to work one more day without damaging my car. The answer was “No, because doing so could damage the rest of the power steering system like the rack and pinion.”
I drove the car to the repair shop and the mechanic who knows my car very well determined that I needed to replace the drive belt tensioner and the serpentine belt.
One of the guys drove me home rather than have me wait for the repairs to be completed. I decided to tackle the flower tower while my baby was being fixed.
There was ample time for me to prepare the planter boxes on my deck. A few hours later the repair shop called to let me know they were coming to pick me up. I cleaned up a smidge, rode back to the shop, paid for the repairs and headed back home.
With the towers completed, all I had to do was place the pansies in the towers and stand back to admire how beautifully they had turned out.
I went inside and had a chicken salad sammich, some Sun Chips and a Sunkist to wash it all down.
I decided to look out my window to admire my work yet again, when what should I see, but my feathered friend about which I have written before.
The red shouldered hawk was perched as pretty as you please on the handrail. It was looking slightly upward and I was able to snap this photo from inside my window overlooking the deck.
On September 8th I wrote that I believed the hawk had built a nest in one of my trees or in one nearby. The trees on my property have only lost a few leaves thus far and so I cannot yet determine if the nest is actually in one of my trees.
My local wildlife organization informs me that this raptor may begin to nest as early as January. If this is true, I hope to be able to witness its courting display during the months between January and April. Apparently the southern population of red shouldered hawks is not migratory.
This means I will be blessed with the beauty of God’s magnificent creature and its offspring for years to come.
I’m sharing this story with you because the beauty of this raptor reminds me of what I love, which is freedom, rather than what I fear.
I am considered “key and essential personnel and a first responder”. Yes, I am a federal government employee and I am required to report for duty each day despite the fact that I am not getting paid while the government is shut down.
Had I earnestly believed that the shutdown would actually happen I wouldn’t have spent the money for the flower towers. And the car repairs really took a bite out of my checking account.
I feel a little desperate right now. I don’t know how I will pay the bills when they come due if this impasse lasts much longer. So, I will try to live by this quote attributed to Corrie ten Boom, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
UPDATE: I don’t own a camcorder so I thought I would embed this video taken by “opticalpress” on May 11, 2011. You see a red shouldered hawk perched high in a tree and then the videographer shows the majestic bird in flight in slow-motion. I hope this helps you to appreciate the regal splendor of this raptor.