Mary Lucille Hays

Mary Lucille Hays

Letter from Birdland | Get ready to see green

For my birthday, my friend Cheryl brought me an amaryllis bulb. Her daughter, Lena, helped us pot it. Lena, who studies horticulture, showed us how to dig in and separate the roots when we planted it. When we had finished, about a third of the big bulb stuck out of the soil.

Letter from Birdland | Travels of two bad dogs

Some say it was the wind blasting from the northeast. Some say a traveler knocked at the door a little too firmly. Some say that Ursula, the black dog, finally mastered the trick her old friend tried to teach her, of rolling the knob between her two paws. And some say that Michael simply walked out the kitchen door with his big rucksack of lunch and forgot to close it behind him.

Letter from Birdland | Where did the snow go?

We left Birdland yesterday on a sunny afternoon for Chicago to do our weekend work. This morning, we woke to a grave drizzle, but that just keeps the distractions down so we can get busy.

Letter from Birdland | A winter stroll in the woods

Snow has come to Birdland, blanketing the fields and settling on the trees.

Last summer's corn stubble pokes through, stippling the white with tan bristles, and Michael and I are on our way across the field to the Benson timber to walk and cut brush to groom our little trail.

Letter from Birdland | Enjoying the sights in the Big Apple

It was our last night in Brooklyn, and I was starting to get homesick. I wondered how the dogs were doing, whether my tiny serama hen had started laying yet, if the cat was still pouting in the attic (reports from home were that even though she seemed to be eating, nobody had seen much of her).

Letter from Birdland | My chicken can get a little squirrely

The light is coming back to Birdland, and so are the eggs. Most days, we still get only two from our three grown hens, but the days with no eggs or only one are getting fewer, and occasionally we find a third in the nest.

Letter from Birdland | Distracted writer gets a little assistance

Last night, Birdland was clear and only a little chilly. I know, because as I was lying awake at 2 a.m., deciding whether to keep trying to drift off, or give up and take my book into the living room for a while to read under a low light until I got sleepier, Cullen's throaty bark burst forth into the night.

Letter from Birdland | Wandering dogs can't stop city trip

The plan was to have a quiet breakfast and then head to Chicago for Dylan's birthday celebration soon after. Our middle son's new trip around the sun began last week, but he is so busy that finding a free evening to take him to dinner was tricky.

Letter from Birdland | Chicks getting used to their new home

Birdland is damp and overcast. The snow has melted, and the leaves lie sodden on the ground.

Last week, before the snow, Michael had roto-tilled the earthen floor of the chicken coop, and scooped bushels of compost into the bins to age until spring, when we'll toss it into the garden.

Letter from Birdland | Don't let time change get your goat

Whenever we change the clocks, forward or back, I can count on getting an email with a haiku from my friend Mickey from California.