The titmouse nest sits empty, a few rays of morning sun lighting the moss and twigs and sawdust. If I look hard enough, I can see the tip of a single speckled egg. Or maybe it’s just my imagination.
A ringtail visits the backyard almost every night, traveling back and forth along the fence from our neighbors’ yard to ours. We keep a small feeder tray filled with orange peels and dried fruit to entice him and birds, but the menu also appeals to a local possum. One night the trail cam caught both possum and ringtail at a standoff as they chased each other down the fence and out of the yard.
Winter comes and goes. The first week of February began with warm mornings in the low 50s, creeping up to high 60s. While the rest of the country faced below freezing temperatures and snowstorms, Central Texas basked in moderate winter weather under cloudy skies.
The owl box is up. It is a fine structure made of cedar and mounted on a high pole to keep squirrels out. Tim painted it a light tan to blend in among the oak trees and the rest of the backyard; it even fits in with the color of the house. So now we wait. A camera inside the box illuminates the inside, but so far the fresh sawdust has not been tamped down, though a titmouse did sit on the perch and peek in.
We stood in the grass arena, six of us and our horses. Mallory and Romi, Amy and Zeke, Suzi and Stuart, Betty and Sophie, Kate and Drake, and me and Willis. Cal Middleton was in the middle of us working with Romi as we all watched carefully, trying to take in every slightest move he made.