Nuthatches! Those little birds are nuthatches! Dolly and I were wrong about the red heads, but we can be forgiven because of the angle of the morning sun and because the birds dart around so quickly it's hard to draw a bead on them. They are dressed in mini-replicas of the black-and-white tuxedo outfits worn by woodpeckers. The word came to me down in the barn and I couldn't wait to get back to the house to check it out. A quick Google and there they were; mystery solved. It's a flock of nuthatches that has moved in.
I knew my "mistress of the manor" impression was off the other day, and it wasn't just the bibbies. I should have recognized that it was because I am a member of the downstairs staff. Instead of looking through a lorgnette like the dowager duchess, I scurry around opening doors a dozen times a day for the real royalty here, Her Ladyships Bessie Anne and Pearl and His Lordship Frank. "Oh, you do not wish to go out this door, m'lord? You prefer that one, sir? Right away, sir." It only takes one of those looks to send me running to refill a food bowl, all the while apologizing for my lapse. Understanding that Lady Bess has problems with her back legs, I willingly boost her into the truck, up on her preferred chair, and onto the bed. (She gave Dolly the stink eye when Dolly sat in her chair.) Lady Pearl walks into the kitchen and sits in front of the treat drawer, gives one brief command, and I immediately comply. Knowing Her Ladyship's tastes, I spend a lot of time in the cat treat aisle hunting for her favorite goodies. At bedtime, Lady Bessie gets a lift up. She promptly lies on my side of the bed, waiting for her nightly massage. Lord Frank appears from nowhere and demands a rubdown too. (I'm happy that Pearl hasn't discovered the routine; I've only got two hands.) Only when all duties as scullery maid, butler, masseuse, and whatever other chores assigned are finished will the true lady of the manor move over and let me climb into bed, my work done for the day. I am grateful that my masters, the dog and cats, are benevolent despots. It's good to know one's place in the world. I live to serve.