It’s All in a Day at Patchwork

Below is a post I wrote on the Patchwork Central blog. I’m sharing it here because of its link to neighborhood wildlife:


When I come to work in the morning, I never know what the day will bring. That’s one of the things I enjoy about my job. A good example was last Thursday.

Patchwork tower in autumn

I started the morning doing a presentation about Patchwork’s food pantry at the Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park. Their employees had done a food drive and they wanted to know more about where their food would be going. They ended their meeting, pulled the Thanksgiving-themed decorations out of the pickup bed full of food, closed the back gate, and headed for Patchwork.

I helped unload and weigh the food donation (430 lbs!) as Shawn went through the daily routines of opening the building: unlocking the doors, greeting the folks waiting outside, making coffee, bringing out some sweets, and distributing shower supplies.

I’d finished in the food pantry and was on my way to tackle the piles of paperwork in my office when I overheard the words ”broken wing” and “picked it up.” I looked over and saw a pile of brown feathers resting on top of a collection of coats and blankets in the front basket of a bike.

The bike is owned by one of the homeless men who showers regularly at Patchwork. He explained that he’d seen the small hawk flailing in the middle of Washington Avenue with an injured wing. He didn’t want it to suffer in the street, so he’d picked it up and brought it in.

I’ve admired the family of Cooper’s hawks who make downtown Evansville their home. For several years now, I’ve seen them perched in trees or soaring above Patchwork. They like to hunt the pigeons who perch on Patchwork’s tower. I was sorry to see this one had been hit by a car.

Suddenly we had the Patchwork Central Wild Bird Rescue. After a series of phone calls, Shawn and I found a veterinarian who could care for wild birds and I drove the hawk to the vet. Unfortunately, the injuries were too severe and there was nothing that could be done. I came back to Patchwork and meetings and paperwork.

That afternoon the children in Arts & Smarts celebrated an early Thanksgiving. They formed an enormous table from 6 eight-foot tables–enough room for 27 kids and adults to enjoy a meal of mashed potatoes, roast beef, gravy, corn casserole, and pie. Dee took a break from the main office, I took a break from taking photos, and we all ate together. There was even a musical interlude provided by one of the children and her violin.

As we do every year, we went around the circle and shared what we are thankful for. One of the first children to take a turn said she is thankful for Patchwork. At that, a boy beside me said with exasperation, “Oh! She took mine!”

Thanksgiving Table

**Monday morning update on the hawk: The man who brought it in used our phone to call the vet to see how it was doing. They said they’d bandaged the bird and it was doing better than expected. There’s hope it might survive.

Change of Season

Life in the garden has slowed down. A stew that I made recently summarizes the time of year well: it includes the last fresh things from my garden and others in the area (poblano peppers, garlic, & squash) and some vegetables from my overstuffed freezer (tomatoes & corn) mixed with local meat from the River City Food Co-op.

In my kitchen I’ve still got a few dried beans that I collected from my garden. I’m hoping to try them in something.

dried beans

In the last couple weeks I’ve raked and bagged leaves to use in the garden next year, I’ve cleaned dead plants out of the vegetable garden, and I’ve gotten the new growth on the blackberry under control. I’d never realized that the Rose of Sharon seeds that fall into my vegetable garden start out fuzzy. They’re elegant now. They won’t be so elegant once spring comes and I’m constantly pulling their little green sprouts .

fuzzy seed

hydrangea fragment

And while I was outside I saw more reminders that raccoons are everywhere. Here are some footprints on the garbage can (they were using it as a step stool and not rummaging through it, thankfully). I’m just trying to remember the animal management guy’s advice from this summer: “I’ll guarantee you: they’re everywhere along this street. Make sure you’re trapping your raccoons and not your neighbors’ raccoons.”

If these aren’t our raccoons, I’ll try not to worry. We’re OK as long as they decide not to call our house their home.

Raccoon prints on the trash can

**And you’ll note that with the changing seasons, I’m trying a new look for Squirrels and Tomatoes. I had been using a different WordPress theme with a darker color palette. This one’s lighter and airier. Thoughts?

Time of Golden Light

The fall color has been particularly nice this year. I’ve enjoyed watching the changes from the back door as the silver maple in the back yard turned the light golden and the oak trees along the street behind us glowed a rusty red orange. The leaves fell gracefully over about a week and added their colorful accents to various places around the garden. The perennial garden started with some crisp, golden leaf edges and then added more to the warm piles of leaves on the ground. I harvested my lettuces and Asian greens and turned them into an autumnal spring soup. The back pavement was a yellow lake, and then I raked it all up before this week’s rain and lows in the 20’s hit. I’ll clean up the casualties this weekend.







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And no new raccoons for now, but I have gotten plenty of raccoon humor from friends. Here’s one:

be friends with raccoons