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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n08)
Right in my Own Backyard - As Fortune Would Have It - by Brandt Carter
posted: Apr. 16, 2010

Right in my Own Backyard header

As Fortune Would Have It
I don't think either my husband or I had any idea of having a birdfeeding store when we were a young, but as our lives unfolded it happened. When we were formulating our work lives, this store filled the bill. He could run the business, keep plenty of seed on the shelves, install bird feeders, and deliver seed. My role was mostly fluff. I got to buy, buy, buy gifts and tend to the store's décor.

Steve Carter and John in the store.
Random Rippling - Upland Brewing Co.
image courtesy of Brandt Carter

I love changing the store to greet each season. Designing and building displays for the front window can be a bit daunting with having to factor for our store cat, Miss B. Ripple. She loves to curl up there to nap in the sun. Nevertheless, restaging the store as the calendar changes keeps me on my toes. I think the Christmas season is my favorite. Lights, red ribbons, practical feeders and bird baths, beautiful books and gifts make creating a welcoming window easy.
Customers are the best part of our backyard birdfeeding store. I don't know if it's that people who feed the birds come from a special mould or are just good human beings. We enjoy each person. Some are concerned with pesky squirrels raiding their feeders or a hawk snatching songbirds from their backyard. Others want to add something new to their backyard haven like a heated birdbath or a peanut feeder. Still other folks just want to pick up seed or increase their backyard menus with something like meal worms.
What we notice most when people come into the store is that their stress levels fade ― people relax, slow down, chat, and greet Webster the goldendoodle or Miss B. Sharing their birdfeeding stories, be they successes, frustrations, or failures, warms the atmosphere. Even when we are not in the store we hear stories. For instance, a woman we were talking recently told of how her family celebrates the gift of a new bird feeder. Once it's in position and loaded with fresh seed, a $5 bill is taped to the window facing the feeder. All family members then write down their guesses about when the first bird will come to feed. The one who comes closest gets the greenback ― just enough for a jug of seed. Such fun stories never cease.
I hope you can see why we enjoy going to work everyday. Listening to soft music accented with bird songs and trickling water in the fountains, being surrounded by nature gifts and bird feeders, jugging tons of seed for the retail floor, and talking with people who love feeding birds and enjoy their backyards as much as we do adds up to supremely good fortune..

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins
Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins