Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n10)
Right in my Own Backyard - before Glendale - by Brandt Carter
posted: May 12, 2017
I lived in the neighborhood even before Glendale was built. Murphy's, Block's, A&P, and Vonnegut's Hardware were the major retailers. AFNB, Indiana National Bank, and Railroadmen's were the banks of the day. All the county high school students went to Broad Ripple or Shortridge, and Broad Ripple was the only shopping area north of 38th Street.
Vonnegut's Hardware at night. The store was at 802 Broad Ripple Avenue, where Ossip Optometry is today [H4 on map].
Our yard had lots of wonderful birds and wildlife: bluebirds and purple martins, an abundance of cardinals, finches, and owls. Nights were silent - no city-street sounds. After all these years, this familiar neighborhood has transitioned from its rural feel with gravel roads coated with tar to an urban neighborhood of 60-year-old homes and gardens to match.
Some of the fields birds have moved on, but Nature has been kind and left many varieties of birds to feed and watch from the window. In September I marveled at gold finches swaying on the sunflowers, filling their beaks with drying seeds. While the finches have disappeared along with summer, it's quite the experience to see them changing from the eye-catching yellow and black to the grayish green for winter protection. They eat the seeds from flowers: sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, coneflowers to name a few, but will gladly abandon blossoms for the abundance at the thistle feeder.
If you have not attracted or fed finches before, try offering thistle. This requires a special feeder with smaller holes. Some finch feeders also allow upside down feeding with the food port below the perches. Other birds that like thistle but can't hang upside down will not drain the feeder. Start now and enjoy the hobby of birdfeeding.