It’s cold and overcast here in the Willamette Valley, a rather dreary winter day. But the bright red coloring of the male House Finch catches my attention, and lifts my spirits. The Finches are daily visitors to feed and bathe in our backyard here in Salemtowne. They come to feed on black sunflower seeds I’ve put in a home crafted feeder I found in the garage left by Hans the former owner whose Swiss craftsmanship is apparent in the design of the wooden feeder. The Finches also bathe in the birdbath, another left over, that’s sits on the ground and is filled with rain water. The crowd of little song birds grows; the Finches are joined by Oregon Dark-eyed Juncos, American Goldfinches, and a Song Sparrow or two. I no longer notice the oppressive grey skies; the world is alive with color and activity.