Robin on the Mend

moon phase Week of 09/09/2012 Best days for doing chores around the farm.

The week started with cooler temperatures and a little rain that came after sunset on Saturday night. The Homestead The Homestead It was a moderate but steady rain that lasted through the night and left a sweet, fresh scent in the valley.

The flowers in the yard looked rejuvenated from the rain, although the lavender phlox is going to seed fast, and there probably wonít be many flowers left a week from now. Itís always hard to watch the beautiful flowers begin to fade. I would like to have them all in my life every day of the year, but I enjoy them while theyíre here and look forward to the next blooms.

Indian Plantain Indian Plantain This yearís flowers were all beautiful in spite of the long drought. I carried a lot of water to the garden this summer. I knew if I didnít, I wouldnít get to see much of a flower, bee, hummingbird and butterfly show. Because of all those pails of water, it turned out well, and this old country school house came alive in a colorful show of flowers and green leaves.

Itís the last week of August, and there are still quite a few plants that are just starting to bloom. I often take a little stroll around the yard at night just to watch and listen. I like to stop and smell the flowers. Honey Bee Love Honey Bee Love They always seem to be sweeter in the dark. There was a full moon Friday night, and the large white blossoms of the moon flowers smelled as sweet as they looked. Greenish-white flower heads of eight foot-tall Indian plantain seemed to glow in the moonlight. They tower above all the rest of the prairie plants in the meadow and look like big white brooms in the moonlight.

I love it when the bush sunflowers bloom and the edge of the yard is a blanket of pretty yellow. The honey bees were out early this morning. Lately their favorite thing to do is gather pollen from the thousands of tiny sunflowers. Itís been a long time since Iíve seen so many honeybees in one place. Moonflowers Moonflowers They hummed in pure delight as they drifted from flower to flower. I donít know where they are taking their pollen treasure but I hope it will make some beekeeper happy.

Cool dampness settled over the valley on Thursday morning, and misty fog greeted the first light. A pair of barred owls cackled and clucked to each other at the far end of the valley. Theyíve been very vocal lately, both in the morning and evening. Iím thinking they had a good summer and are always telling each other how nice it is to be together in this peaceful valley.

A Robin on the Mend A Robin on the Mend Iíve been seeing cedar waxwings lately. These lovely little olive-green birds are usually seen in groups as they search the tree branches for insects. You have to listen closely to hear their faint, high-pitched notes, a whispering ďzeeeee, zeeeee, zeeeee.Ē

The zinnias are luring in butterflies every morning and one of my favorites is the beautiful giant yellow swallowtail. Itís been a good summer for these wonderful flying flowers, and Iím hoping that it will carry over to next summer. Iíll be thinking of them this winter when the zinnia bed is covered with snow.

Time for a little update on the progress of the robin Iíve been caring for over the past month. He seems to be doing just fine and is eager to see me each morning. He spends the night in the shed where heís safe and dry. Pettie the Robin with Ingrid and Belle Pettie the Robin with Ingrid and Belle I let him out each morning and give him a few grasshoppers and a couple of night crawlers. Then heís free to fly around the yard during the day. Heís getting a little better at finding his own food but still comes to me several times a day for a free handout. After eating, he likes to drink from a pan of water and maybe take a bath. Itís fun to watch him bathe as his wings beat the water and he bobs up and down to get every feather wet. Then he jumps to a nearby perch and begins to preen by passing each feather through his beak. While he preens, I see that his tail feathers still have some blood quills but are nearly full grown. Heís been flying much better the past few days, and he gets stronger with each passing day. Itís strange that I havenít seen another robin in the yard since this one came to stay. In fact, I havenít seen hardly any robins for about three weeks. Iím hoping that he is strong enough to join a migrating flow of robins when they pass through some time this fall.

Naturally yours

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Julie from from Chicago on October 11, 2012 at 04:20:36 PM
I grew up in La Crosse. At this time of year my thoughts turn to Grandad Bluff at the foot of which is my childhood home. The trees form a flaming headress along the ridge of the old sandstone glacial formation and then more than ever, he resembles a Winnebago Chief. Saw a robin this afternoon during a walk along Lake Michigan. Lingering a bit longer than usual and I thought of your recovering robin, Pettie. we live right on the lake and have just added two (bags) bird feeders. We're on the ninth floor and the winds frequently reach 60 mph. Still, the finches and house sparrows (if I'm correct that indeed they are what I think they are) manage to find time to actively "hit the bags" each day.
thanks for your column, it makes my homesickness less.
Happy Autumn,

Fay from from Louisiana on September 13, 2012 at 12:06:02 PM
Hi again, just wanted to comment on the update about Pettie. I really enjoy reading about him. Love the pictures of him with the lovely girls. Amazing he would stay like that! I had an older mockingbird that would come for daily treats for a year now, but he has disappeared since the hurricane hit here two weeks ago, so it is nice to see you share your experiences with the robin. Also, love the "Homestead" pictures you have a lovely home and garden. As usual we don't see robins her much this far south anymore. Miss the times when my parents' yard had hundreds! I have been reading your newsletters for years now, and still can't wait to see it in my mailbox! Thanks for sharing the wonder with us!
VF Chapmon from from Cleburne Texas on September 13, 2012 at 11:33:32 AM
I look forward to your new letter and the wonderful story you tell. I would love to live were you live.
Lynn Hand from from Concord, NH on September 13, 2012 at 08:38:15 AM
Love the story about the robin on the mend. We found a small bird who had a problem flying. Took him/her to a local vet who would evaluate and then take the bird to a wildlife rehabilitation center. We live in a big apartment complex with children and animals, some cats, roaming freely. We have a cat, so taking care of the bird would be difficult..So we took it to someone who could help better than we could.
Re from from New Hampshire on September 13, 2012 at 07:08:32 AM
It is wonderful that the Robin is on the mend. The flowers will be gone all to soon and the Fall weather will soon be here.
Jan from from TN on September 12, 2012 at 09:19:40 PM
Pettie the Robin has two very pretty little playmates in the picture. I do hope he is able to "catch a flight" going south. If not, you might have to "overwinter" him in the homestead. The flowers there are just beautiful. I find it strange that my Yuccas around the yard are blooming now. They usually bloom in the spring, but spring was kind of a washout this year. I guess the last July and early August rains brought the flush of blooms. Glad you had nice rains, too.
Happy Naturing.
terry werntz from from NJ on September 12, 2012 at 03:04:12 PM
I wanna move there
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