Watching the wild birds while sitting in a lawn chair at the edge of the yard:
The little but loud house wren was the first to greet me.
Next was the "drink-your-tea," of the Towhee.
The birdlike song of a tree frog, and a catbird chattered on and on
like he forgot the words to a song.
A cardinal whistles from the treetops high,
and the bank swallows glide in the evening sky.
A blue jay "Beep beeps" when he sees me there,
sitting quite still in my old lawn chair.
Then the Oriole's chatter got my attention,
"You're too close to the oranges, what's your intention?"
He swoops down from a branch high in the tree
to light on the orange, and he sees it's just me.
The grosbeaks aren't afraid to come near
for the sunflower seeds they will show little fear.
The robins all sing at the dawn of the day,
and Hummingbird hums his soft melody.
His ruby red throat stands out against the pretty blue petals
of the Blue bells that grow near the stinging green nettles.
The doves calmly "coo" at the end of each day,
it sounds like they're praying—but then, who's to say?
A bunting, a warbler, and thrasher join in;
Their songs are adrift on the evening wind.
The woodthrush's song is all by itself.
It's the richest song, if enjoyment is wealth.
All of the birds in the trees and the air,
stop by to sing while I sit in my chair.
Two more birds in the evening, as the air starts to chill,
the cluck, cluck of a cuckoo and the Whip-poor-will.
How many birds, I can't really say,
but a lot come to greet me every day.
The week started with a chill in the air and made a statement on Saturday and Sunday night, with a heavy frost that probably blackened the tomatoes and pepper plants of those gardeners who thought they were getting an early start. I've learned not to plant any perennials before the end of May. That's when the nighttime temperatures will stay above freezing. I had 26 degrees Saturday night, and a daytime high of 65 degrees. By Wednesday, with sunshine and wind, the temperature soared to 90 degrees and felt more than a bit uncomfortable. Hard to explain, but that's how it is here in Southwest Wisconsin.
Thursday morning, I noticed one of the Red-tailed hawks drop down into the tall grass of the meadow south of the house. The female finally rose with a vole in her talons, and the male called to her as he circled above. That means that the egg incubation time is over, and the young hawklets are large enough to be left alone for a while in the nest. They may be less than a week old and the size of a baseball, but will grow quickly and will be at maximum weight in about three more weeks. Then they'll change their downy warm pajamas for a suit of new features before they fledge at week five.
The mushroom season has been in full swing for over two weeks and the stories of finding these little treasures are many. In spite of the rough terrain, the thorny underbrush, and the chance of a Deer tick hitching a ride, there are still lots of people who defy the odds in pursuit of some morels.
This week I'll plant the Red runner beans along the side of the house. Then I'll plant a long double row of Giant zinnias. The butterflies and bees love them, and the finches eat the seed in the late fall. I love what flowers can do, in addition to how beautiful they look.
The insects usually don't start their courtship songs until the nights get warm. When the soil and water temperatures of the stream reach a desirable, steady temperature, more and more flying insects appear.
This was the week of "leaf out," when 90% of the forest bursts out into crowns of lush, green leaves. This is the time when nearly all of Nature is going through the timeless process of being reborn. The only exception is the species that lives outside that great cycle of life—us.
This is the time of the fawns. Most of them will be born in a couple of weeks. The new abundance of green leaves will help hide the little spotted fawns. Just today I listened to three different stories from mushroom hunters who happened upon a newborn Fawn. These are the things you never forget.
The real meaning of spring is just outside your door. Let Mother Nature show you what life is really all about. Take a walk down Nature's trail.
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