Iris and Swallowtail

moon phase Week of 06/11/2006 Poor days for planting.

If the past few days are any indication of what summer might be like, it's sure to be a beauty and one to remember. The weather here is near perfect—not too hot to work outside, and cool nights make for good sleep. The glowing moonlight cast long shadows across the tall grass, and a few Fireflies blink their love-lights from above.

Iris and Swallowtail

I can't remember when grass looked this good, so early in the summer. There will be lots of hay to put up this year if the rains keep coming. The corn is a foot or more tall already. It used to be said it was a good year if the corn was knee high by the fourth—of July!

Along with the lush grass and good crops come the weeds—weeds like I've never seen. This year I'm seeing weeds again in places where I thought I had eliminated them. After six summers of pulling wild poison parsnip, I thought I pretty much had a handle on them. But seeds that had sat dormant for years have sprouted up everywhere. I've got too much time and effort invested to stop pulling them now. One of my favorite things to do is to walk through the tall grass in a summer field or along a creek or river. I want to be able to do that without getting blisters from the poison parsnip.

Pulling invasive weeds like poison parsnip, garlic mustard and Canada goldenrod is hard work, but it can actually be very pleasant and rewarding. It give me another reason to be outside, enjoying all the live around me. Besides, the many beautiful bird songs always put my mind at ease.

The young House wrens have fledged from the birdhouse gourd at the end of the porch. They aren't such good fliers at first, but they quickly get their wings. I watched one of them make a crash landing, disappearing in the tall, slender leaves of the Bearded irises. There are several newly-fledged, young robins scattered in different hiding places around the yard. Their single melodic chirp lets their parents know where to bring the food. They've only been out of the nest for three or four days, but soon they'll be on their own. The female robin was singing her mating call this morning—a single, soft whistle—to let her mate know she is ready to start another family.

From along the Kickapoo River, where the big willows grow, come the begging cries of three young Barred owls. At first I thought the call was from one young bird who was moving around in the dark, but then I heard the other two call at the same time. The adults have no trouble finding their noisy kids.

About a quarter mile down the road, there is a large soft maple tree. The old tree has some hollow branches with holes pecked in them by a woodpecker. The holes provide shelter and nesting places for birds like woodpeckers, starlings, Screech owls and kestrels. This year a pair of adult Kestrels has made the big tree their home, and they are raising their family in a nest in one of the holes in a large limb. Occasionally one of the kestrels will zoom around the yard for a couple of minutes, chasing all the songbirds to scatter. It's always an exciting time when there's a hawk in the yard, especially in the spring!

Naturally yours,

Dan Hazlett

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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