The gray afternoon clouds spoke in a deep rumble and the smell of fresh rain was in the air. It's been so long since clouds have offered their life-giving moisture to us - virtually no rain since the end of June. I savor the scent of its approach.
The lovely low drum of thunder bounced off my chest and made my heart rush. Dark gray clouds churned into a swirl of high winds and falling raindrops. I let the fat droplets hit my face and felt their coolness run down my neck and into my shirt. For the moment nothing seemed to matter but the rain.
I realized what a gift this weather is when I looked down at the two empty five-gallon pails I'm holding. Just before I smelled the rain coming I had been carrying water to the garden plants. Setting the pails on the ground, I gave thanks for the rain and the work it will save me.
Standing on the porch, drying my hair with a clean towel, I watched the flood of water running from the downspouts. The multitude of raindrops dancing on the metal roof made beautiful music for my ears.
As I opened the screen door and stepped into the house, a fat chipmunk scurried across the floor. I had left the door ajar, and apparently his curiosity drew him inside. The sound of the screen door slamming behind me sent him scurrying behind a bookshelf. I knew that chasing him around the house would probably be a waste of time, so I left the door ajar again in hopes that he would find his way out. After about a half hour - just about when the rain passed - he did just that.
A chipmunk is one of those cute, endearing little animals that one can't help but love. They mean no harm, but they are nosy and constantly get into trouble as they look for something good to eat. Still, it's hard to hold a grudge against these little pixies of the woods.
I watched the chipmunk make mischief when a female turkey left her nest to find food by the edge of the woods. She'd been sitting on her clutch of a dozen large off-white, spotted eggs since early morning, and was hungry. A wild hen turkey cannot leave her nest for long, so she tried to fill her hunger by quickly snatching up nearby grasshoppers, crickets and clover leaves. While she was gone, the snoopy little chipmunk followed his nose to the nice eggs, grabbed one in his sharp teeth, and ran off to eat his prize. Fresh egg tastes pretty good to the chipmunk, so after hollowing out the shell, he headed back to the nest for seconds. In his haste he did not notice that the big hen turkey had returned, so he was turned away with a sharp peck on the head.
When the remaining eggs hatch in a couple of days, mother hen will walk away with her new downy family following behind her. She will keep them under cover until they are big enough to fly.
Wild turkey eggshells are a common sight here in the spring and summer. If the shell is clean and looks like it had been broken from the inside, it was probably hatched. If the shell is pushed inward and there are bits of yolk inside, the egg may have been eaten by a chipmunk, squirrel, mouse, or other bird.
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