There are so many reasons why this time of the year is so very special to me. I feel blessed to be living in a place where nature greets me each day with all her living wonders. The musical songs of the birds gently wake me each morning. The first things I see, through sleepy eyes, are the beautiful songbirds at the window feeder. Each night, I slowly drift off to sleep with the songs of the crickets and a whip-poor-will. There are so many reasons to love summer.
The grazing cows are fattening up on an abundance of grass in the lush green pastures. We've been getting plenty of rain along with warm weather and it's made for excellent growing conditions. The cows look so shiny and healthy when they are put to pasture. It only makes sense that a healthy cow gives healthy milk.
When I spotted a pair of adult Sandhill Cranes at the edge of a newly plowed field, I slowed the car down for a better look. Sure enough, there were two young at their feet. They were about 16 inches tall and still had a downy plumage. One of the parents always seems to have their head up high, watching for danger. The other is busy turning over large chunks of dirt with her beak and her hungry, waiting chicks will grab any worm or insect uncovered. In a few more weeks, when the crane chicks are nearly full grown and their flight feathers are coming in, they will be much better at foraging on their own. Until then, the mother crane is like a hen with her chicks and will provide food and lots of T.L.C.
There seems to be more wild milkweed growing everywhere this year. That has to be a good sign if you're a Monarch butterfly larva. So far, I've seen only a few, which makes sense because I haven't seen very many Monarch butterflies again this summer. If they have a successful breeding season, we may see more of these beautiful orange and black butterflies by late summer. Having more food for them to eat usually helps their numbers grow and they should rebound a little this summer. Where there is good food, there is always hope and a chance to prosper.
The flowerbeds are growing like crazy this summer. There are several large beds of red Bee balm, which are just starting to bloom. In a few days there will be blankets of bright red flowers, two weeks earlier than last year. Bee balm is one of the little Hummingbirds' very favorite flowers. I've never liked using Hummingbird feeders. There is no substitute for the good nutrition they get from the flowers. The flower gardens here have lots of good, healthy food for hungry little Hummingbirds. When the red runner beans on the side of the house reach the windows I'll be able to watch the hummers from inside. That's always a special treat.
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