Fox on the Chase

moon phase Week of 06/07/2009 Plant late beets, potatoes, onions, carrots and other root crops.

The first week of June, the season of flowers is blooming into summer. The lush green countryside is now offering a blush of blue for those who look closely. Spring Phlox Spring Phlox Among the shadows of green leaves peer the bright blue faces of the Spring phlox, Wild geranium, Virginia waterleaf, Creeping Charlie, Lupine, and Wild blue indigo. Their beautiful blue presence on the land greets us with a soothing gentle message from Spring. They remind us to let go of the past season and move on to the season of flowers.

The little Hummingbird has waited patiently for the flowers and no longer does he have to search for the nectar-rich blossoms, they are everywhere. Although they seem to prefer red, the Hummers will pay a visit to most any colored flower that blooms in the Spring. Columbine Columbine With a hovering blur of tiny wings, he moves his long bill into the petals, and with his long bill, flicks up the sweet nectar from within.

At the edge of the woods where the ground is moist, the first large white tops of the cow parsnip appear. Their saucer-sized flowertops are snow white and sit atop a five or six foot hollow stem. They are definitely a statement in white when they bloom together in large groups. Cow parsnip is the favorite food for the woodchucks who live here. Each spring I enjoy watching them eat the tender young leaves, stem and all. Fox on the chase Fox on the chase The female woodchuck has driven off the resident male. Soon she will appear from under the board pile with her young for their first venture into a new world. Now they will find out how delicious the cow parsnip is.

The vixen slowly creeps through the tall grass. Like a cat stalking a mouse, the fox inches toward the henhouse. The chickens have been let out to forage for themselves, then shut in at night to protect them from predators. There is a reason she is so intent on hunting at mid-day; there are many mouths to feed and it keeps her busy. A fat chicken would feed them all for a day. It would be so easy for her to snatch up a chicken and be gone before anyone knew what happened. Her charge brings out the alarm call from all the chickens and the Guinea hens at once. Peacock on guard Peacock on guard Things get noisier as the dogs start barking and a huge male peacock calls out his very loud, wailing cry. Of course all the robins, grackles, jays and cows also get excited vocally, and now the whole barnyard is a clammer of voices. I'll let you decide whether the fox caught a chicken or if she would return for anther, or if this time, someone was waiting for her. The chickens are hard for the fox to resist though—after all, who doesn't like chicken?

The bluebirds in the orchard are busy catching insects and taking them to their hungry babies in the bluebird house. Blue Jay in the trees Blue Jay in the trees The bluebird is a thrush that acts like a flycatcher. They can catch insects in the air with ease or fly down for a beetle on the ground. For me, it's impossible to determine which of the blues is the most beautiful. Is it the bluebirds or the peacock? Is it the pastel of the phlox or the blue indigo of the bunting? I have decided to not judge what beauty provides for me. I love all the blue colors of nature unconditionally. The delicate little barn swallows have built their cup-shaped mud nests on a beam in the barn. A window has been left open for them to come and go as they please. The farmer knows how important the swallows are as insect catchers and he invites them to raise their families in the barn.

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Georgette from from Staten Island,+NY on June 17, 2009 at 07:26:11 AM
I just want you to know that I look forward to reading your newsletters very much. I have learned so many new things. I love the pictures and sketches. Thank you!

Georgette Stringer
Alan from from Bremen, GA on June 16, 2009 at 06:10:49 PM
Really enjoy your weekly column....brings bck memories of my childhood in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in western New York state on my grampa's dairy farm. And I buy Organic Valley products whenever I can.

Thanks for bringing Dan to us.....

Becky from from shoemakersville on June 11, 2009 at 09:13:38 PM
The story & scenery reminds me of the years on my Grands farm as a child. The days away from the hustle & bustle . Wish I blink myself their now!!
nancy from from northeastern new mexico on June 11, 2009 at 06:52:14 AM
Up here at 8500 ft. we have many hummingbirds entertaining us and the cactus are perfect for harvesting. The bluejays have been scolding the others as they try to monopolize the compost heap. Lizards abound and the garden is coming up. Thank you for your wonderful seasonal descriptions. We love Organic Valley! --Nancy
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