Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. Sunshine finally came Wednesday, and with it came a chance to do some things in the yard and garden that I’ve been putting off because it’s been too wet—my main objective being weeds, weeds and more weeds. really don’t mind pulling weeds because it’s good hard work and it’s a good time sort things out in the old noggin. It’s also a good time to get some sunshine, fresh air, bird songs and butterflies—all very good for the heart and spirit. There is no better way to get grounded and that’s something we all need to do more often.
In the flower beds, the delphiniums are blooming along with the bright yellow primrose and Shasta daisies. The bumblebees are taking advantage of the source of pollen the sweet flowers offer. I’ve often wondered how many miles bees put on during a day of flying from flower to flower—so much energy put into Nature’s common cause. The bumblebee rubs his face, arms and legs on the flowers’ stamens and the sticky, sweet pollen is carried back to his nest.
Although I haven’t seen a single honeybee yet this summer, I’m holding hope that they may yet appear when some of the other flowers start to bloom in the garden and meadow. For now, the flowers in bloom are being pollinated by a whole host of other flying insects—mostly very small and tiny insects like little native bees, of which there are over fifty varieties—tiny flies, gnats, beetles and other bugs. Some of them are very beautiful, like the bee-fly, and others have little color, but the important thing is that they do a great service by visiting the flowers.
Often the world of insects goes unnoticed. The world of the small and inconspicuous is the busiest world in the Nature’s realm, but to know what’s going on, we must look closely. We have to make the extra effort to bend over and take a close look at a whole new world. I believe it’s one of the most important things that a small child can learn about the natural world. They can learn that insects are the reason that all plants and animals are able to survive and multiply. They will learn that slowing down and taking a closer look can add greatly to their knowledge and understanding of how Nature works. From these things will grow compassion in their hearts for those things that really matter throughout their lives. It really begins with tiny, simple things, like showing a child “how” to look at the Natural world.
I got a close look at a lovely butterfly this morning. He was an example of a class of butterflies known as angel wings. The one I saw this morning goes by the name “Comma.” Butterflies are a wonderful example of an insect that a child should see close-up—everybody loves butterflies.
The phoebe’s nest above the window now has several tiny, featherless young. Their parents are very busy catching insects to take to the nest. Insects are the very most nutritious food for them and Nature provides them with all they can eat. Near the creek at the east side of the garden, I spotted a pretty female yellow-throated warbler. In her little beak she held a tiny spider—she, too, has little mouths to feed.
I accidentally disturbed a female Red-winged blackbird from her nest in a tall poison parsnip. While I bent down for a closer look, the male Red-wing hovered ten feet above my head and scolded me until I left. I offered them my apologies as I walked away.
A dead bird lying at the edge of the road is a common sight this time of the year. How many young birds in their nests will survive if only one parent has to feed all of them? The bird I saw face down in the road today had her wings spread and looked alive. When I picked her up she didn’t struggle and just laid in my hand. She looked very alert and after a couple of minutes off she flew. It’s a very rare thing indeed to see a bird fly away from a collision with a car, especially a delicate little bird like a waxwing.
It was my day for discoveries, and while in the old shed, I looked up when I heard scratching above my head. At the peak of the roof were several little brown bats, huddled together for the day. Surely if it weren’t for insects there wouldn’t be any little brown bats flying in the evening skies.
This is the time of year when most wildlife is active and many die on the highway. A Turkey vulture recycles a deer who didn’t make it across the road. Somewhere there are fawns that probably won’t survive without their mother, but someone got to work on time.
In the pasture along the river, a Canadian goose leads her downy yellow goslings along the bank. She will stay with them for several weeks until they are big enough to fly. Further down the bank, another goose stands guard over her gangly brood of two-week-old goslings. They have lost their baby yellow but still are covered with gray down.
The living world is all around us and summer is the season to take a closer look.
All art ©2013 Organic Valley