It has been a week since that little baby bird came to live with me. His identity as a robin was revealed as his feathers grew out. Since he has to be fed every half hour, finding food for him is a challenge. I think Iíve turned over every rock and board on the place a dozen times looking for crickets and beetles for him to eat. I catch grasshoppers with a butterfly net, and I bought a few dozen night crawlers from the place that sells fish bait. Itís amazing how much he eats. Itís like his big, yellow mouth leads to a bottomless pit.
Today is the first day he was able to jump up and perch on the edge of the pail that heís been using as his nest. I make sure he gets enough sunshine, and the moisture he needs is in the food he eats. Heís doing fine and should be trying out his wings in another day or two.
The late summer flowers are starting to bloom in a variety of beautiful colors. The leafy green vines that grow twenty feet up the east and south sides of the house have a pretty mixture of pink and purple morning glories and red Runner beans. Now that the red flowers of the bee balm are pretty much done, the hummingbirds have turned their attention to the flowering vines. Each morning I enjoy the sounds of humming wings as the little hummers hover at the windows. The red Runner beans will be harvested in the fall after the frost turns them brown, but the morning glories will re-seed themselves.
The tiny, blue dayflowers near the driveway are a special color blue and have very tiny, yellow flowers in their centers. They are flowers within flowers, but you have to look very closely to see them. I donít ever remember planting them, yet theyíve crept into several flowerbeds. The lovely Pink Ladies have appeared from nowhere and, as usual, I forgot they were there until they started to bloom. They are the fragrant lilies whose long, thin leaves first appear in the spring. In late summer, the tall stalks and flowers pop up but have no leaves at all. Over the years, I have dug up the plants around them to transplant and inadvertently moved some of the Pink Lady bulbs. Now there are six nice patches of these lilies around the yard. I like them, because they are always such a nice surprise after all the other lilies are done.
Because of the heavy dew Thursday morning, I decided to put off my early walk through the meadow until after the sun dried things off a little bit. The warm sun also encourages many of the wild flowers to open their pretty petals. Iíve always known that flowers donít have to be big to be beautiful. All you need to do is bend down for a closer look. The dark purple flowers of the nightshade are a good example of small-is-beautiful.
A garden spider has had a busy morning. It has caught a nice big grasshopper and is busy wrapping him up in webbing. This was a male garden spider. He is a little smaller than the brightly colored black and yellow female. In fourth grade, I remember taking a few of these large spiders (in a fruit jar) to school to show the teacher and kids in my class. The kids thought they were pretty cool, but the teacher gave me strict orders not to unscrew the lid, or else.
At the edge of the meadow stream is where the green mint grows. Often I pinch the leaves as I walk by for the fresh scent of mint, or chew on a small leaf for that fresh taste of mint. Today there is an extra nice minty treat. The dark green foliage is covered with pretty mint blossoms.
I spotted movement in the tall grass near the stream, so I bent down for a closer look. The dark, scaly skin of a large Garter snake slid between the blades of grass almost completely unseen. I enjoy watching snakes when they arenít startled. They move at such a nice, slow, earthly pace that allows them to inspect the world as they pass by. The snake hears, sees, smells and tastes all that is around it, using all its senses all the time. Thereís little doubt that there is much about living that the snake could teach us.
Where the ground is wet and spongy and the tall grass and sedges grow, the earth smells wet and sweet with the scent of the marsh. A male Red-winged blackbird scolds me from his perch on a tall, wild sunflower, and several dragonflies zip along over my head. Nearby, I see several three-foot tall flowering plants with hairy stems and wrinkled leaves. The pretty clumps of white flowers on top tell me itís Boneset. The Boneset was said to be a healing plant that, when used in a remedy, could heal bones. The native people who lived on the land knew all the wild plants and used many of them in remedies of all sorts.
The pretty yellow goldfinches are nesting now. They patiently wait for the thistles to bloom and go to seed. The fluffy white down that carries the seeds on the breeze is preferred by the finches to line the insides of their nests. I like that they nest so late, because they always bring their young to the many sunflowers in the yard and meadow. They love sunflower seeds, and this should be a good year for both.
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