Meadowlark and Cows

moon phase Week of 05/23/2004 Best days of the year to plant

My memory is still strong of last summer's drought, and after carrying pail after pail of water to thirsty gardens, I said I would never again complain about the rain. I remembered those words Friday as I sat at the drawing table listening to the heavy rain on the roof. It was the third straight day of rain, and I still wasn't complaining, until I heard water dripping on the floor of the attic.

Meadowlark and Cows

A leaky roof means there's work to be done, and in short order. I don't look forward to climbing up on that old metal roof to caulk the leaks. Trying to put the dripping water out of my mind, I realized it's the hole in the roof that's to blame, not the rain. I relaxed, grateful for all the good that comes from spring rain.

A red-tailed hawk perches high on the dead limb of an old elm tree. He spreads his, letting the raindrops wash his flight feathers. A good shower will encourage him to preen all his features with the natural oil from a gland at the base of his tail. For him and all the birds, the rain is a blessing and they don't think about complaining. You can hear the joy in their songs as the sun breaks through the clouds and they rouse their features. While walking back to the house from the mailbox, I hear the familiar high-pitched songs of cedar-war wings. Looking up, I count a flock of ten fly over my head and land in a leafless locust tree.

The black locust may be the last tree to put out leaves in the spring. Before the leaves come, the thorny branches are first covered with fragrant white blossoms. When this starts in a week or so, the air will be filled with the sweet scent of locust flowers, and honeybees will come by the thousands to collect their sweet nectar. There are two other in the yard capable of filling the air with the perfume of flowering blossoms. The first week of May brings my favorite aroma, the lavender lilacs. The black locust flowers around the end of the month, and the third fragrant scent comes by the second week of June. This is when the mock orange bushes will be covered with white blossoms. Their sweet, rich aroma is one of my favorite scent treats. They remind me of the pink blossoms of the white plums.

Though the soft hum of the morning rain comes the call of a yellow-billed cuckoo. "Clue, clue, clue, clue, clue, clue." His familiar song tells me he's hiding up the valley, in the boughs of the spruce trees. I'm always happy to hear the first cuckoo's song, because it means it's time for the fuzzy caterpillars to appear. The cuckoo is one of the few birds that will eat fuzzy caterpillars. Often a cuckoo will sing his song in the middle of the night, while the other birds are sound asleep.

The red runner beans that I planted along the side of the house have sprouted in the rain, and are poking their heads through the loose soil. They will grow quickly in the warm sun, and will be showing their orange-red blossoms by the second week of June. I know that this is a time when the hummingbirds will be in their glory. The beds of red bee balm will also be in bloom by then, and there will be enough hummingbird food for all who come.

Viewing the valley from up on the ridge, I am overcome by how green the tree-thick hills and lush green pastures have become. A meadowlark sings from a fence post, and it's as though his song is of gratitude for the beauty of his surroundings. I can't say I blame him. It's hard to believe there is any nicer place to be.

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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