Finally, the rain, blessed rain that quenches the thirst of all who have been so parched and wilted has come. I listened contently to the sound it made as the heavy droplets danced on the roof and I watched as the waterfall fell from the roof past the window. The refreshing cool air filled the house and smelled of spring rain and a new assuring calm filled my lungs and heart. There's nothing so soothing to the spirit as a fresh summer rain, especially when it hasn't been felt for a long time.
Lying in bed, after the rain had passed, I can still hear the sound of it ringing in my head even though all is quiet. Then the distant call of a Barred owl and the moon peeks through the clouds. I know owl was grateful for the shower as were all the living things that the rain touched. The moon beams were reflected off all the wet leaves and grass and the fireflies danced around the flowers. It's a perfect summer night, I thought as I listened to a chorus of chirping crickets. At this moment in time, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
All was peaceful until I heard little voices and then a scratching sound at the corner of the house. I knew immediately that the raccoons were coming to pay a visit. I got out of bed and went to the window where the bird feeder was just in time to watch three raccoons peek up over. For ten long seconds, I was looking eye to eye with them. Then all three climbed up on the 2 ft. long feeder and began chowing down sunflower seeds. There wasn't much for them to eat so they were there for about five minutes before they climbed down off the bird feeder and snuck off into the darkness. They were gone but I could still see those three raccoon faces looking right at me. Feeling a subtle comfort from knowing the coons showed no fear fear of me, I went back to my moon-lit bed.
The garden flowers are blooming at their highest peak and there seems to be more butterflies and bees. I counted 25 honey bees in the long row of multi-colored zinnias. It's been several years since I've seen that many at once. The other good news is that there are a lot more native bees this summer, at least here in the Kickapoo Valley.
The prairie seed that I planted along the roadside 2 and 3 years ago is showing some nice color for the first time. There are patches of bright yellow coneflower and sunflower where only goldenrod was before. Here and there bunches of light lavender Bergamot (wild bee balm) and spears of Blue Vervain rise above the grass. Tall white stems of Culver's root tower above the 10 inch tall Creamy gentians on the ground. It's been nice to see how this piece of land has changed since I started giving it a helping hand. It's a good feeling to see flowers and grass where there wasn't any for a long time.
Prairie restoration is hard work and needs to be approached with patience. The springtime burn is important but doesn't solve the problem of getting rid of all the invasive species. For several years after a prairie planting, the unwanted foreign species must be dealt with. Aggressive plants like thistles, wild poison parsnip and Canada goldenrod should be cut before they go to seed. A lot more work but worth it in the long run.
All art ©2013 Organic Valley