Thursday, August 14, 2014

Birds, bees and sustainability

For the past few days, there's been a fledgling red-breasted nuthatch hopping about the deck and the railing, trying to feed on full-sized black sunflower seeds. It's as cute as any duckling I've ever seen. Earlier this week, I also came across a recently-fledged hairy or downy woodpecker in our driveway, not as cute as the nuthatch, but still looking young and vulnerable. As I walked down the driveway to check for mail, the little bird hopped-flapped ahead of me onto the road on which a not so distant pickup truck was headed north, toward us. I kept walking, which shooed the bird across the road and then stopped to let the truck pass. Both the bird and I proceeded unscathed except for some road dust raised as the truck roared by between us. Of course, both of the fledglings were camera shy, so, for now, we'll do without photos of them. Not so the bee population, which seems to be more in evidence as summer starts to wane. With them we were more successful getting pictures. These were taken in front of the food coop-coffee shop-book store complex in Cambridge, MN.

 a bee in each of the lower left and upper right quadrants
there's a bee on Anise hyssop in each of the lower left and upper right quadrants
Photo by J. Harrington

bee in lower third of plant
The bee is in the center of the lower third of the plumed celosia
Photo by J. Harrington

I haven't had an opportunity to confirm the identity of the plants the bees are visiting but we'll see if (the Better Half helped with the Anise hyssop) can help out sometime soon look at the updated captions. In the meanwhile, yesterday afternoon I watched a wonderful video of Donella Meadows' speech on envisioning a sustainable world. I think it's worth your time to watch. Here's a link to make it easy for you: Envisioning a Sustainable World. Part of my vision of a sustainable world definitely includes birds, bees, and beautiful flowers. It also includes four seasons, lambs in the Spring, and every child that's born being nurtured, loved and living a fulfilling life, air clean enough to breath, water clean enough to drink and soil clean enough to grow food and for children to play in. I'm still working on the rest of my vision. How about you?


By Maxine W. Kumin 
From a documentary on marsupials I learn
that a pillowcase makes a fine
substitute pouch for an orphaned kangaroo.

I am drawn to such dramas of animal rescue.
They are warm in the throat. I suffer, the critic proclaims,
from an overabundance of maternal genes.

Bring me your fallen fledgling, your bummer lamb,

lead the abused, the starvelings, into my barn.
Advise the hunted deer to leap into my corn.

And had there been a wild child—
filthy and fierce as a ferret, he is called
in one nineteenth-century account—

a wild child to love, it is safe to assume,
given my fireside inked with paw prints,
there would have been room.

Think of the language we two, same and not-same,
might have constructed from sign,
scratch, grimace, grunt, vowel:

Laughter our first noun, and our long verb, howl.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.