We ate our first honeycrisp apples of the season this past week. They had the crisp part just fine but might have been picked a little early for the "honey" flavor.
ruby-throated hummingbird at feeder
Photo by J. Harrington
When once we only had a male or a female visiting at a time, several hummingbirds have been showing up at the feeder this week. They've also been exploring the picture window to see if there's a way into the house, perhaps to taste the Better Half's purple orchids growing in view of the window. I'm assuming that this year's family is learning their way around and starting to "fatten up" (if I can use that term about hummingbirds) in preparation for their migration.
Canada goose, gander and goslings
Photo by J. Harrington
I've heard reports that the Canada geese are going through their "training flights" these mornings, when this years goslings test their wings and the adults make sure all the pieces are there after the Summer molt. These practice sessions will continue until they all head south at or just after freeze-up.
Thinking about migration provides a different perspective to the question of "local" as in local food or local economy. For example, historically, "...the Ojibwe ...moved according to a seasonal subsistence economy---fishing in the summer, harvesting wild rice in the fall, hunting, trapping, and ice fishing in the winter, and tapping maple syrup (see below) and spearfishing in the spring...."
Local foods can be as close as our backyard, or within a "100-mile diet" range, or the five-state region centered around Minnesota. Our hummingbirds and geese travel more than 1,000 miles from their Summer range to the Gulf coast or beyond. If that migration distance is "natural," we probably need to give more thought to what we're trying to define as "local," lest we be found arbitrary and capricious. You might have thought that, since we finished the bioregional quiz last Friday, we were done with it for now. You might have jumped to a conclusion.
Where We Live
For John Guare
I used to livein a mother now I livein a sunflower
Blinded by the silverware
Blinded by the refrigerator
I sit on a sidewalkin the sunflower and its yellowdownpour
The light of the worldbeads up on one perfectgreen leaf
It scribbles its name on every living thing then erases it so what’s left is more of a whisper than a mother
Here it’s spring
Over and over and over again
I used to livein a cloud now I livein a crow
It’s tiny and crippled in there but I can find my way to the bathroom in the dark if I need to
All the windowsin the crow are left openand let the clouds in
They float past my bed and have nothing to say
Hello it’s nice to meet you!
From a telephone poletongues slide out singingwelcome home
Welcome home they sing
I used to livein a tree now I livein a king
He waves his arms in front of him and endless migrations of birds disappear into his coat
I like to sit up insidehis crown eating sandwichesand watching tv
Hills shake in the distance when he shuffles his feetFloods when he snaps his fingers
I bow inside his brow and the afternoon stretches outOrders more sandwiches
And sells the slaves
and sets the slaves free
and sells the slaves
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.