Wednesday, May 18, 2016

#phenology -- a day of firsts

For the first time this season, I'm writing while sitting outside on the screened patio. In the process of cleaning the patio furniture, I had, and took, an opportunity to swat the first mosquito of the season. (The patio screening needs repairs.) As another first, I saw what I think is a cranefly perched on the screen of one of the downstairs windows. Although not for the first time this year, today the breeze is down, the temperature's up, the sky is blue and uncloudy. All in all today almost makes up for the earlier "Spring" we've been "enjoying." Do you recall the poem about the little girl with the little curl? That's how I feel about Minnesota's typical Spring weather.

[UPDATE: While dog walking, the first grasshoppers of the season were flushed from the roadside grasses.]

a late Spring visitor from two years ago
Photo by J. Harrington

Not a seasonal first by any means, but a combination of absentmindedness and laziness resulted in leaving out the front yard bird feeder again last night. That allowed the neighborhood bear to return and (re)ravage the same feeder I had retrieved, repaired and restored after his/her earlier foray a couple of weeks ago.  After reading a story in this morning's paper, I'm having second thoughts about any bird feeders. According to the report, a women on her deck was attacked last night by a sow bear with cubs. Speculation was that they were attracted to bird feeders. Black bears are supposed to be afraid of humans, but maybe no one's spending enough time explaining that to the bears. I don't think we'll forego feeders, but maybe it's time to resort to strings on fingers as reminders to bring in before dark the feeders that hang off the deck. In case you never had the joy of learning about little girls with curls, here's Longfellow's poem. I wonder if the bear had a curl?

There was a little girl


By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

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