Saturday, July 23, 2016

July reign #phenology

Early this afternoon, just before the rain got heavy, a couple of turkey hens, with poults, came out of the woods and worked their way across the small ridge behind the house. There was also a separate, small flock of four jakes that worked their way through our patch of feral oregano. Yesterday and today, before it started raining, we had more birds at the bird bath than had used it all Summer until this heat wave. There are still quite a few goldfinches that seem to prefer black sunflower seeds at the feeder than thistle seeds "in the wild."

turkey hen with poults at wood's edge
turkey hen with poults at wood's edge
Photo by J. Harrington

Walking the dog this morning, the white sage that's competing with milkweed to take over the field near the road shone magically silver in the moonlight. I think it's the same kind of sage that can be turned into smudge sticks, but since I quit smoking years ago I haven't any tobacco to leave as an offering. I'll see if I can find an acceptable alternative before I start to do any harvesting. I don't know what the story may be with the milkweed, but there's no signs of monarch butterflies, eggs, or caterpillars. Do you suppose monarchs don't like white sage?

A Summer Shower

By Henry Timrod

Welcome, rain or tempest
                         From yon airy powers,
                      We have languished for them
                         Many sultry hours,
And earth is sick and wan, and pines with all her flowers.

                      What have they been doing
                         In the burning June?
                      Riding with the genii?
                         Visiting the moon?
Or sleeping on the ice amid an arctic noon?

                      Bring they with them jewels
                         From the sunset lands?
                      What are these they scatter
                         With such lavish hands?
There are no brighter gems in Raolconda’s sands.

                      Pattering on the gravel,
                         Dropping from the eaves,
                      Glancing in the grass, and
                         Tinkling on the leaves,
They flash the liquid pearls as flung from fairy sieves.

                      Meanwhile, unreluctant,
                         Earth like Danae lies;
                      Listen! is it fancy
                         That beneath us sighs,
As that warm lap receives the largesse of the skies?

                      Jove, it is, descendeth
                         In those crystal rills;
                      And this world-wide tremor
                         Is a pulse that thrills
To a god’s life infused through veins of velvet hills.

                      Wait, thou jealous sunshine,
                         Break not on their bliss;
                      Earth will blush in roses
                         Many a day for this,
And bend a brighter brow beneath thy burning kiss.

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