Have always loved a bit of nonsense – can you tell? Our Book of Nonsense Verse was frequently read from in my childhood home. So The Spring is Sprung, the Grass is Riz; I wonder where the birdies is? (written by Anon – who wrote a lot of the stuff I recall!) – is one of those phrases that seems like, well, pudding or apple sauce or home and comfort. A spring theme song for me.
Guess the plum and cherry blossoms on our Oasis Farm have that homing effect now. Sitting where I am just inside the window looking out on the plum tree in front of the 1900’s house we still live in (the new house to be our residence in April/May), my view of our bit of countryside is very beautiful; white and feathery; tender and green. Little birds come eat the tiny seeds in the bird feeder in the tree, a Titmouse, Robins, Scrub Jay, Mockingbird, Black Phoebe, Barn Swallows, some tiny wren. All is well. Momentarily. Frost nearly forgotten and the winds are mild at the moment.
Wonder where the quail go – they came up the driveway in our first year but no more. Too much activity building the new house? The Mocking Birds are here daily, paired up and singing their hearts out, calling, copying my calls. A pair of Robins is in the Pyracantha; a pair of Cooper’s Hawks seems to have its nest in the neighbor’s trees. Do Cooper’s Hawks kill chickens or is that just the majestic Red Tail Hawk? Tisk and sadness. The beautiful animals are often the dangerous ones. Lions, Tigers. Bears.
I look on birds differently at different times. Hawks! Hello! Except they may lift a chicken right off the ground. Ouch. Bobcats! Loved staring at one in West Yellowstone Montana. Here? A bobcat killed a chicken right in front of Wayne. Now we have to either put the chickens behind an electric fence or as I’m doing – stay with them while they are outside their coop (which is pretty big but not free range!) So they have an hour to range before bedtime. At least they come back in to go to bed at dusk.
Found yesterday, a pair of Great Blue Heron’s nests in trees along the Petaluma River. But the trees traditionally nested with Snowy Egrets across from Shollenberger Park? Those have been sawed down by CalTrans! Hope those birds found other sites to nest nearby!
Do love spring – it’s definitely sprung! In our kitchen 20 or so saved branches from Wayne’s pruning the peaches and plums – and they’ve sprung leaves! Can I encourage roots? Will buy the root builder stuff just in case (and can use that where gophers have partially eaten roots of trees). Gophers – why don’t owls and hawks just stick to killing other predators? Really. How to train? Not possible? Hawk and Owl training?
Spring 2013 and I am wide awake about death and life on the land. Lost many a butterfly plant out back; replanting slowly with some sadness but of course hopeful these lovely flower-filled gardens can be reborn good as new with lots of care. But some chickens have disappeared, too, one, we thought, to a hawk, probably Red Tail; one to a skunk and now, sadness I never thought I’d feel, several chickens have been grabbed by a bobcat. He may have a family; that doesn’t make it sweeter.
So should we ask a Llama to come live with us? A big dog? A pair of dogs? Guinea Hens yell at predators; Wildlife Refuge says use hotwire. Never had this notion we need to push back – nature washes over us and if we want to stake our claim to a piece of land, our farm, we have to push predators back. No more deer wandering about munching apple trees to the trunk and eating all my roses; no more bobcats eating chickens. No more relaxed peaceful farm for now; we’re wary. And I’m dog shopping.
Crows. Bad guys? One year, I walked to the top of our hill to pick the sour cherries from the four trees up there. Where were the red cherries? All gone! Overnight they ate every one! Still, the crows say hello when we come home sometimes. And they yell if a bobcat comes. Is that what politics is like? Sometimes the bad guys are the good guys.