Beau May 9th, 2009
It rained so much yesterday that I saw a creek running through the garden. Thank goodness I made the rows perpendicular to the slope below… the water just ran out the ends and under a fence. We previously had a nice dry couple of days, but now I think it has rained non-stop since yesterday. Finally the sun broke free of cloud this afternoon and it was a beautiful evening, transitioning to a full moon… I love bright, full moon nights in the country. It’s almost like stepping back in time, or looking into some strange other world.
It’s not a strange world here for the geese- they seem to have made themselves right at home, and the little goslings are growing bigger everyday. They had the nerve to be up near the top of the hill yesterday, a stone’s throw to the barn, ripping out grass by the rootfuls! With visions of eroding hillsides in mind, I called our little hunter, the foxy looking japanese Shiba, and ran around toward the barn hoping he could chase the geese into the water. The geese knew something was afoot and half waddled and bumbled their way down the hill to the pond at high-goose-speed. They would never have let him get very close- a big 30 pound goose will beat a dog up pretty good with it’s wings and beak! I knew they’d make it to the pond as the shiba took his time, trotting toward the water with a gleam in his eye.
After the geese plopped into the water, the Big Daddy Gander puffed up and stretched his neck, honking loudly in protest at this intrusion by such a fox-like creature, with Mother Goose and the goslings following a few yards behind. The shiba wandered along the shoreline, looking wistfully at these floating bundles of feathers, and the big goose followed him step-for-step just out of reach off shore badgering the little dog. Eventually the shiba tired of the noisy scolding and went on his way. The geese seemed “proudly placated” and swam away. They seem to know we’re only temporary guests in their native aquatic home.
Birds are making quite a showing this spring, and yesterday was no exception as I saw a flash of red behind the house. After a quick double-take, I realized it was brighter than the red of our resident cardinals. And there he was- the Summer Tanager was back, calling and watching me. I was admiring his color and sound when I remembered I had a camera in my hand! Such a beautiful bird, they really only pass through for a couple weeks, and eat many bugs- especially wasps and bees! “Look out girls, the tanagers are here!!!”
Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote about Summer Tanagers on a Warm Day, and was lucky to have captured some of the most beautiful bird pictures that I’ve taken- those of the male and female Summer Tanager sitting in an oak tree near the house. I had never seen the female’s yellow green coloration before, and those pictures are two of my favorites.
Not to be outdone by the geese swiming in the water, the young boy seemed to think summer was already here. School’s out in a couple weeks, so that’s understandable. But he wandered down near the pond a couple days ago while I was planting tree seedlings… all he had on were his swim shorts and he carried a floatie. There I was- shovel in hand, covered in dirt, sweat and untold chiggers and ticks, and all I could think of was that I’d really like to be swimming too (the pond wasn’t my first choice).
Actually, I chuckled when he said “I’m going swimming!” And I said, “In the pond? Now? It’s kinda cold in there…” He didn’t seem to care and I didn’t want to discourage him. The geese have really only been here a few times, and the area was clean enough. Otherwise I wouldn’t let him swim. “Well, what did Mom say?” I asked. He said, “Well, she was in the asparagus patch and I just kinda walked by her and waved.” She later thought he was very cute in his swim shorts, not thinking he was serious about swimming in the pond just before dinner. We went back and got his life jacket since he’s not really at deep-water swimming strength yet. We let her know, and then back to the pond where he got a good 5-10 minutes of paddling fun in the water.
He didn’t say, but it sure looked colder than he thought it would be… Of course the yellow lab wasn’t just going to watch, he dove right in too! I had to give the boy credit- it’s a little early in the season for pond swimming in my book, but he sure had a quick bit of fun. And me? I’ll get there this summer, but for now I wasn’t quite ready to make the Leap of Faith into that cold water!