Monday, July 1, 2013

Some Like It Hot

Bird Breakfast On-the Go
The Perfect Lawn Mower
Log Basking (Ring-necked Couple)
Blue Heron's Turn on the Log
Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!
July 1 Morning Pond Report:

Horses buzz through the pastures, manicuring it like lawn. I could hire out Pistol to a golf course, he mows that precise. A bird clings to Snapper's back, picking off flying insects for an easy meal. I'm avoiding breakfast. It's too hot to cook and I'd be pleased with just a banana, nuts and coffee. But Todd has come home a day early and he likes a hot-cooked breakfast. Usually I whip up buttermilk pancakes and slabs of ham. He'd fix his own breakfast, but leave a mess, and cleaning up after him on a hot summer day seems worse. So I delay outside.

Elmira Pond is down to one ring-necked duck couple. For the moment, at least. They both bask on the log where Lady Merganser used to sit like royalty with her feathery red head and saw-bill beak. But she has been gone long enough that the log needs a new name. Blue Heron shares the log with the ducks. In fact, I'm watering when I catch sight of an osprey, but my legs walk as if sloshing through Jello. By the time I reach my camera at Bird Nerd Central on the south porch, the osprey is gone. But I notice that Blue Heron is log-master now.

Sludging back to the abandoned water-hose, I can't think of a clever name for the log, so log it will be. Wind is whistling like water-flow through the trees and it enhances the mist that blows back in my face from the hose. The rain has made me a lazy gardener, but no more. Not only do I need to water before the heat peaks, the weeds need to feel the bite of my hoe. I hoe until my arms feel captive, incapable of moving any more. Switching it up, I pull weeds, instead. But the hoe also rebuilds my hills and aerates the soil. So I water what has been hoed, hoping for the return of my arms.

Some like it hot. I do not. I do not like it hot, on a pond or beneath a frond. I do not like it hot, today or any day. I do not like it hot, Sam I Am, and I don't want to go fix my husband breakfast ham.

Whether I'm truly hallucinating Dr. Seuss, or merely suffering a minor rebellion over the first real summer heat, I turn the hose on myself. Gulping at the the cold well-water that streams down my head, soaking my hair drawn back into a pony-tail, my body suddenly feels washed of Jello. Water soaks the front and back of my t-shirt and I go from reciting children's rhymes to feeling as sultry as Sophia Loren  in an Italian garden full of ripe Roma tomatoes. Do my plants feel this good when the hose soaks?

Suddenly I'm energized for more hilling and weeding and when I begin to decline, I refresh under the hose. The garden is emerging, peas curling, potato greens bursting, pumpkin leaves multiplying. It's far from jungle-mode, but it is
Pink as Pink Gets
Flying Fish
That's a Big Fish
growing. One puzzlement is the dill. Barely two-inches tall and skinnier than an earthworm, some of the stalks are bolting. I can hardly justify picking it even if I knew Thimbulina personally. Micro-dill was not what I expected. But with all things in gardens and nature, we will watch what happens.

For now, wet, I like it hot and  turn to the roses, dragging the hose across the grass we call lawn. Finished, I recline into Bird Nerd Central with a fresh cup of coffee, murmuring promises of breakfast "soon." At least five types of butterflies flit among the roses. Two are tiny--one of dark russet-orange and the other lavender. A big yellowish-orange and black butterfly flits to fast to really let me see markings. The roses attract all kinds of pollinators--bumble bees, damsel flies of red and blue, hummingbirds and dragonflies. One dragonfly is black with silver wings. But I can't seem to snap a photo quick enough.

It's not about the camera. It's the experience. So I sit back, watch and an osprey flies overhead, not pausing at the pond. My coffee cup is empty, my shirt near dry and I resign myself to the darkened house. But wait...

In the distance I hear chirping. It sounds osprey-ish. So I wait, scanning the sky. I'm fairly certain the sound is coming from the forested ridge across the highway. Then suddenly, two osprey swoop above the pines. One bobs in the air with that funny flight pattern an osprey gets when packing a fish. And I can see a large fish in his talons. The two are squabbling, it sounds like, or maybe not. Bit they keep circling that directing and dipping into the trees. It occurs to me that a nest might be over there. Or a perch. The chirps ends and I call it a day. A hot day.

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