Friday, June 14, 2013

Gray Day

Off-Pond Update:
Hey, Ladies...

Tom Turkey
After sowing carrot seeds at dawn on Tuesday, I left Elmira Pond to visit my best buddy and sister-of-the heart in Helena. Five minutes into a five hour drive, I hit the breaks--turkeys.

A big tom in full display was showing off his tail-feathers and strut to two skittish hens. Wondering if I could talk turkey, I rolled down the window, snapped some photos and gobbled. Tom gobbled back so forcibly his red wattles jiggled.

A gobble can be heard up to a mile away. I've yet to see turkeys at the pond but they do roost in the trees across HWY 95. I hear them at dawn before they drop like ripe fruit from laden branches.

Cold, Wet & Gray
I'm thinking if I stop for every bird witnessed, I'll never get to the Queen City of the Rockies and my friend waiting at her fence. So, I drive on past bald eagles sitting along Lake Pend Oreille, even a baby bald eagle, newly ousted from the nest.

On I drive. Some things are better than birds.

June 14 Early Morning Pond Report:

Rainy Day
Morning arrives soggy, gray and cold. While Elmira does not have big temperature swings, a cold day in summer is the same as a warm day in winter--about 52 degrees. Somehow, the morning feels disappointing, yet the day has not begun.

Huddling in Todd's jacket, I sit on the south porch in fuzzy socks with both hands wrapped around my coffee mug. It's a new roast of beans from Montana, Flathead Cherries.

A Day for Hunkering Down
The pond is locked in steely silence. No osprey. No Blue Heron. No mating bull frogs. And no geese. The Canada Goose is common. Yet, couples mate for life and the family unit remains intact through winter and spring migrations. Has it been long enough for the goosling to take their first flight? Where did they go. The pond feels empty.

Birthday Cake Roses
As empty as my garden of dirt. Nothing poked up while I was away and the transplants still look questionable. If this is summer, will anything grow?

As the horses hunker down in the southeast pasture, I turn to Habakkuk 3:17-18:

Profusion of Buds
Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

It may be dreary, but true joy is not dependent upon  my fickle state of mind, the absence of birds or the germination of my garden. I thank God today for this paradise, for these green pastures and quiet waters. Clouds and cold matter not.

Horse & Fairy Ring
And it is then that I notice something I had missed. The rose bushes have budded. Tiny tea roses of butter-cream yellow with petal tips of candy-pink decorate the dark green of the flower beds like colorful frosting on a birthday cake.

The larger rose bush I had trimmed in April is bursting with a profusion of red-wine buds. One has even started to open. This was not here three days ago. The roses promise to be stunning.

Birds & Beast
Then Blue Heron lifts up out of the reeds. I am relieved to see him. His legs tuck up and he clears the willows he usually settles under, heading southeast, rising higher and higher. I do not know what his flight means or if he'll return.

It is okay, not knowing.

June 14 Evening Pond Report:

No osprey. No geese. No Blue Heron. But the mergansers and wigeon couple are still on Elmira Pond. Tree swallows pound the pond like mini ospreys, attacking an insect hatch. They leave behind fairy rings.

Mama Duck & 4 Babies
If you miss the acrobatic flight of the swallows, you might think fish are jumping. Some swallows hist the water two, three times like a skipping stone. Yet, I see distinct arrows cutting across the water. Frogs swimming?

I scope the far shore of the pond and receive yet another surprise today. A mama duck. Ah, females are hard to define. While I'm not certain of her breed, I'm now certain of what is making the water arrows--her four little ducklings. Tiny, newly hatched ducklings.

The Storm Moves On
One is way out ahead of mama, the little explorer of the group. Mama swims close to the reeds and the other three. What puff-balls they are today. I'll keep my eye on them and see if I can figure out mama duck's markings.

Snapper grazes close to the pond. Birds rest upon her back, hopefully eating flies. The flies can get bad here and be miserable for horses. These birds
have a moving roost, complete with meal service.

At last the sun has returned and it looks as if the storm may move on. Hard to say what is on the other side of the mountain. The dogs and I walk the back pasture and as we return I glance at the garden, talking to my transplants.

Green...I see green. In the southeast corner by the raspberries canes I planted mustard seeds. Tiny, tiny mustard seeds. If we just had the faith of a mustard seed we could move mountains...or grow gardens within their shadow.

And, my garden is growing in the old bog patch above Elmira Pond.

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