Saturday, May 9, 2015

Wild Morning

Some days just seem to be full of animals. Take this morning. Before dawn the only sound that broke the silence was the distant chant of a whip-poor-will, but four does, their bellies heavy with fawns, grazed at the edge of the north woods. By the time bird song filled the air, the turkeys arrived, just over the brow of the hill to the east, where they preened and fanned out their feathers in perfect symmetry. They were joined by crows, two rabbits and a chipmunk.

The bravest of the rabbits made his way to the front yard, where he preened himself...

 cleaned up a few dandilions...

 and helped himself to clover.

But then, there was the flowerbed, and how could he resist? 

"Not a good idea, you say?"

"I'm really just looking..."

"...until tonight!"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Phoebe Song

Eastern Phoebe singing in dogwood tree

From a branch in the old dogwood tree at the edge of the yard, 
we can hear the Phoebe singing her unique song, calling out her name again and again, 
"Phoebe, Phoebe, Phoebe". 

She has a good reason to sing.  
The construction is completed on her new nest, 
located on a ledge at the top of a pillar under the roof of the front porch.
She keeps one eye on it from the dogwood tree.

Eastern Phoebe on a ledge

Several generations of Phoebes have grown up on our front porch, 
right where we could watch them from the kitchen window. 
They make an awful mess, but a little cleanup seems a reasonable price for front row tickets.

Several years ago, when we had a mason wrap our wooden pillars with cultured stone, 
we asked him to build special shelves at the tops with the Phoebes in mind.
He humored us, and the Phoebes made their preference known by moving away.
For years, we only heard their song from a distance.  

They are finally back, but they ignored our special addition for them,
 and built their nest on the other side of the pillar, away from the kitchen. 
It's made of grass and hair, and covered with bright green moss.

Eastern Phoebe annimation

Outside, the Phoebe flies to the supplejack above the birdbath, 
which she has commandeered as her command post, pausing and wagging her tail, 
and then to the top of a tall oak, where her song continues.

And we wait, trying not to count our Phoebes before they are laid.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ten Reasons to Love the Ozarks in the Early Spring

Ozark Wildflowers_Harbinger of Spring

1. Harbinger of Spring

Ozark Wildflowers_Toothwort

2. Toothwort

Ozark blossoms_Redbud

3. Redbud

Ozark Wildflowers_Rue Anemone

4. Rue Anemone

Ozark Wildflowers_Henbit

5. Henbit

Ozark Wildflowers_Johnny-Jump-Up

6.  Johnny-Jump-Up

Ozark Wildflowers_Violet Wood Sorrel

7. Violet Wood Sorrel

Hickory New Leaves and Tassels

8. Hickory

Dogwood Bracts

9. Dogwood

Ozark wildflowers_bird's foot violet

10. Bird's foot violet

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