Posted by: ktzefr | May 14, 2010

Blooms and Chimes, Hummingbirds and Hail…

What a great afternoon!  Sunny with a light breeze, birds singing, a woodpecker shimmying up the maple tree pecking for bugs.  I’m working on the back porch smelling the gardenia…

Gardenia in a Talavera Pot...a little bit of Mexico

For birthdays and Christmases when I was growing up I would break into my piggy bank and my mom would take me to the dime store in town to shop.  The choices were limited, considering the dollars I had to spend and the options in the dime store.  Gardenia perfume was always available and it was cheap.  But this wasn’t a gift of choice for anyone I knew.  Better to buy a colorful scarf or a few chocolates.  I do love the scent of the flower itself, however, and I could have sworn that Crabtree and Evelyn had a French-milled gardenia soap, but a search on their site only brought up stuff for “gardeners.”  The closest of the scented soaps might be the jasmine or lily of the valley.  I like them both.

Windchimes tinkling…they used to hang on my mom’s back porch in Kentucky.  I think of her listening to their song every time the wind blows…

...a little bit of Kentucky

Out in the yard the bird house hanging from one of the beech tree branches is dancing.  Somebody’s doing a lot of moving around inside.  When I stand underneath I can hear the babies talking to each other.  Earlier in the spring the chickadees tried to build a nest in the church house hanging from the dogwood tree, but I think it was too tight quarters and they moved out, leaving behind the remnants of dried grasses.  It was a lot of work for nothing.

Church without a congregation...

…The hummingbird stayed out all winter, perched in a bloom-less box of dirt.  Squirrels hid nuts at his feet… and then new dirt, new flowers, new rains.  He always has his wings up, ready to fly.  Red-throated, green-winged, he fools the others into thinking he’s real. And so they come every year.  It’s time to get prepared, brew the sugar water, hang the feeders.

Some scientists believe that hummingbirds have a way of knowing where the best insect population is going to be in any given year or, perhaps, where the best flower nectar can be found.  And that’s where they head.  They fly far and fast, staying aloft during the day and sleeping at night.  They have to stop often to eat, but when they take the long flight across the Gulf of Mexico that’s not possible.  It’s amazing that they can travel over 450 miles across water and often into strong winds just to get to their favorite breeding grounds.  That’s 20 hours of non-stop travel crossing the Gulf —  sort of like us taking a flight to Australia, except we’d be served good food and a movie or two on the way!  Some hummers cross the Mojave desert; some go all the way to Alaska.  But each one flies alone.  Hummingbirds are so small that predators often cannot even see them, but if they were in a flock, they’d be easily spotted.  Sometimes there are good reasons to be a loner.

Uh-oh!!  I have to rush inside…

Great Balls of...Hail!

In ten-minutes time the sky turned dark, bringing one gust of wind after another, and HUGE balls of hail started hammering on the roof and the gutters and the windows.  It sounded like shaking a tin can full of rocks!  I ran outside with a plastic container to collect some of these enormous balls to put in the freezer for “show and tell” later.   I love these “special” moments in nature when, out of the blue, the sky suddenly does something extraordinary…

Looks like white blossoms fallen to the ground...it's hail!

Ahhh…the critters are out and about again, looking for handouts.

My good friend Fuzzy the squirrel

Here’s wishing everyone an extraordinary weekend.  Cheers!




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