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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Summer Neighbors - From My Window 6/8/22

Issue Date: June 9, 2022

Janie Thibodeau Martin

It is officially summer, and I am enjoying our seasonal neighbors. I love watching the changes in bird, reptile, insect and mammal life near my home, shifting season by season.

Some of the summer neighbors whom I am not as fond of haven't made their presence obvious yet. I have not seen a single mosquito. A look at the horse in the field confirms the biting flies haven't arrived yet, either. Betty the horse and I don't miss them. And I have only had one wood tick, and that's remarkable given how much time I spend outdoors.

There are babies on Hank Lake. I didn't detect a nesting pair of geese until I saw the family swimming together just yesterday ?? three little downy goslings, paddling around with watchful Mom and Dad flanking them. I make a respectful detour to avoid alarming them, but it was a joy to see them.

The turkeys were nowhere to be seen the week Mike had a turkey hunting license but yesterday I heard lots of yelping in the woods and later, a turkey strolled through the backyard, greatly offending the dogs. Apparently the word was out about spring turkey season at Martin's, including the date his license expired.

The mama deer are going about their secretive business. I have seen does in several places repeatedly, and suspect babies are stashed nearby. I also saw a buck with the beginnings of what will be an impressive rack racing across the field north of our house. Such a sight always stops me in my tracks, no matter how busy I am, because they are so fast and so graceful. It must be a time of freedom for the big bucks, as I can't imagine how they navigate the woods at high speed with the big obstructions on their heads later in the year.

Our bird feeder is full of summer residents, the stream of north-bound migrants having ended. The traveling birds must look for feeders the way I search for waysides on long distance drives. I think of people who feed birds as stepping stone rocks in a wide stream, providing safe passage to those who are traveling to the far north. The feeders are a helping hand to these tiny migrants.

The hummingbirds appeared the minute I potted my flower containers. When the windows are open, I hear, rather than see them, arrive. That hum is the sound of summer, much like the sand hill cranes clamoring at the lake. Summer music, a balm after a long winter.

Mike built me a pollinator nest box (also called a bee nest box) over the winter. It is wooden blocks, drilled with horizontally-oriented holes of various diameters, shielded by a roof to keep it dry. Bees of various species utilize the holes for egg laying; and I've enjoyed watching the bee moms utilizing the holes properly sized for them. I've seen several species of bees I am sure I never saw before. If you are curious about this you can find simple plans on the internet ?? they are not complicated and would be a fun child-adult project to build. And they'd be a wonderful gift for any gardener.

A few summer friends are still missing. I haven't seen a dragonfly at the lake yet, but it should be soon. These agile fighter jets of the insect world are favorites of mine. And I await the fireflies, who I can watch from my bed hovering at the woods line. It is comforting and calming, unlike TV. I watch for a light, and after the flash goes out, I try to guess where it will reappear to blink again, in firefly Morse code. It is a delightful way to ease into sleep.

I find much-needed distraction and peace in watching my neighbors. I feel fortunate to live here near the woods, instead of in a high-rise in a city. My entertainment is provided free of charge, and is as close as the nearest window.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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