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Nature coming out my ears

Written By: Jodi on July 1, 2008 2 Comments

I’m not really an outdoors person.  During summer, I greatly prefer the air-conditioned indoors.  I have had a few interesting encounters with the natural world in the last couple of days, though.

Sunday night when we came home from church, there was an interesting addition to the neighborhood.  A hawk had landed in our next door neighbor’s yard and it had *something*.  The hawk seemed to have no fear and was kind of glaring at the cars that drove by, probably just daring them to try to take its treasure.  It had some prey and it wasn’t going to share.  Several neighbors came outside to watch.  It was kind of funny because rarely are so many of us outside at the same time.  One had a camera, a couple of us brought out our binoculars.  We couldn’t figure out what it was eating, though.  We could just see it tearing out clumps of something white and throwing it all over the grass.  Hawks are not neat eaters, it seems.  We were pretty sure it was fur and hoped it wasn’t a kitten or something!  It seemed like too much white to be any of the rabbits I’ve seen in the area.  We were all fascinated and a little grossed out at the same time.  Yes, I know, it’s the circle of life and all, but this was a pretty aggressive ‘tearing limb from limb’ session we were witnessing here.  Eventually we decided we’d seen enough and left it to finish its meal without an audience.

The next day I got brave and inspected the leftover carnage.  It wasn’t fur.  It was feathers.  Lots and lots of white feathers.  From the length of what was left, I’m guessing it was a pigeon/mourning dove.  We have quite a lot around here and the feathers were pretty large.  I didn’t see any bones, just feathers and some other unidentifiable inner body part that I tried NOT to look at.  So it seems the hawk’s prey was not much smaller than he was!

Yesterday we needed to go to the post office and I decided to make a stop on our way back.  We’ve searched for a geocache at this park once before and failed.  So I thought I’d let the kids play at the park for awhile and search for it again.  We got a little more brave and ventured further into the woods where I’m certain it’s hidden.  My GPS was only giving me an accuracy range of 21 feet at best, so we were looking in a little wider area.  I found many places that would be awesome locations to hide a cache, but none of them hid the one I was looking for.  I finally had to give up because I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.  The final tally was 7 mosquito bites (although I think one might actually be a spider bite as it’s on my knuckle and my finger is swollen today).  Those were all on me.  The boys had NONE.  I am not kidding when I say I’m a mosquito magnet.  For some reason they just love me, even when they aren’t biting anybody else.  I feel so honored (not).  We again found some of the tiny frogs that are in the grass between the pond and the woods.  They are so adorable.  I think they are called cricket frogs.  This is because of the sound they make, but I really thought they were crickets at first, they are so small.  It’s fun to hold them and they are very cool to the touch.  I thought about getting a couple to keep as pets but I did some research and it seems they only live a few months and like to eat *gulp* crickets!!  I’m not dealing with crickets, no-siree.  So we’ll just go visit the frogs in their natural habitat instead.  And next time we go I will try to remember to take my camera!

Today I went out and harvested more raspberries from the back 40.  Actually, we don’t have a back 40.  We have a regular ol’ suburban back yard.  I’ve written about my raspberry bushes before.  They actually were volunteers that snuck under the fence from our neighbor’s yard.  I decided to go with the flow and have made a little patch for them.  It’s about 2.5 x 5 feet.  I am amazed at the amount of berries I’m getting already this year.  They’re very early and there are tons of them.  For the last week I’ve been getting a good cup to cup and a half of berries every day.  I didn’t get any yesterday so I got a ton today.  This is my harvest from this morning shown in a 3 cup container:

Keep in mind that anything I purposely plant dies almost immediately.  But volunteer raspberries…they thrive.

Oh, I almost forgot.  We have also discovered that we have a mulberry tree.  Actually the neighbor behind us does, but the tree is on the fenceline and a good portion of it hangs over our property.  This tree has never had fruit until this year.  It’s making up for lost time.  I read that people don’t like to plant female mulberry trees because they make such a mess with the fruit.  I can attest to this fact now!  There are mulberries everywhere.  It’s like a mulberry carpet in part of our yard.  The part where the swingset and shed are.  Mulberries stain.  My children play on the swingset.  One of them walked all over the carpet after coming inside.  Do you see where I’m going here?  I have some carpet cleaning to do.

Nature and I…we have quite the interesting dance going on here.

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2 Responses to “Nature coming out my ears”

  1. Gina says on: 2 July 2008 at 7:49 pm

    hahhaha… That’s so cool about the raspberries! I totally wish we had some berries going on over here. I think my mom might be bringing some strawberry plants to plant when she comes for the new baby.

    And I am glad for you that you’ve gotten outside! Though, I don’t think I would have hung out with the hawk… the other adventures sound cool;)

    Talk to you soon!

  2. Jodi says on: 3 July 2008 at 9:49 am

    Oh, you are so getting some berries now. I have no idea what I’ll do with all of them. Right now I’m just washing them and tossing them in the freezer. Don’t be surprised if 2 youngin’s show up at your front door with berries for you in the near future.

    I really wish I had planted strawberries this year. Is it not too late in the season? I loooooove strawberry shortcake and it’s so much better with fresh berries. I’m thinking maybe some established plants might survive the ‘dead zone’ where nothing else I plant seems to be able to fight off the weeds and survive.

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