This, that, and other things…

Submitted by Art and Barb Straub

Are there folks in our reading sphere who knit, as in knitting sweaters? Can you pearl sweaters, as in very very small feathers, as in sweaters tiny enough for Moscovy ducklings? Yes, the temps have been in excess, but the cooler mornings herald a sharp drop eventually, a cool-down that will send buck deer into rubbing trees and leaving signs engraved in the earth. A cool-down that will bring about killing frosts and ice, snow and all that goes with it…there are signs all about if we but attend to a change in seasons.

Friend Vern Bienfang of the showy arrogant peacocks, the dowdy hens, the gossiping mallards, had suspected that something fowl was cooking for the past month, as female Moscovy ducks and quiet peafowl disappeared from his usual noisy yard. His concerns were fulfilled the eighth of September when mom Moscovy came marching proudly across the grassy poultry yard, eight weentzy yellow ducklings stumbling after her. As a sly weasel has been praying for prey among Vern’s myriad multitudes, he pursued the reluctant female and placed the ducklings in a secure pen. He then went seeking the hidden nest, and sure enough, discovered three unhatched eggs. He placed two of the ivory shelters In an incubator, another under a banty hen, and as of Saturday, September 9th, a total of 11 little birds occupy the secure pen. Ever alert and dependable guard dog, Spice, patrols outside the poultry shed 24/7 seeking insidious hungry beasties, but the real danger will come when Brer Winter courses the earth. In the meantime, Madam white peacock lies under a bush incubating more eggs for fall delivery of peeps. That’s when skilled knitters will enter the picture with skilled fingers. Be ready to get in line to assist.

Have you ever been accused of something of which you were entirely innocent? Consider the beautiful goldenrods of three species now in full blossom. When late summer and early autumn enters the natural picture, one notes numerous folks wheezing and sneezing, eyes running away with tears, prescription shelves in drugstores going empty. Rushes on anti-this and anti-that while Innocent goldenrod species get the blame. It’s not that flower that is fouling your frolic, rather, the highly allergenic, Ragweed.

One researcher states that 50 million people in the U S are allergic to ragweed. And would you believe, Climate Change is a boon for ragweed, stimulates its growth we are told. Drive a country gravel road, if the roadside has not been cut or harvested, ragweed may be found in overabundance. In that goldenrod blossoms are extremely beneficial to honeybees, providing an abundance of protein, fats, and minerals, ragweed does not. If you didn’t know before, now you do.

It appears that numbers of our buddies, chimney swifts, the aerial insect vacuumers, are swiftly moving on to their winter residences in the Amazon Valley of South America; Peru, Chile and Brazil. In that we’ve counted their arriving at our favorite chimney roost every night since August 1st, (151 stayed overnight that night,) just 296 used the chimney hostel September 9th. On the perfectly clear early evening of August 24th, with a temperature of 84 degrees, 1,287 aerialists roosted for the evening in the brick aperture. Zounds! Our quest is to reach other bird enthusiasts as to their educated guesses regarding the effect of the worldwide high temperatures of the spring and summer of 2023…on chimney swifts in particular. Readers, what is YOUR conjecture?

Autumn signs are everywhere. Bucks’ Lake is often occupied by egrets and cormorants, geese cackling overhead and on harvested grain fields, gulls scream at one another on area lakes, while monarch butterfly numbers drop as they head for Mexico, ruby-throated hummingbird males are on their way, squirrels are harvesting an abundant walnut crop, and seemingly overnight, yellow is replacing the green on surrounding vegetation. A beautiful yet arid season slowly emerges.