Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nature Notes: What Could I Do?

I meant to do my work today --
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand --
So what could I do but laugh and go?

- Richard Le Gallienne

It's one of my rare days off today, and I could have spent it doing productive things. Should have, really. But "a brown bird sang" and it's Nature Notes day, so I went out to play instead. If Hubby complains about the absence of clean socks, I'm blaming Michelle. And the turkeys.

Mr. NRA hasn't shot the place up in a while, and I have my fingers crossed that somebody else complained before I had to. So it's quiet today and presumably safe to be outdoors. The only sounds are the cicadas, the cricket chorus, and the wind in the trees.

There were some very oversized green beans in the veggie garden, so I stopped to pick those. The stems squeeked as my fingers searched for fat new pods, as if protesting my thievery. Have you ever noticed how pretty bean flowers are?

There is a weed in the garden that I've been stalking for months, unable to catch the blossom fully open. It only unfurls for a brief time each day, and I had given up on being there for the big moment. I glanced in its direction and there it was, in full flower. I had the camera along, but no tripod and no time to go back for one -- the flower was visibly closing as I watched. Even though the focus ain't great, I was thrilled to finally catch it.

Setting the bean basket in the shade, I followed the path down to the pond. We have the most amazing grasshoppers here now, bright yellow fellows, and they were pretty as butterflies whirring through the air as I shuffled through the grass. Nearly all the real butterflies are gone. I've seen a few monarchs passing through, but no more swallowtails. The little brown guys are all that's left.

There are some beautiful seed heads on the rushes now, and the orange touch-me-nots line the banks. Both were blowing too much in the wind for a decent photo. As I walked the edge of the water, I could hear the small plops of frogs just ahead of me, all diving for cover into the still, cold water.

The damselflies seemed to be in the mood for a photo op, though. There were a number of pairings in progress, but only this one that was bright red.

Around the pond and down the fence row, another pretty bug posed for me. No idea what it is, but I loved the pattern on its underside.

In the woods, the path is already sprinkled with fallen leaves in reds and golds. The shade is so dense that very little grows there; a few ferns, moss, and mushrooms abound, of course, but little else.

I hate to admit it, but I always get turned around in the woods. Once I'm out of sight of the house, all the paths look the same to me. Sure enough, I managed to get lost again and came out behind the next door neighbor's place. I've done worse. (Note to self: Mark the friggin' trail.)

On the way home, though, I discovered there's a new wasp nest up in the trees, one of those miraculous paper structures that seem to appear overnight. This one, I suspect, is constructed largely of wood that used to be my deck. The bees have been chewing on the railing all summer.

And so, it's back to the kitchen to deal with these beans. We like them tiny, steamed quickly, served with a little butter and salt. Or, when they're bigger, southern style: boiled with onions and bacon. These may be beyond even that, but they're getting cooked tonight anyway. Gotta have SOMEthing to show for my day, after all.

Click here to see more Nature Notes.


Carver said...

What a great post. Your photographs and text were such a delight. So much going on in your neck of the woods.

Leora said...

You sound like you had a just delightful day. More fun than sorting socks.

Love the idea of stalking a weed.

Anonymous said...

LOL..not the first time my name has been associated with a turkey...

I think your damsel is really a dragon.. Check this out...
Autumn Meadowhawk

Great post as always Vicki... Michelle

rambling woods.. said...

How did I come out as anonymous?

MyMaracas said...

Thanks, Carver. There really is a lot to see when you're paying attention.

Leora, it was SO much better than sorting socks. LOL

Michelle, you're right. And I should have known that from your post on those, but I got the wings up/wings flat thing reversed. Thanks!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Beautiful pictures with nice words :)

Building a New Home

Marju said...

Wonderful pictures, I like those too!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Fantastic post !! Lovely shots !! Great..Unseen Rajasthan