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Bits and Pieces

by Barrie Hopkins

Nature's best

“There’s a bluebird on my windowsill, there’s a rainbow in the sky.”

So go the words of a long-ago tune, which shot well over the top of the Top Ten, written in 1947 by a B. C. nurse, Elizabeth Clarke. It was the first song by a Canadian to sell more than one million copies. And that was back in the days when I wore a much slimmer pair of jeans.

The fact is, songs made sense way back then. You could clearly hear the words, and they didn’t repeat themselves three times in the same sentence. But after each verse, they repeated a snappy little chorus that stuck in your mind by the time you heard the song the second time. The songs more often than not were inspired by natural happenings.

The bluebirds were on the windowsill because the flies were crawling out of the cracks around the sill, where they had entered to get away from a sudden downpour of rain. The rainbow in the sky told the whole world that the thunderstorm was over and the sun was once again beginning to shine.

Windows back then in them there days of yore were state-of-the-art air-conditioning. If it was warm, you opened them; if it was cold, you simply closed them. If the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, you simply dashed around from room to room slamming them shut, leaving them so until the storm had long abated.

Both the flies, which are high-protein insects, and the bluebirds, which need high-protein food to feed the hungry tummies of four to seven gaping mouths of their young, took advantage of the existing man-made situation. If birds and insects can adapt so well to the ways of people, why is it so hard to understand why people are so reluctant to learn the ways of nature?

As I sit here gathering thoughts on the east-facing front porch of WestWind Farms, a red-breasted robin hops across our lawn, periodically stopping to dig out a bug or worm that he finds by cocking his head to listen, one side or the other.

On the lower limb of a front lawn maple, a kingbird sits, his glossy white breast and white tail band glowing in the sun, periodically flying up or down to grasp an insect while on the wing. In the upper limbs of the same tree, I can hear the repeated musical chur, chur of a bluebird, which likewise flies down to grasp an insect from the grasses of the lawn far below.

Looking down from where I sit, a pair of tiny chipping sparrows hop along the curving flagstone walk, seeming to be picking up selected lawn seeds that had been flung there by the whirling lawn mower. In an adjacent patch of small white dutch clover, three or four honeybees go from flower to flower sipping the nectar to make the honey that fills the honeycombs hanging inside the beehive supers, which incidentally are rising weekly, one by one, as the season progresses.

My thoughts are quite often blessed with a pair of killdeer, scampering as they do, in short starts and stops, as they seek the insects that have been crushed by the coming and going of CSA shareholders who come weekly for fresh farm eggs, pasture raised Berkshire pork, and fresh-picked vegetables beyond number.

So goes the daily grind at WestWind Farms.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Vol 49 Issue 27


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Barrie Hopkins
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