I was back up to my son’s family farm this past week for several days, and being an early riser, I found myself sitting on the front porch quietly sipping the first of my usual three cups of coffee.

The short hand on the kitchen clock pointed directly at the five while the longer one pointed in the whereabouts of ten after. The cracking of dawn was chasing the darkness of night high up in the eastern horizon.

Even though a mist shroud hung between valley and hilltop, the redness of the sunrise promised rain showers before the day expired. This pleased me greatly as the grass seed I had scattered a couple of weeks earlier on the patches where tornado torn trees were taken out had green sheeted the areas but the surface was dry for their shallow roots and water was definitely needed.

 As I sat back enjoying the thoughts of a day to do nothing a tiny humming bird seemingly revved his motor again and again as he hovered forth and back while sipping from the species specific feeder that had been hung at the end of the porch.

At the same time I could hear the mumbling grumble of a hungry bumble bee as he tried to negotiate the gathering of nectar from the dangling blooms of a columbine flower, ill formed for his balky weight.

It was then that the humming bird dove down and, after harassing the bee with several non connective dives he proceeded, like a mean phosphorescent green machine, to sip the nectar from all of the remaining close by flowers.

At the same time, over the hill beyond the shroud of mist I could hear the excited caw, caw, caw of a crow who had obviously discovered the presence of a day sleeping owl. He was joined by a dozen or more others who kept up the harassing racket for well over ten minutes.

Meanwhile our night prowling young tom cat, padding his quiet way across our drive to snooze all day on an upstairs bed, was dive-bombed by several swooping swallows. His quick but unsuccessful attempts to capture were repeated again and again.

This action annoyed me; I like swallows, but my ability to kick said cat’s butt would be more futile than his at catching a swallow.

The hour wore on and my third sipped coffee showed the bottom of the cup, meanwhile the area was flooded with bird songs of many and varied species as they welcomed the rising sun.

The newly installed large cement bird-bath, which I had recently moved from my yard in Fergus, was visited off and on by many, but when a pair of blackbirds intruded, a pair of robins, probably nesting somewhere nearby, flew down and gingerly clipped each one on the back of the head.

As I rose to go make my breakfast, a huge porcupine leisurely waddled past the large circular metal grain bin that had survived the tornado. With one dog in the house and two huskies in the kennels, and having previous multiple hundred dollar quill pulling vet bills, this was not a good combination.

With no gun available I grabbed a nearby shovel and sent said porcupine to bark chewing heaven. When you live on a farm you do what you have to do. Life is not always a bowl of cherries.

Take care, ‘cause we care.





Barrie Hopkins