Time marches on

It’s bragging time again, and I’m kind of proud of it.

The fact is, the article you are at the moment reading is the first starting my 29th year of jotting my wandering thoughts for the Wellington Advertiser. Come hell or high water, and believe me, I’ve lived the equivalent of both, not a single deadline was missed.  It certainly doesn’t seem that long, but time has a tendency to march steadily onward.

As I sit and write, the rain is pitter-pattering upon the skylight over my computer. It has been doing so off and on for long periods all through the night. It is certainly music to my ears, as we have not had more than a mere sprinkle of drops here at Westwind Farms in over eight weeks. If I were 40 years younger, I would, right now, be out on the front lawn turning cartwheels naked in the rain.

The lawns are brown, the second-cut hay has not grown and the garden is struggling even though we have watered alternate areas of it almost daily. The fields designated as pasture are also brown, with the occasional thistle or burdock rearing magnificent heads. I strongly suspect, being biennials, they are deep enough rooted to suck moisture from the rice paddies in China.

The wild bird population seems not to have suffered. I have seen three sets of robins each feeding their four speckle-breasted young. Both the tree swallows and bluebirds that nested in the two houses we put up in our strawberry patch have both fledged quite large families.

The cliff and barn swallows have not come back to stay; they miss, of course, the old barn that was tumbled by the tornado, and have not yet readapted to the new construction of both barn and goat sheds. The bank swallows have dug holes to nest in the steep banks of our sand pit.

I was back at our pond the other day and saw a female partridge scuttle through the grass, and I could tell by the movement of grass in her wake that she was being followed by several newly hatched young. I suspect that she had led them down there for a drink.

While chatting with a neighbour, he told me of a hen turkey crossing the road in front of him that was followed by well over 10 young. She had crossed the road from our corner field and had run into the bush beyond. I get a kick out of watching these birds as they forage. The young will fan out in a reversed ‘V’ on each side of Mom and gobble up any crickets, grasshoppers, bugs, or beetles that may be stirred up. Dad, if he is around, usually struts, stretching his neck quite high, standing guard for them.

Though we have seen a porcupine down our front lane and our huskies treed a young raccoon in the birch tree near their kennels, little else has been seen. Coyotes and deer would blend well out of sight in the brown pastures, so we seldom see them crossing.

But the telltale disappearance of our lettuce in the garden tells us that momma cottontail is teaching, rightly or wrongly, her half-grown bouncing bundle of young to filch free lunches.

I hesitate to encourage Foxy, our house dog, to chase them, as her gangly frame, in excitement, often tumbles head over heels when she overshoots, trying to catch them. She could well hurt herself, with vet fees much greater than the cost of a couple of heads of lettuce.

So blow the breezes at Westwind Farms. Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins