Bountiful Harvest

It was time to harvest most of the chard and spinach and figure out what to do with it.

I cut off the mature leaves and left the plants in the ground because they’ll continue to produce.

It easily filled a laundry basket…

Pretty green and rainbow chard with hardly any bug-bitten areas. Yay for organic gardening!

After I put them in two giant pots and blanched in boiling water, this is what I was left with to store in the freezer; two quart-sized bags…

But yum, anyway!

When Doves Cry: Life and Death

**This is so strange. I only published this post today, June 26, but it shows that it was published on the 24th, so I am RE-writing and posting again. Very odd WordPress, very odd.

We had a bit of rain, just a few drops, definitely not the kind of rain we need here in the Southwest, but I think my veggie garden was grateful for it.

When I went outside to check on the status of baby lettuce seedlings, I noticed a Monarch butterfly entangled in the netting surrounding the garden. I’ve been forced to use the barrier to keep out squirrels and rats and bunnies. There are plenty of other things in the garden those guys can eat, so I don’t feel too bad about restricting them from my yummy greens.

Carefully, I removed the netting from those delicate wings.

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After flying off, s/he returned with a mate and they circled my head a few times as if to thank me. “You’re welcome, guys! I was glad to help.”

Later that afternoon, right before dusk, I went for a walk. There were still beautiful clouds in the sky and I was thinking happy thoughts about the butterflies.

Suddenly, before I could even react, several things happened at once. A white van was driving down the street faster than the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. A dove flew low across the street, left to right. (Yup, you can see where this is going.) The driver MUST have seen the bird, I’m sure of it.

Without slowing down or trying to avoid the imminent impact, the van ran into the bird, and to make it even more horrific, the back tires finished the slaughter. There were no other cars on the road; simply slowing down would have avoided it completely.

It doesn’t matter to me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this tragedy. I ran out into the street to see if I needed to take the bird to a vet, but it was too late. Too late. I crouched down on my knees over the little dove almost in shock at the massive destruction the van did to his body. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the poor dear and honor his/her life, but it’s too gruesome to post and I feel it would be disrespectful to the innocent creature.

The bird was probably on his way home, and there might have been nesting babies that won’t be fed and won’t survive all because of the actions of one unaware or uncaring human. What if it was one of the doves I just wrote about that often visit me in the garden? How incredibly sad.

Well, that stripped me of the joy of saving a butterfly, that’s for sure. I’m a fixer and a helper. It’s a tough lesson for me to comprehend that sometimes things can be so terribly damaged that they can’t be mended or put back together, like this poor little bird who was beyond repair.

This made me think of Prince. When doves cry, so do I.



Dove Love

In my garden, this Mourning Dove family and I peacefully co-exist.

According to All About Birds, this is a graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying.

However, this fact is really upsetting to me: Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America. Who could possibly want to murder these gentle creatures? Once again, humans suck.

Mother Nature’s Green Screen

This elusive Scott’s Oriole has been taunting me for years, sitting in one spot for great lengths of time ONLY when I don’t have a camera near me, and when I do, he flits around like a hummingbird.

This time I was able to capture his beauty for a single brief moment, his yellow vibrant against the green screen of a Giant Bird of Paradise.

What a beautiful profile of a beautiful boy!

May be an image of bird and nature

Happy Earth Day 2021

I attended the very first Earth Day celebration in 1970 at Balboa Park in San Diego with a crowd of about 70,000 people. It was on a Wednesday, the weather was beautiful, about 68 degrees, and I must have skipped school that day.

I can’t remember who I went with or how I got there but I do recall walking from booth to booth looking for free stuff and having an unpleasant encounter with a San Diego cop, probably about being truant.

There is a vague recollection that I swore at him and he got all puffed up and intimidating, threatening to call my dad until I told him to go ahead, my dad was a lawyer…and then he walked away. Miss you Daddy!

I love the concept of EarthDay, of being good stewards and caring for Mother Earth, of passing on the torch to the next gen, but I probably won’t attend any large gatherings for a while–still being prudent about Covid and all that.

My local contribution to EarthDay is this neighborhood egret who just picked up something to eat; I think it’s a crab but I can’t tell for sure:

Happy Earth Day!

Through the Window

This little one returns every spring to nest in the same old birdhouse.

For some strange reason, I woke up with a raging migraine that haunted me all day. I have no idea what triggered it. Thankfully, I rarely get them but this one was especially dreadful because I was nauseous for hours and hours. I slept most of the day which is so unlike me but my body insisted.

At one point when I forced myself to drink water so I wouldn’t get dehydrated, I looked out onto the deck and was greeted with a melodic, warbling song and couldn’t resist grabbing my camera for a couple of photos and then I went back to sleep.

On a side note, I semi-watched Perry Mason and Wagon Train and Mash and Happy Days, not my usual choices, only because I didn’t have the energy to look for the remote to change the station or turn off the TV. I was able to discern a lot of nuance from Happy Days that I had originally missed, in case anyone studies old TV shows.

I feel better today.

Tail up.

Tail down.

P.S. Migraines are debilitating; I lost a whole day; my heart goes out to anyone who suffers on a regular basis.

Unlikely Friends: Egret and Ducks

On my walk today, I looked through the fence into the culvert that drains into Agua Hedionda Lagoon and saw a pair of white egrets. One flew away, but I was able to snap a pic of this beauty. Look closer and you’ll see he’s sharing a bit of land with two ducks.

And then this other handsome sun-glistened mallard decided to swim over and join the fun.
Co-existence peacefully without social distancing!

The late afternoon light intensifies the male’s colorful plumage that helps them attract females.

Maybe they’ve forged a friendship while they forage together for food. It could be possible even though I learned that egrets (and herons) can and do eat ducklings, but I watched their interactions for quite a while and didn’t observe any aggressive or frightened behavior. It was all peaceful and serene, just like my wishes for happily ever afters.

Birds of SoCal

Here in SoCal it’s pretty warm during the day, bugs are out and about and these noisy little birds snapped them out of the air right in front of me. It was daylong entertainment, at least half a dozen birds catching flies and (I think) termites in mid-flight.

Black Phoebe

Scratching on the ground, a few California Towhees make my garden their home. They love their reflection and tap at the window or anywhere they can see themselves.

This was a peaceful first weekend of 2021.

Leaves of Birds

Since the ash tree endured its yearly abscission, I raked fallen leaves for the very last time and have been enjoying this disrobed version until late afternoon when I noticed the branches were once again full; not of leaves, but of dozens of happy, chirpy little birds adorning every space.

So completely adorable.

One by one, they flew away, and the tree was once again barren.