Full Moon Cottage has been a merry place the past few days. Although the sky was fairly dreary and dark all weekend, we were overjoyed to receive the 3 inches of rain that fell and to hear the music it made Saturday morning through Sunday.
The river looked like this last Friday:
We’re pleased more rain is on the way tonight and later this week. Today, though, has been sunny and warm, making an inventory of the gardens and trail possible. While some annuals have succumbed to early frosts and we’ve lost some of the perennials to the drought, the roses and mums continue to bloom and color is yet abundant.
The honeybees and bumblebees buzzed intently around the mums this morning. I imagine they know it will soon be closing time in the garden, and are gathering all the available pollen and nectar while they can. The cold weather caused them to slow down and cling to the plants, barely moving. It was good to see them so active again today.
The herons, sandhill cranes, and egrets flew to warmer locations during our cold spell. I’ve worried they were weakened by the drought and hope they’ve found winter nesting sites where water and warmth are available.
Mysteriously, area cardinals, usually abundant year-round, disappeared during the long weeks of drought. I’m hopeful they’ll return and cheer up the winter landscape. Our old friend Bobtail is still a frequent visitor, and the chickadees and tufted titmice have been consuming great quantities of sunflower seed.
We’ve had a coyote roaming our territory the past several weeks, and he seems to have decimated the rabbit population. I haven’t seen the turkey flock for a while, but they cover a lot of ground and may circle back again, with the fox likely following them. I only see him in red flashes here and there. The family of barred owls in the woods beside our home strikes up sustained hooting late in the afternoon. I have no idea why; they may be defending their territory. We love their presence; their hoots punctuate the daily round at Full Moon Cottage as dearly as all the other creatures’ calls, barks, chirps, chatters, buzzes and squeaks.
The drought’s destruction has eased for now, and for that, we’re grateful. The planet’s increasing heat is likely to continue to cause drought conditions and we’ll have to adjust. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/24/what-we-know-about-climate-change-and-drought/)
Rain appears several times in the coming forecasts, although it’s often labeled “scattered,” so we may or may not be the happy recipients. It’s too late to save crops for area farmers, but gardens, prairies, forests, rivers, lakes, and all the wildlife that rely on these for food and shelter, have seemed tangibly relieved the past few days. This afternoon, a chorus of blackbirds scattered themselves throughout the treetop choir loft along the trail and filled the air with their songs. High winds shook down remaining leaves, reminding me that autumn is here to stay…but then again, the drought has taught me to take nothing for granted. Everything can change and there are no guarantees that the land and animals I have known will survive coming variations in temperature, water levels, storms, winds, and the resulting available food and shelter.
But for now, I am enjoying, with great deep gratitude, the songs of blackbirds, the buzzing of bees, the hooting of owls, little Bobtail’s visits to “his” feeder, and the sweet patter of rain falling, like blessing, upon our world.