Some stay, some go

Hi everyone,

Over the past few days we’ve had bands of robins pause in our back yard long enough to fill up on water and rest a bit before moving on. I don’t know where they’ve come from or where they’re headed. Robins have been described as restless migrators. They don’t mind cold weather but when the ground temperature chills and drives earthworms too deep to catch, it’s time to move somewhere south until things get better.

The birds passing through here could be headed to Florida but they may not know themselves. It could be Texas or Mexico. Sometimes they fly in large numbers, but not always. Sometimes they may not make more than 40 miles in a day, but in good conditions they might fly 200 miles. Sometimes they sing as they fly along, sometimes they hold their songs until they reach their destination and start thinking about sex.

Robins tend to scatter out when they reach warmer temperatures. During their winter months they may take a worm now and then but mostly they prefer berries and other fruit. I can’t blame them for that. Who wants worm breath during mating season!

Meanwhile, other birds stay right here, hunker down when the cold wind blows, but otherwise carry on. Our bird feeders are busy social places. Some of our guests prefer to dine lakeside on brilliant mornings.

The death of summer

Hi everyone,

The pool is closed.
While we were away, the man came and covered it. From now until next spring we’ll watch the slow accumulation of water build up on the cover until by April it will be a brackish lake inches deep filled with winter’s debris and host to horny toads and wriggling insect larvae preparing to emerge and fly off into their brief lives.

The pool is closed.
Memories of hot summer days lie smothered beneath tightly stretched vinyl. No more happy summer hours splashing around in the cool water, talking of this and that while other citizens of Goose Lake buzz, flit, hop, crawl, swim, leap, and soar around us.

The pool is closed.
And with it the season, the warm beating heart of the year, summer. Soon I’ll carry in the patio decorations, move flower pots, cover tables and chairs, bring in a few pet plants for the winter where they will spend the coming weary months leaning toward winter’s weak sun. If plants have feelings, they will yearn to be free again to drink lustily from spring rains instead of existing on puny handouts from a plastic watering can.

I’m glad we weren’t home when they came and covered the pool. It’s hard enough to see the body of summer stretched out helplessly in my back yard. At least I didn’t have to watch its murder.

Facing the inevitable

Hi everyone,

Yesterday morning Goose Lake could see its own breath for the first time this year. We’re headed to our first frost by the end of the week. The pool will be closed on Monday and soon now I’ll move the patio flowers closer to the house. We’ve already carried the potted palms inside for the winter and made room in the breakfast room for the two large hibiscus plants.

On bleak mornings like this I’m reminded that fall, for all it’s promise, is merely the front man for winter, my least favorite season of the year. If spiders have thoughts, this one, hanging in space watching the year and its life moving visibly now toward their inevitable conclusions, must find itself in a somber mood.

Blooming toward fall

Hi everyone,

Has this been a good year for blooming plants where you live? Ours has been so sensational we’re already dreading the end of the season and trying to decide which plants we can save and how. The hibiscus have grown so much during this second summer we don’t know how we’re going to fit them into the breakfast room again but we’re determined to try. The geraniums, at least some of them, need to be saved. Maybe we’ll try that trick of hanging them upside down in the garage and maybe this time we’ll remember to water them during the winter. A pair of palms are headed for the dining room. The coleus may have to fend for themselves, same as last winter. We thought they had died but this spring they suddenly came out of the soil bigger and better than ever. We have thirty plants in pots around the patio this year. They are thirsty all the time but they have repaid us handsomely. Does anyone else take plants in for the winter?