Waiting it out

Hi everyone,

The other day my Internet Explorer disappeared so I couldn’t get into my blog to post anything. Yesterday IE returned from its little vacation. I don’t know where it went but am glad it’s back.

While the pandemic rages on we take pleasure in nature’s beauty that surrounds us. This is, after all, a bountiful time of year. Birds are going through three feeders of seed per day. The muskrat patrols our side of the lake as the last light fades from the day. Our band of randy toads holes up by day and serenades the females late into the night. Geese proudly announce their return to the lake each evening from neighboring fields and lawns. A robin downs its last worm of the day and sings from tree tops about what a fine bird it is. A pair of cowbirds come and go without a care in the world while some poor mother bird of a different species sits on the extra eggs that mysteriously appeared in her nest. A blue wasp lands on the lip of the fountain, crawls rapidly down to the water, and takes a thirsty drink. Purple martins swoop over our heads at twilight sweeping up their last snacks of emerging insects from the lake before calling it a day. Meanwhile our three-year-old hibiscus has gone through some kind of metamorphosis during which it shed all its old leaves, replaced them with new ones, and began blowing out blossoms again. We added two new hibiscus plants this year, and they’re doing all they can to compete, but the old-timer is showing the kids how it’s done.

I can’t go out to play these days. No book signings. No schools. No conferences. No speaking anywhere else. But the singing toads don’t care. The blooming plants don’t care. The honking geese don’t care. What they don’t know is how much they help me not to care either. We hunker down, wait it out, and take our coffee outside.

Mystery solved at Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

This time of year we usually eat outside and since the toads arrived in May we’ve been serenaded nightly with their urgent love songs. As many as five of the tiny creatures will line up on the fountain wall a few feet from our table. At times their chorus threatens to drown our conversation and even when we turn to give them accusatory stares they remain focused on their zealous mission.

An unsolved mystery has been where the toads rest by day. I’ve assumed they don’t go far from the pool but until Saturday had never discovered a toad anywhere during the day. Two friends from Kansas City, Elaine Fry and Su Park, joined us for dinner lakeside and sometime before dusk the first toad began to tune up for the nightly concert. Sue and I began a careful search of the patio that finally led us to a potted hibiscus by a corner of the pool. He had leaped into the pot, no small feat for such a little guy, and from there leaped up into the hibiscus. I had no idea they were so acrobatic.
See the small green leaf on the stalk? That’s the size of the toad, which was several inches higher up before jumping directly into the pool. In less than a minute he somehow managed to jump out of the pool and land on the ledge whereupon he began at once to sing of his love and lusty need for any female who might be tempted by his voice. All in a night’s work at Goose Lake.

Playing with my new phone camera

Hi everyone,

I’m learning how to us my new Samsung 9+ that Jeff picked out and already love the camera in it. SO much better than the old one. Here are two examples. The first one is what I see from where I sit in the living room to read or watch TV.
The second picture is a view of the bird feeders hanging from the poor trying-not-to-die maple tree in one corner of the back yard. I’m refilling the three feeders daily now, thanks to a constant stream of finches, sparrows, and cardinals and the chipmunks, squirrels, and pigeons that feed in the grass on what the eager eaters spill.

The third one I took last night as we ate at a table beside the water. I promise I’ll try to control my urges to post pictures around Goose Lake, but forgive me if I break my word now and then.

All’s well that ends well

UPDATE: For those of you who didn’t have a chance to listen to POETRY PALS yesterday morning on KSMU Public Radio, you missed a great reading by Charity Jordan from Springfield-Greene County Library District. Charity read a poem by Jane Yolen, “Calling Home,” and one by Carole Boston Weatherford, “What My Kinfolk Taught Me,” from an anthology titled I REMEMBER, POEMS AND PICTURES OF HERITAGE, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Don’t forget to tune in next Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. for the next reading!

Hi everyone,

This is how you remove a skunk from your back yard. You call in an expert. Thanks Southwest Nuisance Wildlife Control. Bye-bye little skunk. Hope you have a good life, only somewhere else. Back to work today without the worry about that little issue.
As he departed I was reminded of one of the first poems I ever wrote for kids. It’s in a book somewhere but I don’t remember which one.

Lowly skunk, all stink and phew,
Secretly I envy you.
I’ve been taught, when things are bleak,
To smile and turn the other cheek,
While you, fulfilling heart’s desire,
Raise your tail, take aim, and fire.

(c) David L. Harrison, all rights reserved