Nature’s plan


Black flies, horse flies, deer flies and mosquitoes

To them I am a tasty treat, like Cheetos or Doritos.

I rub my skin with Insect Off and spray with DDT

But still the pesky insects love to make a meal of me.

My blood type’s O – I must admit. A magnet draws them near

But I’m not pregnant, don’t wear black and never have a beer.

I tend the garden, water plants and drag out pesky weeds

I pray to all the Nature gods – but not one ever heeds

my fervent cries I swat and howl. Why must they bite so much?

But then a pretty bird flies by. He tweets out, “That’s my lunch!”

I get it! I am just a part of Nature’s magic plan.

The bugs eat me and I eat steak that’s fried up in a pan.

 

PS the top picture is of a snake that we found in the well in the garden.  Poor baby!

 

Parking Spot

imageThink you have parking problems? This ” Mr. Cool” had it all figured out. Just pulled into the  Canadian Tire parking lot in Parry Sound and found a two-vehicle slot! Sorted! The charming pilot/driver told us his plane only weight 200 pounds. Was he joshing us? Certainly his car had no problem pulling it. Just one of the things one is liable to see in Parry Sound.

It is a strange town.  There is one supermarket, a Sobey’s. Since it holds a monopoly it is pretty expensive and before the new manger took over I took a perverse pleasure in finding mistakes in the prices of things. The policy of the chain is that if you find a mistake you get the item for free. Joe and I had quite a run of getting free stuff every single time we shopped. A spirited exchange with the new boss was my swan song. I had so many mistakes on my bill that she wanted to impose a sort of statute of limitations…. let us say that we were both satisfied at the end —I got a generous voucher and she got an “issue” to work on with her staff.  Boy, did she whip them into shape. No more gloating over the cash slip. Those who know me in my regular shopping life will know how atypical this is of my habits. Oh, it was just fun!

Besides the Supermarket there is a small hospital. In summer the population of the district soars. All the Torontonians flee (the heat? the shootouts?) and head up to cottage country. They fall into the bar=b=que. They get stung by wasps. They cut themselves with knives or saws – they shoot themselves with sport arrows. They faint in the heat. They narrowly escape drowning or forget their meds in all the excitement. The beleaguered staff of the hospital deal with this and then the doctors quit so that it is quite a task to get on the rolls of a family doctor in winter time.

In the summer there is  money in Parry Sound – our friend who parked in Canadian Tire lot is not the only person who flits around in a little plane or who zooms over Georgian Bay in a fancy boat. A water-side restaurant offers “fly and dine” for a couple of hundred dollars. A plane slightly larger than this will fly you and your date to a distant restaurant where you can dine and then (if you can keep your dinner down) they fly you back to Parry Sound.

Of course, there’s a Wallmart and a McDonald’s in Parry Sound and it seems to me there are a lot of people riding around in mechanized wheel chairs.  When the cottagers go home a lot of the money goes with them and the winter mood is, to me, sadder but less frenetic.

I prefer the little village close to our house and land – Orrville. There are two churches, about forty houses and a blessed library in this village. In a pinch I can walk to the library. I like the little yellow plane but the library is good enough for me.

 

Sad sight, scary sight

Joe and I have been following the progress of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. For the second time a pair made a nest in a box he made from old junk salvaged from the dump. We gathered from the internet, universal source of all wisdom, that these birds can live up to ten years and that they often return to the same nesting spot. They had some endearing habits. The male would buzz Joe if he came too close as he cut the grass or tidied up the veggie patch. The female often sat with her head poking out of the entry hole and would peep out if we whistled. Last year the nest was abandoned after a spectacular tornado that felled a huge poplar close by. So we were happy to see it occupied again and enjoy  the beautiful flight of the two birds as they came and went to the little nesting box.

Imagine my shock to find this morning the nesting box torn off its post, thrown down in the field and surrounded by feathers and hay. I could not imagine what had happened! When I called Joe out we explored the area a little and found clear evidence of a bear’s presence. He had uprooted a corner fence post and forced his way through the wires. It is the only animal curious and strong enough to reach the box and tear it off.

We reattached the box and within a minute both birds returned. I was very surprised but our happiness was not to last. It appears the pair only came back to see if there were any surviving eggs and now for a couple of hours they have not been around.

In the past we have found other evidence of bears coming around the house. One day two summers ago when it was very hot and dry we found a small tree stripped and its main trunk snapped in two. There were few fruits or apples because of the dry weather and the bears came into the neighboring town quite a lot. I found it spooky to think of the big creature lumbering around so close by as we slept. They are big animals and require a lot of food. Were the few little eggs in our bluebird’s nest enough to make a difference to a mother bear perhaps? It was very sad for us to lose our favorites but here it is clear that we are visitors here no matter how we strive and work to claim our bit of the environment.

We read that bluebirds can have two clutches of eggs in a season so we must be hopeful. Next item a search on Amazon for a bear repellent.

Elections in the Country


Wandering beside the silty creek I noticed a curious frog who approached the bank to stare up at me with a fixed gaze. I sat down on a broad smooth rock. He swam even closer. “Are you a prince?”I whispered whimsically
He immediately croaked and jumped into the deeper water with a splash. He had no time for my nonsense. What was he doing there all day, I wondered. The afternoon stretched out before me, the banks of the creek rich in green and brilliant wild flowers. buttercups, indian paint brush, a wild white baby’s breath, cultivated daisies and forget-me-not gone rogue. Above all grew the tall and prolific grass, intensely green, thick and full of a whole world of insects, frogs and other mysterious life.
We like to say all is still and quiet in the country. Yet there is a movement, even a level of noise here. From time to time a breeze moves the new leaves, fresh and tender, high on the birch and poplar trees. Mysterious bubbles disturb the surface of the little pond formed as the trickle of the creek fills out a broad shallow space between two flat expanses of rock. Large dragon-flies buzz nearby, a bumble bee rumbles and fumbles in the wild flowers. A fat black fly settles on my arm and I shake him off. A mosquito meets his maker as I smack her into eternity. If only she had been content to nibble on my ear like her sisters she might have lived to draw blood another day. Sitting boldly on my hand was more than I could bear.
The banner? In our recent election, Mr. Mole ran as an independent candidate. I longed for him to win but it was not to be.

From a few seeds

Now summer is really over. It turns out fall is somehow better than summer – sunny, warm, and sometimes the wonderful fall wind springs up.  Beautiful leaves are tugged off the trees.  The grass is a magical green because of all the rain we had.  The garden was mixed.  Kale a great success, potatoes not bad, the novelty of the blue ones adding an exotic note.  The tomatoes were a disaster.  Swollen and tasteless with rain, sometimes rotting on the vine. There were only a few peppers, onions not bad. The garlic simply disappeared but the onions were fairly good.

And here are these wonders.  Great sunflowers grown on a whim from a few seeds found in an old package that had been shoved into the back of a drawer.  Strong thick stems are still not equal to the task of holding up these great heads.  We stuck one up into a small evergreen as a makeshift bird feeder.  The others, their heads hanging down wait for the first frost.

I love the mysterious geometry of the pattern of the seeds. Look how they spiral around perfectly.  I don’t know why but it reminds me of the complexity of quilting or embroidery.  So much effort in our worlds to create such a pattern.  So effortless in nature.

How do I love my Country

 

Broad and generous

when she changes from

thick dense greenery

to brilliant hues of crimson, of pink

of unlikely yellow and brown.

when her sunsets make me raise my head

from the sink where I wash dishes

or chop vegetables.

The sound of leaves scudding along the country road

or the cry of wild geese wondering if they should leave.

Wild turkeys shy, grouped together and hurrying away

at the slightest noise

leaving behind a single bronze leaf.

How do I love you, my country

with no great patriotic songs sung to you,

a few poems praise you

but carried in the hearts of those

in the little town, close by

a certainty, a solid bed-rock of caring.

In the Canadian Tire Shop, in the Tim Hortons

now wearing camouflage hunting gear,

sit the coffee drinkers.  No poets, no politicians here.

Those who walk their dogs in the back roads,

those who go to the Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

benefit for the Anglican Church.  Those who close up

the cottage, pull up the dock or those who stay all year long.

How do I love you, my country?  In these back roads,

in these woods, in these countless lakes,

in these leaves, changing, blazing, burning out

as I am changing, blazing, burning out.

How do I love you, my country?  As my mother,

as the cells of my body.  So do I love you.

 

 

Sky mirror

 

This wonderful white gladiolus flower appeared suddenly this month.  I had planted bulbs at the end of each vegetable row and they all came up, red-orange and beautiful.  Then when all were completely finished blooming, this white one appeared.  A mystery which seemed to be reflected in yesterday’s sky.