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Archive for June 16th, 2013

Turkey Tracks: Morning in the Yard

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Turkey Tracks:  June 16, 2013

Morning in the Yard

I spent the morning and part of the early afternoon, truth to tell, in the yard.

I climbed on a ladder 14 times to clear out the rejected bird nest sites I wrote about yesterday.  I could only get at one nest site at a time.  Then I had to get the blower and blow off all the debris, which was considerable.  And that led to blowing off the back deck too.  So, back to watering the front plant containers, and that led to getting out the clorox to get the green slime off the white posts, and that could have led to doing the whole of the porch, but I decided to put that off for another day.

Here’s the most well-formed nest of the lot:

Bird Nest, June 2013

It was beautiful.  I am always in awe that a bird can build such an intricate object.  Such patience.  Such work.

I suspect the porch wasn’t as dry as Mama Bird might have wanted.  It had to be as dry as a tree branch and leaves for a roof though.  But, who knows.

We have rain coming in, so I decided to cut some of the lilacs, iris, and peonies.  The rain will just shatter them.  So, here’s the first yard bouquet of the summer:

First Flowers, June 2013

The whole upstairs smells of sweet lilac now.  It’s really quite heady.

I stopped to take a picture of the window over the kitchen sink as it has caught my fancy.  Maryann brought me the fern for my birthday, and I found this pretty pot for it.  It’s so lacy and graceful, isn’t it?  Friend Cassie Snyder gave me the little glass vase.  I keep it filled with small things that delight my spirit–winter, spring, summer, and fall.  The rock is part of the old Bryan mill near Reynolds, Georgia, which predates my mother.  It’s a treasure I’ve kept with me for more than thirty years now.  My uncle Buddy gave it to me one day long, long ago.

Kitchen Window, June 2013

I hope you all had as nice a Sunday as I did.

Written by louisaenright

June 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Books: Barbara Kingsolver’s FLIGHT BEHAVIOR

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Books:  June 16, 2013

Barbara Kingsolver’s FLIGHT BEHAVIOR

For a while I could not decide if I liked this new Kingsolver novel or not.


Kingsolver's Flight Behavior

Then whammo!   All the threads come together in ways that made me walk away with renewed respect for this author who is writing at the top of her game about a subject for which she cares passionately.

I care passionately about his subject, too, and I was afraid early on that Kingsolver was being too didactic, too pat–in ways that would turn off too many readers who really need to understand the basic science of how wrong things have gotten on this planet.

Kingsolver locates her main character in a small southern town where inhabitants just try to get on with living, just try to keep earning money, just try to face and survive really difficult economic issues.  Dellarobia is a high school graduate who had wanted to go on to college; who got pregnant; who married the earnest, sweet father; who struggles daily not only to try to keep her life together, but to find the meaning of it.  She’s at a point where she is going to cut and run when she goes up on the mountain behind her home and sees millions of monarchs who have unaccountably come to winter in southern mountains instead of in Mexico where they have wintered for thousands of years.  There are so many that the sides of the valley seem to be on fire.

The “why” of the monarch move forms the backbone of the book, but Kingsolver never for one  moment forgets to flesh out her characters and show them to be the complicated, struggling beings that they are.  The “flight behavior” is about far more than the monarchs’ flight patterns.

There are no comic book good guys and bad guys in this novel.  There are people who grow and change and acquire new understanding of the world and of each other.  These are, for the most part, people you would want to be among if trouble comes.  And, Kingsolver makes more than clear, trouble has come.  Yet, she leaves us with hope that things can be different, that we can make changes in our lives that will work better for each of us and for all of us.

Monarchs are very present in Maine in the summer.  They arrive, lay eggs on milkweed plants, which we have in abundance, and, I think, die.  Their babies hatch into gorgeously outrageous caterpillars, which eat milkweed, form a chrysalis, and turn into the monarchs which are the generation that make the long flight to Mexico.  (I think I have that right.)

Last summer, young neighbor Margaret Richmond of Golden Brook farm had a pail with about 10 or 12 monarch caterpillars which she offered to share.

Margaret with monarch caterpillars

We declined as the grandchildren were leaving for home shortly.  But Margaret put the caterpillars on milkweed and watched them until they became butterflies.

Here’s a caterpillar in my hand:

Monarch caterpiller, Aug. 2012

We came home and Kels found a chrysalis in our yard and, the next morning, watched it hatch into a butterfly.

Written by louisaenright

June 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm