The annual war between the crows and the ravens has been screeching between the tops of several two-century-old maple trees.

First, it’s the smaller crows darting at the ravens, then it’s the bigger black birds’ turn to harass the wiley crows.

Meanwhile, the much smaller kestrel family, who have once again nested in another old maple tree across the road from our home, prove to be the most powerful of all.

The smallest of the hawk family, and a fraction of the size of either the crows or ravens, the pair has returned each year to set up a nest and raise a family. The little ones are fledging and learning quickly that despite their size, their maneuverability is an advantage over the larger crows and ravens. And for that I am grateful, for whenever they are nearby, I know my corn and other vegetables are safe in the garden.

Out behind the garden, which has increased in size again this year, a mother turkey and her partridge-sized offspring browse through the wildflowers, now at their peaks. The reds and yellows of the sweet-smelling hawkweed, the bright white of the clumps of daisies, the delicate yellow of the buttercups, which always prove that we like butter when they are placed under our chins and yellow is reflected, and the gentle purples of mature clover are a beautiful bouquet.

The yarrow has spread to where once there was a clump of evergreens and deciduous trees that we have cut for firewood. Summer is in full bloom.

Color everywhere and I didn’t have to plant a single seed.

The blue jays squawk from other trees, asserting their territory, and the tiny, but irascible chickadees have disappeared for a while. The hummingbirds hang out at the fuchsia, sipping the sweet nector.

At night, the “who-cooks-for-you” call of the barred owl can be heard in the early morning hours. A partridge shows its dainty head every so often, too.

When I was a child growing up in this house I now own, we often heard the haunting sounds of the whippoorwill at night, but no more. They have disappeared as the habitat has changed.

But the robins, sparrows, warblers and phoebes are still building nests. I found a few sky-blue robin’s egg shells in my pumpkin patch, which is under one of the only Wealthy apple trees still growing on my land. The tiny birds had fledged.

A pair of pileated woodpeckers have been busy all spring pecking an oval-shaped hollow in another old maple. The huge, red, white and black birds were the model for Woody. Their squawks aren’t all that pretty, but their appearance sure is.

Nature is all over the place right now, and I love it.

The rabbits pay a visit to my garden every now and then to check it out, and I know a few clever raccoons are just waiting for the corn to grow and ripen. I suspect there are a few deer lurking in the woods not far from the end of the garden. They love taking a bite out of gourds, pumpkins and squashes. If only they would just eat the whole thing and not sample everything.

The fullness of the summer season is upon us.

Regardless of any other problems that may be facing us personally, locally or nationally, that trite saying holds so true. It does pay big dividends to stop and smell the roses, or listen to the birds, or admire the wildflowers.

It’s a beautiful world.



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