Gathering moss and a departing snake

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

By Susan and Biff Andrews

A few random thoughts — again:

A butterfly fluttering over concrete is not pretty — it is horribly out of place, with nowhere to land.

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Extreme heat with a stiff breeze is bearable; in still air, it is stifling.

We have wars at our bird feeders among red-bellied woodpeckers, bluejays, mockingbirds and brown thrashers — aggressive birds all — but my money is on the chickadees.

We have a loving dog who rolls on her back when you enter the room — looking for a tummy rub — but our Siamese cat is even more affectionate, demanding petting with head butts and silent purrs. Ain’t life grand?

This summer should have quashed any doubts about whether or not global warming is real.

Really warm waters lead to serious hurricanes. ‘Nuff said, climate change deniers.

I wonder why gardening gets even more important to us as we age. Do we, to quote the bard, “love that well, which we must leave ‘ere long”?

Frozen food is well regulated, nutritious and tasty, but it doesn’t come close to Silver Queen out of the field, Blue Lake green beans out of the garden or shrimp right off the boat. Eat fresh and local, and support your local farm markets.

We recently watched a mockingbird beat up a five-foot long black snake. It wasn’t even a close fight. The snake was fleeing at high speed; the bird was pecking, clawing, screaming and feather-slapping — we assume in defense of a nest somewhere.

On the other hand, about 15 years ago, I watched a black snake slither along a pine branch and swallow four baby mourning doves. Nature has its checks and balances.

A hummingbird this summer approached my kitchen window to sip some nectar from a hibiscus blossom, which was indoors in a vase. I apologized for teasing him.

I know spiders are some of God’s creatures, but I find it hard to be nice to them — or even cordial.

Freeze-dried mealworms are great for feeding moms in spring and early summer. Baby birds can’t eat sunflower seeds.

If you have no tree canopy, you need grass. If you have big trees, you’ll eventually get moss. One needs mowing, seeding and chemicals. One doesn’t. Choose wisely, grasshopper.

Susan and Bradford “Biff” Andrews are retired teachers and master naturalists who have been outdoor people all their lives, exploring and enjoying the woods, swamps, rivers and beaches throughout the region for many years. Email them at