As the heat of summer sets in here at the end of July, our homestead’s plant and animal inhabitants continue to teach us about cycles and systems, change and flow. The welcome rains seem to come only every few weeks (or months) – thank you, climate change – and so the in-between-times are dry and dusty and character-building, for both us and the plants and animals. We watch in awe every single day as the plants tell us what they need and how they feel by the way they respond to the conditions at hand. The animals have been particularly entertaining and instructive during this past dry spell.
The ruby-throated hummingbirds have hatched all the babies, and we have had ten or more at a time fighting for sugar water at our backyard feeder. At the front feeder, a regular group of three or four also buzz about, keeping Mr. Endless Seeker busy refilling feeders all day long. Recently, the honeybees decided they also needed the sugar water from the hummer feeders and they swarmed our front feeder, keeping the birds at bay for several days. The back feeder was also buzzing with bees, but the birds seemed able to hold their own there. We had to remove the feeders altogether for a few days until the bee situation calmed down. Once we returned the feeders, I did a little time-lapse video to show the hummingbird activity:
The daytime antics of the hummers and bees are enjoyable and entertaining for sure, but as we sleep each night, our woods are hopping with activity, too. The deer have been bringing their fawns around to nibble on anything that hasn’t shriveled up in the drought. And our resident gray fox walks the trails and woods every single night, hunting for toads and frogs and berries and whatever goodies s/he can find, I’m sure. It’s a delight each day to check the cameras and see the fox trot by one more time. Here’s a little video of some of the fox action:
As the heat index reaches 105 degrees today, we are grateful for the resiliency of the native plants and animals with which we share this space. We are grateful for air conditioning and cold water and time to relax and enjoy each other. Back when we were young, in school and working, summer seemed to pass too quickly, but these days it feels slower, like us. Perhaps the pace of time matches the pace of our lives for a reason. Perhaps not.
Either way, the joys of summer will linger in our hearts for as long as the hummingbirds sip nectar and the fox trots across the creek for a nightly visit to our homestead.