Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Under the Wire

Tree Swallow, male
Tachycineta bicolor


Our vegetable garden sits a distance from the house—adjacent to the old barn and bordered by the pasture, now grown high in field grasses. Two nest boxes mark the path, across the hill and into the woods.

Each year the strategy is the same.
Plant only what we’re able to defend. For as much as we look forward to the freshness a home garden can provide, so, too, do the others—raccoons, rabbits, deer,…eager to quickly empty it of its tender contents, courteously provided as a buffet within the sanctuary of our yard--
the snarling gardener discovering little more than its stubby remains on a steamy summer morning.


Two fine wires connected to a pulsing electric charge wrap the fertile, roto-tilled earth, dark with years’ turnings of manure, leaves and ash, several inches above its surface. And, though barely seen, its rhythmic pulse warns of its gentle reminder, “All else here is yours, save the tilled ground.”




From a few feet away, a male Tree Swallow stands—the sentinel above his family’s home, their nest in a box set out for Bluebirds—though, each year left to swallows, instead. Our closeness and regular visits never a bother, it would seem. Our ways, tolerated well, perhaps enjoyed—long looks would make it seem so.

One
of eight baby woodchucks

Surveyors of this expanse beyond our watch.
Wiser than we who stretch this fine wire, and wonder who passes unseen—
those yet small enough to pass—
under the wire.

I see you.


Ready for breakfast.

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30 comments:

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I know woodchucks can damage and consume quickly, but I find them handsome.

Annette said...

Adorable! Good luck with your garden!

RuneE said...

I envy you those bird pictures - I try, and try and....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

I now, too, have several young groundhogs dashing about the yard along the riverbank. No garden here to protect, thank goodness, but plenty of flowers.

It's really good to have you back and posting. Your lovely words and photos have been missed!

Reader Wil said...

Amazing pictures of the tree swallows! And the other animals too. I hope your kitchengarden will be left alone! Do you see mr Linky? I can't find him. Do we have to remove our headers?

Carol said...

Great shots of that tree swallow. I don't think I have seen one before...he looks almost iridescent. Eight baby woodchucks should surely get under the wire!

Babooshka said...

Never seen woodchucks before and certainly won't here. Adorable. Tree swallows are such gorgeous birds too.

Michelle Johnson said...

Those woodchuck pictures are adorable. I can only imagine these 8 little critters will cause some real chaos soon. Hope your garden flourishes. Have a nice night.

deejbrown said...

There is something about babies that give us joy, regardless of the species or the pains the adults become (including humans).
Perhaps it's hope.

bobbie said...

Wonderful swallow pics! Pretty nice woodchuck ones too. Kind of you to be so kind to them.

Roger Owen Green said...

THANK you.

Mara said...

Well, at least you're sharing your fresh produce with some nice looking animals! Lovely photos

Old Wom Tigley said...

I think this is the first I paid attention to Woodchucks.... I've heard them mentioned before of course but this it my first view of them. I will now read up on them.

My blogs: Wiggers World and Pictures & Words

jay said...

Do the deer not just step over the wire? It must be frustrating, especially as an animal lover, not wanting to actually hurt your buffet guests!

I love the tree swallows - such beautiful and graceful birds!

irenet said...

Enjoyed your nature pics and love the quote in your header.

Enjoy your week.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Baby woodchucks. Your garden doesn't stand a chance. You must be the eternal optimist to put out a garden what with an army of hungry wildlife awaiting the harvest.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Your tree swallow shots are lovely! We've given up vegetable gardening save the occasional container-grown tomato plant. I don't even think we'll try that this year. The wildlife are just too determined, and I guess that means that I'm not. :)

Russ said...

Very nice! I love watching swallows fly - the way they dart about!

Q said...

Dear Nina,
I also have a variety of wild creatures that enjoy our garden.
The Tree Swallows are lovely birds...
Very fun T.
Sherry

Rose said...

That's one of the many struggles we gardeners must face. Rabbits are the main culprit here, and though I love to watch them hop through the grass, I want them to stay out of the vegetables! Looks like you have several critters to contend with. Thanks for participating.

Tumblewords: said...

Always such delightful photos and illuminating narrative found here! Thank you!

Heather said...

Oh Nina, baby woodchucks?! How cute. The deer seem to be real damage-doers to our garden, for which we have finally erected a proper fence, and so far it seems to be working. Glad you're back. Hope you had a nice blogging break.

Kathiesbirds said...

Woodchucks always make me think of New England. I hope your garden grows well dear friend!

T.R. said...

Great shots! I don't think I've ever seen a woodchuck. Tree swallows seem an acceptable substitute for bluebirds.

Arija said...

You don't really begrudge your neighbours their breakfast... none of us can resist planting more than necessary. Nice post.

Ginnymo said...

Great photos Nina!! I have Woodchucks around but have never seen real little ones.

Mary said...

Woodchucks and Tree Swallows in one post. What a treat for me!

I know about the vegetable gardens. I have had some very well fed groundhogs in the past.

Beth said...

I love the swallow pix. I miss having them nest in my yard this year. They fought with house sparrows for the box and eventually lost. Then I evicted the house sparrows and house wrens moved in. I hope the swallows come back next year, although the wrens' antics are funny and their song is sweet.

Beth

Island Rambles Blog said...

Hi Nina.... doing some quick catching up and visiting your lovely blog once again as I have just returned...cheers.

scienceguy288 said...

We have two resident groundhogs: Bill and Bob. Nice to see them from time to time.