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Prairie grass is still green
in August. It was August
before the temperature
hit triple-digits
and they lasted less than a week.
Rain fell briefly
and we are enjoying a second cool
morning. It will get hot again,
but other parts of the world
are hitting record, killing, temperatures
and there’s little doubt
that will happen again
here
which is why
we enjoy this rare summer
so thoroughly.

Summer seems more prodigious
this year.

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Besides the explosion
of plant growth,
thanks to uncommon rains,
this week I notice
there are more Cicadeas
than usual.
There are gobs of shells
on the porch posts
and the serenading in the trees
is much louder than usual.
Too, Mulberries
are thick,
and more flavorful
than usual.

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And now we know,
there are four
tiny, fuzzy-headed
Phoebe peeps
in that little nest
on the front porch.
Mom,
and Dad I think,
are attentive—
sitting closeby on a Hackberry branch
and constantly delivering worms,
which are easy pickin’s
after the rains.
The wee ones eyes haven’t opened
yet
and they have little control over their bodies,
falling on each other
in that crowded nursery
as they try to queue up
for the next worm delivery,
their orange beaks
agape.

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DSCN5131The Prairie on a Cool, Misty Autumn-maybe Morning

All year long,
natural events
have happened
about two weeks earlier
than “normal”—well,
what normal used to be.
And so, it seems,
this week
there is autumn.
Weather has shifted.
We’ve fallen away
from summer.
It slipped up on us,
without a transition time.
But, summer was so mild,
maybe we didn’t need a transition period.
Or maybe this is the transition period.
Indeed, hummingbirds will soon go south,
though we have seen one or two the last day or so.
The white cranes
nesting at night in the Cypress trees
on the Big Pond
seem to be leaving in pairs, or small groups.
Yesterday—a gloriously cool, clear, sunny day—
I watched a flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds
fly low, like liquid, just above the prairie grass.
I don’t know if they’re coming in
or have been here all summer.
But we will know soon:
hundreds of thousands arrive for winter.

This morning, not only is the temperature
in the mid-50’s,
mist falls softly,
painting everything with more intense color.
The wind, from the north,
is so chilly
there is no walking or porch-sitting
without long clothes.
The cool, moist air
blows into my face
as if to shout
“fresh, new season!”

Already, domesticity
is in transition too.
Suddenly, clothes hung on the line
will not dry in 15 minutes.
Mice seem to be coming in!
And I earnestly hope that big snake on the porch
last week
wasn’t seeking hibernation
indoors!!
We will need to keep a close eye
on Red-tail Hawks
keeping a close eye on free-ranging chickens—
though it seems they could make a plentiful feast
on the abundance of field mice!
In the high tunnel,
Ann has pulled up cucumber, squash, chard
and other spent plants
and planted seeds for the fall garden.
Still, tomatoes, peppers, melons, eggplant, herbs
produce—welcome remnants
of a summer
that was so much more pleasant
than normal
we only had a few days—
hot and not-normal-for-Oklahoma-extremely-humid-days—
that we wished it away.

 

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Our July-August Newsletter
Summer (Sorta) at Turtle Rock Farm

 

Sitting on the porch,
catching up
with each other
in slow
conversation; the kind
with comfortable
silences
too.
But it was in the middle of a sentence,
hers
or mine—I don’t remember—
that she heard it:
the rattley shooshing;
the lazy rhythm ascending,
descending…
She smiled, her eyes
bright,
as if having suddenly turned a corner
to gaze unexpectedly upon
home.

It is so gladdening
to have friends who hear
the first sound of summer;
a gift,
to be with them
when they do.

Conditions in central Oklahoma
are just right
for Lightning Bugs, as Fireflies
are known here.
Maybe it’s the cooler air,
the frequent showers…
doesn’t matter: We are delighted
and enjoying them.
Seems everyday someone
talks about seeing so many
Fireflies.
There’s a friend who glows
when she talks about going out
each night to watch them,
and the two with which she
had a close encounter.
The friend who tells the story
of a friend’s son
who collected them in a jar
and released them in his mom’s
bedroom.
And then there’s our friend Mary,
who paints a watercolor each day,
and yesterday,
showed us this one:
It’s a joy
when something in the natural world, besides us,
gets our attention
and holds it.

May we always
remember
the comfort—
for all living ones
here on the prairie—
and the beautiful lush growth
due to rare, regular rains
and temperate temperatures
the summer of 2013.
And now may we breathe gently
into the first
glorious, gold-on-green days
of autumn.

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