Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Ramble with Storm: Living and dying, turning soil & digging up bones

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

stormtight.jpg Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

Grandma Bowman was a tough old broad. She made it into her mid-80s, back when living that long was a feat.

Cooing of mourning doves on all sides this morning as the meathead and I set out. Plenty of robins making a racket and hopping around yards, too. For the second morning in a row, a red-headed woodpecker called from a nearby tree, but I couldn't find it. Not hammered on a dead limb, but called.

She worked a large garden and small orchard up until the last year or so of her life.

One of the things she did was save a coal bucket (google it if you can't remember them) of garden soil in one of her sheds. Then, before the ground froze, she would hoe a couple rows and leave them open.

On Feb. 15, she would go out and plant sugar peas, using the soil in the coal bucket to cover the rows.

I started doing that some years ago. It took on extra meaning seven years ago. In February of 2006, my mother died. Then a couple days after we returned from burying her, Henry Palmisano died.

Talk about being emotionally ball-batted, that did it.

Since then, my early plantings in the garden are as much for my mom and Henry as in honor of Grandma Bowman.

Crossing over the track toward the town pond, I heard another woodpecker hammering on a tree. That one I would bet was a hairy woodpecker. So many red-winged blackbirds trilled along the north old clay pit that I didn't even try to count them.

Canada geese singles swam all around the north pit. That makes me think the other pairs are nesting. Normally, we get about seven pairs of geese nesting on the town pond. A goose was on the nest on the island on the south pit.

Five common mergansers swam on the north pit. They finally flushed when Storm and I crossed the neckdown between the two old pits.

The ice shanty floating loose was finally caught and dragged on shore at the old boat launch. It shattered. That's a story for another day.

This year, obviously, I could not plant on Feb. 15.

But yesterday, five or six weeks late by my standards, I finally got into the garden. In stead of the usual couple rows of sugar peas, I laid in two rows of spinach and one of leaf lettuce.

I loved the symbolism of life going on with our youngest, our 8-year-old son playing around in the yard and garden with me. He helped me gather a couple dozen earthworms when I turned the soil over earlier.

As we came back into town, Canada geese flew every which way, low and honking.

A pair of gray squirrels chased each other around a gnarled old elm near the turn to our block. A vivid red male cardinal staked territory from the top of our neighbor's gnarled old elm.

Seems a perfect time for a very young Randy Travis to sing one of my favorite songs. He seems almost too young to understand the song in this YouTube video.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 31, 2013 7:41 AM.

Wild of the Week: Do ducks & geese return to same nests? was the previous entry in this blog.

Ramble with Storm: Billy Martin, Tom Zbikowski, Jeff Samardzija and the symbolism of the ice shanty is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.