The sun has not yet climbed above the horizon, but already I am out of bed and at the keyboard. Last night before going to bed I closed my windows, since the temperature had fallen and the evening was cool. Even with the windows still closed, though, I am enjoying bird song in surround sound. They start their day early too.
Today marks summer solstice, as well as a full moon. The Farmer’s Almanac says that the occurrence of both events on the same day is rather rare (it happens about every 15 years). Last night the moon lit our property so well that I was able to take my dogs out without a flashlight or headlamp.
Today’s forecast promises to be similar to yesterday, with temperatures climbing to the low 80s. Two or three days ago the biting flies (horse? deer?) emerged. They are vexing because they are difficult to kill and their bite is painful. This is not such a problem for my husband and me, but walking our two dark-coated dogs is made much more difficult by these insects. They tend to circle one’s head endless, too, and my husband has developed the art of killing them by smashing them on his own person, as they are nearly impossible to grab out of the air. Pretty it may not be, but it is effective. I flail my hands in the air like a madwoman swatting at ghosts, making for a rather alarming site.
All of these insects are a necessary part of the food chain, helping to feed fish and ducks and birds and more. There are several geese families who are doing their part to clear the bug boom. Bernd Heinrich’s The Geese of Beaver Bog is an excellent, entertaining and educational read and I strongly recommend it if you are interested in the private lives of geese. Heinrich was foster parent to a goose that he named Peep, and from this relationship he gained amazing access to the inner lives of geese.
Here is a bit more about the book from the publisher’s website: In The Geese of Beaver Bog, Heinrich takes his readers through mud, icy waters, and overgrown sedge hummocks to unravel the mysteries behind heated battles, suspicious nest raids, jealous outbursts, and more. With deft insight and infectious good humor, he sheds light on how geese live and why they behave as they do. Far from staid or predictable, the lives of geese are packed with adventure and full of surprises. Illustrated throughout with Heinrich’s trademark sketches and featuring beautiful four-color photographs, The Geese of Beaver Bog is part love story, part science experiment, and wholly delightful.