Happy Corner: A day at the blueberry shed, studying the birds and the bees

This week, I am using a reprint of an article published a few years ago.  Since it tis blueberry season again, this one is appropriate.

The recent showers have kept the berries producing although my time at the blueberry shed is limited.  Son Glen takes most of them and sells them directly.  When I do keep the business, rather than run back and forth to the house, I grab a novel and a comfortable chair and settled in for a quiet time at the barn  This article describes a typical day at the blueberry shed. Since weÂ’ve had to close more than we opened, it was a quiet morning as I expected, but it turned out to be quite interesting.

Watching a little mama wren as she made trip after trip to bring one little bug at a time to her four babies in the nest located in the end of the rolled up tarpaulin used as an awning for the blueberry shed held my attention for much of the morning.  I marveled at her patient toil. I remembered the words to a preschool song we used when I taught four and five year-olds all those years.  “Who taught the bird to build her nest of hay and wool and moss?  Who taught her how to build it best and lay the twigs across?”

Then, my mind went to the woman in Orlando on trial for the murder of her precious child.  Humans are called the highest order in the animal kingdom and yet they are the only ones guilty of doing harm to their young.  In all the hours I watched the little wren, I never saw her stop to feed herself nor get a drink of water.  A few days later, my daughter and I were privileged to watch the fledglings one by one venture out onto a perch and take their fluttering solo flight as mama bird flitted nearby.  I quickly scooped up Trouble, the old white cat, and carried him inside lest he make a quick snack of the baby birds.

I wish I knew the identity of all the bird sounds I hear as they flit from tree to tree.  I sit there and hear words as they call: judy, judy, judy, taylor, hilry, pretty, pretty, pretty, and sweet, sweet, sweet, and preacher, preacher, preach.  For the first time in several years, we are hearing a lot of “Bob White!” We have a Pileate Woodpecker which I hear often, but seldom get a glimpse of the large red, white and black feathered friend.  I have yet to see the birds taking a quick splash in my goldfish pond as my husband has reported seeing. 

In the solitude I heard the whirring of hummingbird wings and watched as the red throated missile hovered first over the magenta-colored phlox.  Then, he approached the feeder which I had filled with sugar water, but he was very hesitant to disturb the dozens of honeybees stacked one upon another drinking their fill of the sweetness.  The bees also enjoy drinking and getting their wings wet in the mist from the timed spray over the rooting bed near the blueberry shed.

In addition to watching the birds and the bees, I also had blueberry customers, many of whom come back from year to year. I particularly recall on this day the Wiggins family, here from Lakeland area to attend a family reunion at the Ag center.  They gave me ripe and green tomatoes along with a couple of oranges.  We enjoyed fried green tomatoes because of their generosity. Another couple with a 5 year-old u-picked that day.  They were so appreciative of being able to go out and pick.  The little boy thanked me again and again for having the berry bushes.  His mother said he kissed the plants and blessed them to make some more so that another little boy could pick some.

With waiting on customers and studying the birds and the bees, my novel was quite neglected and before I knew it the fishermen had returned.  It was time for me to take myself inside and continue with never ending household chores.

I am still planning to assemble articles from previous publications into a book, but I am experiencing delays due to family illness and computer illness, due mostly to my own challenges. But it is still in the works and should be out within a year.