An English In Kentucky


















Wednesday May 2nd 2012    Tim Candler

       Three weeks is twenty one days.  If the weather is cooler, it's about the time from Field Sparrow nest to Field Sparrow fledging.  Meadow Larks also nest on the ground, their first children are already out and about, sharing the confusion of sunrise with equally good looking Dove.

      A Field Sparrow has the little pink beak. It is described as a 'drab sparrow of bushy pasture and old fields.'  Which is a good enough description of me.  A Field Sparrow is the little one on the taller grass, struggling to bend it to the ground, the better to get at the seeds. He weighs about half an once, which is about two and a quarter Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. And like Hummingbirds he can eat insects.  It's Goldfinch that only eat seeds, and who are always described as 'handsome' and 'a favorite at the bird feeder.' They are the yellower ones you can see hungry on the Dandelion, because sometimes that's about it for seeds. Then when the year lengthens it's Goldfinch that swarm to ravage Sunflower, where they gain good weight and can turn a mind to shotguns.

      This year in the garden there are two kinds of wheat.  We call them Egyptian Wheat or Kamut, and Bronze Age Wheat, or Spelt.  Not certain why we are growing these two such colonies, other than for the sound their names make back through the ages to ancestors who did not have to live as long as we now do.  I think the original theory for planting Wheat, had something to do with a ground cover for winter months, which would then be dug into the soil, which in my view is an exercise of great poetry and value and solemn-ness. But it has been a strange year, and there it is, Ancient Wheat In A Raised Bed.

    Field Sparrows prefer to feed their children insects, and so do Cardinals.  Dove eat seeds, and fortunately they don't like long grass, but they know how delicious a Bean Sprout can be so long as the bed is well weeded and there is a gardener daring them.  So I reckon, having seen Goldfinch on Sunflower, it'll be Goldfinch who'll first know when it's time to harvest, and we'd better be quick.

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