Female Rain, and other surprises

We’ve had a run of Female Rains, going on about a month now, off and on.  It’s crazy out there.  The ground gives softly, not quite mushily under my feet when I walk in the Back 40 – now covered in wildflowers and blooming bushes of every type – and everything feels reborn, again.  I think I’m working on one of those, too.

It’s insanely green everywhere.  The wild morning glories that are making a run at being genuine ground cover in the front yard are climbing the fences, something they’ve never done in all the years we’ve been here.  They’re blooming when the sun decides to come out, all blue-purple over that shade of green that makes you almost dizzy.  The actual ground cover, which is also of the wild variety well known in these parts, has made a carpet of itself in everywhere the morning glories aren’t.  The Lantana is back, too, not to be denied.  It’s lush, and lush isn’t something you really see too much of around here, except in some of those wet springs that come every now and then.  This, the soft spring in the early fall, is a real gift.  Except for the mosquitos which have found enough reason to hang on a little longer, and the fire ants which are heading for higher, drier ground.  I have little regard for fire ants – nasty creatures – and I can find no good reason for them.  Whose idea were they?

Custody Dog waits, and watches, as the rain keeps falling.

The birds are making idiots of themselves, especially the Blue Jays.  When the afternoon rains have come, with light winds and a pleasing temperature, still warm rain, they sit in it and take to hollering.  I heard one a while ago that uttered something I’d never heard a Blue Jay say before, and I wonder what got into him.  Joy, I hope.  It was such a funny sound, all mullarkied and warbly for a jay, that it made me laugh out loud.  All the bunch get in the act – the Titmice, (which for whatever reason the Queen Mum and I have always referred to as Tithooties – suits them), and the Red Birds, (Cardinals to you professionals), the Scrub Jays, (less decorated cousins of the Blues, but just as raucous), and numerous brownish birds of various sizes and shapes that we call Sparroons.  Covers them all.  In summer we have an occasional Painted Bunting,  some Chickadees and my personal favorites, the Wrens.  The little wrens are here all year, and they are peerless in their song – so much joyful noise out of the smallest creature, and they work hard and are tenacious.  They also let out such a racket when disturbed – no mistaking that carrying on.  And then there are the Canyon Wrens by the river….. but that’s another story.

I heard a roadrunner in the Back 40 the other day.  I’ve simply no way to describe their call.  It’s one of those “you just have to hear it” sort of things.  And even then, it took me a few times to hear it to know what it was, again, because you just don’t hear it very often.  There’s nothing songlike about it, more like some Latin percussion instrument that you twist to get a different sound out of it.  Likewise the sound the Nighthawks make when they do that metallic whang! when their feathers break the Nighthawk sound barrier in their dives.  I swear it’s like that.  Never hear them, or see them anymore – haven’t for years – and I miss them.  No hawks lately, either.  Nor owls.  Progress strikes again.

The peacock, Magic, has his own music catalogue, from the ber-AWK ber-AWK of his lovelorn caterwauling, (no luck here), to the almost catlike whine, to the actual gooselike honk when something chases or disturbs him.  He’s in his psychedelic turkey outfit now, having molted his sartorial finery in the heat of summer, but the new crop is already making its appearance on his back.  Peacock feathers decorate many corners around here, and make for wonderful gifts for kids.

But whoever’s here, they’re all here now, having themselves a lovely singsong trillaway out front.  The doves, big whitewings, are awaiting the nightly feeding, and the ranch herd of deer are gathering for the buffet.  The Queen Mum will be there soon with their glowing meal.  For those who wondered about the mystery picture of several weeks ago, yes, those are little piles of corn, looking like lamplight in the driveway – part of my mother’s offerings to all the critters around here.  It gets her out and around twice a day, and I’m sure the hunters appreciate their fattened quarry.  Don’t get me started on the hunters…..

A couple of weeks ago when we were doing our evening jaunt in the Back 40, (a RUN for Custody Dog), she stopped at a particular bush and wouldn’t give it up.  I wondered if she’d found something dead, or… what?  I walked over and noticed the bush had broken branches all around, some laying on the ground, some bent within the bush.  And then I saw it – what was THAT?  In all these years, I’d never come across freshly shorn velvet from the antlers of the bucks, and here it was.  Pieces of it draped some of the branches like macabre Christmas tree icicles where it had been rubbed off.  Strange stuff, hair and skin at the same time, with the inside still showing blood vessels.  And so they are ready for the rut now, their head-racks free of softness, ready to get down to business when the time comes.  Unfortunately, it’s these beautiful racks that tantalize the hunters….. them again.

No new beasties have popped out, but I’ll share with you the intricacies of a mystery plant that blooms every summer, smelling of rotten meat, or maybe even something dead.  It’s part of the Stapelia family of succulents, sometimes called starflowers.  They stink, and attract flies.  Sort of like old boyfriends.  (I didn’t say that.)  Still and all, they’re pretty wondrous.

It’s a Stapelia grandiflora.  I looked it up.

It’s not fall yet, not quite, but sometime later today is Autumn Equinox to be shared with a Full Harvest Moon right on its heels, and that’s quite a powerful combination.  If it dries out enough, I think I’ll light a bonfire tomorrow night, and celebrate the new season.  Reason enough for a righteous fire, honoring Mother Earth and Father Sky.  The fire ring out there in the Sky Circle on the south acre needs a little tending, and attention.  I’ll sit out there and ponder, and wonder about what is, and what’s next….. unless there comes more Female Rain, and I hear it’s in the forecast.  Strange days, these.

Surely I must give you Art Shots.  So I offer up Yard Art,

and my Psychedelic Driveway, arrested under the influence of Photoshop:

Toward the end of the day I took a walk in the Back 40 with the kids.  And as was so promised, here’s what we found after the rain.

Not bad.  Not bad at all.  Peace and Promise, y’all.  (I’ll be back to my usual pontificating soon, all about Want To’s and Have To’s….. stay tuned, and thanks for tuning in.)

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One Response to “Female Rain, and other surprises”

  1. Wow, I can’t believe how green and lush everything is there! We have to wait until about February for things to start greening up here. Have had a beautiful mild weather week but not the temps are supposed to reach triple digits again this weekend. Strange weather all over I’d say. Loved all the pics but especially that unusual flower! How weird that something so beautiful would smell so foul.

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