This morning, Hazel and Colette decided to lay eggs at the same time, and sat down facing each other. Who was there first? It probably was Colette as she doesn’t look that happy. Though when you think about it, she’s be less happy if she had her face in Hazel’s other end.
A few days ago some of the potatoes started blooming. I’ve never seen potato blossoms in May here before. I staggered my potato plantings over five weeks, so I should have potato blossoms through July. Up close, the flowers are complex. Why do they have all that fine hair on the back of their petals? What purpose do the folds of the petals serve? What about the patterns of their petals? What do the flowers look like in ultraviolet, which is how bees see them? How many thousands of species of bacteria thrive on a potato blossom? Are there species of bacteria, fungi, and/or micro arthropods that exist only potato blossoms? Could be.
The more you look at a single blossom, the more questions you have. There is enough information in these intricate flowers to write several dissertations. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to sit in on an oral exam of a PhD candidate who has written a dissertation on potato blossoms? What questions would the professors toss at the candidate? It could become the basis for a Netflix original series.
Hens sitting on eggs become radiant. Their eyes become so focused. They are not about to let anything happen to their precious eggs, so they give anyone approaching them an evil eye. There’s an intensity that beams from them. Get too close, and their feathers puff up. Get closer still, and they start to growl and shriek.
For 21 days they barely budge. Yet, they are gently shifting and turning their eggs underneath them all the time. It’s a mystery how they know what to do. How is such complex behavior controlled by DNA and how do hormones or whatever chemicals manipulating their minds get them to sit for such a long period? It’s like they have a thousand page manual with detailed instructions on what to do buried deep in their little brains.
All of nature is like this, far more complicated than we can fathom.
I saw an article on おはよう日本 – Good Morning Japan, on TV Japan yesterday, about a public bath house with a large community hall. For about $10, you can spend all day, enjoying the hot baths, and relaxing with neighbors in the community hall, where you can bring your own food and drink. Many people go to the bath house just to relax and visit with neighbors in the community hall. There is a stage where you can sing and dance and put on a performance. According to the newspiece, anyone is welcome.
People tell the owner that she could tear down the community hall, build a high rise condo and make as much money as she wants. She told the reporter, “I know I could make a lot more money. But each day, I have customers going home with smiles and telling me what a good time they had. Money can’t buy that.”
Money can’t buy everything. It can’t buy the tranquility that I get from a morning walk in the forest. The forest is a treasure trove of life, much of it in the soil. In an old growth forest, up to 75% of the weight of the soil can be fungal matter. The trees look like they are just standing there, not doing much, but they are converting sunshine into sugars, sending much of the sugar down into their roots to feed massive amounts of fungi. Fungal eating nematodes come along, eat the fungi, and leave fertilizer at the roots of the trees so they can grow even taller.
Everything we eat starts as sunshine. When we bite into an apple, peel an orange, or crunch on a carrot, we’re eating sunshine, converted by plants into energy. Money can’t buy sunshine. So when you’re having a meal, look outside and wave at the sun. Thank it for making your life possible.
Money can’t buy the joy I feel seeing Rachel’s new chicks. They started hatching yesterday, and today she has them off the nest. I’ll know in a day or two how many she has. Money can’t buy the wonder of seeing new growth on a redwood tree. Money can’t buy a lot of things.
I found Skunky and her four siblings taking an afternoon break in an old rabbit hutch the hens use for laying eggs. During the day, the two brothers of the bunch are often off on their own. It’s almost like they knew I was coming and got together to pose for a family portrait.
It’s nothing like picking out produce in a grocery store, but this tangle of vegetation is where lunch starts. A bit of weeding and I have the ingredients for making a great fried rice lunch: ruby streaks mustard greens and gobo (burdock root).
A cool, foggy morning gives no hint of the sunny day to come. In the woods, the thimble berry flowers are blooming, with their petals falling like big snowflakes.
Two young roosters are off on their own. Two months old, they are spending more time with each other than with their sisters. As roosters become juveniles, they spend more time together than they do with their girls, not too different than human boys of a certain age. The genes that tell little boys to avoid little girls must be a billion years old, and date back to a very distant ancestor both chickens and humans share.
Another ancient shared set of genes, are those which make little children to play in the mud. Miasa-hime looks down off the bridge at her chicks which are running around in the creek bed. They are next to impossible to see, but two of her chicks are visible in this picture. They are close to the edge of the bridge. One is a few planks to the left of her feet. The other is hidden in the grass toward the lower left of the picture. Mother hens have many of the same problems human parents have with their children.