Little Children, Little Things

“Mom! Mom! Come look! We caught a mourning dove!” C burst into the house excitedly.

“A mourning dove? Really?”

“Yes! Come see!”

Well, it turned out it wasn’t a mourning dove, but a baby sparrow. Apparently it was trying out its wings in the driveway and the boys decided it needed help.

This highlights one of the first things we noticed when we arrived at the property – there are so many birds! A great number of barn swallows, sparrows, bluebirds, mourning doves and more swoop and flit about every day. They love the pond, they love the trees… The children have been finding nest after abandoned nest to add to our growing ‘nature museum’ (inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Men’). So far, we have a large turkey feather, a hawk feather, a mourning dove feather, three or four nests of different kinds, a monarch butterfly, three intact cicada shells, and a grasshopper.

This highlights one of the first things we noticed when we arrived at the property – there are so many birds! A great number of barn swallows, sparrows, bluebirds, mourning doves and more swoop and flit about every day. They love the pond, they love the trees… The children have been finding nest after abandoned nest to add to our growing ‘nature museum’ (inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Men’). So far, we have a large turkey feather, a hawk feather, a mourning dove feather, three or four nests of different kinds, a monarch butterfly, three intact cicada shells, and a grasshopper. It really is amazing; my children have grown quite adept at catching grasshoppers (of which we had a plethora this year) with the sole motivation of feeding them to the chickens!

The little ones love finding all these little bits of nature that I overlook. In the midst of all the big projects we have on our plate getting the farm infrastructure just the way we want, the preparations for the animals for winter, etc, it is so necessary to take a moment or two to revel in the excitement and wonder of the tiny things God has made.

Back to the sparrow: we at first thought we ought to try to get it back to its nest, but it turned out to be much too high in a pine tree to attempt that. So, we did the next best thing. Bringing out one of our “old” nests from the museum, we put it in the crook of a tree and laid the little sparrow inside it. After a while, he started peeping loudly and expectantly… and then were answering tweets! Satisfied that his relatives would soon find him, we left him to his own devices. And when we came back later that day, the nest was empty once again.

Another day, I happened to notice a mother mourning dove on her nest; something moving behind the nest beneath her tail caught my eye. It was a baby dove – shivering outside in the wind! “Poor thing,” I thought. It must have been neglected for some time as it seemed much smaller than the other fledgling that the mother bird had been keeping warm. You can see the difference in the photos below.

Well, whether it would help or not, I decided to get the little bird back into the nest to give it a shot at survival. I really don’t know how this one ended up. He is so blurry in the picture because he was shivering so much!

Now of course Fall has come, and with it has brought an unusually high number of black and brown fuzzy caterpillars, to the delight of toddlers C and S, who run around many days catching them to put in a jar. Apparently these “teddy bear” caterpillars turn into tiger moths, which are rumored to be bad for the garden, so we may have to be on the watch come Spring. I toyed with the idea of possibly keeping one through hibernation to watch it make a chrysalis, etc. But after finding out about that last fact, I’ll save my energy for that sort of thing when we come across a monarch or other such critter. Maybe I can convince the kids to feed these to the chickens instead…

One thought on “Little Children, Little Things

  1. Oh, Natalie! It sounds as if you’re all adjusting BEAUTIFULLY to your new home, and I am SO happy for you. I can’t imagine how busy you must be these days. You and your beautiful family are always in my heart and in my prayers. Love to all of you, Pam 😘 🤗

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: