Two Bur Oaks and a Crawdad

A group of swamp white oaks Healthy soil is important, but for whom?  In the Garden  The young bur oak would not be kept down. Yet again it revealed itself among the standing dead stalks of a large patch of purple bee balm, a good three feet tall and leafing out. In spring, a bur oak’s leaves look like sharp-edged, glossy cutouts. They are not green, but shade delicately among soft corals, tans and pinks. The green comes a bit later, like a slow-motion wave gently pervading each leathery leaf. The question, as it had been for several years, was what to do with this young newcomer to the garden.  About ten feet away and across the walk from house to garage stands a second bur oak that I’d started from an acorn some twelve years ago. I’ve enjoyed watching it grow its first sets of true leaves, become large enough to attract birds and then mature enough to bear acorns. This winter I limbed it up three feet from the ground, mainly to give the sedges and wild geraniums growing underneath a

The View from the Porch

So I go out on my back porch while eating a sandwich--it's a sunny 50 degrees at noon, how could you not--to check for flickers. They come every spring and I want to write about them and the ants. No flickers. Just robins, grackles, starlings, house finches, the usual citified birds. But then I cast about a little more and notice the woodpecker in the pagoda dogwood, the nuthatch creeping down the maple trunk, the mourning dove down among the fallen leaves and-- O glory!--up in the air is a red-tailed hawk circling high, white wing feathers flashing, tail spread out, fine as anything.

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