Clark Hollow Ramblings: Arrival of the kingbird

I hope Pam Owen doesn’t get mad at me for writing this article. This is her area of expertise, but we can all enjoy the world around us. My bride and I have been married for 54 years. One of the things we have always shared is our love of our feathered friends. When they get in my garden and start pecking holes in my first ripe tomatoes it is a challenge to still love them, but everything comes with a cost. This past week I got one more pleasant surprise in this area.

I was watching a news program early in the evening and I got a glimpse out the window of a bird that first appeared to be a small mockingbird. Then I noticed the distinctive black head and the white band across the end of the tail feathers and the way he was hovering. I knew it wasn’t a mocker. I said to Linda, “Did you see that? What is that?”

“Oh”, she said, “that is a kingbird. I have seen him hanging around on the other side of the house for several days.” I was amazed that I hadn’t noticed. Then, I started watching the open field adjacent to our house and saw five of them. They were having a big old time, sitting on the very tips of tree branches and on the power lines and diving into the field to catch insects.

Unless they were part of an early migration, I suspected they must have had a nest nearby, and they were teaching the little ones how to take care of themselves. I don’t know the answer, but I was certainly glad to have seen them and will keep watch to see how long they hang around. Linda has a little sign in one of her flower beds that says, “Nature never did betray the heart that loves her,” and that sign or saying really stuck with me as I watched the kingbirds. I have since learned that those words have been attributed to William Wordsworth, and they are so true.

And since we are talking about nature’s bounty, I will give you a garden update. We have dug the onions and the potatoes and they turned out pretty well. A number of my onions didn’t come up this year, but there will be enough to get us through. The potato crop was interesting. I don’t think we got quite as many as we usually do from the 10 pounds that I plant, but we dug close to three-quarters of a bushel of really nice-sized potatoes that will be good for baking. In all, we got about two bushels, and that will suffice for two people.

We have had several nice messes of green beans and a few to can and enough tomatoes for ourselves and a friend or two and lots of yellow crook-neck squash. I have enjoyed some fresh beets, and earlier we had a few peas and some nice broccoli.

And the corn did much better than I expected. Of course, it all comes in at once and you have to do something with it. I ate it for two meals a day and then we cut off some and froze it. The raccoons and groundhogs left it alone until we had pulled almost all of it. Then I went out one morning and what little was left had been pulled over and eaten. I got my corn knife out and cut it all down, and hauled it to the mulch pile. But, it was good while it lasted.

I trust you have had a good summer and all the early rain didn’t cause you any major problems. I thought the rain was a bit much until we got into the sweltering heat. Now I will try to stop complaining about the weather and plant myself on the lawn mower and fight the green weeds that pass for grass in our yard. Until next time, enjoy this beautiful place that we are blessed to call home.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 146 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.