Grit Blogs > Waking up in Kansas

Knocked Out by What I See

By K.C. Compton


Tags: farm, moths, blackberries, guinea, dogs, CP,

One of the reasons I was eager to move back to the farm is that I know from experience the opportunities for daily wonder that abound out here. Not that they don’t abound in town but, living in the city, I’m not as tempted to walk out the front door and pay close attention to what I see. Part of my sacred pledge to the life force of this world is that I will notice, and I find that easier when nature is so close at hand.

Here on the farm, wonder is only a walk away – and sometimes not a far walk at that. This morning, for instance, I took the dogs and went to pick some blackberries for breakfast, with a quick cruise over to the peach trees just in case. The peaches were ripe and the berries perfect – even CP, my new pup, agrees.

He’s taken to eating a few berries (green, not ripe, thank you) off the lower branches while I’m picking. Last week, I heard something crunching down the row from me and was afraid to look because I just knew the dogs had been hunting and some little creature had bitten the dust. Instead, I laughed out loud when I saw CP’s head sticking out from under the blackberry bush, merrily chomping on unripe blackberries. He had no idea dogs just don’t do such things.

Polyphemus mothWe walked back to my place and as I looked down I spied this beautiful moth, displayed as if pinned in an exhibition. I thought he was dead, but discovered otherwise when I reached down to pick him up. I don’t believe he was long for this world because he barely moved – but it was enough to startle me into dropping him (or her. I don’t know how to determine the sex of moths – and am not hugely motivated to discover the secret).

I ran back in the house to grab my cell phone and take a photo (which still sounds nonsensical to me, even though I do it routinely these days) and was thrilled that the moth was still in place, having the good taste to die beautifully right where I could get a good shot of it.

I wasn’t so lucky for my second wonder of the day. I just couldn’t get the phone/camera out in time, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

As I drove down the road that runs beside the farm, I saw ahead what were obviously a mother bird and her babies, crossing the road. Looking more closely, I recognized the feathered-football outlines that identified the bird as a guinea hen and her half-grown offspring. Bringing up the rear was not the daddy guinea, as I first imagined, but a wild turkey hen, shepherding the straggler keets and urging them to keep up, keep up.

They were minding right smartly, providing a tender tableau of mom and her BFF – a best friend forever, even if from a slightly different species – marching the kids off to relieve the field of a few of its grasshoppers.

I wonder if her accent was funny to them.