Crossing Paths With Guinea Fowls

While out driving in the country, we were surprised to see three guinea fowls scuttle across a roadside ditch and up into a yard. 

Also surprised by our unexpected presence, they let out a unique and rather loud bunch of screeches as they quickly headed in the opposite direction. 

Being a native of Africa, and previously only having seen them at a zoo, they were one of the last birds that we had expected to come upon. 

This raised my curiosity about why guinea fowls would be roaming around in a yard way out in such a rural area.  It turns out that raising guineas is becoming more common and has several benefits.  They roam free in yards and gardens and are persistent in their pursuit of pesky insects (including fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes), spiders and small animals such as rodents.  They are also excellent at sounding the alarm if predators such as snakes, foxes or raptors or intruders such as unexpected humans are about.  And, of course, they are a good source of eggs and meat. While raising guineas has many positive benefits, it’s also a good idea to keep in mind that these birds tend to be very noisy, are not very domesticated and can harass smaller birds and chickens which also live on the property.

“I’ll see you when the road decides it’s time for our paths to cross again.” ~Ben Maxfield

Changing Direction

This young raccoon came ambling out of a soybean field just as I was walking past on our country road.  Sensing my presence, it lay down and tried to hide in the grass. Realizing that it had been spotted, it quickly turned and headed back for the cover of the soybeans.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”  ~Charles Darwin

Shades of Brown

Various shades of brown can be found in nature’s palette. These earthy hues provide a richness and warmth that can be soothing to the soul.

“Nature gives to every time and season unique beauty; from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it’s just a succession of changes so soft and comfortable that we hardly notice the progress.” ~ Charles Dickens

Roadside Beauties

The ditches running beside the country roads are sprinkled with a variety of seasonal flowers. Though often overlooked, they add beauty, color and texture to the landscape for all to enjoy.

Fiery red Cardinal flowers …

… growing together with showy pink clusters of milkweed.

Ironweed’s deep purple blooms …

… surrounded by a variety of other late summer beauties.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ~Frances Hodgson Burnett

Burrowing Crayfish

During the daytime, crayfish are seldom seen out in the open, but recently after a good rain, I spotted one moving about in the shallow, clear water of a ditch.

In the spring, crayfish dig tunnels down many feet to reach ground water.  As they dig, they use their legs and mouth to bring mud pellets up to the surface and place them around the opening of their burrows.

They continue adding more pellets on top of each layer until a chimney is formed.  The mud dries hard and serves as a defense against predators.

Each crayfish’s chimney is unique.  Occasionally I like to stop and admire the architecture formed by these freshwater crustaceans, and can’t help but wonder if they were perhaps the inspiration for human adobe or mud homes.

As dry, hot weather arrives, the crayfish plug up the entrance to their burrows and move further down the tunnels where the environment is more to their liking.

“Architects cannot teach nature anything.”  ~ Mark Twain

Good for the soul

After spending a lot of time in the house, we got out last night and walked on our country road shortly before sunset.  The beauty of the clouds at sunset, the colorful meadow flowers and the full pink moon were refreshing.   I have to say the walk was good for my soul.

“Walking is good for the soul.”  ~Andy Rooney

Decorate my soul with spring.  Fill its depth with lovely things.”  ~Angie Weiland-Crosby

“Nature’s palette is calming to the soul.”  ~Unknown

“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.”  ~Washington Irving

“I was surrounded by life and beauty.  My soul was content, and my life felt full.”  ~Jennifer Pharr Davis

“A little bit of country is good for the soul.”  ~Unknown

“A daily dose of daydreaming heals the heart, soothes the soul, and strengthens the imagination.”  ~Richelle E. Goodrich

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”  ~Mary Davis

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God … because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  ~Anne Frank

Barred Owl

Several evenings while out walking, I could hear the loud, clear call of a barred owl off in the distance across a field.  This evening, I spotted a large bird soaring along from tree to tree on the road up ahead.  I walked quietly to the last spot where I saw it land, and was excited to see its large eyes looking back at me through the branches.

“But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees …”  ~Mary Oliver