March 18 • 01:01 PM

Meanderin' through 'Memory Maples'

May 27, 2009
Sometimes it is fun to just kick back and reminisce. This dreary Friday morning is the time to indulge.

I have been looking through my 1974 scrapbook of columns I called "Memory Maple Meanderin's." Our farm was called Memory Maples in honor of the maple trees marching across our front lawn.

On April 25 I wrote, "The past two years we have had a pair of killdeer nesting on our garden spot. The first year Red fussed and fumed while she sat patiently on her nest fashioned from a horse's hoof print. (Red always worked up the garden with ol' Tom). It was time to get the garden worked up prior to planting. I told him it would probably take her two weeks to hatch but it was over three. It made our garden late but worth it, I thought. The babies are like baby chickens in that they are downy and ready to run when hatched.

"Again this year they investigated hoof prints. I watched them as they finally made their decision and carried small stones and weed stems to line the hoof print.

"I spent one afternoon this week with granddaughter Crissy and when I returned home I saw (and smelled) that Red had fertilized the garden with contents of the barnyard. I was certain that would be the end of the killdeer neighbors. I noticed a flurry of activity at the site of the nest and got out the binoculars. Mrs. Killdeer was pitching debris out of the nest at break-neck speed. All of a sudden she stopped. I knew now that she had been racing with Mother Nature as I witnessed her laying an egg. I went out and peeked in the nest. I saw one nice clean egg and one spattered with barnyard contents. I was surprised that she went back to the nest.

"There are now four eggs and I hope she hatches them, even though it may make the garden a little late."

Later, May 2, 1974. "Our killdeer neighbors are busy tending their nest. They take turns egg sitting. They make the change of guard as inconspicuous as possible. The one coming on duty gives a signal that he or she is arriving but does not land near the nest. The one on the nest sneaks away before flying off and the one coming on duty runs an erratic course to the nest."

May 9, 1974. " Whisper, my black Tennessee Walker mare, and I have taken a few short trips around the country. She is getting new shoes this week and we will be able to do more exploring and reporting."

And so it was 35 years ago. A lot of water under the bridge since then.

— Country Cousin

Castle Creek
03 - 18 - 19
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