Tag Archives: nature

Reader’s Choice ’12: Moon Walk

Anne Burkholder and her husband Matt are the only two Dartmouth graduates who live in rural Nebraska. 

Anne Burkholder

Anne Burkholder

Anne and Matt have worked his family’s diversified farm for 15 years. He farms 5,000 acres of alfalfa and she is “boss lady” of a 3,000-head feedyard.

This past June, the Burkholder’s farm was featured in BusinessWeek, and earlier this month, Anne appeared on RFD-TV. Her blog Feedyard Foodie is a steady, intelligent voice in today’s turbulent conversations about animal welfare and ranching.

Anne carefully selected her Reader’s Choice post. “I love it because being alone with God and nature is my favorite thing to do,” she said. “It soothes the soul—centers your perspective—and lends itself to feelings of hope and promise.”

Oh, how I long for that this Christmas. Anne’s Reader’s Choice is: 

Moon Walk

in the field

click to read Moon Walk

readers choice


Filed under faith, family & friends, food & farm, life

Of Starlings and Barn Swallows

“You’re not an ornithologist,” said my husband.

barn swallow

barn swallow child

Got that right.

Thanks to Roy, a reader in Columbia, Missouri, we discovered the starlings featured in yesterday’s post are actually a fine family of barn swallows.

Roy was kind enough to include a link to photos that helped us identify the nest and the birds. Mother-Daughter Press & Gay Bumgarner Images might as well have shot the pictures at my house.

Barn swallow child doesn’t have quite the same je nais se quoi as starling child.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve had to eat crow on the blog, nor will it be the last. But this is the first time I’ve had to do so over an ornithological misnomer.

“The point is that the bird kept jumping out of the nest,” said my husband.

Yes, dear. Reminds me of a certain blogger we know.

Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good;
haste makes mistakes. Proverbs 19:2 NLT

Little Bird by the Annie Lennox: I’ve just got to put these wings to test.

Who’s next to share an experience of eating crow?

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Filed under blogging, humor

There’s Always One

Our home is becoming a wildlife sanctuary.

My husband and son rescued this little bunny from our window well and set him free to rejoin his family. I’d post video of the rabbit rodeo, but I’d like to stay married.

rabbit baby

baby bunny

Two toads have taken up permanent residence in the window well turned terrarium. Our eyes sift through the sand to detect their camouflaged bodies.

The robins in our holly tree who survived the tornado have long since gone. Another resourceful robin laid eggs in a coil of electrical wire tucked under our deck. She’s fearlessly raising her brood to fledging status this week.

Some starlings constructed a muddy nest under the deck, too.

This past Tuesday morning, I let the dog out to roam in the backyard. As we ate breakfast inside, we heard her urgent barking.

“She wants to come in already?”

“I’ll do it! I’ll do it!” said my son.

“Okay, just make sure you lock up after you let her in.”

He scurried downstairs to open the door.

“No, Ella! No!”

My skinny seven-year-old lugged our overweight dog into the house.

“Ella was trying to bite the baby bird!” he said.

A starling chick had fallen from the nest. His four brothers and sisters peeked out of their dirt clod cone of a home.

“Don’t touch it!” I said. The tiny bird lie on his back struggling to breathe. Gingerly, I flipped him over. He waddled a few steps.

“Let’s call your dad and figure out what to do,” I said.

My husband was in a meeting, unavailable to take our call. So I did what any modern woman on the prairie does. I Googled it.

perched on stacked garden benches


The Miami Science Museum website gave us instructions:

“Don’t worry about ‘smelling like a human.’ Actually, most birds have a very poor sense of smell and won’t be able to tell that you helped their baby… If you can find the nest, then put the baby bird into it.”

We stacked benches and climbed up.

“Spot me, will ya?”

I carefully lifted the chick up to the nest. He disappeared down into the funnel. He was a goner for sure.

By evening, he’d fallen out again. We stacked the benches, climbed up, placed him with his siblings. Only this time he didn’t disappear.

This time he turned around and perched on the rim of the dirt cone.

“Go back in,” I said and nudged him. He refused to move, stretching his neck out between my fingers.

baby starling at nest edge

on the edge

The next morning, he’d hopped out again. And again in the afternoon.

This bird is not old enough to leave the nest. He’s just beginning to open his eyes. There are downy tufts on his head. He’d be defenseless on the ground if a snake or cat came prowling. My husband thinks he’s trying to find relief from the triple digit heat.

Soon he’ll fly like the adult starlings who circle and complain as we return their offspring to the nest. We’ll save him from danger for as long as we can. But he’s tasted the cool, sweetness of freedom.

Wednesday evening we sat by the window under the deck, quietly watching avian parents fly back and forth. The robins landed and stayed to feed their chicks. But the starlings swooped in and hovered beside the mud nest, their apricot chests suspended by strong, flapping wings.

baby starling

starling child

If they landed, it was like angels touching earth, too quick for us to see.

Swan-diving starling child, do you show your siblings how to fall into this air?

There’s always one who leads.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20-21 ESV

I would give my life to find it. I would give it all. Catch me if I fall. 

Who do you lead? Who do you follow?

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Filed under life