Getting ready for the honkers and dabblers!

These are the Meadow Mowing days in Oysterville.  Every year about this time, the meadows in between the most easterly houses and the bay are shorn of their yearly growth.  Everything goes!  The tall grasses which have turned golden in the summer sun.  The little alder trees and gorse trying, as always, to gain a foothold and begin the process of reforestation.  The Queen Anne’s Lace and giant Hogweed and who know what all else — mowed down for another season.

Lest you think it is only that we mow the meadows for our view — there are many other reasons, too.  An obvious one, of course, is the fire danger that they would pose after a few years of neglect.  But, more importantly to many of us is the habitat they provide, once the fall and winter rains come.  There are times when the entire waterfront meadow looks like one big lake — a fact not lost on the dabbling ducks and flocks of geese who come and “settle in” each day, sure of finding the best morsels those brackish ponds and puddles can provide.

I know that this will be the first time I will truly miss the chickens.  They loved to cluck and fuss at all the activity on the other side of our east fence.  I wonder if any of the old-timers among the waterfowl will notice that our domestic fowl are gone.  And should you wonder if it’s really the same geese and ducks who return year after year — it’s probably been too long since you’ve read a good book about migratory birds.  There are dozens (of books, that is) and this is a great time of year to get started on a couple while you’re waiting for the honkers and dabblers to arrive right here on the Peninsula!

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