Monday, June 27, 2011

A Reminder from the Robins

Call me out if I've mentioned this before, but I just love summer days that float lazily by like nothing of note has occurred yet are somehow jam-packed full of tomorrow's memories.  Well, I've just had a weekend of such perfection.  This means much to share!
(look close & you can see all 3 baby birds -- email me with ideas for their names!)

So let's get right to the robins!...  When I was about ten years old, maybe younger, I found a robin's egg in my aunt's yard.  It must have been a holiday because my family was visiting both my mom's relatives and my dad's.  I held that precious Tiffany-blue egg in the car on the half-hour drive to my grandparent's house on Queen Street in Minneapolis.  I'm sure my parents were both thinking quietly to themselves that an egg out of the nest was already doomed and had been since long before my rescue attempt.  But, they let me have my dream of hatching a baby robin.  Would I have gone out to find worms each day to feed them?  My dream didn't fly so far into the future, I think.

In any case, I was so excited to show Gramma Ruth my egg that when I leapt from the car toward her front door, I squished it in my hand.  The egg, that is, not the door. The gluey yellow mush dripped down my wrist, thinned by the tears that fell into it from my face.

Lately, my kids have found several empty eggs around the yard, and we've wondered where their former inhabitants were hiding.

I run the risk of redundancy with the multitude of other robin stories on the Web and in books, but I will never forget the heartbreak of believing I had killed a bird, still in its shell. So, when the Parkers and the Chungs came for lunch yesterday, and we marveled in unison over the tiny birdlings in a maple about a 10 inches from our deck, I felt a pang of relief and of joy.

The three little heads peeped away while Mama Robin flew back and forth with worms from our yard for her little ones.  Jen held one of her twins up close to take peek, Samantha had Foxwylde in her arm, and Brenner stood on a deck chair to get up high enough to see.  I sneaked inside to get my camera.
(baby on the right has fallen asleep while its sibling awaits its meal)

For me, this is the epitome of backyard farming; Nature taking care of itself without my interference.  The feeding of baby robins is such a mundane and common occurrence, yet the very basic-ness of it reminds me that everything we need is right here for all of us.  We need not force nature, need not force life, need not force our opinions or our will.  We can let it all happen.
(a view of New Pond Farm, and Brenner strolling with Kaia)

The remaining highlights of the weekend include a morning at New Pond Farm which resulted in an accidental meeting with my friend Amit, a stroll around the grounds, and finding another reliable dairy option for my family - on the honor system, no less.  This deserves a post of its own.  We had friends for lunch on Sunday, perhaps my favorite summer activity of all, and dined on salad plucked fresh from the garden. (My recipe for Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Apples on Flatbread, which was snapped up by our party before I could snap a photo, is available from the recipes tab, by the way.)  The weekend ended with my husband and I sharing some much-need quality time building a planting bed for sunflowers to border the chicken run.  Thanks hubby!
(me and Chad)

The weekend was full of accidental miracles and slow, warm memories-in-the-making.  Our fledgling robins may soon be ready to fly.  Wish them luck!

Today I wish to remember the calm joy of this weekend - to make use of this feeling when I need it, when things are not as peaceful as I'd like.

I am thankful for the babies born in my backyard, and for being privy to the magic of their first days.
 (Samantha, the twins, Jen, Howard, Chad & Edward, over for lunch-
several children not pictured)
 (buttercrunch lettuce, radishes, sugar snap peas & endive with mustard vinaigrette)
 (pan roasted corn, tomato & feta salad - recipe from Williams-Sonoma)
(potato salad - recipe from

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