The Skinny on the Thick of It

“You’ve got to try Facebook,” they said. “It’s fun. Everyone shares pictures.” I did and lots of people did, too. Then we shared ideas. Then we shared opinions as well as other people’s opinions like they were our own. We made “friends” and we lost actual friends because it is so very easy to click without weighing the pros and cons of clicks. I did all of the above, forgetting that social media is a really handy tool and should not be a pastime, even on cold, windy, rainy days like we weathered this week. Yesterday, I found myself getting depressed over the negative back-and-forth in one private group that, over time, has devolved (in my opinion) into an airing of us vs. them and why anywhere is better than here.

I left the group yesterday and went outside to talk with the geese under the clearing sky.

The geese are indeed talking. Nine wild Canada geese landed outside the fence yesterday. The eight geese on this side of the fence noticed. There was about 15 minutes of boisterous conversation. One goose from this side of the fence flew over to join the wild flock, which is exactly what we hope for. The Canada geese here are flighted and banded with identification so their movements can be studied once they become the wild birds that they are meant to be—IF they can shake loose the strong bonds of imprinting on people.

Buddies Tim and Scott

One Canada goose that will not be flying is Tim. He’s been spotlighted in The Quarry Farm newsletter. Last Saturday, he had visitors from his hometown of Parma, Ohio. Scott cared for Tim when the goose’s mate died. He made sure that his “Buddy” had feed and open water when the flock thinned in winter. According to another visitor to the Parma pond, Tim had been hit not once but twice by the same car. And survived. And thrived, thanks to Scott.

Scott and Margaret drove from Parma to say hello to Tim. Another banded Canada goose rode along, a very large bird that is fully flighted but very imprinted on people. Spring being what it is—a season of great twitterpation among all species—the new goose came out of his crate loaded for bear. He rushed Lucy the Donkey. The goose that keeps close to Lucy took umbrage. The new goose took off and visited the neighbors about 1/2-mile south for 24 hours before returning with his feathered tail between his legs. This goose, who is identified as “K”, is minding his Ps and Qs and treating “T”, “U”, “X” and the other geese (and Lucy) with more respect.

In addition to new tall goose tales, there are stories of new bird sightings this Spring. Deb Weston and David Smith have been monitoring migration. Deb added Eastern Whippoorwill to the Hotspot list of 140 avian species documented on these 50 acres. Last week she saw a Blue-headed Vireo and is trying to catch a photo of the cheeky bird. She did get a photo of a White-eyed Vireo (above).

David Seitz continues to trek from Columbus 2-3 times per week to battle invasive shrubs, adding more bush honeysuckle limbs and trunks to the shelter piles. Last month’s flooding floated one of the pillars—two substantial tree trunks that mark the start of the floodplain trail—into the 19th-century quarrying overflow channel. David’s mind-boggling engineering engineered it back into place. By the way, that same mind engineered the whole, ancient and water-logged tree trunk from the bottom of the quarry a few years ago.

Paul and Joyce Bonifas constructed the Cadillac of composting systems in the Red Fox Cabin garden area. Paul designed it and all of the Putnam County Master Gardeners and other volunteers will add to the bins. So will whichever one of us cleans the henhouse next.

Glandorf Cub Scouts were the first group to walk the trails this season. They heard owls, spotted shrews that had been displaced during the flood and watched a bald eagle follow Riley Creek. May, June and July days are packed with school field trips, summer camps, the Summer Tea Tasting in the Gardens (June 17) and the Spring Migration Bird Hike (May 20).

Two weeks ago, a carload of loud music and shouting teens stopped along the Northwest perimeter. My hackles went up, expecting a can to go flying over the fence. Instead, someone shouted, “It’s just beautiful!” This place, the lives that depend on it, the volunteers who care for it and them and the people who want to know more about it and them are why here is a place to be.