In the dim light of dawn I unfold my portable stool,pour a cup of coffee from my Thermos and fish the binoculars out of my pocket. I'm sitting near my pond this early spring morning not knowing what I'll see. Soon I catch movement to my left. A pair of shadowy gray sandhill cranes move slowly though the tall dead grass, their camouflage near perfect. And then a flock of geese flies over in a long jagged V, so low I can hear the swishing of their wings mixed with their honking.
A few minutes later I hear a wild turkey gobble to the north, and moments after I hear him I see the big bird lumbering toward the pond. The big tom is not alone, two others trail behind him and behind them I spot two hens. A five-some out on an early morning walk.
It's turkey mating season. All three gobblers stop a hundred yards or so from me (they don't see me) and go into full display--fanning their big tails like we sometimes see in the Thanksgiving paintings of turkeys. A sight to behold. Except the two hens seemed not impressed at all. They search for something to eat in the wet soil around the pond, while their boy friends? strut their stuff with no reaction.
One of the cranes lets loose with its call and the sound disrupts the gobblers who seem compelled to answer the crane with loud "Gobble, Gobble, Gobbles."
I am so caught up with my watching and listening, I have no time to drink coffee.
The Old Timer Says: "Remember, Tuesday is Earth Day (April 22). This is the only earth we have, we gotta take care of it."
April 23, 6:00 p.m. RINGLINGVILLE USA, Beloit Historical Society, Beloit, WI.
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
April 24, 7:00 p.m. Black Earth Public Library. The Lighter Side of Country Living.
April 29, 11:30 a.m Governor Dodge Convention Center, Platteville, WI. (University of Wisconsin-Platteville). Luncheon. The Lighter Side of Country Living. Call 888-281.9472 for further information.