Wild Things in May

listening for baby animals (1)

hatchlings (2)

bee swarm (3)

strawberry picking (4)

wildflower field (5)

prairie rose (6)

little flower killer moon sketch (7)

Spring Storm in Kansas (8)

fairy umbrellas (9)

turtle watching (10)

fairy soup (11)

Sweet little ruby prairie jewels wild strawberries (12)

Images from top to bottom:
1. “Listening for baby animals”
2. Five little, hungry beaks
3. Sea of bees
4. Early morning strawberry picking
5. Prairieland
6. Prairie rose
7. Sketching May’s full moon
8. Spooky beautiful pre-storm sky
9. Fairy umbrellas
10. Turtle watching
11. Fairy soup
12. Wild strawberry foraging

Strawberries came early as expected this year. I took the girls to a local farm to pick a bucket early in the month and we had a feast right on the farm just before 9am. It felt a bit strange eating strawberries so early in the year, but they tasted just as ripe as June strawberries nonetheless.

May brought a few surprises. A couple weeks ago I found wild strawberries for the first time walking through a prairie. I laughed when I first spotted them. Could it be? Little ruby gems of delightfully sweet goodness at my foot? There were patches and patches of them hidden by fast growing tall grass and wildflowers that are already to my knees.

Another surprise came in the form of an army of unexpected guests when, one afternoon, my older and I were visited by a swarm of honey bees. We stared at them, mesmerized by their number as hundreds of them formed a cluster in our backyard tree overhead. I called a beekeeper who promptly arrived and we watched as he hypnotized them into a cardboard box that was then strapped to his truck. Then they were off to the honey farm. I’ll never forget the way they hummed and buzzed wildly, filling up the blue sky overhead. He called later that night to say he weighed the bees and they were just over 5lbs, a good size swarm. He also said that they were an extraordinary bright yellow and asked if he could name them after my daughter.

The last surprise wasn’t really a surprise– I knew it was coming. It was the morning I looked up at the house finch nest and it was quiet, it was empty. The nest had been a home to a pair of adult house finches and their clutch of five for several weeks. They’ve been our beloved house guests and we’ve enjoyed watching the faintest blue eggs hatch into hatchlings and grow into fledglings. A couple days before, I watched one of the fledglings jump from its nest and fly with ease. His father praised him, and encouraged his siblings to do the same in a nearby tree. I read that House finches may use abandoned nests of other birds, so maybe my Lord and Lady Carmine will return for their next clutch as they will parent several this season.

In last month’s Wild Things post, I started listing gratitudes from the past month and I’ve decided to continue this habit into this month and the ones following.

The swarm of honey bees that visited us one afternoon
Foraging wild strawberries for the first time
The smell of a prairie rose
Running my fingers along the tips of tall grass in an open field
Spring thunderstorms (and sump pumps)
The ever-evolving Kansas skyscape
The bittersweet feeling of finding a nest once filled with life, empty. Life goes on.


Yesterdays as amateur naturalists. For new adventures follow along on Instagram.


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