NATURE’S TURN: Creation’s winter grandeur
December 3 – 16, 2018
Mount Washington — Mount Everett rises above its foothills like the great curve of a celestial body lifting its weighty mass above the horizon. It is a radiant, dynamic being. Warm-blooded mammals and birds move vigorously, hunting and browsing the snow-painted earth, rock, forests and ponds that, observed from a distance, seem a lifeless tableau. The curve of Mount Everett defines the South Taconic Range when seen looking west from Great Barrington and from hill and valley vantage points in surrounding towns. At 2,624 feet, it is the highest point on the Taconic Plateau.
Record low temperatures around Thanksgiving, when thermometer readings dipped below zero at high elevation locations, were followed by a steady sifting of snow that fell during the last days of November. I filled and re-filled my bird feeder. Snow reliefs and sculptural designs built up on the architecture of natural forms and human-made structures. For delight, add to winter at its most visually captivating the flurry of a diversity of birds winging in for high energy food at the most modest, or lavish, of bird feeders.
At my place, as of this writing, downy woodpecker, nuthatch, chickadee and tufted titmouse – sometimes half a dozen birds at once – crowd on a 4 ½-by-4 ½-inch cake of suet, grain, dried fruit and nuts. They peck, remove bits, pause to swallow, then drill again while onlookers awaiting a turn grasp onto the wire hanger or icicles above and around the feeder basket. When the cake is diminished, the titmice and nuthatches lash out with their beaks, scaring the others off. In the illustration, see a tufted titmouse and chickadees feeding together harmoniously on a full cake.
The Northeast Organic Farming Association urges grassroots support for the Massachusetts Healthy Soils Act: Call your Mass. state representative this week to request that s/he contact the House Ways and Means Committee to “push for a vote on H.3713, the Healthy Soils Act.”
To find your legislators: https://openstates.org/. In Berkshire County, contact William ‘Smitty’ Pignatelli, D-Lenox https://malegislature.gov/People/Profile/wsp1 For more information go to https://www.nofamass.org/content/take-action
Opportunities to Participate
Feederwatch subscriptions – https://mailchi.mp/cornell/feederwatch-enews-give-the-gift-of-feederwatch-1313653?e=12cb6fc395
Holiday markets – https://berkshiregrown.org/holiday-farmers-markets-dec-15-16/
December 15 early bird deadline for Northeast Organic Farming Winter Conference – https://www.nofamass.org/events/wc