Mary Lucille Hays

Mary Lucille Hays

Letter from Birdland | Chicks getting used to their new home

Birdland is damp and overcast. The snow has melted, and the leaves lie sodden on the ground.

Last week, before the snow, Michael had roto-tilled the earthen floor of the chicken coop, and scooped bushels of compost into the bins to age until spring, when we'll toss it into the garden.

Letter from Birdland | Don't let time change get your goat

Whenever we change the clocks, forward or back, I can count on getting an email with a haiku from my friend Mickey from California.

Letter from Birdland | Our animal family has grown larger

In my defense, the computerized display said I had two days left. I had just checked last night; nothing seemed to be happening.

Letter from Birdland | Signs of fall are all around us

In Birdland, we have turned the corner of the year into autumn, and the corn that surrounded our house with a comforting shelter all summer is gone. We can see all the way to the back fence row, and in the evenings, herds of deer graze in the gloaming.

Letter from Birdland | The simple pleasures of fall

In Birdland, they have started harvesting the beans. I came home last week to shaved fields next to the grass waterway, and the combine had already crossed the road to crawl through my Uncle David's fields. The sun was setting, and the haze of dust hung golden in the western sky.

Letter from Birdland | A mix of fall and summer

We have turned the corner from a long summer into a slow slide toward autumn into winter, and I have that lonesome feeling I get with endings.

Letter from Birdland | Flowers are therapeutic

In Birdland, we are under a heat advisory, and I feel limp with humidity.

Walking to work, I watched a gigantic dragonfly capture a smaller insect. It flew weaving around about 10 feet in the air, homing in on its quarry, and then darted up to hover high above after the capture.

Letter from Birdland | A canine conversation in the forest

"The Philosopher of the North Woods"

A one-act play

Characters: Mary and Michael, a pair of wilderness backpackers; Madame Ursula La Osa: a black Lab; Sir Cullen P. Dingleberry, esquire, a duck-tolling retriever

Letter from Birdland | A plunge into the surf, while the critters revel

When I left you last time, Michael and I were waiting on the beach on Half Moon Bay, Calif., for our boys, Ellis and Chandra, to come back with a surfboard.

Michael was still bodysurfing, but I had retired to a log on the beach to keep watch in case he got into trouble out there. I kept my eyes on him, wondering what I would actually do if he needed help.

Letter from Birdland | A summer to remember

It's high summer in Birdland, and this summer holds the weather of my dreams. The heat is calmed by the soaking rains that foster my amnesia of the bitter drought just a week or so ago, when I despaired of weeding in the concrete pavement my garden had become.