Didn’t summer just get started?


These poignant lyrics to a sweet melody — “Believe me if all those endearing young charms were to fade by tomorrow and melt in my arms …” — are from a long ago love song Thomas Moore wrote in 1801.

Why does the sentimental ballad play in my mind this bright August morning? Because I remember especially the closing lines: “… As the sunflower turns on her God as he sets the same look which she turned when he rose.”

And because, as I round the curve on Heck Road in front of Jerry Hard’s farm and reach the crest of the hill, I am almost blinded by the spectacle spread before me.

There, on the right, almost as far as the eye can see, with every “face” turned toward the sun, is a blanket of sunflowers that stretches south across 24 acres.

Unless you see it for yourself, you can’t imagine the dazzling beauty. And you wish you could be there, first at sunrise and then at sunset, when every face will turn the other direction.

Jerry explains that Robert Black, owner of Rogers Mill, planted the crop, which when harvested, will be bird seed at the mill.

Should you be curious about the rest of the love song — long, long ago, courtship and love songs were romantic — the suitor does not lament his beloved’s fading beauty, but vows, “Thou will still be adored as this moment thou art, let thy loveliness fade as it will. And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart will entwine itself verdantly still.”

* * *

In early summer, robins were everywhere as they busied themselves nesting and raising their young, but mornings are now singularly silent with only an occasional chirp and that one sounding petulant.

The noisiest songsters at this time of year here are the house wrens that are fledging their second hatch, and there is a great deal of scolding when I get too close to the nest boxes.

But I’m having a hard time reconciling myself to the fact that it is really time to hear locusts droning, that it is really time to hear crickets after dark. Surely summer can’t be on the waning end of the season — didn’t it just begin, following spring’s washout?

Also, I notice the swallow population has changed, as the little ones have found their wings and are perhaps getting some of their own meals so the hordes of parents are not swooping through the barn quite as much.

(Which is in some way a good thing as they tend to “decorate” as they fly. I keep a mop in the barn, and lay plastic on the floor beneath their roosts, as the plastic is a lot easier to clean than the concrete!).

* * *

The morning of July 25 was a special one. Routinely, Winnie and I enjoy looking out the back barn door while Apache and Toby eat their breakfast before being turned out. On that morning, as we stood at the gate, Winnie’s ears pricked at a movement beneath the volunteer apple trees. The friend who mows the pasture doesn’t mow beneath them so the grass is quite high there and at first I couldn’t see whatever was moving.

Suddenly, two pairs of big ears appeared above the top of the grass — and twin fawns emerged for just a few minutes before disappearing again except for their twitching white tails. Their mother had obviously told them to stay put and be quiet while he browsed elsewhere, and they were doing just that.

By late morning, they were still there and I worried something had happened to their mother. I even called our road department to see if there had been a “kill” and was reassured when none had been reported. By afternoon, I couldn’t stand it any longer and walked back to about halfway — and out they jumped, leaping to the far corner of the pasture where I could no longer see them. I knew they were all right, though, and quit worrying.

* * *

Doug and Beth Wiley have to be about the proudest parents in Columbiana County. Cooper, their youngest son, was named 4-H King at the Columbiana County Fair, continuing the legacy left by his older brother, Andrew, and his sister, Caitlin. All three children have chosen agricultural-related occupations, and all have chosen The Ohio State University — both parents’ alma mater — for their higher education.

* * *

Cordless telephones allow us to carry on conversations without being tethered to one spot, and the other evening, just at dusk, I was on the phone while looking out the front door. I could hardly believe my eyes — it happened so quickly — as Reynard the Fox appeared in hot pursuit of either another fox (I couldn’t see clearly) or a rabbit. His brush streamed out behind him and I almost expected to see red-coated huntsmen and hounds following.

* * *

An interesting letter from Olive Marie Utt of Mannington, W.Va., agrees with and elaborates on my column about how in the “gold old days” we automatically saved money, stayed out of debt and “made do” as best we could.

She volunteers at a food pantry in her small town, and observes that many come just because it is available — not because they are desperate.

“Yet some of the younger ones come with cell phones in their pockets, or standing outside the door until it opens, smoking cigarettes or drinking a large soft drink they’d purchased on the way there.”

There are many contradictions in today’s world, aren’t there?

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