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Coping With the Heat

So, how did you cope with the heat and high humidity this past week? When it gets hot, we leave our un-air conditioned house, pack up the dog, and head for the cottage. Our cottage is the travel trailer, parked at the end of the sundeck. It has air conditioning. It also has a microwave, stereo, a good sized bathroom and The Young and the Restless at the click of a remote. By 8:00 a.m., I have most of my outdoor work done, since the one attribute I didn’t leave behind when we sold the farm, was arising early. Work for me begins at 4:00 a.m., and most of my necessary morning chores are all finished by 8:00 a.m., before the heat arrives. If I need to drive into Picton, the post office is open early, the gas station, Home Hardware, the ATM at the bank, Picton Farm Supply if I need bird feed, eggs or something for the dog. Best of all, the grocery store is open, and I can be in and out before Picton really gets busy. Traffic gets a little heavy by 9:00 a.m., some cars filled with half crazed drivers, their eyes glazed over as they head for the beach. The time of the year when out of towners stop dead for an amber light at the top of the Town Hill. By 9:00 a.m., I am happy to be heading for home. Except for Monday evening guided hikes, and the occasional presentation here and there, this year I am taking July off. You may find me many days under our maple tree, beside the water garden, often with a glass of sparkling County cider in one hand and the latest issue of County Magazine in the other. This month so far, has been rough on the birds that visit our garden. Bird baths are refilled every two hours and one has been fitted with a drip system that attracts an unending stream of birds daily, despite it being only a few feet from where I sit. The accompanying photos of 2 stressed out red-winged blackbirds clearly illustrates when birds exceed their tolerance level, panting heavily with wings spread out. Looks a little like me at about noon, until I arrive at the cottage. I try not to think about workers I see these days re-shingling a roof or working with searing hot asphalt. That should be made illegal.

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About the Author: Terry Sprague became interested in nature at an early age. "Growing up on the family farm at Big Island, 12 miles north of Picton, on the shore of the beautiful Bay of Quinte, I was always interested in the natural world around me. During my elementary school days at the small one-room school I attended on Big Island, I received considerable encouragement from the late Marie Foster, my teacher in Grades 6 through 8. Her home was a short distance from where I lived and through the years she was responsible for developing my interest in birds. The late Phil Dodds, a former editor with the Picton Gazette, also a great nature enthusiast, suggested I undertake a nature column - a column I have submitted weekly since 1965. The column has since expanded to the Napanee Beaver and the Tweed News. Life has been good, and through the years I have enjoyed working with such nature related agencies as Glenora Fisheries Research as a resource technician, Sandbanks Provincial Park as a park interpreter and Quinte Conservation as a naturalist and outdoor events coordinator. As a nature interpreter, currently working from my home office, I now create and lead numerous interpretive events in the area and offer indoor audio/visual presentations to interested groups. Could one who is interested in nature have enjoyed a more exhilarating period in the work force?" Terry's website is

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  1. Sedona says:

    Hi there: Tks for sharing a bit of the county. I so enjoy visiting but must say Picton is becoming like a small city (IM from Metro Toronto). Love the Waupoos area. Anyway, those poor birds. My goodness, hope they dont die in the heat. Blackbirds are pretty.

  2. Borys Holowacz says:

    Too hot for me. I wish Spring lasted 12 months of the year. I wonder if the Red-Wings in your photograph would agree.

  3. Louisa says:

    You’d think birds would go into the shade or onto the water rather than out in the direct sun. Last evening as we sat in the chill of an air conditioned restaurant, I was watching three gulls on the roof edge of an adjacent building, with the beaks open. A crow was up on a light pole doing the same. I almost couldn’t eat seeing them like that. (Almost. it was Chinese food, so how could I not?!)

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