Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Farmer's Market and the Dead Bird

On Saturday we finally went to the Rincon Valley Farmer's Market. Overhead the sky threatened a storm, but for the moment the day was still dry. We drove to Old Spanish Trail and came on the old barn where the farmer's market is held around a corner. A canvas tarp was strung over the outdoor vendors, protecting them from sun and rain. We walked among the tables with fruits and vegetables displayed in bins and boxes. At the first table we came to a man was selling homemade jams and apple butter. One particular flavor caught our eye: Hot Habanero Apple Butter. It was a combination we couldn't resist. For $5 the 18 ounce jar was ours! We soon added Sizzling Sun Relish to our cache, while we sampled numerous kinds of salsa, including some served on fried plantains!

A stroll inside the barn revealed stalls that had been converted to miniature stores where artists, crafters and vendors displayed their wares. At the entrance a local musician accompanied himself on a folk guitar. His voice wafted gently over the people who wandered in and out of the stalls.

Our first stop was at Charlie and Paul's where they had their respective art displayed. Charlie makes 3 dimensional wall art depicting adobe houses and churches. He incorporates found desert wood into his pieces, along with styrofoam covered in stucco and miniature ladders that are seen on many pueblo dwellings. Paul's creations are "metal landscaping" which means wind chimes, kinetic art and metal sculptures, like suns and lizards to hang on your house or patio. These guys were very friendly talking about their art and giving us the lowdown on the farmers market, as this was our first time ever visiting one. We wandered further down the center hall and passed out the other side where more vendors had their wares displayed on tables. We saw everything from jewelry and dog food to cloth dolls and cement benches for sale. There was still a half hour before closing but many people started packing up to leave early when a thunder storm rolled in. We jumped in our vehicle and headed to town to do errands as the rain started to fall.

We had some violent and heavy thunderstorms while we were out and about, all part of the Summer Monsoon. On the way home we had to drive over partially flooded roads, but nothing too bad. When we got home I went to fill my bird feeders. To my shock and horror I found a little house finch dead in my bird feeder! From what I observed the best I could tell was that 2 birds must have tried to put their heads into the opening to get seed at the same time. One bird got his head squeezed so tightly against the side that it snapped his little neck, for the bird's head was inside the feeder and wrapped around the edge. Since it had rained so hard, the poor bird's body was soaking wet outside the feeder but its dead little head was dry as a bone.

I had to fish the dead body out through the exterior cage that keeps the bigger birds and squirrels from getting to the seed. The wet feathers parted revealing translucent pink skin with gray organs beneath. I sent the corpse flying into the wash to be reclaimed by the earth. Then, when I took off the top to refill the feeder, I dumped the little bit of remaining seed on the ground, since wet sunflower chips can mold. A clump of seed fell to the ground that looked like it had blood pooled with it. Yuck! The only other scenario I can imagine is that the storm came on so fast and hard that the winds blew the bird sideways and broke his neck. I know that this is just life and part of nature also, but I couldn't help feel sad for the poor thing. After refilling my feeder I turned to leave and there was another dead finch on the ground next to the house. He soon joined his brother in the wash. That must have been quite a storm, and we are not through with them yet.

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