Letter: A changing cast of characters in the Back 40

Posted 7/15/22

To the editor:

It’s always a pleasure to have people come to take a “stroll” through the “Back 40.” Not only do I delight in taking them through beautiful paths but I …

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Letter: A changing cast of characters in the Back 40

Posted

To the editor:

It’s always a pleasure to have people come to take a “stroll” through the “Back 40.” Not only do I delight in taking them through beautiful paths but I almost always learn something new. HOWEVER, in all the years I have never learned anything as unique and unexpected as I did last Saturday. My friend plucked a small, striped snail from a plant on the edge of the path, laid it on her open palm and began to hum. She hummed and hummed and slowly parts of the snail began to emerge. She hummed more and ocular tentacles began to emerge with little black eyes on the ends. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw one tentacle growing longer than the other. Never have I read of this happening; have you? Now I will have something amazing to show visitors.

I can tell that the Orioles have almost all gone south as the little plate holding grape jelly doesn’t get emptied in two days. When their babies had fledged and were hanging around making pitiful noises, asking to be fed, about a pound a day was eaten. Once in a while I see a flash of yellow or orange, the Baltimore or the slender, very dark Orchard (my favorite).

The last of the suet cakes has been eaten by the Catbirds and English Sparrows and I will not buy more until October when the woodpeckers, (we have four kinds) for whom the cakes were really meant, come looking.

As the raccoon broke the glass in the big feeder we are not adding any seed until it is mended and the thief caught. We will accomplish this with a special trap to be brought back from Maine where hunters know how to get rid of them.

So that’s it for birdlife. Of course the Hummers will continue to be fed and their feeders meticulously cleaned with white vinegar and hot water as mold is fatal to them. 

We will prepare to be hot and perhaps also a bit moldy. I do hope the beach is within reach of some of you.

Sidney Tynan

Little Compton

 

 

 

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.