|A frilly peony is a delight to behold.|
We hadn't heard the distinctive call of our guinea, Martha, for weeks. Or seen her either, for that matter. There were two possibilities. She could be dead. Yes, amid all the happy chirping in the garden, life can be brutal and can end quickly due a variety of factors such as natural or domestic predators. Apparently this is what happened to her short-lived mate, Brownie. One day he was palling around with Martha and the next he was gone. Frankly, it's remarkable that Martha has lived as long as she has.
Or she could be sitting on a nest of eggs. Guineas have a strong instinct to brood. Several times a year Martha lays her daily egg in a secluded spot and when there are twenty or so, she settles in for a four week stint of fruitless waiting (you can read about prior times here or here).
|Look closely, by Martha's right leg--that ball of fluff is her baby.|
And then one morning we heard it. The distinctive guinea call. Martha was alive! And what's more, she was a mama! One determined, tiny keet followed her through grass nearly as tall as itself.
|Martha's pride and joy. Wish you could see its bright orange legs.|
|"Stay away from my baby!"|
|Allium with their lollipop flower heads add interest to the garden.|
I'm sure you join me is wishing Martha the best of luck in raising this young one. It won't be easy. The success rate is not high. Martha, however, has demonstrated some topnotch survival skills. I hope she has a good student.
|This is Martha's abandoned nest under the juniper shrub. Over twenty eggs and only one hatched. Most were probably not fertile.|