Gigantic Rhubarb

A few days ago a neighbor asked if I wanted some rhubarb from her garden. I enthusiastically said “Yes”!

She put the rhubarb on my porch and let me know it was there. I was astounded by how big the leaves were.

I put a nickel on one of the leaves to give you a better sense of its size.

I wonder if the leaves are this big because the air quality in the city is so much better since there is decreased traffic due to the stay at home orders. Everything in nature seems more healthy and more beautiful this year.

The Absence of Plastic

Towards the end of January in 2017, I cleaned out the three birdhouses in my back yard. They all had nests inside but I noticed that none of them had been used; one was barely begun and another I judged to be abnormal.

the 3 bird nests

The one I considered abnormal had practically filled the whole bird house. The top of it was flat and solid, there was no place for a mother bird to lay or sit on her eggs. Like the others, that birdhouse was made of many natural materials, but it also included many small pieces of plastic.

I ended up taking that bird nest apart. I soon discovered it contained a tremendous amount of plastic. Below you will see a photo of the plastic that I found in that one nest.

I wondered if the bird’s brain had been poisoned by the plastic and if that was why the top was flat. My heart ached when I thought about the many ways humans contaminate nature.

This experience occurred soon after we started working on restoring the Greenbelt property that is adjacent to my house. The land at that time was full of trash, big and small, and there were a lot of small plastic pieces in and on top of the ground.

It was near nesting season, so we decided to invite the Bala Kendra group from our Amma satsang to do a Greenbelt litter pickup work party. It was amazing to see how much trash the children gathered in an hour’s time.

In the years since then, numerous truckloads of garbage have been removed from the property.

This year, when I cleaned out the bird houses in preparation for nesting season, I found that two of the houses were practically empty. Only one contained a complete nest. It didn’t look like it had been used, but at least it had been built normally; there was a cup indentation on top, a place for the mother bird to lay her eggs.

I didn’t take apart the nest this time but the absence of plastic was very noticeable. I only saw one small piece on the outside of the nest and another small piece at the bottom of the cup.

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You can read the full story about my 2017 experience in a three part series. It includes many more photos, some of them microscopic. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Beauty During the Pandemic

I have essentially remained in my house since the stay at home order went into effect; but I have gone to the grocery store occasionally and have also walked up and down my street or around the block from time to time.

Yesterday, I took photos of some of the plants I’ve been seeing on those short ventures.

Click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

FOTD