As I gaze out the window on this cloudy, chilly-for-August, rainy day I see that my first topic in nature is the new bunch of rain clouds and the drops they have dripped.

I must say that this certainly is not a normal August as far as the weather goes. Things are green and growing and not the usual brown and crunchy ground we normally have. Remember in past years the large cracks in the ground in which one could lose a leg?

There are no yard cracks this year.

I just returned from a visit to see my mother who happens to live west of Paola. The huge torrent of rain that took place Sunday afternoon left the gravel roads a mess. There were little rivulets, bigger creeks and cricks, and streams rolling down the sides of the roads.

Along one roadside there were areas where small-scale waterfalls of run-off water cascaded down to spill into the overflowing creeks coursing onto the road.

A real mud mess!

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No sooner had I sent my last column, probably not even to the printers’ ink, the “little yellow flowers” that I love along the highways were mown to bits along with the others I mentioned. There one day… and then “POOF!” they were gone. The lawn mowers ate them.

You probably thought I was some Loony Tune character mentioning flowers that were not there. I am sorry. Perhaps they may appear again before the frost takes them away. They WERE pretty. Sigh.

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I hope you celebrated an important day recently. Aug. 17 was National Honey Bee Day. I think it is imperative that it be thought of as a day of wonderment and awe.

Honey bees are so important! Did you know that bees are a $20 billion value to U.S. crop production? The worker bee produces 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its life time? For every pound of honey, honey bees must tab over 2 million flowers?

The bad part is that honey bees received a real beating by insecticides, bad weather, diseases, and other adversaries this year.

Well, honey bees and other pollinators are really going to be in a world of hurt now.

President Trump and his Environmental Protection is planning on returning the insecticide sulfoxaflor, a highly toxic agent to all pollinators, and some birds, to the market.

How infuriating! I can not believe this!

Easing the regulations on any poison that we have used before and nearly bringing thousands to near extinction and creating havoc for the environment is downright foolish, stupid, ridiculous and ludicrous.

I guess some just don’t learn. We poisoned the earth back in the ’60s and ’70s, so why make the same mistake again?

What is truly unfortunate will be all those who have to watch them do it… watch the bees and butterflies and birds die; somewhat akin to the days of DDT, 1040, and cyanide poisoning. Good grief! Learn fromw previous mistakes!

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I was so thrilled to see some quail the other day. I was driving a country road and there they were. So cute! So small! Waiting patiently by the side of the road. I parked the car and watched them skittle around the gravel. One eventually took off. The others finally realized a car was near and took off in the same direction.

I have not heard nor seen any quail for years. We used to hear them calling when we first moved to our present house. Now, no quail are anywhere near.

I checked into the internet for some information on the subject, and several sites mentioned that the population of quail has been down since 2016. Predictions are better this year for the little birds.

If you are a hunter of quail, please call the newspaper office with your advice on this subject.

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I had a very reliable source tell me a bald eagle story that should make all bird lovers gasp in disbelief and wish they had witnessed the experience.

She was driving westward on 311th near the Wea Creek Bridge, just a tad bit south of Paola, near the hospital, when she saw a very large bird flying about 20 feet above the creek bed.

She knew it wasn’t a hawk because of the large wing span. She thought it might be a turkey vulture because they have been plentiful in the area.

As she drove closer to the bridge, she became almost face-to-face with a bald eagle. A bald eagle! Right in front of her!

The stunning bird pulled up a bit to get over the bridge and continue southward along the creek. Amazing!

I hope you are keeping your eyes to the sky, into the trees, along the roads in anticipation of catching a glimpse of nature in our county.

Beth Conner is a Miami County resident, teacher and outdoor enthusiast.

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