February 7, 2011
Anna's hummingbird

Photo by Audrey Pavia

The sight of an Anna’s hummingbird feeding at my agave plant is one of the many joys of living on an urban farm.

The expression “stop and smell the roses” takes on new meaning when you live on an urban farm. There’s nothing like having a little farm in the backyard to cause you to stop and think about how lucky you are to be alive.

I have moments when I feel this way, thanks to my wonderful barnyard of animals. Here are just a few incidents that made me stop what I was doing, forget all my problems, and live completely in the moment:

  • Seeing 3-year-old Rio stop sniffing around the turnout for something to eat to watch two male house sparrows fighting. As the birds chirped and tussled in a nearby tree, Rio watched with wonder, his ears pricked forward, his eyes filled with questions.
  • Watching Nigel sprawl out on the driveway on a sunny morning after eating his breakfast, taking a sun bath. When it gets too hot for him, he slowly does the “sleepy dog walk” back under the patio, cools off and then goes out to sunbathe once again.
  • The color of Mr. Mabel’s bright red comb when he is backlit by the sun. The color is so stunning, I can’t stop looking at it.
  • A view of one of Milagro’s “sculptures,” made when he stacks his feed bucket and a construction cone on top of a stall mat he has rolled up like a burrito.
  • The voice of Mr. Molly crowing as a bright crescent moon and a shimmering Venus come up together over the hill behind my house, just half an hour before the first morning light.
  • The gentle sound of my horses softly chewing their breakfast hay as the sun grows higher in the sky, warming the yard.
  • The soft nighttime hooting of a great horned owl who lives in the trees a few blocks away.
  • The sight of a female Anna’s hummingbird feeding on the flowers of my agave plants, whirring her wings as fast as she can as she flits from one flower cone to another.

When I experience these moments, I can’t help but feel grateful for all I have around me. Sure, I’d like to have a bigger farm and even more critters someday, but for now, it just feels perfect.

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