Sunday, June 21, 2009

Starting to feel like summer

There is something in the air, a shift in temperature and humidity and universal vibe, that occurs in June and that makes us say, "NOW it feels like summer!" It is still not brutally hot or suffocatingly humid, but it is also no longer springlike out there. Or maybe it is the firecrackers.

The latest love of my life is this:

It's a Cotinus coggygria 'Purpureus' aka Purple Smoke Tree. I found it at Home Depot and it followed me home. Situated at the southeast corner of the house, it is a great addition to my purple-leaf front yard, where it joins the barberry, Japanese maple, crimson king maple, and sandcherry. Oooh!

I would like to add some 'Gold Nugget' barberry to my front yard, to contrast with all the purple, but my research has revealed that barberry and burning bush are considered invasive. This really surprises me, because I have never seen either growing willy-nilly in my yard. Perhaps I am just too busy with the Canada thistle, garlic mustard, Queen Anne's lace, mulberry, honeysuckle bush, etc., etc., and so forth, to notice.

The daylilies are starting to bloom. This is Stella:

There are tiger lilies and Shasta daisies as well, but the breezes have been creating consternation with this amateur photographer, so no pix yet. I have gobs of pix from previous years, but I still like to take a few of each emerging blossom so that I have a record of sorts of what blooms when.

From my observations, it looks like all three baby bunnies have survived. It is difficult to tell from this photo, as the little suckers do not take direction well, but they would still fit in one hand, albeit a large hand.

The teen from a previous post appears to be their babysitter. I think the Bunny Daddy made an appearance last week, so more may be on the way soon.

Hopefully, Mama Bunny will find a new yard to nest in. Something they don't mention when promoting backyard habitats is the sheer number of rabbits yours will attract. It's not a problem until they start eating the things you don't want them to eat. While there are plenty of other food choices for them in my yard, I have had to surround nearly every shrub with poultry netting. Some garden plants require protection as well. Meanwhile, my SO has been helping me line the backyard with poultry netting. We have done nearly all the chain link fence, but I need to come up with a strategy for the gates. At this point, though, I'm not sure if I am keeping them OUT or locking them IN.

My love/hate relationship continues with my neighbor's mulberry tree. It is LOADED this year, much to the robins' delight. They have been using the tree as a launching pad for their fledglings. I read that orioles like mulberries as well, but I have not seen any.

Sadly, I found a dead catbird under the Rhubarb that Ate New York. I have yet to dispose of it, so have not determined a possible cause of death. I'm guessing a hawk dropped its lunch and the poor thing had not yet expired and crawled into a protected spot to die in peace. That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Completely new thread: This week my family room is getting new flooring. With the demise of the Florida room, the great outdoors starts at the patio door, which means some of that great outdoors gets tracked onto the carpet, despite my array of dirt trappers. So the carpet is destined for the Restore store (operated by Habitat for Humanity) and the Durastone in the kitchen is being extended into the family room. The ultimate goal is to wed the two rooms together, to create a big harvest kitchen.

The other problem with the removal of the Florida room is the brutal afternoon sun on the patio. I like the idea of a pergola out there, but don't want wood because of the maintenance issues. This week a local firm gave me a ballpark estimate on an aluminum one: $6000 for a patio the size of mine. Gah! The sound you hear is that project falling to the bottom of my home improvement list.

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