Saturday, September 24, 2022

The birds and a wall

It may be officially autumn, but the local bird population looks pretty much the same: sparrows, sparrows, sparrows, with the occasional mourning dove, cardinal, nuthatch, etc. A hummingbird shows up almost daily, to sample the butterfly bush blossoms, then it hovers in front of the window where I sit, presumably admiring its reflection.

The sparrows are making good use of the birdbaths. There seems to be a ten bird limit to how many may be in the water at one time.

The house finches appear to be gone, yet something has been eating the safflower seed. Today I spotted the culprit: a chipmunk. I thought nobody cared for the safflower seeds except the finches and sometimes the sparrows, so it hung from an unprotected pole. I moved it to a baffled pole, although it may come down altogether if none of the birds are feasting there.

While we were in the Hudson Valley last week, we visited the town of New Paltz. I took this photo of what I presume is a row of clematis, one of them the late-blooming paniculata. Maybe someday mine will look like this.

We also visited the Storm King Arts Center, where we encountered Andy Goldsworthy's Wall. These field stone structures fascinate me.

Where there is open field, the Wall runs straight.

In the other directions, the Wall seems to disappear underwater, only to reappear across the pond.

Once on dry land again, the Wall twists and turns around the trees.

Goldsworthy is known for creating ephemeral works of art, some lasting only a few hours. This Wall will stand... for a while, until the trees grow large enough to displace it or a tree falls on it or the ground heaves, as "there is something that doesn't love a wall."

(Goldsworthy has written a companion book about the Wall, appropriately titled Wall.)

Sunday, September 18, 2022

I'm back

My SO and I spent the past week in the Hudson Valley, our first major vacation since the pandemic. We thought about flying, but since we can't get a direct flight from here to there, I worried about getting stranded somewhere along the way. So we drove. And drove and drove and drove. There is a LOT of golden rod between, but not too much of anything else. On the way home, we saw the trees were just beginning to turn. In a couple of weeks, those hills will be ablaze with glory.

Now it is back to mowing and watering and weeding. While we were gone, about 1.25" of rain fell, so none of the new plants suffered. But the sickly Canadian hemlocks are definitely done. The landscaper is going to replace them.

One of the aromatic asters, the one that gets the most sunshine, is blooming its little heart out. I sniffed the blossoms, thinking that is how it got its name. Nope. The common name comes from the balsam-like fragrance it gives off when you crush the rigid stems.

I was beginning to wonder if the Clematis Paniculata was going to bloom at all this year, but it was just taking its sweet time. All the blossoms are at the top where I would need a ladder to get a decent photograph. Some pollinators are enjoying it.

The sweet potato vine 'Marguerite' I planted in containers in the backyard really took off for an end of summer burst of color, overwhelming the geranium. Next year I plan to plant it in hanging baskets along the fence. That should be quite a show.

I am very tired of watering all my new plants, but if I hadn't been watering, I wouldn't have seen these two guys munching on the butterflyweed. This photo is from a week ago, and there is no sign of the caterpillars anywhere now. A younger caterpillar I spotted yesterday is already gone, too. Monarch eggs and larvae are mostly a food source for other creatures.

Have a munchie good week.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Bad news

The larger and one of the smaller Canadian hemlocks are not looking good. The needles are turning brown and dropping. When the landscape designer selected this evergreen for my yard, I questioned his choice. From my research (and I researched almost all his selections), it sounded like trouble. The plants are "guaranteed" for a year, so I sent him an email. No response yet.

Last week I mentioned abandoning my camera phone for my old Olympus. And yes, the latter takes much better photos. However, it doesn't want to talk to my laptop anymore. I had to dig out an older laptop, then "sneaker net" the photos between the two, using a thumb drive.

August didn't feel like August and now September doesn't feel like September. It's uncomfortably hot out. The pets sit by the patio door, but if I open it, they don't venture out. Apparently, watching the yard is all they want to do.

Have a seasonable week.