Wildlife

Pumpkin pie and turkey dinner!

High 85 F
Low  60 F

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Click on photo to enlarge so you can actually see the turkeys!

This weekend reminded me that Thanksgiving dinner is just around the corner.  I need to start my Christmas shopping also as that coincides with Thanksgiving.  I'm just warning you all, it will be here before you know it!  How do I know?  Well, Saturday morning we had visitors.  While you can only, and barely, see these turkeys, there were at least twenty of them just on the other side of the wire fence.  I love turkey.  I grew up next to my grandparent's turkey farm and loved the sound of the chicks and their soft little bodies.  It  didn't take long to realize that they would grow up to be one of the ugliest birds on earth.  That is, until they were plucked, cooked and set on the dinner table.  I like turkey!

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Click to enlarge!

Here is the next reminder of fall and holiday dinners.  Not too far away there is a gardener who grows award winning giant pumpkins.  I don't know him but on the way by his garden I took this photo of the emerging leviathan! (I am wishing now that I had a telephoto lens instead of a macro) There are several of these scattered around the pumpkin patch.  Each is an object of curiosity. Each has its' own tarp.  It takes quite a bit of dedication and persistence to grow something this big.  In the spring there are mini greenhouses where the giant pumpkins grow.  They are heating the soil and keeping the vines a bit warmer.  The big blue tarp keeps the pumpkins from getting too hot and cracking or so I have been told.  I am not inclined to grow giant pumpkins but I do find them intriguing.  How many pies could you get from one of these?  See, Thanksgiving dinner is just around the corner!



Milkweed tussock moth and mega dragonflies!

High 80 F
Low 62.8F

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This mornings' walk around the garden revealed this unusual and interesting creature.  I was on the lookout for monarchs and their chrysalis although it is a bit late for that  as I see the butterflies around.  I have yet to see the caterpillar.  I did spy this hairy little creature! Or, should I say, this neighborhood of creatures! There were many on the plant this morning but when I downloaded the picture it wasn't up to snuff so I went back out this afternoon and they had disappeared but for this one. Dsc_0009_2    It looks like a false eyelash gone bad doesn't it?  The milkweed which I left in the garden because it is food for the monarchs and the fragrance is so very sweet now looks like this.  Dsc_0008 Sticks!  This little caterpillar is having a great time foraging.  I hope they don't resort to the ornamentals when they are through dining on this plant.  In trying to identify it I found this website which has a visual key for identifying caterpillars.  You can access it here.   It is disappointing that the moth stage of this little creature is so drab but given this outrageous outfit, I guess it is to be expected.  I have big things planned for my next life!

As I mentioned, I went back out to the garden to take a few more shots of this caterpillar.  As I walked by the fish pond, I stopped to check out what was going on there.  It's always something and today was no different...or, perhaps it was.  I heard the sound of rustling paper and then the sound of beating wings.  A swarm of  dragonflies took flight from the iris leaves on the edge of the pond.  They were huge dragonflies. Dsc_0021 Click on picture to enlarge

They were at least four inches long and quite curious.  They would hover within a foot or two of me and look me right in the eye as if looking at an alien creature.  We both were.  I wondered what the dragonfly could see with those immense eyes.  What does the world look like from a dragonflies perspective?  I don't know if they were laying eggs or what, but they were busy and, did I say BIG! Dsc_0032 I like the fact that they are wearing fashion colors.  Turquoise is the new black and looks good on everyone!  Does anyone know what kind these are?  Dsc_0032_5  


Morning observations!

High 85 F
Low 61.3 F

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This morning was one of those warm, muggy, summer mornings with a milky sky and thick air.  Tucker set out ahead as usual in the back field.  The timothy is blooming and chin highDsc_0003   and the milkweed is perfuming the air.  The flowers are less than spectacular but they are so very fragrant.  Does anyone know what this bright beetle is?Dsc_0002_2   I know it is probably not good but at least it is down in the field and away from the garden.  The Carolina silverbell  or Halesia carolina has seed pods in record numbers.  It looked like this in May Dsc_0002 with a closeup of the flowers hanging from the branches Dsc_0028 and has since formed these chambered seed pods which are described by Plantsman Michael Dirr in his textbook 'Manuel of Woody Landscape Plants' as a 'four chambered drupe.Dsc_0014   That sounds like something from a Harry Potter movie but it is actually quite interesting.  I have never had any of the seeds germinate from this tree. This is a lovely mid sized tree at thirty to forty feet in height and it does grow in zones 4 through 8 so if you are looking for a tree for the yard, this is one that I would recommend.

I missed spraying this hostaDsc_0006 which sits at the back of the long border.  I guess the deer spray really works...unless you miss a spot.   The astilbes are still blooming with more coming into color. Dsc_0009 I think that I need to get a few more astilbes!  I seem to be lacking large white ones! 

 


For the Birds!

High 75 F
Low 39.8 F
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When I was a child my grandfather had a garden filled with birdhouses.  He loved the birds and he loved to fashion birdhouses out of scraps of wood.  Although they were made out of scraps they were palatial creations with gingerbread trim and decorative embellishments.  I have no pictures of his birdhouses but they were really prototypes for the current trend in condominiums as they held many families of birds.  I always related to the houses.  The birds were secondary.  Some people are born with a love of all creatures or, should I say, a sensitivity to all creatures.  For the rest of us, if we are lucky, we develop that sensitivity and so it has been for the birds and me.  I don't yet consider myself a senior citizen but my children are grown and busy with their own lives and, I suppose, others may consider me well on the way. In my younger years, I was busy with the tasks of parenting and that takes priority and energy.  There was none left for the birds.  Now, the feeders are hung Dsc_0024 and the houses are waiting all for those little winged creatures which I take such pleasure in watching on the occasions when  they visit.  I have sighted the pair of bluebirds in the back field but as yet have no picture.  Their house is ready! Dsc_0022 Very inauspicious isn't it.  Just the standard bluebird house.   This apartment house is similar to a shack city with its' tin roof.  I think the roof leaks and fortunately the potential occupants have deeming it unworthy.  Either that or the rent is too high. There are all manner of houses from the prettily painted but as yet unoccupied,Dsc_0013_2 Dsc_0019 to the weathered and worn,Dsc_0016 to the ceramic classic Williamsburg house which, so far, has been home to a nest of hornets.Dsc_0015   Hopefully they won't return as I really can't see the beauty in them.  This particular houseDsc_0020 with the copper roof was attractive to the field mice and this painted cottage, disheveled as it is, provides a home for my Aunt's favorite bird, what she calls, the singing linnet.  Dsc_0023 The church house remains empty. Perhaps the doorway is too slight for any of the local birds or the organ too loud.   I really need some more houses.  The birds need more choices.  Dsc_0018_2 Another chore for the list but as with most chores, what you gain from them is more than what you have had to give.