Friday, September 15, 2023

The ebb and flow of thoughts in a garden long past her youth.

I’m outside on my back deck, after I carted out what seemed like half of my existence, but, of course, it wasn't.  It just felt like it.  I thought “wow, what a brilliant way to spend an otherwise boring afternoon”.

A minute later, thunder rumbles in the heavens, and I’m wondering just how brilliant of an idea this really was to be one with nature this beautiful afternoon.  Bird song is null, as it is so often this time of day, while gentle breezes coax the limbs of shrubs and trees to sway.

Too soon, louder rumbles of thunder overhead announce it's time for drops of rain to begin hitting the umbrella cover, which they do in an ever-amazing crescendo of noise as they reach a steady pouring from the heavens above.  This is my cue to pack up and head for the hills.

Mmmmm... salted caramel.

Two hours later, I know… the rain only lasted an hour at most.  I fritter away so much of my time trying to find ways to be more than just a twig that has fallen from the tree, laying on the ground.  What is a twig able to do at this point in its life except to accept the inevitable… fodder for mushrooms.

Anyway, it is a lost cause finding a bit of peace outdoors now, as the only melody going on at the moment is the pandemonium of humans trying to get home from work as their car tires roar over pavement, one after another after another after another.  It’s enough to scramble one’s brain into a twisty mess. 

I correct myself; I hear somewhere in the din the soft chirping of a katydid’s hind leg rubbing on it’s wing, as mosquitoes begin to rise up into the shadows of dusk like Dracula’s little helpers.  I’m out of here.

Oh, my! 

It’s bedtime.  Okay, I know; my attention span lasts two minutes, then it's like day or night dreaming has taken its place... what a waste.  I’m in my ‘Writing Room’; the room where writing is dead.  The cats know the truth… one is perched on the chairback drooling in my hair and the other lays across my lap between me and my keyboard… (sigh) 

I’m taking myself to bed before I wake up in the morning with my nose pointing the way to my belly button.

Rough Blazing Star, Liatris aspera

Liatris aspera with Carpenter Bee

Where to rest when watering the container plants.

Another Cicada Exoskeleton

Horsefly with mouthpart that reminds one of vampire stories.
When we were young, my brother had one land on his back
while in the water.  
It shoved that mouthpart all the way into his skin
to drink blood, and didn't stop until mom rushed out of the house 
to remove it, as my brother was screaming bloody murder.

Potter Wasp nests


American Beautyberry

 Viburnum 'Winterthur'

American Dogwood

Euonymus americanus 

American Beautyberry and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

When Austin head butts Charlotte, she falls over.

Seventy degrees never felt so good.  Gentle breezes are playing with the leaves as the music of car tires on the paved country road one house up the block takes center stage.  I love leaning back in my chair, listening to the leaves rustle high up in the trees. 

It’s beautiful today, and even though I’m writing or trying to create a little display of words that entertain, I just, a bit ago, got up and cleaned the three birdbaths in the back yard.  It’s one of those quirks that only a gardener will understand.  Like the pied piper calling me when I see a bit of work to be done.

A very loud cricket was chirping earlier in the morning, but it is mute now.  Sometimes I can hear a few katydids when the car tire noise dies down, and a different type of cicada has just revved up a bit, then died back down, and then nothing now.

It’s two in the afternoon, and I’m not long for this journey of writing today.  Yesterday – just out of the blue, I stretched way too big and hurt myself.  My neck and shoulder are suffering.  My vision is perfect now, and I only use 1.00 reading glasses when I need to read the fine print.

It’s so pleasant watching the honeybees and occasional wasp hanging around the bird bath by the deck.  Yesterday Vic spied a Coopers Hawk on a lower branch of the dogwood tree outside our front window snacking on what we think was a grackle.  A bit of excitement on an otherwise dull day.

Little piles of worm castings that are very granular and coarse suggest we have the Asian jumping worms in our yard.  It’s why we got rid of our compost pit, because the compost was useless.  We killed all the twisty flipping worms, but there is nothing available to gardeners to be rid of them.  

We are going to try the suggestion from Fine Gardening Magazine to use 1/3rd cup of ground mustard seed mixed with a gallon of water, and pour to bring the worms to the surface.  I can see where this would only be practical for container plants and raised bed gardening.  I’m wondering if granular fertilizer will make up for the nutrients the worms are taking away from my plants. 

It’s a weary road, dealing with invasive species.  All summer we’ve been pulling out Asian honeysuckle shrub seedlings.  I’m sure the number is in the hundreds by now.  This has been a bumper year for all things crappy.

Okay, a positive ending…

Turtlehead, Chelone lyohii 'Hot Lips'
Forming seeds

Turtleheads past their prime,
being revisited by (I think) bumblebees 
to take every bit of nectar available.

Well… back outside at almost five this afternoon, I know, I know, I get later and later every time I reach for this laptop to finish my thoughts.  The sound of traffic is quite intense, but cricket and katydid chirps rise and fall, here and there.  A persistent Chickadee is scolding, perhaps it isn’t amused with my presence in its territory.

Puffs of cool breezes move through, making everything come alive in movement.  Sometimes the puffs of air become a bit aggressive, jarring the spicebush limbs into action, then unanimated once more.  It is a peaceful existence, wind and cooling, the waiting for autumn just around the corner.

The blackhaw viburnum berries turning from pink to blue, and the winterberry fruit turning from green to bright red to decorate winter, the spicebush berries already stripped clean by a persistent mockingbird, the dogwood berries being eaten by unknown critters, and the dark purple-pink and also white berries of the beautyberry’s are being picked by cardinals, robins, and mockingbirds, among other birds…it’s a busy garden of birds, squirrels, rabbits and opossums this time of year.

I saw the semi-homeless cat just now as I set up the hose to water the drooping Joe Pye Weed.  I told you earlier about gardeners cleaning up loose ends while supposedly relaxing.  Now we know why the Chickadee was complaining. 

I usually turn the hose on him, but I’m not keen to stop the watering as sunset is approaching.  It’s a sad business about the cat.  He belongs to one family but is taken care of by their next-door neighbor who takes pity on him.  He hunts the birds when given the chance, and sleeps wherever he pleases in the garden.

As the sun nears the horizon, swarms of little gnats are appearing everywhere.  I’m trying not to breathe them into my nose.  Thank goodness the deck is free of them.  So, back to my writing… MOSQUITOES!!!


Photographs earlier in the year 
that haven't been used yet in blog posts.  
I'm beginning to forget which folders they are in, 
so am posting them here.
Love my two little sweeties.

The Truth:
Charlotte never goes looking for Austin to sleep with him.
Austin is the one who always wants to snuggle.
Sometimes after Austin is all snuggled in,
Charlotte leaves.
He accepts that, but never gives up.



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