Sunday, August 15, 2021

That Inferno Lovingly Called August

Air-Conditioned Bliss

It’s that time of year in my neck of the country when the asphalt street traveling past my house is in frying pan mode ready to sauté my doggies tootsies on a short walk, and the sun bathed greenery weeps and wilts when the last rain was more than a week ago.
When one walks to the garden hose sprinkling the baked earth to cool it off in the high humidity 95 degree weather that feels more like 105 degrees, and sweat immediately begins trickling down their back and behind, it’s that time of year when August is here.

Cardinal feather in birdbath

Spicebush unripen berries

Spicebush ripened berries

Clematis with seed heads

"Hot Lips" Turtlehead Plant next to Joe Pye Weed that is going to seed.

Clematis with Beautyberry and its unripen fruit.
Effects of drought behind flower.

Ground beneath juniper with tiny juniper berries
 and scale-like fallen needles

Natures been harsh with this beautyberry and her unripen fruit,
but she was planted by birds and has survived many years.

Clematis "Corinne" second flowering in August.
Flowers are about 3" in diameter.

A type of Hover Fly, I think.

Cicada wing in birdbath.
The cicada was probably a snack for a visiting bird.

Echinacea purpurea going to seed

I no longer know this native sunflowers name.
It was the only survivor of three plants,
and has come back year after year.  
It struggles a bit in the prairie garden.

Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera) growing in large pot with Aster Paten.
It will eventually have purple blooms along with the lavender aster flowers.
Of the many I planted in a sunny spot in the garden,
only one is growing this year (about 18" tall).
Since they all grew last year, 
I'm sure Vic accidently pulled them up with the weeds :'(
He says not true - I say 'tis true.
The potted plant is 5' tall and very happy.

Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa)
 with flowers and immature seed pods

Leucauge venusta, commonly called orchard spider, is an orb weaver spider

Viburnum Winterthur berries in their white phase.
They will turn pink, then blue as they mature.

Least Skipper Butterfly or Delaware Skipper Butterfly, maybe.  
It's a skipper, but skippers drive me crazy trying to identify one.
  So many different types.

Lacey keeping tabs on me.

I seem to have nothing to say...

…so, a sweet poem written by a farmer who loved a little creature of nature.  It's said this little tyke will lull the calm into refreshing sleep, and lure the tense into that vortex of repetitious sound that leads to insanity.  What do you think?

An August Cricket
                  by Arthur Goodenough

When August days are hot and long,
      And the August hills are hazy,
And clouds are slow and winds also,
      And brooks are low and lazy.

When beats the fierce midsummer sun,
      Upon the drying grasses;
A modest minstrel sings his song
      To any soul that passes.

A modest, yet insistent bard
      Who while the landscape slumbers;
And nature seems, herself asleep,
      Pours out his soul in numbers.

His song is in a tongue unknown,
      Yet those, methink, who hear it
Drink in it's healing melody
      Renewed in frame and spirit.

His life is brief as is the leaf
      To summer branches clinging!
But yet no thought of death or grief,
      He mentions in his singing.

No epic strain is his to sing, -
      No tale of loss or glory, -
He has no borrowed heroines,
      His heroes are not gory.

He is no scholar; all he knows
      Was taught by his condition,
He never studied synthesis,
      Nor simple composition.

His lays are all of rustic themes;
      Of summer's joys and treasure
Yet scarce could Homer's masterpiece,
      Afford us keener pleasure.

I think the kerplunk of the wheel driving over the manhole cover, 
says it all.
I'm running on empty.
It's break time to finish my room of peace and quiet,
 although Vic added a television
which is not usually associated with peace and quiet.
I'm considering calling it The Robin's Nest, 
as a robin's nest is usually a place of safe haven.

Take care.

This post is linked to:

Sunday, August 8, 2021

The Minute I Turn My Back, My Lovely Garden Becomes My Glorious Weed Patch!

A deluge of water coming from the heavens tonight can make one feel they're under attack by the gods.  Bolt after bolt of bright white lightning ripping through the darkness overhead, as the thunder roars and pounds over the rooftops…closer and closer, then farther and farther.  Then closer and closer, then farther and farther.  One sighs when it ends, and half a breath later it comes to life again. It’s going to be a very long night tonight.

Dustin, a bit confused with fear of the thundering vibes in the air, was finally convinced that the safest place in his world was his cave bed.  Lacey caring less about outside weather and just fine with the inside weather, impatiently paced waiting for my bed time when she could cozy up to me in what used to be Zoe’s place.

Charlotte, cozily curled up into a ball inside her cat hassock in her private room, away from the wrath of Lacey, was just fine.  Austin, dear Austin, decided to sprawl out on the dog’s sheepskin on the couch, instead of irking Lacey, vying to find a place closest to me at bedtime.  It was a win-win situation, especially for Lacey who can pout up a storm when Austin’s in her space.

As the last few years have seen my belief system change, and frustrations in my personal life become unchangeable, I’ve suffered a multitude of dreams, almost nightmares, where I’m stuck to the extreme of sleep paralysis and dream claustrophobia.  I’m been working on ways to wake myself up from this horrible way my subconscious is trying to work out my problems.

Until then, I sleep with a night light on in the hall at the bedroom entrance, soft beautiful music playing, deep breathing exercises, and most importantly, end my day sooner than later.  So as I lie here tonight, serenaded with music and thunder and a talking Lacey pacing back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth to be petted, I’m beginning to realize it doesn’t get much better than this…then sleep.

Riot of Brown-eyed Susan's with dry Bottlebrush Grass

1/2 inch Carpenter Ant

Blue Clematis Arabella has been blooming constantly since May.
Late summer second flush of smaller blooms on Clematis Corinne;
some little creature finds her a tasty treat.

Virginia Big-Headed Tiger Beetle
Unfortunately he was dead when I found him.

Juvenile Blue Tail Five-Line Skink Lizard

'Halcyon' Hosta with blooms that stay close to plant.

This year's late cicada emergence.  
Cicadas emerge from clay soil in yard forming an almost perfect
 dime size round hole as they dig out.
That would be what the front claws are for.
They then climb up something to molt and shed their nymph skin.
There's a slit on the upper back of the dried skin.
Listen closely for two different batches of cicadas.

Sideoats Grama Grass flowering 
Milkweed Seedpod opening.

To garden is to have that hope that one day all will pull together into a thing of beauty that shines like a beacon in the neighborhood.  Hahaha…  In its youth, I would say my garden paraded an array of colors throughout the months, especially in the heat of summer; but it was bathed with the brightness of the sun.

As the trees and shrubbery grew more massive, the sun eventually dwindled into dappled shade or all shade with brightness only around the edges. It all became more demure like fine china replacing the melamine, but with that demureness, the wild child of the neighborhood began to emerge.

Every plant begins with a plan, although that plan is fuzzed somewhat by nature doing what it chooses to do.  Color exists around the edges, although sometimes it’s with a daylily, iris, daffodil or tulip.  Besides that, all is native except two remaining china boy and girl shrubs and a few of the clematis.

I’m beginning to think of my garden as fifty shades of green with a dusting of color here and there throughout the seasons.  It looks subtly beautiful without the need to elicited ostentatious flattery from others.  But it is work, as it is not allowed, because of neighbor’s attitudes, to be real nature where anything goes.

We cleaned the bird boxes early this year, as the house wren nested in the chickadee box after the chickadees fledged.  As suspected the wren built her nest on top of the chickadees second batch of egg laying, and of course the eggs were still there after the house wren's young fledged.  It’s just a part of nature one accepts begrudgingly.

The second batch of house wrens fledged from the small woodpecker box, and another false house wren nest was removed from the larger woodpecker box which had a colony of black ants under the twigs.  A water hose and nozzle cleaned the boxes nicely and me with the backsplash.

Two winterberry shrubs replaced two china girl hollies along the back fence line.  They are covered with cheesecloth at the moment to protect them from the cicadas slitting their tender stems to lay eggs within.  The side prairie garden, to my dismay, has been quietly taken over by wild raspberry, passion vine, and Canadian goldenrod.

There are days when gardening is a therapeutic pastime for me, and other days when I would like to nuke the whole mess and call it a day.  It's personal, this relationship with the force that created the earth.  It learned everything in 4.543 billion years.  I, on the other hand, learned everything in 74 years.

Just saying...

It's All About the Joe Pye Weed

Green Metallic Sweat Bee - about .3 inches long

At first I thought this was a Virginia ctenucha moth.
Now I think it's a Yellow Collared Scape Moth (a daytime moth)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail
Both Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtail are males.
They did a dance of circling each other, 
spiraling  up and down across the patio vying for territory to feed.
The Easter Tiger won that round.

Young Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar in cupped leaf of spicebush.
By late afternoon it had completely hidden itself 
with the leaf totally folded around it for protection from predictors.  
I think it's false eye marks are to scare off predictors also.  

Eastern Bumblebee

Honeybee - my population of honeybees has grown tenfold from last year.
A hive must be nearby.



Lacey chilling out.

Even though I see nature differently with all of my closeups, I still enjoy putting down the camera and just watching the darting blurs and dances of her inhabitants, both rooted to the ground and free to take flight.  It comforts me after a sweaty workout quietly beheading the unwanted from my Eden, to silently sit in the shade of my deck with a glass of ice and tart cherry juice, surrounded by container after container of potted wild plants, to just be.  It's an experience that has no match.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...