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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  1. What beautiful photos of the flowers with the insects.
    I think the cats are cute and your writing is fun.
    Fortunately it has cooled down here and is no longer so hot.
    Greetings Irma

  2. You have shown a lot of passion towards the cat. Such a cute and cosy piece on the flowers and insects.

  3. I like how you write. You find such beautiful pictures in your language.
    Best regards

  4. ...thanks, my garden is way past its prime.

  5. Lovely kitties. I like seeing the critters move through their life cycles.

  6. Your writing is so poetic. Ah yes, the garden is hard, hard work, especially at this time of year when clearing it out a bit comes around. The photos of the flowers and bees are gorgeous but I have to admit, my favorite are the cats! I love them both!

  7. Your day had its ups and downs, but your connection with nature shines through.

  8. Hello, Yvonne
    The crickets do sound very loud here, many there too many of them. I always enjoy seeing your flowers and garden. Pretty blooms, I know the bees are very happy in your yard. Your kitties are adorable, they look so cute snuggling. Beautiful post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  9. I enjoyed your garden photos and the IDs of the flowers. As we were walking we saw a lovely patch of turtle head yesterday, and didn’t know what it was — used the iPhone to find its name. So it’s a fun coincidence that you posted these photos.
    best, mae at

  10. Beautiful pics of the Turtlehead and the bees. I have never had Turtleheads before. The cats are cute to watch.

  11. It's so nice to spend some time outside every day but it sure has been a 'buggy' summer here. Love the photos, especially the series with the bumble bee. Enjoy your weekend!

  12. I enjoyed your thoughts and writing style, poetic prose for the most part and in a comfy dreamy mode. :) Much, much more than a twig!

  13. Perfect photos for Saturday Critters ~ great nature shots of the bees and of course your kitties 'steal the show' ~ lovely writing ~ yep' more than a twig' !

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  14. Is so good to have this garden with these beauty flowers for to walk around in calm with your lovely pets walking around. Sure is wonderful the garden now in autum too.

  15. As someone who is outside most of the time I get bitten by more than my fair share of insects, and horseflies and deerflies are the ones that hurt the most. And insect repellent doesn't deter them at all. Yesterday we were out and made an impromptu stop to take a walk alongside water and the mosquitoes were still fierce. We heard a little thunder and decided to turn back - maybe a good thing!

  16. The essay is visually evocative garnished by the delightful photos!

  17. Beautiful images

  18. What an enchanting garden. ! Your flowers, plants, and all of a sudden there are my favorite garden animals…

  19. cool cats and a very beautiful garden :)

  20. so lovely to dip into your world through your expressive writing. Thankyou. The kitties are cute too and the garden lovely. Enjoy your week and thankyou for visiting my blog this week.

  21. Your post is like a long pleasant dream that I didn't want to stop. I love all the blooms and the bugs. As a child in Utah, the horseflies at my lunch in the summer. I love your beauty berries. Here in northeast Oklahoma we have lots of beauty berries in the woods. I love your purple coneflowers. They are almost my favorite flowers I like all through their life and death cycle.

    1. I agree, purple coneflowers always look beautiful, even in winter. Thank you for the nice compliment.

  22. You write with such grace, Yvonne.
    Love the stunning photos of the flowers and critters.
    The kitties are adorable.

    Hugs and blessings

  23. Greek holiday. My excuse and intermittent Internet for my meagre response to your soothing words and photos. Us Brits aren't cut out for 24/7 sunshine and 27 degrees so We are sat in the shade with a cup of English tea. When the day cools we'll look for a taverna and an iced ouzo.

    1. Wow! 81 degrees F is springtime here. I had to work a bit after reading this comment to find out what in the world ouzo is... anise yummmmm. Enjoy your vacation, with not too much iced ouzo in the evening.

  24. Dearest Yvonne,
    I once again enjoyed your lyrical texts and pictures. Your words exude - even if you are not happy about everything - an atmosphere of serenity and wisdom to tolerate things as they are. (The thing with the Asian jumping worms, for example, doesn't sound good at all. I hope they don't come to Europe too, we already have enough invaders here.) And your eyes - whether with or without reading glasses - see the most wonderful little things, whether they be berries or cicada exoskeletons or wasp nests or bumblebees in flowers (photographed sensationally by you!)... And your yin-yang cats, I think, even if one is more likely to come to cuddle than the other, they love each other.
    You wrote to me you seem to have more bad days than good days - I'm very sorry about that, but of course you won't be deserted by me, even if you don't come to visit that often these days! I send you my best wishes!!!
    Hugs from Austria and happy weekend,
    🍁🌾🌻🪶🍂 🪶🌻🌾🍁


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