Thursday, August 6, 2020

And Some Pretty Sights

Dateline: Cattaraugus County, western New York state

There could be worse places to spend a quiet, social distancing summer.
  Here's a cousin of Chippy's from far up the lane. You can't stay cross with them for long. (See below)
And a misty forest.
And a foggy lane. This is near where my neighbour saw a 400lb bear crossing.
But not this day. And here's some Queen Anne's lace again, before the Mad Mower got to it. It never ceases to amaze. Every one is ever so slightly different.
And here's Jack Daniels, as I call the Clematis Jackmanii, looking particularly chipper on the garden shed a couple of weeks ago. For the first time this year I've managed to keep the slugs, apart from one or two diehards, away from the window boxes. I still can't work out how they get up there.

And the neighbour's pond, all spooky in the morning mist. What lurks in those depths? (Well there are some pretty big fish jumping around, not to mention a few frogs that take a running jump as you approach.)

And from the other side, a few seconds later.  

Walking along, I scared, not a frog but a huge turkey out of a very tall tree, the first turkey I've seen around here for a very long time. The sound it made was like a round of applause. The geese have been inordinately noisy too, in the last couple of days. I hope they're not planning to go south already. Today we heard the troubling news that they expect so many hurricanes this year that they may run out of letters of the alphabet and have to start on the Greek one.  At least here we mostly just have thunderstorms
Oh and here's the pond in the sunshine. See - nothing spooky there!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Few Goodbyes

First to the New Batch who took off last week, just like their siblings without a word of thanks. That's it for Mrs Robin, hubby said. That nest atop the motion detector lights has got to go. Well we'll see. 


And a very sorrowful goodbye to the roadside wildflowers along the lane. The chicory, aka cowboy coffee, was a heavenly blue


And made a great double act with the white Queen Anne's lace - yes that's what the Americans call it.


We don't have that much to put joy in our hearts at the moment and that was one of them. And goodbye to the pretty show of clover and daisies looking down on the babbling brook under the road.


Every year a sadist from the local authority comes around with a fiendish, rumbling machine. My heart sinks when I hear it coming up the hill. One year I nearly threw myself in front of it to stop him massacring a bank of small trees. But he's still coming and mowing everything down.  It's heartbreaking and we don't know why he does it, unless he's been told to go and find something to do. 

Mushroom Time

It must be wetter than I thought. Mushrooms have appeared, out of the blue, in the grass. This one looks like milk chocolate with a sprinkling of nuts. NOT.


Someone appears to have taken a bite of one of these.


And this resembles one of those weird crusty bread rolls they used to sell in Sainsbury's...


Ah how I miss them!  
There were almost as many kinds of fungi as on our Mushroom Mania nature walk - was it really nearly two years ago? Perhaps the jungle can set itself up as a nature reserve, with self-guided, social-distancing tours. By the time people have hacked their way through the multiflora roses they will definitely have their moneysworth of adventure.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

That's More Like It



This is what sailing should be. A bit of wind but not too much, a nice flat surface, warm sunshine, puffy white clouds and Lake Erie virtually to ourselves. This was early yesterday morning before the Poets Day crowds headed out.  Just one plane far above us .....


......a few friendly fisherman, fat Canada geese going bottoms up and a welcome shortage of power boats. About time we had some good luck.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Rural Crime: Not the End of the Story

 If I never see another tomato plant it will be too soon. Another nibbled green tomato bit the dust yesterday.  I checked the nets yet again for any possible entry points. We decided to move the tomatoes to the back and put them on the garden table. Then it started to rain. And it rained cats and dogs, though fortunately not chipmunks. The wind got up and howled around the house to add to the effect. We decided to wait till after supper.   After supper it stopped raining and we went out on our mission. "Uh oh" said Hubby. The tomato plants had been blown off their their perches and were lying on the ground in a heap of dirt and yes, fallen green tomatoes. Meanwhile the New Batch (here's a couple of them.)


were leaning over the parapet, splitting their sides laughing.
  It is useless, useless! trying to fight nature here. The other evening something upturned every single ornamental rock on the edges of the flowerbeds and left them strewed about the grass. One good thing, the place was free of slugs for a day or so. But it was still a cheek. Oh and a tree fell down in the back missing the arch by half an inch but with the hummingbird vine and a baby maple tree as collateral damage. 


So now, to our growing felon list: deer, woodchucks, turkeys, skunks, rabbits, chipmunks, mice, slugs, wasps, Japanese beetles, mosquitoes, we now have to add the weather. This is western New York. What did we expect? 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Rural Crime: No More Mr Sweet Guy

Yes there he is - ahhh how sweet! Our little outdoor friend who looks appealingly up at me, cadging peanuts, along with his little accomplice -er, pal - from the other side of the porch. There have been many generations of Chippy, Chipster, Chipolata et al, scampering around our property - I've rescued them from marauding cats, once splashed water over one that had been KO-d after an inter-chipmunk spat. How could you not love them?


  Well things are changing. Fast. I forgave them the network of tunnels under the flowerbeds that makes me think the foundations of our garden must now resemble Swiss cheese. I even forgave them when I spotted them sneaking the odd blueberry or two. But now I realise that I've been emphatically played for a fool.
  Let me back up a bit and the purchase of a fine tomato plant covered in promising yellow flowers which I ensconced in its container on the maximum sunny spot in front of the garage. I fed, watered, tended, observed the little tomatoes growing. Then I noticed one lying on the ground. I blamed the fat woodchuck I'd seen waddling across the back lawn. When the same thing happened the next day I blamed the rabbit I'd spotted in the front. Easy, said hubby, we'll just move them indoors overnight. So we did. And next day in broad daylight there was another fallen tomato with just one bite taken out. Next came the nets. Same thing. It was then that I realised there could only be one culprit. Or one culprit and his accomplice. Easy, said hubby, we'll mount the tomatoes on an upturned dustbin with smooth slippery sides. The next day another forlorn tomato with just one bite taken out. They can jump I noted. OK, said hubby, if we sit the pot on the net and tie the net up at the top like a gift hamper... The next day, same thing. Stripes had found a tiny hole at the top of the net. How, I can't imagine. I have now got every green twist tie I can find and stitched those nets up. Goodness knows how we'll ever get the tomatoes out when we want them for ourselves. It's probably an academic question. Because there won't be any left.