Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Wild Flower Garden

One of the jungle's unexpected successes. A couple of years ago, I chucked a few seeds at the upper part of the rock garden and forgot about them.

And now look.  And the nice things is, they don't seem to be fazed by the weather.

I tried the same trick in other places but it didn't work. Of course you can't tell wild flowers what to do.

Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Peony Time .. Or Was

Yes early June in the jungle is peony time.

The brash, bouncy, blowsy-scented fellas had been doing really well

 In fact, observing our neighbours' peonies, I would say that ours are the biggest in the county

They are gigantic - or they were

And the irises I forgot I planted in the front haven't been doing too badly either

Until yesterday that is when a huge storm blew in, the trees bending over like reeds. Monsoon-like rain came down in sheets and the the power went out - and came back just as we managed to get the generator going. In the morning we surveyed the scene. Several small branches down.

But it was worse for the neighbours. Hearing a loud beeping we went to look out on the lane. Heavy vehicles which looked suspiciously like snowploughs in summer gear were picking up fallen tree limbs

Which were shoved into a shredder. The wonders of modern technology.

 And as for the poor old peonies, after a short but star-studded life, they had had their day and were but a mass of soggy petals on the grass, like melting snowmen. And the rain shows no sign of letting up.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We've Got Squatters Part 2

Our squatters are now brazenly showing their faces. The crafty barn swallow found herself a nice nook. Of course we were away and by the time we got back, domestic arrangements were well underway.

Meanwhile Chipolata now presumptiously expects a peanut handout every time I go out on the porch.

Then out comes Chipster, disgruntled at being beaten to it and it usually ends in an acrimonious  high speed chase around the woodpile, interspersed with choice expletives in their language. Chipolata is the one with the half-size tail. My American friends don't know what chipolatas are. Sad. I could just eat a couple now. Sausages, that is, not chipmunks.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

We've Got Squatters

I looked out of the back window on Tuesday morning to see a large, honey-coloured shape sniffing around the rhododendrons.

It was a huge, portly white tail deer but before I could get the camera she had scarpered. You'd better take a closer look at the rhododendron flowers..

Because I suspect they won't be there for long.

She was blatantly casing the joint.  Meanwhile on the porch, someone was spotted jumping into the kindling box. 

 Again, too fast for the camera. There was a description though - the suspect was small and stripy. Meanwhile above the sitting room window...

 More freeloading tenants. The usual suspects, barn swallows, no doubt took advantage of our few weeks' absence. They manage to sneak in each year, so we have to tiptoe around the porch until they deign to fly the nest.
But one good thing - it seems the slugs haven't started on the salvias yet.

 Just give 'em time.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Back at Base (And Back to the Jungle)

Dateline: Cattaraugus County

Thank you, dear friends, for your patience. The blog is now back in Cattaraugus County, confronting the consequences of a few weeks of prime high speed weed growth. It will have its work cut out. But it's an interesting time too, checking what's growing and coming up. And was I surprised to see this fellow.

  Yes the allium which failed to make an appearance last year (I think it was the one I originally planted upside down) had popped up this and was looking very dapper, trying not to notice the untidiness around it. A less happy story for the dahlia I carefully replanted and surrounded with slog pellets. Someone had apparently driven a motorbike through my attempted flower bed at the entrance to the drive and the dahlia was gone. I later found a bit of it lying on the surface, forlorn and beyond help. Or maybe it was the squirrels again.
  It's the sort of situation where you just don't know where to start, so end up contemplating the enormity of the task and doing absolutely nothing. On the other hand you can always take a walk up the lane, where my friend the ginger cat at the top of the hill comes out to give me a lop-eared greeting and the forget-me-nots are flowering..

And the dame's rocket is in full swing

This seems to be a bumper year for dame's rocket

That pops up in batches of pink, purple and white only where it wants to. Digging it up and planting it in your garden, as hubby and I tried to do once, does not work.
But alas there was one sorry sight..

The banks of the stream that used to be a mass of forget-me-nots and other wildflowers have been scraped clean by the infernal town ditch- scraper whose one mission in life seems to be to make everything as ugly as possible. Too many are the times when he's ruined the roadside banks, covered in pretty burgeoning trees and bushes on his inexorable mission of destruction. No one's quite sure why he does it but unfortunately he seems to enjoy it.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Scones and Roundabouts

 In case you're still wondering about the picture of the Queen in the post below, I'll relieve your suspense*.  You can't keep a good American enthusiasm down and would you believe it, our nearby town, Olean,  in western New York, now has a British-themed cafe. Presumably this is to go with the new European-style roundabouts that have arrived in Union Street, terrifying the local populace. There are plenty of British touches in the cafe...

.....even though it's not actually run by British people. There's a huge selection of teas and a sweet English country cottage display on the mantelpiece.

My friend and I opted for the cream tea - scones, jam, the works and I was confidently told, "Devonshire cream". Well clotted cream it wasn't quite and the scones, being American-style, all had some sort of flavouring, blueberry, lemon, whatever - I don't think Americans would understand plain British ones. (Though American cuisine does have something called a "biscuit" which looks like a scone on steroids and is generally eaten with gravy). Anyway, I had a lemon one and it was pretty nice in its own way and the jam was very good.  And we discovered another deft British touch:

So good luck to the Union Tea Cafe. (Which sounds like a contradiction in terms but never mind, this is America.) They are having a special event on the Fourth of July. I wonder what the Queen will think of that?

*(And apologies for the perfunctory blogging this month - due to family and travel commitments. Things will be back to normal in June.)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017