Monday, August 26, 2019

One Red Leaf

The geese are on the move. Here are a few of them waddling across someone's foggy front garden.  And they've been flying overhead in their big V formations, ready to go south.

 Oh and here's a deer crossing the road. You need to look very carefully - or just take my word for it..

 And here's what looks very definitely like the first red leaf. OK it's only a sumac - they're a bit impetuous - but still.. And it feels as though we haven't had our summer yet. Hardly two dry days in a row and the garden's still boggy.

 They'll be bringing the snowploughs out next.

Meanwhile we're still struggling with the wasps' nest in the flower bed (see below). We've now tried one kind of spray twice, another kind four times - with hubby valiantly getting up before dawn when they're supposed to be asleep. Today we tried ammonia - a friend's suggestion. But all these efforts have only invigorated them. This afternoon they're buzzing around like whirling dervishes on speed. More and more of them too. I think it's going to have to be the flamethrower. Goodbye the only flowers they deer didn't eat.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

More Mysteries of the Lane

The lane in the morning fog certainly looks mysterious enough.

A ghostly landscape from which almost anything could emerge. The other morning two deer were picking their across through the whiteness. Sadly a pickup truck came up behind me and scattered them before I could take a picture.  It's a mystery all right where all these pickup trucks are going in the early morning.

The cloud formations are haunting enough, even on the rare fogless days.

 There's the mystery of the abandoned open mailbox at the end of the drive of a seemingly abandoned house.

The wood of an old barn, overgrown by the forest.

 A derelict shelter under an ancient apple tree where children, long grown and gone, once waited for the school bus in the snow.

But this  was the summer's biggest mystery.  In the distance, I spied a pale patch in the long grass.

A path - for deer or humans?

Leading to the patch, which turned into a carpet.

And then, even more mysteriously, growing out of the rutted mud,

More flowers.

Flowers that looked as though they belonged in a garden.

Gallantly springing up in the middle of nowhere

Not weeds but flowers fit for a bouquet

What were they doing there?

How did they get there?

Is the answer mundane or magical? Do we really need to know? That's the lane.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Bleepin' Beeping

Dateline: Cattaraugus County, western New York state

 There can be few things more ominous than this type of sign

Or more annoying than the beeping you get from reversing lorries aka trucks. The other day we had a whole symphony of them, working on patching up the road surface. Truck after truck heading up and down the lane and each with its own musical (sic) pitch. In our hilly country you can hear them echoing all over the place which makes it ten times worse. Here's one going past the end of our drive. I believe it's the same one they attach a snowplough to in the winter.

And here's the lane partly finished. For once they were reasonably quick about it.

Our tax dollars at work as hubby would say. They seem to have done an OK job if they would only lay off the beeping. Elf and Safety again.
  Though one thing I never understand about this part of America. They spend all summer digging up roads and patching potholes and the next spring it's just as bad and they start again. The charitable explanation from hubby is that the freeze and thaw sequence in the winter wreaks havoc with the roads and then there are all the heavy trucks cutting up the surfaces. I say that the Americans have many good qualities but they are nowhere near as good at building roads as, say the French. Plus they take ages over it.  One tiny bridge took about five years to finish and the motorway to Buffalo is in a perpetual state of cone-inflicted chaos. You'd think someone would invent a better way. Or perhaps there are too many vested interests in the local road building business looking for their annual windfall.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Garden Report

Dateline: Cattaraugus County, western New York

Alas, not much good news from the garden. Well Jack is always good news and although a bit of a slow starter this year, he's done us proud again.

Sadly I can't say that for the rest of the bunch. The deer have discovered the buffet and we made the big mistake of being away in June, when they did their worst. Even the rudbekias, blackeyed susans, yellow daisies, whatever, which usually proliferate like, yes, weeds, have only grown about six inches.

 And well as the usual suspects - deer and slugs, we've had two new problems this year. One is wasps. I was gardening a couple of weeks ago and (accidentally) stuck my hand in a wasps' nest. These particular wasps live in the ground and are extra vicious. One got me on my finger, which swelled up a bit but was manageable. I sprayed the nest with the usual stuff that usually seems to do the trick. A week or so later, I was walking past - walking past at a safe distance, not poking around. One of the survivors, out to avenge friends and family, shot out and deliberately targetted my leg, which swelled up like a balloon. I spent the next couple of days with my foot in a bucket of ice. Hubby had to resort to the flamethrower. And we've just discovered a new settlement of the brutes right under the trumpet vine.
  And the other thing is mud. Mud mud mud mud and more mud. And heavy rain is forecast again for this afternoon. The chap who was supposed to clear some of our jungle with his brush hog (not a species of wild pig but a tool for just that - clearing jungles) got his tractor stuck in the mud. Yes his tractor. It took all afternoon to pull it out. We might as well cut our losses and set up in business as a mud-wrestling venue.