Friday, September 20, 2019

The Lads Are Back!

Or, probably in this case, lasses. It's been a while since we've seen the turkeys. But I walked up the lane the other morning and 

...there they were, on the neighbour's immaculate lawn.

They didn't hang around. Meanwhile, this little salamander was trying to cross the road. Sadly some of his friends had been squashed but I hope he made it.

I'm never quick enough to get a good picture but here are some Canada geese flying south - or west in this case. Another perfect V passed right over my head, so close I could hear the rush and beating of their wings, not to mention their purposeful honking.

Autumn is fast approaching, despite the fact that, with all the rain, we don't seem to have had a summer.  The goldenrod is taking over everywhere.

The neighbour's pond is rippling with autumnal breezes.

The wildflowers getting ready for tapestry time.

And in the garden, the evening sun shines through the fir tree.

This is about as good as the garden's got this year.

It seems the deer didn't eat all the garden phlox. Just most of them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Chipmunk Grand Design

You've got to hand it to the little stripy fellas -they're nothing if not resourceful.

While we were busy cooing over them and handing out peanuts on the front porch, they were up to something of their own at the back...
  The first thing we noticed was a suspicious amount of debris around the oak tree.

Odd - it hadn't been all that windy. A closer look showed empty acorn hats - much of the contents had disappeared.

 Later, we heard the sound of plopping and the end of a branch mysteriously shaking.

The chipmunks were having a relay. One shinning up the oak tree to nip the twigs with their acorns and send them falling onto the grass, another coming down. "Go on Harry, it's your turn, bite those twigs son!"

And around the tree on the ground, the rest of the family were busy collecting the spoils.

 Aren't we clever!

 Somebody's going to have a good stash for the winter. Never mind that our oak looks as though it survived a hurricane. And it's not just ours.

 This was the scene around a neighbour's tree up the lane.
  Not content with tunneling our lawn into a swiss cheese, they're out to get the trees now. Little darlings.

Friday, September 13, 2019

A Prickly Visitor

 Dateline: Cattaraugus Country, western New York state

What on earth will be next in the wildlife circus we live in?

The handyman was working on the outside of the house when I heard a shout and he burst in through the screen door, white as a sheet,
  "There's - there's some kind of animal out there........

........and he's heading straight for where I'm working!

"Do you think - could it be a porcupine?"
 "Yes",  I said - the Brit to the lifelong western New Yorker -  "that's definitely a porcupine" And I added optimistically, "Don't worry, he won't hurt you."
 Then I started to have second thoughts. "Don't go too close in case he shoots his spines out!"
 "No he won't!" Hubby had emerged behind the house, "That's a fallacy".
  "But what about the neighbour's dog? He turned up at the door looking like St Sebastian shot through with arrows."
  "Well he was probably trying to bite the porcupine. The spines have barbs so they get stuck."

I wasn't about to get close enough to find out. But the handyman had downed tools until such time as the new visitor left.  I grabbed the hose and tried a gentle spray. Mr Tiggywinkle turned and looked at me, "You cannot be serious!" and waddled slowly, very slowly under the bush right where the handyman was working.

Hubby tried the same trick on the other side. Very nonchalantly, the porcupine emerged again and waddled down the hill and out of sight.
  Last week we had family staying,  including a tiny rescue Yorkie.  I do not want to think of what could have happened there.
  Still, the porcupine, with his little beady black eyes, was quite the charmer. Though we'd prefer he didn't come back too soon.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


  We waited until dark. On one of the few nights when it wasn't raining. Then hubby announced grimly, "That's it - we're going in". He carried the petrol can; I had the matches. And the torch. As the searchlight swept the flower bed, hubby slung an almighty slosh and I struck a match with a gung-ho flourish. It broke.  So did the second one. And the third. "Defective weaponry!", I cursed. Finally, on the fourth attempt, as our helpful commenter (see below) had so graphically described, there was a sizeable "Woosh!" and flames leapt upwards. We stood back to gloat on our handiwork.
  The next morning we inspected the scene. There was unavoidable collateral damage - the rudbeckia and the garden phlox slightly singed. There was a small black patch in the flowerbed. And all appeared quiet on the wasp front. We congratulated ourselves on a successful operation.
  That was last week.
  Yesterday I walked past the patch to have another gloat. I heard an ominously familiar sound. Two wasps were jauntily celebrating their survival. I blasted them with what was left of the spray.
  Today I walked past again.  Three more of the brutes whirled around,  defiantly buzzing the wasp equivalent of "Remember the Alamo!" You've almost got to admire them.