There are always surprises when you live in the woods, and ever evolving ecosystem. This means that these woods are hardly as natural as they were generations ago. This was unnatural farmland, perhaps owned by a black family, about 80 years ago and has now grown back to woodland complete with invasives and paved roads. My husband even found a broken hand plow from Germany in the woods. A change but not uncommon finding was the bottom jaw with tiny teeth of a fawn near our path to the dock. We had seen buzzards flapping awkwardly onto tree branches in that area, but thought nothing of it as we were packing for a trip. By the time we returned there were just a few bones left beside the jawbones and these were being eaten by beetles. We had not seen any fawns this year and while we have an ongoing battle with the deer eating landscape plants at the driveway entrance, we were also sad not to see the dappled backs of the new young ones with their soft brown inquisitive eyes. Yesterday, while I was making quiche for dinner, I looked out the kitchen window as I often do and saw this young one.
While I went to get my camera and quietly opened the door to the deck, I saw this second one!
Yes, he/she is sticking their tongue out at me. They watched me for a few seconds. No adult could be seen to snuffle or stamp or flash a tail and warn them, so they just stood. After a short time, the slightly smaller one of the two turned and decided it was time to retreat back into the safety of the shadows of the trees and was soon followed by the other.
I was glad for the break in cooking and relieved to know that two young ones, who may be on their own, seem to be stable for now.
We had a break today. The heat and humidity disappeared and was replaced by high 70-degree weather and no humidity. It meant I could go outside to weed in the morning for an hour or so and not have to wear a towel around my neck. The rains yesterday made the ground soft for pulling up the invasive crab grass and that newcomer, the Japanese stilt grass! When I was done I went inside for my second cup of coffee. While sipping on it and looking out the patio window I saw this...
That crazy ten-foot sunflower plant in the pot on my deck had attracted two hummingbirds. Both were territorial and fought for space making it twice as hard to capture them. But, as you can see, my sunflower is blooming very well!
While I have not seen the goldfinch, I expect them any day as the first blossom in the photo above is drying and producing seed.
I could see the little hummers flitting through the trees as I sat on the patio waiting for them to return. They are such fierce fighters with each other. One even flew up to my face within two feet as if trying to figure out my species.
Those who read my other blog know that I have been in New York City for the prior week. Those of you who garden realize that being away from your growing plants for a long time is a bit traumatic. You try to plan your vacation trip around the growing season. Or you either throw things to the hands of fate or you try to find someone to water and check on things and keep your fingers crossed . We did not have anyone to really check on things except the man who helps mow and trim on the weekends. But we "lucked out" in that a heavy rain came mid-week. My roses are bereft as there was no one to pick off the beetles and deadhead to encourage more blooms. My other flowers have almost completed blooming before the fall time.
This time in my yard with the heat and humidity there are a few late lilies, the ever patient phlox and the rather weedy annual flower bed full of zinnias and sunflowers all overshadowed by a thousand coreopsis! The crepe myrtles are still in bud.
The vegetables had grown large and watery...cucumbers and tomatoes. We will pick and eat them anyway.
This year hubby planted a new variety of sweet blueberry and we had amended the soil to finally get a decent crop. Granddaughter helped us pick a pint or so for pancakes the next morning.
I also noticed that the planters I had placed in large bins of water (with mosquito dunks) had managed to hold their health if indeed looking a bit haggard from wind and pelting rain. But there was one surprise...
This sunflower, that volunteered from the bird seed this past winter, I staked well and it is now 10 feet tall! Soon goldfinch will flash their golden beauty and start picking away at the seeds and chumming down on the golden petals.
My gardening will have to wait as the weather is now unbearable!
Each year I purchase a few annuals to put in pots on my deck. Every other year or so I change out the soil. This year I did not replace the soil as I was in California. When I returned I got a fertile sunflower from seed dropped by a bird during the winter feedings on my deck. (All photos were taken through a somewhat dirty window!)
This sunflower is one of those giants you see in fields in France or perhaps our own Midwest. It is huge and I have staked it in the hopes of saving it from our winds and torrential downpours. Of course, it really sucks up all the moisture and I have to go out and water each day. It seems that the goldfinch are impatient for it to flower.
The male and female are not as disheveled as they have probably gotten their young ones out of the nest and on their way. But their impatience is strong. So now they are tearing apart the seeds of another volunteer in my petunia pot...the zinnias. It is a colorful show I must admit, although it will probably ensure no zinnia volunteers next year.
I have been hiding from the hot sun and very humid days recently. I sneak out early in the morning and water a few places and weed a few others in my flower gardens. Then I lumber back inside with cut grass covering my feet and twigs in my hair and bugs on my back and go to my computer in the air-conditioned cave and spend time "painting."
This 'artwork' hides the weeds and softens the dead-heads on the flowers and evens out the harsh sunlight.
And I can pretend my garden looks as nice as yours. Your know who you are up in the lovely Northwest with all your soft and misty rain!
Above is a click-eyed beetle. This one was about two inches long and quite and an eye-catcher. It does not bite or sting and those round outlined circles on its back are not the eyes. In the adult stage, it eats the larva of other insects, so it is considered beneficial. I understand that if you catch it and put it upside down on the ground it will click its spine and right itself. I was not brave enough to do that.
Above in this photo is the Hummingbird moth that is a voracious feeder of nectar. This one is loving my bee balm. They also are beneficial and do not sting or bite. They almost look like a hummingbird when flying.
According to one website, "Hummingbird moths have been seen as a lucky omen. In particular, a swarm of the moths was seen flying across the English Channel on D-Day, the day of the Normandy landings in the Second World War."