Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Quick Pause in the Whirlwind of Tasks

The Baccharis down at the dock is now beginning to bloom. I am so happy that this is happening before I depart. I thought I would miss it entirely, but I may even be around for a few days as it sends it feathery young ones into the wind for propagation.  It is like watching fairy ballerinas dance off the stage.

And yet some think this is just a weedy bush!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The River Changes

We are approaching the end of September. The nights have fallen into the 60s which brings refreshing, cooler mornings. Since the river water holds the heat of the day, we are now getting a soft fog on the river before the heat of the sun can burn it off.

I notice that almost a dozen mallard ducks have moved into our little plot of grasses to seek harbor in the evenings. No matter how quietly I head to the dock they hear or see me long before I see them heading out to the other side of the river.

The menhaden have moved even further up into our river and when the air is calm and the surface of the water is almost mirrorlike you can see these fish, keystone species in the food chain of our coastal ecosystems, jumping and splashing, perhaps for air? The lowest oxygen is the early morning.

This activity brings in the seagulls flying like acrobats and our resident osprey in search of breakfast. The menhaden are fatter now. The osprey caught his!

It is a wonderful time to sit and wait for sunset with a friend or two.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Mellow Yellow

I posted recently about social color challenges on my other blog. This post is a different take on the color yellow. Fall is always a mellow goodbye.  The tulip trees are the first to begin their packing.

Fall is also the time for those wonderful flowers that take so very long to bloom.  They also are yellow.

Fall is the very final bloom of that wonderful plant that provides so much sustenance to our birds building their fat for the colder days and nights.

Friday, September 06, 2019

It is...That Time

What is Fall here? 
It is the menhaden coming farther up the finger of the river pushing a fan of ripples ahead on the green surface. 
It is the seagulls soaring like streamlined white kites over the river in search of the moving menhaden. 
It is the first of the casual precision of chevron flights of geese heading south just at ember sunset.

It is cormorants communing on channel marker number 14 looking like old Greek ladies in black waiting for their husbands to return on the fishing boats.

It is the striptease of the tulip poplar trees as they throw off the first of their yellow and brown leaves. 
It is the biannual bloom of the houseplant Calamondin lime tree exuding its sleepy seductive fragrance across the back deck attracting a hundred moths.

It is the dripping sound like a soft rain of the Black Gum sprinkling down its blue and green seeds by the hundreds sending its progeny everywhere including the back of one's neck.

It is, as well, the first brilliant blush of the Black Gum leaves that startle like some coral jewelry against the last of the green.

It is dozens of goldenrod soldier beetles eating pollen and wooing each other on the fast track over the fall bloom of the mist flowers. 
It is the orb weavers that have become the size of dimes as they hang precisely in the middle of their magnificent webs with precarious ease.
It is the arrival of more hummingbirds drawn to my sugar water before their migration south. 
It is a fresh red radish salad for our juicy nutrition.

It is the seductive beauty of downy orbs of sweet, juicy peaches. 
It is Chesapeake Bay blue crabs clawing their way into the crab pots for man's mouth-watering dinner. 

It is the beginning of a magnificent moon shaped like a big, bright scoop and hung freely in the early evening sky.
It is my favorite time of the year.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Between Dances

So subtly has the weather changed from hot and humid to warm and inviting that I almost forget that autumn is just around the corner. The nights are not yet cool and refreshing, but lingering in the shade is no longer necessary during the day. Some may ask where did summer go? My summer was so super full that I think "Finally!". The last of the pepper harvest and the first of the radish harvest is now happening.

I stop by the farm stand and purchase a small basket of fresh peaches. We will eat a few as they drip sweet and juicy off our chins, but others will be peeled, sliced and frozen for pies in the winter for memories.  The crop is excellent this year.

The march of the weeds has slowed except for the Japanese stiltgrass which has invaded all from here to Texas! 

The sunsets now come earlier and I can go to the dock right after dinner and sit on the wood slats and watch two very small gray spiders perform a dance as they build webs that stretch over the water from the saltbush to the edge of the dock. They are within a foot of each other and maybe even know what the neighbor is doing, but as the sun sets they are focused on their web building. I can hear distant thunder and see the misty storm cloud far away. It reminds me there is a hurricane moving up the coast towards our neck of the woods. In a totally different weather pattern, the northern part of the county is forecast tonight for 60 MPH winds and hail. We sit between each atmospheric dance and are in a mystical land of calmness and gentle breezes.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Canoe Trip Part II

Well, I promised a wind-up of the end of our canoe trip the other day with some romantic(?) sunset photos and that is what I will do now.  The water gets rougher as we head to the open areas due to a gentle breeze and boat wakes.  Fishermen and tourists are speeding back to the dock for dinner and creating that hodge-podge of wakes that we must navigate.  Still it is a pretty gentle chop.

There is a small yellow-crowned (?) heron on the dock in the photo above which you cannot see.  But it is hard to identify with assurance as he flies away the minute we get closer. 

We are headed to the sand bar where all the gulls and terns and skimmers are waiting for the sunset and watching the boats cruise in and out the channel.  Quite a variety!

They are keeping their heads toward the prevailing breeze for ease in take-off if needed.  I turn to look behind us at where the sun now has almost disappeared because I notice the gulls' bottoms are turning peach colored.

Our silver canoe will not be easily seen on the silver surface of the water and so we must start paddling across the entryway to our side of the river to stay ahead of the shadows.

There is little water chop and not much wake from other boats, so it is an easy exercise and with the breeze.  We can see the white tops of the dock posts in the distance.

We glide smoothly to the spit of land just at the end of our dock.  And as we unload cushions and paddles we can pause to enjoy the final light from the safety of land.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Let's Go for a Ride

We took a canoe trip last week after our return from the West. We wanted to reunite with our river's backyard and the weather was just a tiny bit cooler than it had been all week. My husband always sighs when we put the old canoe with so many memories (it has moved across the U.S.) in the water and push it in a gentle glide across the glassy water surface at the end of a busy day. I like it because there is no roar of an engine and only the gentle splash of the paddle stroke as we disturb only the water's surface.  We have no biting bugs either!

I have the dry yellow boat cushion sitting in the middle of the canoe and we will steady the canoe as you step across and get in. Remember to put your foot in the middle of the canoe and then gently lower yourself. Once you are seated you can let go of the dock edge!  We will do all the paddling.  Yes, you do need to wear the life jacket.

If you look over to the right you can see the nest of the osprey in a snag on my neighbor's yard. They are finished raising their young and soon will return south. The parents are still hanging out, though.  I love their occasional cry during the day when they are fishing.

We don't have much daylight left, for about an hour. It is enough for exploring.

I am surprised at how colorful the grasses are this late in the summer.  A little pocket beach for lunch this fall?

There is almost always a surprise or two for the observant and our turn toward the mouth of the river nearer the farmland revealed a brown ball landing in a shoreline tree.  I recognized the flight and shape immediately and was thrilled to get this shot from the rocky canoe.

They are not as wary as one would think.

Up ahead is the island home of one of the wealthier families in the county.  There is a large home, a guest house, and even a garage living area.  They sit high and dry for now.  Yes, they are open to the winter winds.

Ah, it looks like the last days of summer before school starts is a time for grandchildren to visit.  How sweet.

Well, we will finish this post before we turn back home. I will post the romantic sunsets in the next post. Let me pick up the paddle and put down the camera for a bit.  See you in about 500 strokes as we head to the sand bar and do some bird watching before our return.