Friday, August 27, 2021

Dock Walk Part Two

Time to renew our walk across the flagstone steps to the gravel path to the edge of our finger of the river from my prior post. (Click on photos for a bigger view, of course)
Today is really hot and muggy so I hope you brought your sunhat! Fall is on its way from the angle of the sun in the early morning, but by mid-morning it is once again unbearable unless you are in the shade or sopping wet. Some brave ones are out there in their kayaks this morning. It is now later in the day and the sound of a chain saw cutting down a tree across the river is disturbing the peace, but perhaps these three do not mind.
Below is what the marsh on the left looked like last fall.

And above taken at another time but giving a better shot at low tide. You can see that the rock surf wall is there in the distance but the geese and ducks have cleaned the sand of the planted marsh grasses. We are going to see if that can be resolved as they form an excellent habitat for small creatures and a good buffer for the surf.
There are three boxes planted with grass at different heights of sand. Hubby wants to see which works better. He will put unattractive wooden stakes with flags to hopefully discourage the geese when they return. This is not based on anything he has seen work. Just his crazy project.  Although the use of flags on stakes has been done by others.

On the right-hand side of the dock above is our new project of more "living reef" which is a rock wall several feet out from the shoreline and with open spaces for fish and crabs, etc to swim in and out and protect themselves from larger predators. It helps break up boat wake and storm surge while also providing habitat for living things during the rest of the time. The rock wall, which rests on black plastic to prevent it from sinking, will curve around following the yellow tape with two open spaces to allow living things to swim through.  You cannot see but the stakes are stuck in reef balls under the water that we hope will encourage the spat to settle from our oyster floats beneath our dock.  Our neighbor on this side is quite happy to go along and help pay for half.  We will save a lot by doing this ourselves, even hiring help on the weekends.

Below is a photo of what most people do to protect their shoreline because it is cheaper and faster. But not much can live against a wall like that, only snails and silverfish. 
And, surprise, who do I see who cannot wait for the helpers that will be coming over the weekend. He is piling rocks to make it easier for them...!!  He loves his projects.  I think I will go take a nap.....ok, after I exercise.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Come Visit

I will take you this morning on a short walk down to my dock. The back patio is only 150 feet from the water as we walk along a gentle slope of weedy mowed lawn and then across the back lawn under the sprinkled shade from the tulip and oak trees. Then we go down a gravel path under the arching branches of the viburnum that has now formed its seeds.  These will be eaten later by cardinals, robins, Eastern bluebirds, and cedar waxwings among others.  Now the fruits are too green, but they will become a dark blue and the leaves will become wine red in autumn.  Mother nature has planted dozens of them by the river for us to enjoy.

Even before I break into the sunny part of the dock the sharp-eyed osprey across the river has spotted me.  How can he see my movement behind the heavy shrubbery?  I really think this is the one that I worked so hard years ago to prevent nesting on the roof of our boat.  I destroyed the nest every day or so and they have never forgiven me, even though we built them a platform within weeks.  He cries and cries to warn others that the bird killer is out and about.

I duck down to take some photos of the grasses.  That is when I hear the gagging cry of our resident heron as he leaves one side of the river to fly to the other, perhaps responding to the osprey.

I duck down low to photograph the marsh.  You can see above that we have a freshwater seep into the brackish river because the cattails are happy here. In later fall they will burst their seams into an untamed beard of seeds.  Also, this flowering shrub below that I think is a type of mallow has really bloomed this year.  We have the rose mallow, but the flowers are so much larger and they have stopped blooming, so I am not sure which one this is.

I have to zoom in with my lens so that you can see their real beauty.

The butterflies and bees do love them and stop by often.  They are good natural pollinators.

I can hear a woodpecker tapping sharply on a tree in the distance on the other side of the river.  I hear his trumpet call.  It is the Pileated who commands such a presence that he can echo from across the river.  His territorial cry is unmistakable.

As I work my way down the dock I hear a murder of crows in the trees along the neighbor's shoreline.  Their call is guttural and angry.  I think they have cornered an owl.  I look and look, but the trees are too heavy to show me what they have bullied.  Even if I saw a shape, owls are impossible to see with their natural camouflage.  The call of the crow is really frightening.  Glad that the brave owls and eagles ignore this bully.  Although they are there to protect their own young crows from these predators.

Well, this morning has been much noisier than I expected.  Clearly, I have risen long after the birds have been up.  In the next post, I will show you the project(s) my husband has started down at the dock.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Peaceful and Stimulating

The weather here has been lovely. A few days of hot and humid, a few days of rain, a few days of cooler weather. It is exactly the type of August I would have ordered if I could order such a thing! I realize that others are not so lucky with the weather, and I do hope that things get repaired and replaced. EXCEPT no one can replace that lost niece or the pets!! 

I have been doing more digital painting and thought I would share before all the winged beauties are gone.
And last but not least!
Hoping this past weekend was peaceful and stimulating at the same time! I like it that way.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Taking Flight

So hard to believe that this summer is almost over. With the COVID war it seems that every month is Ground-Hog Month.  Elders, such as I, who have lived a full and rich life have not had to worry or stress as much as those with children or frail relatives.  What is the worse that could happen to us...the shortening of our march to the inevitable?   The non-boomers have been stressed with days filled with juggling acts. I guess I always knew that people were wary of science and found it hard to understand, but I am totally surprised that they want to declare war against it, knowing they were certainly losing and most probably would die. 

Summer moves on in spite of mankind's hubris and my garden is messy with blooms and even messier with pollinators.  They know nothing of the pandemic and are unable to comprehend what climate change might mean.

The butterflies have all emerged as winged fairies.  They dance across the driveway from one flower bed to the next inserting amazing long tongues into parts of the flower that I can barely see!

This "might" be the pipevine swallowtail.  But if you know better feel free to correct me.

Above is the zebra swallowtail.  They lay their eggs in our pawpaw trees and we have many of both.

Everyone loves the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.  They are the true floaters in the air.

Another Tiger Swallowtail on one of my huge dinner plate-sized sunflowers.  It is so large that he can share it with one of the bumblebees.

This fellow is a skipper.  I "think" it might be the silver spotted.


Above could be a painted lady, but I have begun to realize that butterfly identification is truly a science more than an art.  I will leave my decision on identification to the entomological experts.