Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cleaning up, continued

We had a nice sunny day. I put in another 2.5 hours digging in the south west corner, prying up weeds, dividing and redistributing daylilies and siberian iris, and dividing and replanting bulbs as I came across them. I also worked in the 75 small bulbs from a bag I bought at Hardware City on impulse, while we were in line to buy a space heater after the furnace died. It seems that perfection in the flowerbeds, or at least satisfactory improvement, is only about 24 hours away. At this rate, I'll finish in February. At least I'll have a nice new furnace to keep me warm between digs.

November Morning Glories

The morning glories on the fence keep blooming, even as the weather shifts. I've noticed a shift in color on colder days towards an overall pinker tone. Perhaps the shifting weather explains the occasional pink blotches in yesterday's display, which stayed in bloom well into the afternoon.


November butterflies

As mentioned in my previous post:
Painted Lady:

Painted Lady

Painted Lady


Buckeye Butterfly

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cleaning up

Yesterday afternoon was another installment in the flowerbed cleanup saga. This time I worked on the back (south-west) corner. Accomplishments included removal of the big old dead deciduous azalea, digging out a lot of poke weed, and generally digging up and replanting (rearranging) the daylilies in that corner, and the bulbs hiding in their toes. Weeds and weed roots (couch grass, poke weed, and bind weed) filled 2 county-approved paper yard trim bags.
That limited area at least is a lot better but I was rushing. I need several days I don't have to finish and really think things through.
While I was working 3 butterflies came to the purple butterfly bush: 2 painted ladies and a lovely buckeye.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

H2O end of season notes

Just to summarize and catch up:
10/19 I met the water quality program coordinator at what used to be Site 5, where I started out. It seems much as I remember it, but the water wasn't moving much. We took photos and measured out the distance a site must cover under the new protocols. Probably this will be used as a training site.
10/26 We met again, with a team of fairly new monitors, at Site 8. It went well but took so long that I(with my Zipcar) had no time to stop at Home Depot on the way home. Again, I took photos which I'll add later.
This was my swan song as a team leader. I just don't want to deal with the scheduling and logistical obligations any more.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Catching up with Fall

Last Sunday, before I went out and cut down the asters that were going to seed, I saw a small bird among them. After some hunting for the binoculars I got it in sight just as it flew up onto a branch, where it sat posing and bobbing its tail. I'm not positive but I think it was a palm warbler in fall plumage.

We have had some cool nights--not a hard frost, but there is a white dusting on the grass in the morning. I'm guessing that the temperature change explains the morning glories' color shift: the brilliant blue blossoms now are paler and have a purple cast.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The older of our 2 cars died several weeks ago, and we've been unenthusiastic about shopping for a replacement, but we've been having occasional weekend logistical conflicts. In the spirit of experimentation, I became a Zipcar member last week and reserved my first car for today. It was a shiny red Mazda 3. Just press the membership card of the person who reserved it to the sensor on the wind shield and the door unlocks. Gas is included! For local short hops there are several advantages over "conventional" car rental--no trips to the office during office hours for paperwork, no problem about picking up and returning on Sunday. This could allow us to put off car shopping for a long time. The only issue for me--as with any rental--is having to return it where it was picked up. I understand why they require it, but sometimes that wouldn't be so convenient. Still, it's a great idea.

Monday, September 08, 2008

After the rain

Saturday it rained--at last!--and now the weeds seem even more overgrown, and there are mosquitoes. But today there are also 2 Painted Ladies on the sedum, along with the crowd of various folded-wing skippers and bees. The goldfinches come in the morning to feed on the zinnias going to seed under the kitchen window.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Summer's still here

Yesterday's excitement was a hummingbird's extended visit to our butterfly bush. I think she might be nesting nearby. The last caterpillar disappeared on Friday. I am hoping that they all went off to pupate safely and will emerge later this month as 5 lovely butterflies.

Meanwhile, the yellow squash (Early Prolific Straightneck) keeps producing. The one plant is about right for our squash-eating pace.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer in the backyard

I've neglected this blog, but I've been inspired to revisit it as part of a convergence of interests: knitting and ordinary nature. By "ordinary" I mean what's here next to us wherever we are, visible every day if only we look.
So where does the knitting come in? Well, I've started reading Michele Rose Orne's book Inspired to Knit. Her designs are a bit frou-frou for me, but her process intrigues me enough that I've joined the related knitalong. The idea is to create our own seasonal "mood boards", starting with summer, with a view to using them as inspiration for our own knitting designs . She suggests collages of things torn from magazines, found objects, etc. I just took my coffee out to the back step and sat a while.
Here's what I've noticed so far:
  • Summer here is hot. The strong sunlight calls for strong colors--zinnia shades, not sweet pastels.

  • At this point in the summer everything is overgrown.
  • There are beautifully striped black swallowtail caterpillars on the bronze fennel, and all sorts of bees on the mint blossoms.

  • Butterflies in flight include Eastern swallowtail, Cabbage white, Buckeye, various skippers.

  • Flocks of goldfinches (more black and yellow!) visit the zinnias for the seeds.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring bloom report

  • Earliest ones are almost done
  • Midseason ones are peaking
  • Later ones are starting in sunniest areas
Lilacs: Yes, they both have a LOT of buds this year!
Tulips (Gudoshnik etc): just open
  • earliest red out front has a few blooms near the ground.
  • Both of the oldest deciduous (red, gold) still look dead--probably are.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Again

Late March: Daffodils mark the start of Gardener's Remorse season, when the gardener realizes that it's too late to get an early start on anything. I spent part of the morning cutting honeysuckle out of the forsythia and checking up on things. The old deciduous azalea looks dead after last year's drought, but the lilac has a lot of buds. A lone cabbage white was our yard's first butterfly.