Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spa Day

It's very chilly here today. I'll have to wear a sweatshirt for my walk. Looks like the turkey ladies have decided to take a spa day, getting themselves all fluffed up and pretty.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yard Report

Early summer, and the flowers are fantastic.

The daylilies are just beginning to bloom.

The hydrangeas are reaching full bloom. I'm not one to use all the fancy stuff that turns them all one color. I like the variety.

And, for Marti, progress report on the helleborine in my yard.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Great Walk on the Orange Trail

I had a wonderful walk on the Orange Trail on Friday. The weather was wonderful, warm with a breeze and the Meadow was so colorful. You might want to click on these next pictures to get the full effect. At first glance, the Meadow looks brownish green. But, as you look closer, you see all the wonderful colors of the early Summer flowers.

The Apples are getting bigger.

Daisy Fleabane (as opposed to the Common Fleabane that was out earlier) is out everywhere.

I found a seemingly perfect Robin's egg on the ground. I didn't touch it to see if it was broken on the other side because I didn't want to know if it had just fallen out of the nest or if it was a large piece of a discarded shell and somewhere in the tree there was a baby.

Butterfly weed was the star of the show. I have been waiting, somewhat impatiently, for it to bloom in the Meadow for a couple of weeks now. It was worth the wait.

Do you see the difference in those two plants? I didn't realize that Butterfly Weed came in more than one color. There is dark orange.

light orange

And, even yellow.

But, there were other new flowers, also. This is Tall Nettle. It's different from Stinging Nettle in that it doesn't have as many prickers. It can bite, but not as hard as the stinging stuff. The flowers are pretty, if very small and quite fuzzy.

And, I saw this wonderful stuff, Horse Nettle. In fact, I almost jumped in it to avoid a racing biker who, apparently, didn't care if he ran me over. Most of the mountain bikers on the trails are very courteous, but this guy was a jerk. I'm glad I didn't end up in this stuff. Pretty flower, but those stems look like they could bite. Click on that first picture, and you'll see what I mean.

I'm getting fitter. When I was through with the Orange Trail, I still had a bit of get up and go. So, I went across the road, to see what the trail there, that lead into the park, had to offer. I'm glad I did, because it starts off in a swamp.

It isn't a very big swamp, and, beyond it, are some very ordinary woods, but I found three flowers there.

This is Winged Loosestrife. I'm about 90% sure of this identification. I used Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, which lead me to the Loosestrifes. The description that seemed to fit was the Winged Loosestrife. But, when I went looking for pictures, the ones in the photos seemed to have more flowers. I finally decided that it was right because there was only one little plant struggling to survive. Maybe it just couldn't product the number of flowers that it was "supposed" to.

I found White Sweet Clover at the Bay, and it was here, too. And, growing right along side of it was Yellow Sweet Clover. This isn't an uncommon plant, but it isn't as common as the White.

It was while I was taking the picture of the clover that I saw what was, to me, the find of the day. I caught it out of the corner of my eye, a little speck of orange. And, when I went to investigate, I found this.

You can tell how tiny it is, by comparing it to the White Clover in the picture with it. It's not particularly beautiful, and it's another of those invaders, though I don't think it is particularly dangerous.

So, why was I so thrilled to find it? The flower is Scarlet Pimpernel. And, I have loved the book "The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Orczy, for years. Zorro and Batman are later examples of this type of swashbuckler, but Sir Percy Blakeney was the first. Though, leave it to the British to call an orange flower "Scarlet." I never thought I'd see it growing right before my eyes.

"They seek him here, they seek him there, / Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. / Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell? / That damned elusive Pimpernel!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Where This Stood

False Spirea

This now stands.

Daylily -- Spiritual Corridor

It will take a couple of years before it puts out a lot of scapes, but it is already in bud and has a beautiful flower.

Please, don't ever plant False Spirea. Ellen was kind enough to point out that it was highly invasive and advised me to get rid of it, immediately. I'm glad I did so. In the three weeks or so that this thing was in the ground, it had put out at least six new shoots, and I had to dig and dig in the hole, to make sure I got all of the new roots out. This plant is beautiful, but evil. It's now in a garbage bag in my garage. I'm going to leave it there for a couple of months, before I throw it out in the garbage, because I want to make sure it's dead.

Out of My Rear Window 6/27/10

It's going to be a hot and humid one today.

And, the kids are hanging out on their favorite "street corner."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's 5:30 AM, for Pete's Sake!

So, I figure that one of the perks of being retired is that I get to sleep in. Not really late, but, 7 AM is two hours later than the 5 AM that I used to get up at. It's been great, up to a couple of days ago. I've had to have my bedroom windows open, to get it cooled down and the last couple of days, there has been this horrible cacophony in my yard.

It's no mystery, it's crows. Apparently, Ma and Pa crow have raised two bouncing babies this year. Said babies are now fledged, but not quite willing to admit that Ma and Pa aren't the sole food providers any more. They sit in the trees and they squawk, and caw, and, I swear, scream. This gets Ma and Pa excited, and they join in the chorus. At 5:30 in the AM. Consistently. Unrelentingly. Until even the cats mumble and grumble about the noise. Until I finally pull myself out of bed, slam down the windows and figure that, as long as I'm up, I might as well stay up. I suppose it's only nature, but, right now, I just wish that they would SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010


When I went to the Amish Nurseries a while back, with Isobelle GoLightly's Lady, one of the plants I picked up was False Spirea. As you can see, it's a gorgeous plant. However, it has turned out to be a good illustration of how invasive plants get into our native habitat. Yup, it's not a native plant. And, it is aggressive and spreads rapidly.

I didn't know that when I bought it, and neither, probably, would anyone else who bought the same type of plant. I know now, and I'll keep mine under strict control, but there will be some who won't, and the plant will escape into the wild. I guess you can't stop nurseries from selling plants like this, but, I wish that they would at least give people some warning about them

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Walks This Last Week

Monday is Red Trail day, and, as most of you know, I took my good friend, the power walker along. She cracked me up. The first thing she said was that she had already done her power walk, so she was ready to stroll. An hour and a half later, at the end of the walk, she told me that she hadn't needed to do the power walk. I think she was surprised that this fat old lady was toddling around the trails so well. But, she says that she still likes her walks around the gym, with climate control and no bugs, better.

I have to admit, we did a lot of chattering, and I didn't take nearly as many pictures as usual. However, I did catch this shot of a little chipmunk up in a tree. He was so busy scratching fleas that he didn't even notice us walking underneath us.

We walked past the spot where I had noticed day lily scapes before. They are, indeed, Road Lilies, but, what I want to know is why I have to spend tons of money on spray to keep the deer away, and they haven't touched these?

When we got into the woods, we found this mushroom. I wouldn't eat it, but it looks like someone took a couple of bites.

And I caught the sun on this spider web just right.

Once into the Great Meadow part of the walk we did find a couple of interesting things.

The new flower for the day was Common St. John's Wort. If you click on the closeup picture and enlarge it, you'll see that the edges of the flowers look like they have little pinholes all around them.

And, the Butterfly Weed is finally out in many places.

I also noticed that they had mowed the path. Then I noticed what a wide path they had mowed, and how many plants they had knocked down. I started to worry about my beautiful Butter and Eggs plant. It was very close to the edge of the trail, and, almost at the end of our walk. But, when we got there, we found that the mower had just missed them. Phew!

We left with the decision made to do another walk soon. We'll do the Hojack Trail. It's a long, railroad bed trail, and I had had my doubts that I could walk it all, then turn around and walk all the way back to get to my car. We'll park a car at one end, drive to the other end and walk the trail down. Then, we'll pick up the car we left at the trail end, and drive back to the beginning to pick up the car we left at the trail head.

Yesterday, I walked the Big Meadow, near the Old Woods. Man, was it hot. Yet, there were kids running that trail. I watched them go by, with the sweat pouring off of them. Yup, looked like fun to me, not. The meadow is huge, and the path is well over a mile long.

There was so much cow vetch out that, in places, the ground was purple.

And, I spotted a very beautiful plant that was different. This one stalk of cow vetch was white.

At first I thought it was just old, but, as I focused my camera on it I saw that the blossom was just opening. The lack of color made it look so much more delicate.

There were variations in the everlasting pea also. But, that is common and expected.

The Common Mullien was flowering here. I never noticed that even the flower is fuzzy.

The new plant here was spreading dogbane. What a miserable name for such a pretty little flower.

This Japanese Beetle seemed to like it just fine.

That miserable black swallowwort is here also. Especially near the borders of the field, where there is a little shade. Here, it has formed a dense mat, and you can see the seed pods that have formed. It seems weird to hate a plant, but I hate this stuff.

But, as usual, the good far outweighed the bad. I saw many Monarch Butterflies yesterday, for the first time this year.

This cute little wren was flitting around. I was too far away to tell what kind of wren it was. The only way I knew it was a wren at all was because of the tell tale perky tail.

And, this red-winged blackbird was singing his lungs out on top of this old tree.

After I left the meadow, I got a sudden urge to see what was happening at the bay. I drove to a spot where there used to be a very popular restaurant. But, that was torn down a few years ago, and now there is only the plants that follow in the wake of demolition.

There was a ton of sweet white clover. Funny how such massive plants produce such a delicate little flower.

And, the cow vetch's relative, crown vetch, had begun to appear. I see, now, why they call it crown vetch. The flower does look something like a little crown, though I think it looks more like the fancy bow that you would find on a present.

And, I'll leave you with a view of the bay, cool and inviting on that hot, muggy day.