Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I’ve been trying to get outside every day and was just thinking how wonderful and calming it is to hear the cheerful birds and see the plants growing as usual. Some normalcy in this scary time.

Thanks to David Kanigan for posting this. Margaret Renkl perfectly expresses what I wanted to say but couldn’t find the words.

Please enjoy.

Read via Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

When is a Weed Not a Weed?

It has been hot and the older I get the less I enjoy a hot humid day so my gardens don’t get the attention they should.

The other day I finally grabbed a bucket, gloves and pruners and set out to clean up and weed my gardens. I have one garden that is in the far back corner of the yard and has been looking very nice from the house so I assumed it would be a weedy mess when I got up close.

To my surprise, I discovered that two kinds of weeds had grown in between the perennials I planted. That there were weeds didn’t surprise me but what I found amazing is that these two weeds have filled in and layered themselves into a beautiful garden!

Being the garden geek that I am I looked up what kinds of weeds they are. I have a terrific weed reference book called Weeds of the Northeast written by Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal and Joseph M. DiTomaso. If you ever want to know what is growing in your yard, I highly recommend this book. 

From what I can tell the weeds are Virginia copperleaf and Pennsylvania smartweed. The copperleaf plants are taller and are growing further back towards the middle where the Disco Belle hibiscus is. And the Pennsylvania smartweed fills in down to the edge of the garden and is full of tiny pink spike-like clusters which accent the hibiscus. The dark green textured leaves of the copperleaf is setting apart the light gray-green foliage of the Russian sage.

I couldn’t have planned it to look any better. This garden has taken care of itself and has that nice natural look that I love. What a wonderful gift.

Mother Nature knows what she’s doing when we let her.

So when is a weed not a weed? When two weeds have grown in harmony with the garden.

Bird Summer

I have decided that this has been the summer of birds for me. I’ve had summers with different themes in the past. And when I have approached this topic with friends, they usually agree when they think about it. I know Nature has cycles and I wonder if I will notice a pattern as the years go on. For now I just observe.

One year was the year of spiders since there were spider webs everywhere. Starting in August I noticed that there were beautiful webs in every available place outside. When it was raining or the sun shone at just the right angle you would see the amazing beauty of the webs. The bad part that year was walking through them by accident and that horrible feeling wondering if there was a spider tagging along for a ride!

One year it was mice. They seemed to be in all of my gardens. I found tunnels through the mulch, under plants, and anywhere they could make paths. They stayed out of my house, so that was okay.

One year it was ants. They didn’t stay out of the house. Yuck.

One year it was butterflies. That was fun and beautiful. They seemed to be everywhere and there were some I hadn’t noticed before.

This year for me its birds.

We seem to have had a variety of birds that we don’t usually see like woodpeckers and the herons.

As those of you who follow this blog know, we had the green heron family in our yard for most of the summer. One of the chicks stayed for a long time but now I think it finally moved on. But in the last week or so I have seen baby catbirds, robins, finches, sparrows and wrens.

The most fun for me has been the hummingbirds. There is a mother bird and two youngsters. Twice this summer while watering my garden I have had these tiny but brave birds hover right next to me as if to say hello and thank me for the flowers they enjoy outside the porch. I wish I could manage to get a picture of them but they have alluded me so far.

In the meantime I enjoy watching all these amazing bird families. Very entertaining!

How about you? How has Nature gifted you this summer?

May Be Continued: Tiny Efforts

Thirsty FinchThis is the time of the year when there is so much to get done in the yard that I’m not sure where to start. Today I decided to get the birdbath set up for the season.

I have an old concrete or cement birdbath that was given to me years ago, so it’s very heavy. I carried it to the back yard, set the bowl of it on the grass and began to spray water into it to rinse it out so it’s nice and clean. Within seconds of the water hitting it, I saw and heard birds chirping and flying around the yard. They love the sound of water!

It took me a little while to get the base level. I had to fill the bowl a bit and see how level it was, adjust the base and add more water and so on. Once it was level, I filled it to the brim and wondered how long it would take for the first bird to show up.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that as soon as my porch door shut, a purple finch landed and took a good long drink!

My Being today is to see how many tiny efforts I can accomplish after I take a few moments to look around where I am right now and see what can be done. Whether it will be picking up some trash the wind blew into a bush or giving the birds some fresh water to drink it’s all good.

We hear so much about how we are hurting the environment and nature that it makes me smile to know that at least on my tiny spot of the Earth, I have made a few creatures happy. (As I write this post, I am watching a few robins taking turns splashing around in the fresh water. Okay, so maybe they are chasing each other away but they are all getting to use the birdbath!)

Maybe we aren’t all bad. In fact I believe that we can all do tiny things to make this a better planet and that it makes a difference.

 

A Lazy Peaceful Summer Evening

We finally had a break in the evening storms and downpours. A little sunshine showed up drying the grass and the air. This slight improvement in the weather brought out many of the creatures we share our land with. There were birds everywhere, a squirrel in the back corner of the yard by the oak tree. A chipmunk ran along the fence rail.

Then these two young rabbits arrived.

Two Relaxed Bunnies

Two Relaxed Bunnies

They nibbled the grass for a bit and then both of them plopped themselves down. Even at rest, they made sure they were looking both ways but they stayed there for quite a while.

Sleepy eyes.

Sleepy eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was nice to see that my yard is a safe haven for so many wild creatures. Sometimes we all need to pause and relax.

Lounging

Lounging

Fireflies in June

Fireflies in the woods near Nuremberg, Germany...

Fireflies in the woods near Nuremberg, Germany, exposure time 30 seconds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that magic time between day and night; the air heavy with humidity and completely still. The birds are singing their final songs of the day and everything has the fuzzy look of twilight.

The dance begins. First one, then another; soon a dozen or so hesitant glimmers of tiny lights glow in the grass and on the plants near the ground. Slowly, as if they encourage each other, the fireflies come to life as everything else is falling into sleep.

Catskills Fireflies (single exposure)

Catskills Fireflies (single exposure) (Photo credit: s58y)

It’s a silent show of bioluminescence, now increasing in quantities. Soon there are hundreds floating and flickering above the ground, slowly rising, moving to each other in an ancient dance only the fireflies understand.

They rise into the trees making them look like they are filled with soft white, glittering lights that without words somehow convey joy.

The show continues for hours, eventually slowing as the night goes on. Finally, even the fireflies sleep.

Thoughts About Writing

I know I’ve been too quiet here on the blog and I won’t list all of reasons why but I do apologize.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to why I write and while I was on vacation (one of the reasons I haven’t posted due to technical issues!) I surprised myself by not writing much at all. Usually when I have huge amounts of time I dive in and completely lose myself in writing.

This time I didn’t and I think I’ve figured out why; at least in this instance. Partly because I got to look at all of this:

Calm evening

Calm evening

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

My view

My view

Evening cattails

Evening cattails

I write mostly to prioritize my life, to make sense of the world around me and to escape from every day life.

While on this incredibly relaxing vacation I didn’t need to prioritize, make sense of anything or escape from anything. On this vacation I only wanted to be right where I was and  I was content with that. A rare feeling for me.

I observed the beautiful world around me and all of the happenings of Nature. I walked and rode my bike. And later in the week, I read for long lengths of time which is another rare luxury.

I was feeling a bit guilty but then just let it go and enjoyed those days.

Have you experienced this? And does it surprise you as much as it surprised me?