Saturday, November 3, 2018

Out and About: Good-bye to my Garden

Every Fall I have a difficult time adjusting to the weather changes, the shorter days, the Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds leaving, and my vegetable garden dying. This past October had so many rainy, dreary, and chilly days that I found myself inside looking out, checking my weather apps for a break in the rain and a spike in the temperatures. I brought my pot of purple sweet peppers in and out of the house to try to save them until they were big enough to eat. I covered herbs and tomatoes with sheets when there was a danger of frost. I  picked green tomatoes and ripened them on the windowsill and also stuffed some in a cardboard box to hopefully ripen and not rot and possibly eat at Thanksgiving. A couple of asters and phlox flowers have lingered in my garden. Around the village puffball mushrooms and many other kinds were prolific in October. Here and there some flowers defied the first frost. I finally pulled up my tomato plants, emptied my flower pots, and ate my underripe peppers. I will wait several months before looking at  garden catalogs so I don't get depressed. Meanwhile, I'll start Project Feeder Watch and keep track of the Monarchs and Hummers on Journey North.
Tomatoes Still Cranking in Early October

Purple Peppers with Lots of Blossoms

October 18th Freeze

Tomatoes Cranky

Late October Rose

Peck Avenue Woods

Assortment on South Lawn

Turtlehead Flower at Orient Park

Windowsill Ripening

Ali Gibney's Dinnerplate Dahlia

Puff O'Lantern (borrowed a stem from a pumpkin)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Out and About: A Great Summer for Monarch Butterflies

As summer ends today, I have to say that this has been a great season for Monarch Butterflies! I have kept track of first of the season sightings of Monarchs since 2013. That year my FOS was 9/3/13. I only saw five Monarchs for the season. I had in my notes that they were not doing well due to a very cold and late spring with lots of rain. The season before, in 2012, was very hot and dry through to Mexico and there was little water and flowers for them during migration. In 2014 my first sighting was August seventh and I didn't see one in my garden until September first. I had Lots of milkweed plants both years and other garden flowers. FOS for the following years: 6/26/15, 7/28/16, 5/19/17, 6/11/18. This year was incredible. From July fifth until I went on vacation on September Ninth, I had one, two and one day, three Monarchs in my garden each and every day! Many neighbors and friends reported seeing them too. The butterflies were constantly egg laying. Caterpillars were spotted and new Monarchs were born. I never found a chrysalis but I did find a shiny new butterfly on the ground. It didn't seem able to fly yet and I know they have to dry their wings for a bit before flying. However, the next day it was still on the ground. I carefully picked it up and brought it to a Purple Coneflower thinking it might need nectar. It immediately uncurled its proboscis(a mouthpart used for sucking) and drank nectar for a minute or so and then flew off. Hurrah!!! is a great site to see how the butterflies are doing on their migration and wintering over in Mexico.
Monarch Butterfly on a Milkweed Flower

Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed Leaf-the only leaf it eats!

Caterpillar Poop Called Frass

Brand New Monarch Butterfly Which Needed Help to get to a Nectar Source

Monarch Cat on Milkweed Flower at Moxham Mountain Trailhead Minerva,N.Y.

Sitting to Dine

Hummer and Yellow Jacket Attracted to Sugar Water

Coneflower Seeds are Adored by Goldfinches. Leave them up!

Pileated Woodpecker Looks for a Nibble

But of Course!!! A Squirrel eats a Sunflower

Fall Crop of Kale Devoured by Cabbage White Caterpillars

White-breasted Nuthatch snatches a sunflower seed

Carolina Wren had a May Brood at my Garden, September Brood at Galloway's

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Out and About: Summer Sightings

I really did not enjoy the heatwave that stretched from June thirtieth to July fifth. Six over ninety degree days was just too much. I watched my garden and bird feeders from my kitchen and was very thankful when it finally cooled off on the evening of July sixth. Back outside I have seen a lot of Monarch butterfly activity at my milkweed plants. Today is the eleventh day straight of seeing a Monarch in my garden. This morning there were two of them laying eggs and taking nectar from flowers. I haven't found a Monarch caterpillar yet though a very hairy and hungry caterpillar, that I'm not familiar with, is doing a lot of chomping. Dragonflies have been darting around, hummers are visiting the sugar water feeders and flowers and of course, chipmunks and squirrels are in the garden every day and every hour. Enjoy!
Monarch Butterfly at Milkweed Flower

Monarch Butterfly Egg on Underside of Milkweed Leaf

Milkweed Flower-So Fragrant


Milkweed Pods


Mr. Green

Swallowtail Leaving Lily

Red Admiral Butterfly





Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Out and About: Around the Village in Photos

Baby Killdeers on South Lawn. Killdeer Families at Griffin's Ridge and Little Round Lake Boat Club too.

Tulip Tree Flowering in late May

The hard work of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on Judy Selig's Mountain Ash tree

And here it is! Can't get enough of that sap.

Breakfast of Clovers for one of the Very Many Round Lake Rabbits

Catalpa Tree Flower Buds

A downed Cottonwood branch with the white fluffy seeds we see flying all over the place like snow

Juvenile male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Northern Flicker looking for an ant meal

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Out and About: Spring is Here

I got out of town for a week in early May to Shenandoah National Park. It was a camping and hiking trip filled with beautiful views, waterfalls, birds, bears and wildflowers. When I got back to Round Lake everything had leafed out and sprung up. The migrant birds were back, including the hummers. The grass was tall, the dandelions and maple seedlings had marched through the garden and my favorite flowers, lilacs, were in bloom. The Carolina Wrens had fledged and left the garden shed so I could get in there again. I hung their nest in the hanging basket outside on the shed's porch, in case they are considering a second brood. I have spent time watching a male hummer defending the sugar water feeders in the garden. He sits on a dead branch in the apple tree, watching and waiting for a second male to zoom in and then chases him away. He was out there guarding the feeders past sunset one night. Enjoy and Happy Spring at last!
Showing Jamis the view he hiked for.  Hawksbill Mountain Shenandoah N.P.

Overall Run Falls Shenandoah N.P.

Johnny Jump-ups

Mourning Dove Juveniles

Jack-in-the-Pulpits Peck Avenue Woods

Another Jack



Lovely Lilacs

Bleeding Hearts

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird