Frost Caused Food Shortage
18 October 2019 | 1:46 pm


Several recent frosts have ended much of this year's growth of flowers.  Some still grow in sheltered locations and continue to produce pollen.  Insects of varying types find these flowers and some late food.  Clara Curtis chrysanthemums are quite hardy giving us flowers to look at and food for some bugs.


Goldenrod is highly invasive and has claimed many of our acres.  Exposed plants have been ended by hard frost while some take advantage of their sheltered location and continue to flower.  We have seen several different kinds of insects feeding on the same flower stem and even a fight between two wasps.  This fly gave us the best picture so it is included here.


Our asters have been widely placed in the gardens despite their common occurrence in roadside ditches.  Frost did not harm their leaves yet but most of the flowers are now dark masses with no pollen.  This bumblebee found one flower that remained intact.


Fragrant Lady Tresses flower late in the year.  Despite their southern native range, this plant continues on.  We have been trying to sample its scent by placing noses close to the flowers.  More than once bees like this one were working close to where we were sniffing.  No stings yet and the scent seems to be elusive.  We try to experience it at different times of the day under different weather conditions.  At best we have found only subtle samples of a very different but pleasing perfume.  This plant is well north of its natural home but we hope that it returns here  at winter's end.

Goodbye Good Friends
13 October 2019 | 1:22 am


Earlier this week Elaine placed a phone call to us.  Her house had been sold and if we wanted to dig any more plants there, we had to get a move on.  All of our Arbutus plants were dug from her front lawn.  We thought about asking for more next spring so that we could have this wonderful plant in our new shade garden.  With the sale of their home we had to move now.  As has been our habit, we took a large patch of soil to lessen the transplanting shock.  Appropriate soil from under a white pine tree was taken since that has always resulted in a successful move.  We hope that this last chance ever will give us another Arbutus patch located where visitors can easily see it.


We knew absolutely nothing about this plant that grew at the end of Steve and Elaine's road.  Recent generous rainfall had pushed this Slime mold to sent up its fruiting bodies.  Contact with other bloggers indicated that this was a Slime mold.  We cannot say no to an interesting looking new to us plant.  We need to find a suitable location for this bizarre new arrival.  When the morning trip down the hill was made to water our new plants, this one looked quite sad.  It quickly responded to some water and puffed up its pink fruiting bodies.


Wintergreen has not been successfully moved here in the past.  Our last attempt is still alive but has not grown any new leaves.  We do not usually transplant this late in the year but it was now or never.  If the new plants do not survive their move, we will still have a chance for plants from seed.  Evergreen ground covers are frequently eaten as winter ends.  These plants have been placed under a hastily placed wire cage to protect against raids by hungry rabbits, deer or woodchucks.


All of these plants grow in acid soil.  These white pine needles will provide an appropriate acid mulch for all of these new arrivals.  They will be watered frequently until the ground freezes.  We do expect that not all of these plants will survive here but at least we tried.  Both Steve and Elaine have helped us on many occasions and we already have many of their plants growing here.  We will do our best to help these plants survive here.  This special couple will be missed and we wish them well at their new location.  Thanks to both of you for all that you have done for our family.

Fox In The Morning
11 October 2019 | 1:43 am


 It was so easy to stay curled up in bed this morning.  When I did get up I looked out the bedroom window at the garden like I always do.   I saw the fox reclined on the top of the stone wall.  For a few seconds I got to admire his beautiful fur coat and bushy tail, but when our eyes met the fox disappeared in a flash.  I say disappeared but really the fox was not one bit rattled and simply kept hidden from my view using the garden as cover.  Ed grabbed the camera and we moved to the living room window.  Quick glimpses of fox were all we got to see for awhile, but then the fox came into view and hopped on top of  a bag of leaves.  First he dug in the top  to fluff up the leaves.  Then several circles were made before he settled down  just like the family dog would do.  Having flopped down in this comfortable spot it was time for a little wash up.  He licked his front paws like a cat.  The fox did not remain in that cozy spot for long.   Perhaps it was the noise of the camera or maybe he saw us move, but once again he disappeared  back into the safety of the garden..


We waited and watched, thinking our morning encounter was over, but to our delight he hopped up another stone wall where we could see him again.  For a time something up by the bluebird boxes held his attention.  At that distance he no  longer seemed a bit concerned about us.


 Foxes love to walk on the top of stone walls.  He stopped to sniff the stone wall next to the hazelnut.  Big fat chipmunks inhabit the stone wall there.  Maybe he will stop back at another time for a furry snack.


He made his way along the wall at a slow pace. We had time to take several really fuzzy pictures.


Once the fox ran out of wall  he took off streaking across the grass with his tail streaming behind him.  In seconds he was gone.  Even a brief glimpse of a fox makes my day.  This morning was beyond exciting,


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