Archive | June, 2010

Pink Ladyslippers

28 Jun

Sunday afternoon Jay and I went down into the nearby bog.  This time we were just in time to see the last few Pink Ladyslipper orchids in bloom.  Most had gone by.

There is a lot of green in the bog.  And a very little pink:

See it?  Almost in the center.

In other news:  Hawthorne, on his own,  found a young woodchuck in the alfalfa.  Isabelle and I had to intervene.  Dog 1, Woodchuck, O.  Although it did get a few chews in.

Just finished  most of my part of painting the upstairs landing and halls: five doors and all the framing and molding involved around them and the floor, and nine wall surfaces.  Still to do: the rest of the ceiling.  Whew.  White for the doors and molding.  A Benjamin Moore color: Glass Slipper, for most of the walls. White for the stairway. The pale gray blue changes with the daylight and interior light.  Sometimes it looks almost white.  Sometimes a pale blue, sometimes gray.

Peacock Shawl

21 Jun

That is what I am calling it because that is what it reminds me of, a peacock’s tail.

This is when it was drying, pinned to the floor.  It is quite lovely.

Out of Noro Kureyon sock yarn.  Wool with a bit of nylon.

Family Reunion

14 Jun

What we did this past weekend:

Rode bikes, both foot and gas powered.

Caught a young woodchuck with his bare hands.  Then Hawthorne had his first experience trying to catch one with his bare teeth.

After reaquainting myself with a motorcycle, I  even took the girls whizzing a few times up and down the airstrip.  Our top speed on grass with three of us: 35mph.

Mom and Charlie taking off.


12 Jun

After years of failing to have a thriving sage plant–the winters are so hard on it here–several years ago I planted several plants given by a friend in various spots, trying to figure out what might work in the long term.

What worked?  Planting one on the leeward side (east, here) of the raised bed so it was sheltered from the worst of the winter winds, got full sun during the growing season and some extra heat from the logs at night.

It is blooming happily surrounded by dianthus which acts as a perennial here, if happy, foxglove, pansies, and the large headed allium from my mother.  Unseen are the stocks and various herbs in the raised bed behind.

Last year I again grew an ornamental sage.  All other attempts grew well but failed to  overwinter–not nearly as hardy as regular sage.  But that deep snow pack helped and i transplanted five plants this spring from the garden before the rototiller chewed its way through.

Here is the largest and the first one starting to bloom:

Really a lovely plant.  It is on the north side of the veg garden.  Hellebores and a clematis to its right, a fancy composite, a small dianthus and encroaching jerusalem artichoke to its left, pansies and other volunteers in front.

Vegetable Garden

10 Jun

Here is the full width. I think scrolling may help.

From the top of the mulch pile.  Unseen below to the left are the large plants (sunflowers, poppies, kale) which grew in the cold frame earlier, (peppers in there now), the corn, some swiss chard and beets, pumpkins, basil.

Tomatoes and garlic are what we see here mostly.  To the left of the cold frame are squashes.

Peas, potatoes, beans.  Unseen at the near end of the potatoes are Striped Romanian cucumbers.  My favorites.

Here is a row of poppies saved from the rototiller, basil, broccoli.  Unseen but here: cabbage, sweet peas, some flowers, lettuce, swiss chard, onions.  Between the beans and the poppies, carrots.

What is New Here

9 Jun

The fields behind the house got cut.  The Boblinks left.  The tree peonies finished, the deciduous peonies are almost done.  The foxgloves are in their full glory now.  Lots of rain came on the heels of running a line from the spring to the west of us because of the depth of the dry.

The heliotrope, dianthus, clematis, roses, alliums, sage, thalictrum,  campanula of one kind, irises, perennial and annual poppies are in bloom. Just started harvesting hellebore seed.  The beans, sunflowers, cucumbers, etc. are up.  Not the pumpkins yet.  This rain will push them up.

We are harvesting garlic scapes, swiss chard, lettuce, herbs, and peas.  The wild strawberries are ready. Last night we had fettucini with scapes, chard, dill, fake crab (cooked in chicken fat) with parmesan and cream.

Isabelle has started live trapping rodents for the snake. Goldilocks has eaten one live mouse,

been bit by a shrew (which she then left alone), and rejected a dead vole. She was not given much opportunity with a chipmunk because the brother protested.  I was not home at the time.  One well-placed bite by the chipmunk could have killed her.

Painting on the upstairs has commenced.  Scraping and painting on the west side of the house has also commenced.

These eggs have hatched.  Other robin eggs have hatched.  Isabelle has been feeding young robins in their nests.

This morning Hawthorne jumped a very young fawn in the hedgerow where he was searching for his favorite woodchuck hole.  He chased ten feet behind the poor thing around the field for minutes, me chasing them yelling his name, the fawn bleating as it ran.  It was piebald.  They eventually ended up far down by the road’s edge where he broke contact.  I hope it went into the hedge before the road, though the girl and I could find no trace of it.  Hawthorne would not have hurt it.  He likes chasing, though.  The noodle.

He weighs about 10% more than he did a year ago.  Between 54 and 55 pounds.  He was too skinny.  Now he is just right.  He is built like the older typical Airedales.  Many of this breed are now tipping the scales at 70-90+ pounds.  Much too big, in my opinion.

The piano soft pedal got fixed once again.

Five of us went to see the movie ‘Babies’ last night.  I really liked it.  The babies from Namibia and Mongolia made the US baby in particular look like an incredible wimp.

Today is My Late Brother’s Birthday

1 Jun

May 16th on the way to church we stopped and picked up a Wood turtle which was beginning to cross the road, presumably on her way to lay eggs.  Her defense?  Pee for a long time.  Repeatedly.  I was thankful I had held her angled away from my Sunday clothes.  And that we had papers in the car to put down on the floor when the she indicated her defensive tactic was going to be repeated.  It is truly amazing how much water a turtle can hold.

She had no claws on her front left leg, and her carapace was gnawed upon in areas.  Our guess is she was quite old. We are sure that, like Minn, she has lots of adventures to tell.  If only she could.  We moved her to a stream on a much less public road with a nice tilled field nearby.  She was large–she was the length given in the article as the maximum.

Later that day we saw our first hummingbirds of the year.  The night of the 17th I saw the first fireflies.  More of those each night, now.

This past Saturday morning there were at least a  dozen double-winged dragonflies up in the protected end of the corn field.  That same walk I found the first potato beetle of the year on a small Jimson weed.  I was ripping them out of the corn field as I walked.

The wild roses are in bloom–both pink and white. The yellow double from my grandmother is blooming also.

Saturday evening we went to visit a local bog where grow native orchids we have never managed to see in bloom.  But that evening we saw several yellow lady slipper blooms and the large growing plants of the pink lady slippers, which bloom later. Also noticed for the first time Water Avens, of the Geum family. I pull out another geum species around here as a weed.  Maybe I should not?

The farm family which own the land were there also so we had a nice chat.  If we had been in an Austen or Gaskell novel, they would be “the family of the squire”.  They are the largest land-owning farmers in the area.  What a treat.

Three of the grand squirrels still come to be fed on the woodpile.  This morning we finally had some rain–.3″.  So I have been giving them water as well as cracked hickory nuts.  The Bobolinks and Orioles sing every morning.  Starting about 4AM.

Which is when I went for walk Monday.  The not-quite-full moon cast my shadow as I walked.  The eastern sky was beginning to lighten, enough to see the deer which jumped out of the shrubbery 25 feet behind me, but not light enough for it to know what I was.  No breeze, either.  So there we stood, stock still staring at each other, it stamping a hoof every 20 seconds or so and me not moving anything but my eyelids to blink.  We seemed to stay that way an awfully long time.  Two minutes?  I had started wondering how long this would go on and was determined that I was not going to be the first to yield.  Then it snorted and bolted across the road into another shrubby area, where is continued to stamp and snort as I walked on.  It acted aggressive enough that I was thankful it was spring and the bucks are without antlers.

The neighbors down the road must have a peacock.  An intermittent mournful morning cry came from some trees.  It was noticeable from half a mile away.

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