Tag Archives: walks


27 Aug

A couple early mornings have been still, hot, and humid.  On those mornings one can smell scents usually not available to the human nose.  Or at least my human nose.

On the house end of the hedge row there was the sharp acrid stink of a skunk.  Hmm.  This animal was scented down near the house a few nights, too.

The rank smell of some canine; fox? coyote? was up on the far end of the lane way, where piles of poop are occasionally left.

While walking two rows in on the north long edge of the corn field, holding up an arm to shield my face from  two corn leaf layers that are just at neck and head height, admiring the cathedral-like aspect and contemplating that at Hawthorne’s height it would be even more cathedral-like since the arches would not smack one in the face, I walked into a pool-like scent arena filled with the dusky smell of buck deer.  Had one or more been sleeping in the corn?  Or eating?  Or hiding?

Wednesday night was warm and still and clear when we arrived home from a meeting.  The stars in their myriads were bright in the blue-black sky.  The milky way, that highway of stars, was stretched in a curve across the vault of the sky.  Depths upon depths of stars were visible.

Later on, about 3.15AM, we were woken by a tremendous tearing explosion of thunder.  Outside it was still, not the faintest breeze stirred.  And warm.  But high above our earthly layer a big storm moved by fast, shattering the peace of the night, eventually dropping a quarter inch of rain.  The thunder and lightening went on for a good 45 minutes.  A slight breeze came up towards the end but by morning all was calm and warm and wet once again.

During that storm, Hawthorne needed attention.  Not only did the thunder upset him, he was vomiting.  Grass eating and vomiting continued until late Thursday.  He just will not stay away from the fallen corn the deer are pulling off.  Corn cob chunks can cause nasty obstructions in the intestinal tracts of dogs.  This afternoon he continues to lie down and sigh.  No food.  No water.  We have prayed for him.

Pounce slunk (is that the past participle of ‘to slink’?) upstairs and hid under our bed.

Now it is Saturday:  Thursday evening I started scoping out veterinarians who still do exploratory surgery on domestic pets without the extras many vets now think are warranted and which essentially treat the animal on the level of a human.  We do not fell at peace having a complete blood work-up, scans, and x-rays and, and, and…  Kept praying, asking for God’s mercy.

Friday morning Hawthorne was weak but went outside with me.  His urine was the color of dark buckwheat honey; scary, but there was no blood in it.  And then he slowly walked up into the field; the leading edge of his poop: a hunk of corncob with corn still attached.  He was lighter on his feet after that but after a walk and eating slept most of the day.  Thanks be to God!

Today he is himself.  We walk together now, with him on a leash until I can either buy or make a muzzle that will keep him and his beloved corn cobs apart.

Various Vicarious

13 Aug

Pounce has been accompanying Hawthorne and me on the walk in the 50 degree mornings. He makes it to the last rise of the lane way and then heads into the corn.  If he does not make it that far, he waits in the hedgerow.  On the last leg, when he either sees or hears me (if he is in the corn) he emits plaintive cries.  Today it was a questioning mew followed by the short rising brrt a kitten uses to request something of its mother.  Yesterday, though, he sent out loud grunting, yowling roars.  The cat equivalent of what you see lions doing in nature films. It was astonishing.  He could not see or hear me and thought we had abandoned him.  Once in sight he reverted to the kittenish calls.

After reading a 1910 Dupont pamphlet on Farming with Dynamite, I made plans.  I woke up hoping there was a way we could get our hand on enough to try turning over the soil in our vegetable garden.  Two rows of four holes each 3-4 foot deep dug with a hand auger would be enough.  But Jay thinks we would have to call specialists in. And get someone’s permission.  And then we would end up on some sort of list.  What freedom we have lost in the last 100 years!

My husband would know about the rules and regs.  He is a licensed, card-carrying agrochemical applicator.  He can buy and use herbicides and pesticides you and I can only dream about if one does not have a license.  Back in 1910 it was different.

He also knows about and participates in IPM.  IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management.  On the radio, oddly, I have been hearing daily ads for IPM. I keep wondering why. Perhaps because it is still available to the ordinary individual without a license.  IPM is an ecological equivalent for those who are too old for lead soldiers on counterpanes or GI Joes in sandboxes.  It is warfare by proxy.  Oh, IPM is really useful, don’t doubt it.  But surely there is some elemental frisson of excitement releasing your army of cannibalistic parasitic wasps on the unsuspecting hoards of aphids consuming the irreplaceable research plants.

Me?  I prefer to do some of the dirty work myself, up close and personal.  For Japanese  beetles,  a fingernail through the joint between the head and thorax, or a quick snap that completely removes the head partially makes up for those ruined rose petals and holey leaves on all the hollyhocks.  Potato and squash beetle larvae squish satisfyingly.

Strawberries, Malva, Lunch

10 Aug

This morning all the wild strawberries had collected dew on each leaf point:

In the garden the Malva sylvestris is in bloom:

This variety came originally from the British seed company Thompson and Morgan and had a name, now lost in the mists of time.

Since the tomatoes are ripe most days I am eating open-faced tomato sandwiches for lunch.  Necessary ingredients:

Tomato; bread, preferably homemade; mayo, ditto; and today shallot, homegrown.  The shallots I started last year from seed.  They were planted as sets this spring and have turned into lovely large shallots.  The mayo i made with garlic and used pomegranate vinegar–a drinking variety I found at the local Asian store.   Yesterday I used Russian tomatoes from Audrey.  They were fabulous, though small.  To fill out the space on the bread I cut open some Sun Golds.


Oh, and the two campers arrived safely home this evening for supper.

Red Toes

12 Jul

The corn plants are putting out extra roots for stability.  Red toes are what you see when you walk through the field arms up and head down to deflect the eye height leaves from their target.  Most morning the arms and front of my clothing gets soaked from the dew.  Not this morning.

The occasional snake, the round depressions in the dusty soil with a stray feather nearby to mark where the wild turkeys have been dust bathing, the scratch of dragonfly wings on corn leaves as they alight and take off, the little markers of dragonfly wings where one has been eaten.  Yesterday a deer again rose from the hidden field interior and leaped over the head high corn to the woods.  This one was a larger buck, his antlers already showing at least six brown velvet points.  An eft once and again, though none for about a week now.

Berries and Blight

9 Jul

Yesterday Jay took four of us and Hawthorne to “The Old Man’s Pool”.  A favorite swimming area on the creek when he was a boy, it was named by our daughter when she was little.  It has a couple deep (4 feet) pools and several small, powerful waterfalls. There is even a plastic covered metal line for a dog around a tree on one bank.  It is one of the few places where you can sit in the cool flowing water and eat ripe mulberries directly from low hanging branches.  Jay and I moved rocks to (re) start building a dam to raise the water level in one pool even further.  It was very fun.

The blueberries are blue on the earliest variety and now are getting sweet.  After supper we went and grazed.  For breakfast I made cornmeal waffles and the girls filled the depressions with their freshly-picked berries. And butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar enhanced yogurt.

The wild black raspberries are in full swing now, too.  But they are so good hardly any get into the house.

The pear tree Jay planted a couple years ago was so beautiful: it had a crop of about a dozen pears hanging and growing that could have been on the cover of any magazine for beauty and perfection.  Until this week.  A few days ago I noticed that the pears were no longer perfect-looking.  They were covered with wide brown blots.  And many leaves were.  Even the morning glory planted next to the tree was affected.  Jay investigated those ominous signs last night.  It was fire blight.  Boo.  Hiss.  Sob.   Pears are particularly vulnerable to Erwinia.

He cut the tree down and consigned it to the flames within the hour.  The Goldrush apple growing next to the pear is showing signs of fire blight also.  But it has some resistance, and Jay will spray it with copper.  We are hoping the quince and crab apples will be spared. The rainy weather here has helped spread the infection.

More dragonfly wings each morning.  But there are more dragonflies, too.  Now they seem to like the tall grass field.

The Answer is Lacewing

14 Jun

Remember these?

Whats that bug indicates they are Lacewing eggs.  Bugguide has lots of photos of adults and eggs and various stages.  They indicate the eggs are laid on filamentous stalks to reduce siblings eating each other as they hatch.

A Few Photos

10 Jun

So much going on!  A little taste of earlier this week. And of what is in bloom.  The trip to NYC was very much fun and very hot.  Doing lots of thinking about things I saw at the Metropolitan.  More to come.

We had a Yee-Haw time with friends who came for a short visit. My SIL and niece are here now.  It was their first visit to NYC yesterday.

From this morning’s walk:  see how small that grass stem is?  Those are eggs laid at the end of a stiff filament that was placed on the grass leaf.   Will try to figure out who laid these.

Deciduous peonies and poppies are out. Foxgloves, clematis, wegelia,and, and, and…..

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