What can I say? I’ve been really slow getting things done this fall, and haven’t taken many photos.
I picked away at getting the yard all ready for winter. I pruned the forsythia bush that was growing over the front step, and noticed that it seemed to be a bit confused about the season…
I brought a few branches in and put them in a vase and they have been slowly blooming.
I dug up my carrots.
I am missing the birds, since we had to stop filling the feeders. There is still seed in the globe feeder though, so the chickadees still visit.
We got our new bed, plus a new duvet (I’d been wanting to get a new one and they had them at Costco); we are all sleeping comfortably.
One of my Christmas Cacti is blooming; it’s a nice splash of colour as winter looms.
We woke up on Wednesday morning to a frosting of snow on everything; it didn’t look like much, but the roads were slippery on the way in to work. By afternoon it was pouring down rain, and the snow disappeared.
But we woke up to more this morning. Happy December 1st! Have some snow!
Frank & Zappa have barely set foot outside, not that I blame them, especially since it seemed to be precipitating freezing rain this afternoon.
There has not been much going on in the garden this year. A late start, too much rain, not enough sun does not lead to bumper crops.
Early on, I was heartened by the fact that I had lots of green tomatoes. Lots of green tomatoes should surely lead to plenty of ripe tomatoes…Or not, as things turned out. I’ve been picking the odd tomato here and there…
Became a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich
I managed to grow a few cucumbers…
And made dill pickles for the first time.
Pickles from the garden, salsa from farmers market tomatoes
This past Sunday, I brought in the most tomatoes I’ve picked at one time so far this year.
Along with some leftover farmers market tomatoes, they became my second batch of salsa of the summer.
Oh well, they can’t all be banner years.
Sunday was back and forth between sunny and cloudy, but still warm, so we had the patio door open. The fresh air is nice, and it keeps the cats happy.
Late in the afternoon we had a sudden downpour, and we kind of forgot about the patio door for a bit…We ended up with a bit of a puddle in the kitchen. Nowhere near as big as the puddles outside though.
Fortunately it didn’t last all that long.
I can’t keep the bird feeders full lately – I guess the critters are getting ready for winter. Around 6 pm on Sunday, I looked out to see a cardinal and a squirrel sitting in the cherry tree.
This cardinal was not leaving until the squirrel gave up the sunflower seeds…
The squirrel finally did move on, and the cardinal moved right in.
Not that the squirrel went very far.
Pretty brazen little fella. I was out in the yard one day, with both cats, and the squirrel was scampering around the lawn; he did have to make a hasty retreat when Zappa noticed he was there, so I guess he’s not completely careless.
The squirrels have not been helping my tomato situation either. I’m pretty sure they got most of my cherry tomatoes, and I keep finding half eaten tomatoes – or green tomatoes with a few teeth marks – on the ground. I don’t mind feeding them, but the tomato stealing I could do without.
Anyway, it seems that the lazy days of summer are pretty much over for this year…
Frank and Zappa will just move right on to snoozy autumn days instead.
Sunday, September 1st we woke up and had an excellent breakfast of pancakes with strawberries and bacon. I relaxed with my coffee. I looked out the window, and saw four blue jays sitting in the cherry tree.
And a squirrel.
Sometimes I will hear a jay squawking…
And I look out to see blue jay and squirrel facing off over the peanuts.
The blue jays are not much interested in sharing.
It turned out to be a day for bird watching. Some days things are pretty quiet at the feeders, but on Sunday there seemed to be a constant stream.
A hummingbird even stopped by.
And, from what I could tell, a family of finches. It looked like the adults were feeding the young, who were not 100% steady on their wings yet.
Maybe the birds could tell that the rainy weather was coming. Yesterday and today have been wet and grey, though still warm. Mostly we’ve had flocks of grackles and the squirrel busily emptying the feeders. Greedy guys, those grackles.
End of July, going into August, I was feeling pretty tired. Exhausted, in fact. To know me is to know that me being tired is not exactly out of the ordinary, but I couldn’t seem to shake it and I was feeling frustrated because I felt like I wasn’t doing all the things I should be doing.
Going into the second week of August, I decided that I had to just go with it. If I came home from work and didn’t feel like doing anything, so be it. We were having much nicer weather that we had been earlier in the summer, so I would take my book and my camera and go sit out in the yard. The cats kept me company, I listened to the birds and soaked in some summer. You’ve heard that saying about a rest being as good as a cure? Well, resting in a peaceful garden does me a world of good.
Of course, if I left my chair, this was likely to happen…
There have been a ton of birds around this year – I guess that’s what happens when you put up lots of bird feeders. It’s been fun seeing new ones show up and trying to figure out what they are. The latest – Chipping Sparrows? They have little rusty red caps and often show up in little flocks.
I don’t have a lot of fall blooming flowers, unfortunately. I keep thinking I need to do something about that. But the comfrey was blooming and that seemed to be enough for the hummingbirds.
I also have a bumper crop of catnip growing in the herb garden, which makes for happy cats.
Though I think nice weather, and garden time in general makes them happy. They look all sleepy and relaxed…
But they are always ready to pounce.
You know. Maybe. If they feel like it.
Our squirrel is thriving, busily burying peanuts all over the yard…
…And enjoying some sunflower seeds for a snack…
…And I’m pretty sure he’s responsible for this:
After I came out and found one of the sides laying on the ground, I gave up and moved the feeder. I don’t mind feeding the squirrel, but I’d rather he didn’t dump all the feed on the ground.
Tomatoes are starting, oh so slowly.
And we have carrots. Why is it I can always grow carrots? Even if nothing else works.
And the end of this tale, or so we hope…
They got the dozer running again, and they smoothed out the hill. It looks like they are trying to direct the water run off. Once they finished that, they took the bull dozer away, and we haven’t seen anything since. We hope that’s the end of it.
A couple more birds to finish things off…Couldn’t decide which of these I liked best:
And, a toughie, taken through the window and the fence, of a cardinal that didn’t want to stay still…best I could do:
Technically, as I’m writing this, it is September 1st. These photos have been sitting around, waiting to be posted, but I haven’t been in the mood to sit down at the computer and do it. So now, we’re going back in time, just a bit, to have a look at August…
We arrived home from a short visit to Nova Scotia on August 3rd. Frank & Zappa say thanks to Jim & Lynne for the box full of newspaper; once that teapot was unpacked, they enjoyed some excellent napping.
Things were not looking too bad out in the garden either.
August 5th - Tomatoes!
August 5 - I grew 2 blueberries this year; Cory ate them.
August 7 - Dug up my garlic
Look at those stalks!
August 11 - Jalapenos seem to be thriving
This is what happens when you refill bird feeders on your patio table….
And the hummingbirds visited often, not even the rainy weather could keep them away.
August 5th - Dinner in the rain
August 5 - not the level of nectar in the feeder...
Hungry, hungry, hummingbirds….
August 11 - Sunny day
August 11 - Notice the feeder level, 6 days later
Hummingbirds are not easy to photograph, but it’s been fun practicing.
Showed up on Aug 7; filled in the big hole across from us and flattened out the hill, and was left there. A fuel truck showed up the next day. Still, it sat there. Then other trucks started showing up, and workers started tinkering with the engine. All this time, we are hoping and praying that it will go away and not come back.
Kinda sad that it’s the end of July already; feels like summer just started!
I was late getting my garden started this year, and it hasn’t been getting a lot of attention since then. It seems like either the weather is not cooperating, or I don’t have time. But, on the upside, I have not really had to worry about watering.
Tomatoes are looking pretty good…
Okay, yes…I maybe just wanted the picture looking down at the Tardis from the deck; but you may also notice that the pepper plants I have sitting outside the deer fence have survived just fine so far.
I’ve had mixed results with my deck planters. Exact same tomato plants, different types of container soil:
Lesson learned – stick with my usual brand of container soil.
So far have not harvested much from the garden – some green onions and herbs. On Saturday I did pick a bucket full of basil and we had pesto for supper.
And finally got around to cutting the garlic scapes, which should have been done ages ago. They were huge.
Not sure how easy that is to see, but I have 4 garlic plants on the left that were planted from Dad’s garlic – the scapes were almost as tall as me. Then on the right was a different type. They are looking like they are ready to dig up, and I am curious to see what I end up with. These plants are all much bigger than any other garlic I’ve grown over the years.
Still stalking wildlife around the yard…Baby deer!
In the past, I’ve found it hard to get photos of the fawns, but thanks to my shiny new deer feeder, they are hanging out on my lawn this year.
We’ve been seeing hummingbirds at the feeder we have outside our patio door. I would like to be able to stand near the window for a close up view, but they won’t come to the feeder if we are near the window. I can stand back and zoom with the camera, which means I’m taking photos through layers of glass…The sliding door was open in this case, so this was taken through two layers of patio door…
And, of course, they don’t stay still for very long either. But, there we were making dinner one night; Cory had the patio door open to go back and forth, and standing behind the kitchen counter I realized I had a perfect vantage point.
Monday, I happened to look out and see a woodpecker, sitting in my little blue glass feeder (which he barely fit in). So I ran to grab the camera, and managed to capture these:
He seemed to be checking out the feeders, then flew to the maple tree, so I sneaked around back and hid behind the bush on the corner.
It still amazes me that I get to see all these creatures, even though I’m living in a city. It’s a small city, to be sure, and we lucked out with our location. I never really wanted to be a city dweller, so I’m happy we ended up where we did.
August, here we come; bring on the tomatoes!
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For a long time, I did not have any bird feeders because I was afraid I would be luring unsuspecting birds to their death. I finally decided to try it last summer, and found that there were no more casualties than usual (the cats will get one or two most summers, it seems, no matter what I do).
We enjoyed watching the birds at the feeders, so I decided to get some different feeders to attract different types of birds, which seems to be working. We get a constant stream of birds coming and going these days.
In addition to the usual birds, we’ve had mourning doves, and a pair of cardinals that occasionally make an appearance.
Costco had a pretty bird feeder for sale earlier in the summer, so I picked one up. I got it home and realized just how huge it was; I thought I really don’t need a feeder this big! But I decided to give it a try. I only filled it half way because I was afraid it would be too heavy. And the next morning, the feeder was empty.
This has happened every time I fill the feeder. No matter how full, or what kind of feed I use, the morning after I fill the feeder, it will be empty but for about an inch at the bottom.
Thursday after work, I filled it about half way. Then I went about my business, doing some things in the house, getting dinner started. About two hours later, I happened to look out and the feeder was empty. I decided it was time for a stakeout. Friday was my usual work from home day, so I filled the feeder around lunch time, grabbed my laptop, and parked myself by the living room window.
The birds came, and went all afternoon. Our squirrel was back. It was a very entertaining afternoon, but I saw no clues to help solve my mystery. Friday evening, I took my kindle and my camera out to the yard.
Frank and I spent a pleasant evening relaxing, we saw birds, a butterfly, and deer. I told Cory I felt like I was in the middle of a Disney movie.
I managed to capture the Cardinal (above) on my camera. Up til then, we’d mainly see a red blur fly over and say “that must be the cardinal.” We’d seen the female hopping around on the lawn, but too far away to get a good photo. I saw a hummingbird a few times, but was never ready with the camera.
Finally, it was time to go in for the night, and the feeder was still plenty full.
Of course, the next morning it was empty. So I filled it again, with the last of my bird feed.
Saturday evening, I went back out in the yard. I actually managed a photo of the hummingbird. My chair was farther away from the honeysuckle, I think the night before I’d been too close; the hummingbird came back several times, but wouldn’t stay. Last night it went right for the honeysuckle blossoms.
Our squirrel was up a tree and refusing to come down. I looked around and discovered Zappa napping under a bush. Smart squirrel. Zappa left, but it took the squirrel a long time to come down.
Eventually, Frank came out and let me know the he wanted me to come around to the front of the house. My cats have me very well trained.
So I brought out a lawn chair and settled in the driveway while Frank snoozed on the front steps.
The light was actually better from this side of the house, since the sun was setting behind us. I was hoping maybe the cardinals would come back and be more cooperative about posing.
Based on the time stamps on the photos I took, this deer stayed for at least 4 minutes. It would stop and look at me, but I was staying pretty still in my chair, and that must be some tasty bird seed. She was finally spooked by Zappa walking around my chair, yowling for attention, and ran off across the street.
Then two minutes later…
I kinda like that last one because it looks like she’s grinning at me.
So mystery solved. I thought I was buying a bird feeder, but apparently I purchased a shiny deer feeder. And, predictably, the feeder was empty this morning.
I was watching the birds at the feeders, it looked like they were enjoying the break in the weather as well.
I saw this guy, a new one that I’d never seen before.
Who are you?
I thought maybe pigeon? But he doesn’t look like the usual grey pigeons we get around here, so I googled and it is apparently a Mourning Dove, also known as a Turtle Dove. I’ve been seeing him quite regularly over the past week.
Next thing you know, I see this guy…
He made three trips to the peanut feeder, that I saw. I waited a while after the last trip but he didn’t come back. I very much enjoyed watching his antics though.
This is the biggest squirrel I’ve ever seen around our yard, I think. As a matter of fact, it’s the first squirrel I’ve seen in a while. We used to have a few of those little reddish ones around, they would sit on the wood fence and scold for all they were worth. I don’t think we’ve seen any in the past couple of years though – too many cats around these days I suppose. Hope this guy manages to avoid all the hunters!
When I went out to check on the garden, I noticed that my peas are coming up and the strawberries are ripening.
So I missed the actual full moon. I was too late going out to look on Saturday night, and it was behind the trees ~ which did look kind of cool…
And Sunday night it was foggy here.
We had sun when I got home from work yesterday, so I finished all my planting…
Oops! An empty garden...
…Except I have a newly empty garden on the side of the hill.
For the past three years, our landscapers have been spraying a nest of some sort of stubborn, waspy insect that was determined to make it’s home in this garden. It was sandy, rocky soil, and we weren’t getting anywhere. So Cory wanted the whole thing dug out and replaced, which we found them doing when we arrived home on Monday after work. So now I get to start a whole new garden. Haven’t quite decided what I will do yet…May just put in some annuals for this year, while I decide what I want to do.
Back to what is done; I had herbs and pepper plants left to put in containers, which is what I finished last night, along with tidying the deck.
And I may regret this, but I have put some plants down on the ground outside the gate. I would really like to be able to have some things growing down here, but anything outside the fence is at risk of becoming deer food.
I’m hoping, where this is an enclosed space right next to the house, and there is so much other green stuff around right now, I might get away with it. Stay tuned to hear about how wrong I am.
I was in town all day, looking out of 16th floor windows at fog. It was so nice to come home to a sunny evening. I am feeling accomplished at the moment, having everything all planted.
I have pretty colors.
I have lots of green strawberries, promising good things to come.