Thursday, July 21, 2016

Southwest Harbor.

7-21-16 SOUTHWEST HARBOR, MAINE: We arrived in the evening Tuesday in time for dinner at XYZ, a great Mexican eatery. Lunch was at Bob’s Clam Box in Kittery, a must stop for us on any trip through the area.

Ken and Carol are gracious hosts keeping us busy with activities. We hiked in the morning and boated in the afternoon on Wednesday, and hiked this morning. This afternoon Ken and I sailed on Ranger, his hot new sailboat, which is winning races here and anywhere else it goes. Us old codgers were assisted by Drew, Ken’s regular crewman.

We have seen birds, butterflies and a garden full of flowers. The weather has been perfect, sunny and breezy. Dinner yesterday was at Eat-A-Pita in the town of Southwest Harbor. If you’re ever there, get the haddock.

I-95 on the way to Maine. [JWF image]

Full moon in Southwest Harbor.

Hikers. Charlie Brown's kite is on top of that spruce tree.

View from Ken and Carol's terrace.

In Bernard for lunch at Thurston's.

Racing on Western Way between Great Cranberry Island and Southwest Harbor.

Osprey nest Southwest Harbor.

Sailing on Ranger.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Off to Maine.

7-18-16 VERMONT: I finished the rockers and they look pretty good back on the terrace. They make the little table that they share the terrace with look dingy so I’ll have to do that one too.

We are off to Maine to visit Ken and Carol. Here is catch-up on recent pix.

Delphiniums are 6 feet tall with vibrant color.

Bee balm, monarda, will last most of August. We have four shades of red. They are a fav of hummers.

Hybrid daylily offer a variety of colors, petal sizes and shapes and bloom times.

Meadowsweet is a volunteer all over the yard and pasture. I don't think that is a pollinator, but a pollinator hunter, each tuft has one or two of these beetles.

This chipmunk is 10 ft up this honeysuckle bush eating those red berries.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Birds, Birds, Birds.

7-17-16 VERMONT: I have started catching up on maintenance chores. Today I washed and primed the three rockers that live on the terrace and have been out in the weather for some years. The seats are rotting out so I pulled them off and will rebuild them, but the rest of the white-painted rockers were peeling and mildewed. Tomorrow I may finish paint them and redo the seats.

It’s been a week for birds. The barn swallow chicks, I think I showed a pic a few days ago, are now approaching maturity. The five chicks are looking crowed in the nest, and the parents are back and forth all day long with tasty bugs. The parents fly in, feed some chick and fly back out without landing on the nest. In a few minutes they’re back, one or the other, with more food. I felt a sense of urgency just watching them.

Walking around the pasture, we see lots of other bird activity and many immature birds fluttering around on the new wings looking quite clumsy.

Today while working on the rockers, I saw a bird hopping from branch to branch in the trees and shrubs around the driveway. There were a couple flashes of bright color, so I went for the camera and got a couple pix. I think it’s an oriole, maturing male, so I put out the oriole feeder from a few years ago when we also had a couple of orioles.
Check the pix on the blog and help with the ID’s, anyone.

New blooms: more hybrid daylilies, clematis, first phlox.

Five barn swallows in the nest, in the barn, of course. The parents are working their butts off keeping them fed. There are a couple videos on FB.

White-throated sparrow, juvenile or ???

Savannah sparrow, juvenile or ???

Baltimore Oriole above and below, maturing male or ???

Pickerel weed with UFB.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New Additions.

7-13-16 VERMONT: Now it’s hot again. We reached 90° this afternoon, and it’s humid. July being July. There’s a chance of rain tonight. Yesterday I planted the bed that the cotoneasters vacated.

The bed, a small triangle in front of the new house, gets a couple hours of sun at midday. I put four big leaf asters, Aster macrophyllus, at the back in the shadiest part of the bed. Four foxgloves, Digitalis purpurea, two ‘Candy Mountain’ and two ‘Snowy Mountain’ went in the middle of the bed. A garden heliotrope, Valeriana officinalis went in front for the most sun, and a meadow anemone, Anenome canadensis, is also hiding in the shade.

That is probably the last planting I will do this summer. At the end of the summer the nurseries all have sales. It’s very tempting to get and plant cheap stuff, but late season perennials usually don’t survive the winters here. Last August I planted 22 perennials in various places, and only seven popped up in the spring—not a high enough Planting Average.

Erin and Megan headed off to Boston this morning after their Mt. Moosilauke adventure yesterday.

New blooms: monarda, delphinium, ‘purple rain’ salvia, catmint.

Evening primrose opens at night and is done by the next noon, so it must have some nocturnal pollinator. It is a biennial that seeds itself, like hollyhocks. These two are just opening.

One of the early blooming hostas between two other, different hostas.

Pastel-hued summer azalea.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Party Girl.

7-11-16 VERMONT: The party was a huge success, even if it was inside in the rain. There were about 70 people, neighbors and friends. There was lots of food and drink with guests from as far away as New Jersey and Africa. Judy was lightly roasted by Val, Alison, Lily, Maggie, Lucy and me. Anna sent an electronic message via Alison. Sunday was more cleanup after the Saturday night cleanup. The pasture is now back in Brady’s control, the parking signs are back in the garage, the temporary tables are dis-assembled, the recycling is sorted, and the last weekend guests left this morning.

Erin and Megan arrived this afternoon and left for the Fairlee drive-in after dinner. They had a sunny day, the first one since Thursday. The whole weekend was rainy and cold, we got about 1.5 inches of much-needed rain. We had fires in the fireplaces during the party. Did I mention that it’s July?

Meanwhile back in the beds, I moved four cotoneasters from the front of the new house where they had been struggling for years and re-planted them around the tree hydrangea that marks the pet cemetery. It’s a spot that gets more sun than they were getting before. And now I have a new bed to plant.

Over the weekend two people asked if the orange, native daylilies were ‘tiger lilies’. They’re not. Daylilies are in the genus Hemerocallis and grow from roots that form clumps and are hardy and reliable perennials. There’s more info at the American Hemerocallis Society web site.

Tiger lilies are in the genus Lilium and grow from bulbs and are less hardy, certainly less hardy in VT. The flowers are inverted and have dark spots. I have had both, but the tiger lily bulbs were eaten by something, and the plants were eaten by the scarlet lily beetle before the bulbs disappeared.

New blooms: mallow, evening primrose, summer azalea, hybrid daylily.

Thursday night sunset after a little rain. This was the last time we saw the sky until Monday.

Filipendula, a slight variation on the earlier one from last week.

Mallow will bloom most of the rest of the summer.

Anyone for red in a daylily?

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Party Weekend.

7-7-16 VERMONT: It’s hot again after a nippy few days, relatively nippy, for July. Again we’re hoping for rain, and we might get some today. The Birthday/Anniversary/Block party is Saturday, that’s when we’ll probably get the rain.

I have been tidying, pruning, weeding and watering. In anticipation of maybe getting rain, I shoveled out the culvert this morning. The rest of the week will be for party set-up.

Val’s family arrives today to help with arrangements and vacation for a few days. Alison’s group comes on Saturday and stragglers at any time.

New blooms: rhododendron, hydrangea, garden yarrow, pickerel weed.

Rosebay rhododendron native to the eastern states.

This filipendula opens before the others and has a different flower shape. I will show the others next week when they bloom.

Pink yarrow contrasts with the purple campanula. The common white yarrow has been blooming in the pasture for a few weeks.

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Big Weekend.

7-4-16 VERMONT: We got a big rain, 1.1 inches, on the first, the night Anna and Erin arrived for their Vermont weekend. There was lightning and thunder, wind and a rainbow making it a full Monty for a T-storm. The weather has since been sunny, windy and cool.

On the second we all, dogs included, did the Gile Mountain hike after the girls went to the Norwich Farmers Market and before one of them got a tat in WRJ. Dinner was at Middlebrook restaurant and rather disappointing. They headed back to the Metro area on the third. We ran chores that afternoon and are doing nothing on the Fourth.

New blooms: first hosta, Shasta daisy, first filipendula.

As the rain was passing to the east, we got a surprise.

Milkweed rampant in the pasture, smells sweet, has butterflies on the flowers, but no Monarch caterpillars on the leaves.

Barn swallow nesting in the barn has at least two chicks.

Taking a break from the demands of parenthood.

Anna and Erin were here for their second annual Fourth in Thetford.

We all did the Gile Mountain hike.

Mt. Ascutney on the horizon from the top of the tower atop Gile.