Saturday, August 29, 2015

Heron Redux.

8-29-15 VERMONT: Last night was in the mid-fifties, and it was chilly this morning. As we head into September, it’s time for the annual furnace inspection. The new one may need to be repaired/replaced after only nine years of service. We’re not pleased about that. Also the chimneys were swept, and one needs repairs at the top. We’re not pleased about that either.

I have been busy pruning apple trees, mostly the big one by the deck. I took off the hanging branches that made it difficult to walk under and took off new growth on top. Several cartloads of prunings got dumped on the compost heap.

The corn stalks are now over my head, and the ears are developing, but I doubt any will be ripe before we head back to NJ. I picked the last quart of blueberries, but tomatoes keep coming.

New blooms: pearlie-everlasting.


Hardy Hybiscus, we'll see how hardy it is next spring after a Vermont winter.

Can you find our visitor?

Our friendly heron is back. He/She is an immature, all gray with a dark head and no plume.

Here's the left side.

In the water.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More New Plants.

8-25-15 VERMONT: I woke up to a peal of thunder this morning. The sky was black and rain poured down along with more thunder, some of it quite close to us. Now in the afternoon, it might be clearing up.

The rain is timely, because I planted a tree hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, by the dog graveyard yesterday. Many of the local graveyards have similar tree hydrangeas planted amid the markers. I bought it at Brown’s Nursery along with a marsh marigold, Caltha palustri ‘Multiplex’, which went at the edge of the pond in the water. I also put a hibiscus hybrid, ‘Lord Baltimore’, in the north terrace bed. I know, a hibiscus?, in Vermont? Well, it’s supposed to be hardy to Zone 4. We’ll see if those huge, red flowers show up next year.

The day before yesterday I planted five Shasta daisies, Leucanthemum superbum ‘Alaska’, by the side of the pond. They were also from Brown’s.

New blooms: daisy [not the new ones].


Lobelia in three flavors.

How it looks to the pollinator, who heads down that cup in the middle, spreading pollen on the search for nectar.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kingfisher.

8-24-15 VERMONT: We have recovered from the culinary adventures in Cornish and enjoyed a gorgeous day today. The Thetford DPW was here again and succeeded in opening up the clogged culvert. There is still some sand and gravel in it, but it’s open. Now they need to rebuild the parts of the road that was washed out by the water draining around the culvert.

Another fish eater visited a few days ago—a lady kingfisher. Females have a reddish chest band that the males lack. She flew around the pond a few times repeatedly calling in her harsh, loud, rattling cackle. It’s quite distinctive, and you can hear it a long way away and immediately know who it is. After a few circles, she sat on the prow of the rowboat like a figurehead before leaving without a catch. When they do spot a fish, they hover over it and then do a splash dive.

New blooms: chrysanthemum.


Mrs. Kingfisher comes calling.

"I know there's fish in here."

"Where they hiding?"

That unruly hairdo reminds me of Beethoven's pictures.
Here's one a moment after a dive and splash about a year ago.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Fair Day.

8-23-15 VERMONT: We crossed the river yesterday, via the Windsor-Cornish covered bridge, to go to the Cornish Fair. It was cool and dry after the front slid through a day or so ago and ended the heat wave. We walked around the midway and the animal barns after the trek from the parking lot. We are old enough and smart enough to avoid the rides and the games, but not the food.

We shared a bloomin’ onion  appetizer and lemonade while we watched Joe the Magician do his show. The kid, volunteer assistants were a riot. The onion was fried to perfection and the ranch dressing piquant.

After seeing the cows, sheep, chickens and tractors, we had a pulled pork sandwich as an entrée. It was succulent and accompanied by a tangy barbecue sauce.

For dessert we shared a serving of crisp funnel cake topped with powered sugar while we watched a quartet play country-rock. To me, all the songs sounded the same, the same key, tempo, rhythm and all at high volume. We left after the cake was gone, and, perhaps, burnt a few calories on the walk back to the car.


Rides and plenty to eat.

The ladies lined up.

Judy finds the grail.

Fried everything available.

Clothes too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tomato Season.

8-18-15 VERMONT: The days are clearly getting shorter as the sun is almost halfway back to the Equator, which it will get to on the Autumnal Equinox in September. But there’s still some summer to go.

Speaking of summer, hot, hot, hot is what we got, close to ninety. We have had a few showers, but I will need to water if there’s not more rain soon.

The pond continues to look pretty good. I counted four turtles yesterday—two small and two others fairly large, all painted turtles. The heron hasn’t been back for a few days, and I guess the pond creatures are relaxing, if they were stressed by the heron at all. I bet they’re oblivious.

The tomatoes are at flood stage, Judy made a ton of pasta sauce that we will eat tonight, and then some will be frozen. I made gazpacho a few days ago that we ate for a couple days. The corn is at people height and developing.

New blooms: white phlox, white lobelia, ligularia dentata.


Stacked cord. The new wood, one cord, is on the left and old, dry wood on the right to start the season. Neighbors who heat their houses only with wood need 4 to 6 cords for the winter. For us, it's just for the fireplace.

Harvest. The blueberries are almost done, but the tomatoes keep coming.

Ligularia dentata is cousin to the flower below...

Ligularia przewalskii which bloomed about a month ago. The leaves are similar even if the flowers are different.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Herontime.

8-15-15 VERMONT: We had a nice dinner with Melissa and Dick at Tuckerbox in White River Junction last night. When we got home, it had rained here, but not where we had been. There was only 0.15 inches, but we’re getting more today. It's raining because the windows were washed yesterday afternoon. I forgot to mention that we had been to the Worthy Burger in South Royalton with Ken and Jane earlier in the week.

This morning we had a Blue Heron visit. We watched him [her] slowly, slowly walking and stalking his [her] way around the pond. We saw her [him] catch and eat three fish, one of which was pretty big. I have stills and video.


Behind the pond.

In the water.

Reflecting.

Now on our side of the pond.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hummertime.

8-14-15 VERMONT: The gardens behind the house are full of bee balm now, in red, magenta, and purple. There’s also lots of phlox in a variety of red/purple shades. The hummingbirds spend a lot of the day working these flowers. They’re apparently drawn to these colors. I caught one female at rest on a flower stem and then, working the flowers in video.

New blooms: Queen Anne’s lace, monks hood.


Female Hummingbird on break.

Her beak makes a good back-scratcher.

"Aaah, that's better."

"Does my back look OK?"

I'll put a couple videos on FB.