Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Red Maple Is Gone.

8-15-19 VERMONT: We had a nice dinner in Canaan with Gretchen and John, Laura-Beth and Denny and hosts Julie and Dudley. Their place on the lake is beautiful, dinner was wonderful and the conversation interesting. That was Tuesday, tonight we were back at Candela Tapas with Shari and Dave. Tomorrow we go to Cloudland Farm for our 58th Anniversary.

Chippers, our tree people, were here yesterday to take down the dying red maple behind the pond. It used to have spectacular fall color, but the color faded as the tree was dying. This summer it dropped a huge branch that could have done damage to the other nearby trees. Joey and I cut that branch up for firewood. Chippers took the maple down, as well as a couple of crab apples, without damaging the nearby specimen trees. They ground down the stumps, graded and seeded the spots where the trees had been. I have some firewood to split and a load of chips in the pasture to rake out. I always feel a loss when an important tree dies. They will have to come back for one or two other trees that are dying.

Today I watered the newly seeded spots and used the string trimmer around the small barn and around the roses.

The big barn floor repair has started, but won’t finish until sometime in September.

New blooms: helenium, Casablanca lily, red sedum, mint.

Cedar Waxwing looking elegant even if his true identity is secret.

Mint in flower with a monarch who has a sweet tooth, or tongue.

The big red maple is gone. It should be in the center of this pic, but has been turned into chips and firewood. It wasn't completely dead, but had dropped major branches and was something of a hazard. At one time its red fall color was so vivid that people driving by stopped to take its picture, but it had stopped showing that dramatic pigment as it dwindled.

These Casablanca lilies have a perfume that fills the air. They appear just as the daylilies are finished.


Sedum. the first of several that will last into November.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Cold Day.

8-10-19 VERMONT: Today is chilly, in the sixties and partly cloudy. We have had some rain, brief showers with a total accumulation of 0.25 inches—we need more rain.

The garden is threatening to go wild with weeds and over growth, an annual August hazard. I did open up the path between the driveway and new house, the hydrangea and azaleas had closed it. Weeds are everywhere, and I have pulled them from some of the beds. I’m glad the plants and shrubs are healthy and prospering, but they need to be disciplined.

We had dinner with cousin John at Candela Tapas Lounge.

We had a short visit from newly retired friend Bill, and the three of us went to an almost surprise party for old friend Gail given by husband Dave. It was a warm event and was nice to see a bunch of people that we hadn’t seen for a long time.

New blooms: potentilla, monkshood, white turtlehead, Indian pipe.

Ruby-throated hummingbird, male, the females are all green.

Eastern towhee, immature, the mature males are pretty dramatic looking.

Aphrodite fritillary on milkweed.

Eastern phoebe looks a lot like the other flycatchers.

White turtlehead, the pink ones won't open for a few weeks.

One of several crawfish eating algae from the edge of the pond.

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed. There are several caterpillars of varying sizes on the native plants and the garden varieties of milkweed.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Portsmouth and Kittery.

8-6-19 VERMONT: Yesterday we did a day trip to Portsmouth, NH. We drove south to Concord and followed the signs to Portsmouth, which put us on Rt. 4, a two-lane road with traffic lights and construction delays. On the way back, we used Rt. 101 and saved an hour! We were supposed to go to visit Ken and Carol in Southwest Harbor, ME, this week, but canceled because of concerns for Gus’ health.

Portsmouth was settled in the early 1600’s and is named for Portsmouth, England, which is in Hampshire County. The first settlement, Strawberry Banke, named for the wild strawberries growing there, is a block from the water. The Strawberry Banke Museum now consists of about thirty buildings, most original to the site and dating from 1600’s for the earliest. The structures are in various states of restoration. We spent a couple hours seeing most of what was open yesterday. A block to the east is Water Street and the harbor. A couple blocks to the northwest is Market Square with shops and eateries and North Church, built, approximately, two hundred years ago and two hundred years after the first settlement.

We crossed the Piscataqua River to Kittery Maine and Bob’s Clam Hut, a fav, for lunch before heading back to VT.

Back in the pasture, while exercising the dogs, I noticed several Monarch butterfly caterpillars on one patch of milkweed.

Weathervane at Portsmouth Harbor.

Strawberry  Banke, Chase House above and below.

Fancy bedroom, Chase House.

Jefferson Street. The flags indicate which buildings are open today.

Aldrich House arbor with chairs in the shade.

Street corner of Jefferson and Atkinson. The flag is the 'Grand Union Flag', first USA flag, from 1775-1777.

Portsmouth Harbor.

Market Square, North Church, from early 1800's.

Back in Thetford, Monarch caterpillars are grazing on milkweed, I counted 7 on juct one patch.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

August Begins.

8-3-19 VERMONT: It has been very dry here, the grass is brown in spots, the pond is down a couple of inches, all the wet spots have dried up, and I have been watering the new plantings. We did have two brief T-storms that give us a total of 0.25 inches, not much, but better than nothing. The weather has been hot, regular, old summer days, but the nights are cool.

We had pizza for dinner earlier this week, made in the new bread oven, by the neighbors across the street, Diana and Steve. Andy and Katie were there also. Everybody had a chance to roll the dough and apply the toppings. The oven temperature was 500°. They cooked in about five minutes. Domino’s might be in trouble.

The next night we had dinner with Dave and Gail at Elixir in White River Junction during one of those T-storms.

Anna and Gardner are here this weekend. He has been interviewing students for an internship, and she arrived by air yesterday. We picked her up in Lebanon and had dinner at Tuckerbox in WRJ. Tonight we are grilling here.

The barn is sick. The floor is uplifted in a couple of spots from frost heaves that have not subsided with the warm weather. It also has rotted floorboards, and there is rot in the platform under the floor. We discovered the rot when we took up a couple of the uplifted boards. Apparently, too much water under the barn can cause the pilings to get pushed up when it freezes, but the pilings don’t drop back down in place because dirt and debris fill the hole under the piling as the ice melts. It will need to be fixed and drainage pathways will need to be created. The entire barn above the floor is fine.

We have picked 6 quarts of blueberries with more to be picked. I noticed in town that they were selling for $5 a pint. Do the math.

I planted a bunch of vinca vines, annuals, in spots that the dogs dug up while looking for cool places to lie down, a practice I try to discourage. The vines were left over from the wedding, ornaments that never got used and had been set aside and forgotten. I saw them growing out from under a bush and thought, ‘what are those?’ and then remembered them. They are planted next to the foundation, so have an opportunity to survive the winter.

New blooms: blue clematis, gooseneck loosestrife, cup plant, more phlox.

The fox caught again at night near the small pond.

Flycatcher. There are several species that all look pretty much the same. This one might be the Least Flycatcher or the Willow Flycatcher, according to the bird ID apps.

Savanah Sparrow is very similar to the Song Sparrow.

Cup plant. Where the leaves meet at the stalk they form a cup that holds rain water. I don't think it does anything for the plant, but the bugs like it.

Catbird, definite ID.

I thought this clematis was a no show this year, but this late appearance is a nice surprise.

Common wood nymph, anyone?

White admiral on pasture milkweed. This patch of milkweed was mowed earlier in the summer, but has recovered and bloomed a bit later than the un-mowed milkweed.

Monarch displayed on swamp milkweed, A. incarnata, in the garden.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Haverhill Fair.

7-29-19 VERMONT: Saturday we went to the Haverhill Fair with Shari, Kay and Dave. We got there in the late morning, it was not crowded, which is good when you stand in line for food, but less exciting over-all. And there were lots of overalls in view.

After fortifying myself with a bloomin’ onion, we watched the end of a horse pull, using two horse teams. The winners towed more than three tons of stone on a sled-like platform called a stone boat. The horses are decked out in fancy harnesses.

Dave and I went to see an antique tractor pull and saw several runs. There were many competitors, but we left after about a dozen.

Between events Judy had a pulled pork sandwich while I had a sausage with peppers and onions. We all watched a ‘powder puff’ horse pull, one horse and one horsewoman per team. After a few rounds we went to the livestock pavilions to see sheep and goats, oxen and cows and a bunch of ‘4-H’ kids, all very proud of their animals.

We left mid-afternoon as the fairgrounds were starting to fill up. Somewhere in there we had a funnel cake also. It’s a pretty drive up and back.

New blooms: first phlox.

The midway Saturday morning, it'll be packed later. Many prizes to be won.

Horse teams pulling a heavy stone boat near the end of this competition.

Tractor pull. This one is from 1939. I'm a year older and have a little less rust, but it's clearly stronger.

Single horse pulling, horsewomen only.

In the livestock pavilions--long eared goats.

Young oxen teams. Notice the coloring of the spots, black with blue borders.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Grafton Pond.

7-28-19 VERMONT: Friday we took the canoe to Grafton Pond in New Hampshire for our first paddling of the season. The parking area was packed with cars, but we hardly noticed the people after we got out on the water. The pond is beautiful, the water clear and dotted with small islands, some only big enough for a couple of trees. Our favorite spot is an island toward the south end with a big, flat granite slab that is perfect for a picnic.

When we got there, there were a couple folks already there, but we shared the spot. They pointed out a big snapping turtle in the shallow water. I estimated the shell size at two feet long. They gave him/her a couple of grapes that he snapped up. We all left after a half hour or so and paddled back to the dam area and parking lot. The pond is famous for loons. We did see one for a few moments between dives, but got no pix.

New blooms: purple salvia, pickerel weed, ligularia stenocephala.

Grafton Pond is dotted with little islands of granite, pine and blueberries.

A good sized snapper waiting to be fed.

Check out the claws.

Another hybrid daylily, this one in white.

Tiger Swallowtail on Obedient Plant flowers. You can count all six legs, two antennas and the tongue.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Mid-Summer Slips By.

7-23-17 VERMONT: Lots of news to relate—the hybrid daylilies are opening in many colors and shape variation, and I’ll show a few. After three days of 90° heat, during which we mostly huddled in front of the fans, yesterday delivered almost twenty four hours of steady rain, about a half inch. The Wedding pix are out and can be seen at this link.

The dogs were fine at the kennel, and since they have been home, Gus is getting a CBD for arthritis and seems to be improved and is more active. I have been doing some watering, before yesterday, but today nobody seems thirsty.

Spoiler alert. Goldenrod is open, the last full month of summer is about to happen.

New blooms: echinacea, pink filipendula, tiger lily, hybrid daylilies, white rose mallow, Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod.

Gus looking very 'Lion King'ish in the tall grass.

Echinacea, it's definitely mid-summer.

Tiger lily in pink.

Astilbe in candy colors.

Hybrid daylily.

Asclepias incarnata, a milkweed, is waiting for the monarchs.

Judy took a few pix trying to get the big 'picture'. I think she succeeded.

That's Kaley next to Brady the horse.

There's a lot of color here, but the green dominates.

If you thought it was only mid-summer, the golden rod has started.

Another hybrid daylily.

A couple scenes from Anna's and Gardner's Wedding above and below. Here's a link to many more-