Monday, June 29, 2009

More Rain.

6-29-09 VERMONT: We came up yesterday. I emptied the rain gauge of 1.3 inches and emptied the boat of rain water. Almost immediately, the rain began and has continued since with a few short breaks. At the last break, I emptied the gauge again of another 1.5 inches. Now there’s dead calm and fog. In spite of everything looking soggy and droopy, the gardens are full of color.

In bloom: lilac, weigela, summer sweet, spirea, meadow rue, baptisia, iris, peony, geranium, centauria, jacobs ladder, columbine, rogersia, phlox, daisy, apricot day lily, forget-me-not, azalea, lamium, stephenandra, hosta, bleeding hearts, solomons seal, roses, celandine, lupin, ladys mantle, valerian, fever few, water lily, sage, first sedum, trascantia, yarrow, tomato.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Soggy June.

6-27-09 SHORT HILLS: The pix are all up and there are new links to Bill’s pix and to the Lodge in Wise River.

In NJ, locally, we have had 7.2 inches of rain, more than twice normal. I did some pruning before packing up for Vermont.

New blooms: southern magnolia, cream rhododendron, day lily.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fish Story.

6-20-09 WISE RIVER, MONTANA: Wow, I missed nearly a week in prime season. I went from Vermont to Short Hills on 6-14-09 for several days of rain. We did get in a few dogs walks and a charity dinner and wine tasting to benefit St. Huberts Animal Shelter at the Meyersville Inn, which is near where I grew up. Today I came to Montana with a bunch of friends for some fly fishing. The flights from Newark to Salt Lake to Butte were fine and the checked luggage actually arrived with us. We are back at Craig Fellin’s Big Hole Outfitters again. Last year we arrived in the snow, this year it’s pouring rain, cold rain and fog. I guess that’s an improvement.

6-21-09 WISE RIVER, MONTANA: Ken and I were on the Big Hole River with our guide, Chuck, who was very patient with our crossed lines and tangles. We each caught about six fish, rainbows, brookies and browns, and we each had one of good size, 18 inches or so. We saw a bull moose who ran away from us, preferable to the alternative. There were mama ducks with broods of babies, an eagle nest with eaglets, elk in the distance and a lot of western tanagers. There was a sampling from the weather menu with sun, rain, lightening and mosquitoes. After dinner at seven, everybody’s in bed by nine.

Eagles Nest with two Eaglets out of the Nest. Can You Find Them?



First Trout, First Day.

6-22-09 WISE RIVER, MONTANA: Ken and I had a different guide named Chuck today. He took us to the McCoy ranch for stream and pond fishing. We each did well with several fish. It’s different than the river. Here you can see and stalk the fish and cast the fly in front of them, twitching it to make it look appetizing. We watched a bunch of storms pass by to the south and we only got a sprinkling of rain. It was very windy, but no mosquitoes.

The ranch is in Dillon, in the Beaver Head valley. You can see for miles in all directions across the valley to the surrounding mountains. We saw a deer and a young fawn, lots of gophers, a muskrat and lots of swallows and killdeer.


Distant Storms South of us.

6-23-09 WISE RIVER, MONTANA: Today we had the first Chuck again. We were somewhat better with a couple days of practice, on the job training. We were back on the Big Hole River. The river was higher and faster even than it had been two days ago due to more precip. Today was cloudless all day, this morning there was frost on the grass, it was in the thirties. By noon it was in the seventies, and we were shedding layers. In the morning we each caught a few fish and each caught one large trout, both browns. In the afternoon we were on a lower section of the river which had even higher levels, higher flows and white water runs. The white water was fun, but we caught nothing, perhaps the fish were driven to shelter by the turbulence.

We saw the eaglets out of, but near their nest waiting to be served dinner. The osprey was on her nest. There were mergansers, western tanagers, swallows, nighthawks, Canada geese.

Western Tanager-now that's plumage.

Ho Hum, Another Fish.

Out of the Boat for Riverside Luncheon.

6-24-09 WISE RIVER, MONTANA: Our guide today was Wade, a good name for a fisherman. He guided Ken and I on the upper part of the Big Hole. We caught several fish apiece, again more in the morning than the afternoon. It was another beautiful day on the river, nary a discouraging word was heard. We saw a couple antelopes, a mule deer, a golden eagle, an osprey, nighthawks, another mama duck and kiddies and breath-taking views.

Wild Flowers Where We Put in.

A Different Boat.

The Upper River is Especially Beautiful.

Antelope at Play.

The Upper River is Especially Beautiful.

The Upper River is Especially Beautiful. Have I said that? Here's an old Homestead at our Lunch Stop, the roof doesn't look too tight.

Everyone had a good day, Clay caught four huge trout, one topped six pounds. We had a good-bye dinner on the deck and were entertained by a red-tailed hawk making lazy circles in the sky.

NJ tomorrow.

The Wise River on our last Morning, still turbulent.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Broken Branch Alert.

6-15-09 SHORT HILLS: I drove down yesterday leaving rainy Vermont for rainier New Jersey. The National Weather Service says we have had almost four inches of rain at Newark Airport for June, so far, with more expected tonight.

We have a huge branch hanging over the yard broken off from a walnut tree. It reaches the ground from about twenty five feet up the tree and is probably a foot across at the top. It is crushing a bunch of shrubs, mostly forsythia and viburnums. Frank’s Tree may be here tomorrow to take it down.

New blooms: elderberry, rose.

What's prettier than a rose?

Clematis have such vivid colors.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Horses Are at the Gate.

6-13-09 VERMONT: Yesterday I awoke to hard rain and did errands in town until the water stopped. The dogs love the excursions in the car. Sam barks at pedestrians, bicyclists, flashing lights and, especially, other dogs. In the afternoon, I finished the chainsawing of the old stump and cleared some saplings from the TV antenna line of sight. Then, a terrace dinner at the Katz’s where their indigo bunting made an appearance.

Today the horses arrived for the summer, two this year, both brown with black manes and tails, one has a white star on the forehead. I introduced myself and passed out carrots to the assembled equines and canines at the fence gate. I weeded and pruned, pruned and weeded my way around the house. NJ maƱana.

New blooms: siberian iris, bearded iris, early day lilies, weigela.

"Why aren't you smiling? Is it that dog?"

This butterfly is actually a moth-the Eight Spotted Forester-the other four spots are on the under-wings and not visible. It's not usually seen in VT. It was probably blown in on the last storm and seems right at home.
Most Vermonters are from 'away'.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chain Saw Day.

6-11-09 VERMONT: Does anybody think that it’s a coincidence that Obama gave his Cairo speech just before the Lebanon and Iran elections? Lebanon went to the west-leaning candidates instead of the anticipated winner, Hezbollah. Let’s see what Iran does with Akmadinajad.

Yesterday, after a cloudy start, the weather cleared, and we actually had a bit of sun. I had a full day. I put up the new garden barrier on the new patio. I sprayed the viburnum by the entry steps which has been attacked by leaf eating caterpillars. I got the chain saw started and cleared more winter kill in the pasture and opened up the area behind the pond to give the magnolias and japanese maple more space and sun. I cut down the dead elm and cut it up for firewood. I re-stacked the firewood and added dried wood from last year. I walked the pasture fence to check for deadfall, watered the new plantings and cut up some of the old stump in the yard.

Today, I was waiting for the rain that hasn’t started yet and cleared all the piles cut down yesterday, did some weeding, caged the new plantings and staked some drooping flowers.

New blooms: I forgot to mention that lily-of-the-valley has been in bloom. Wild lily-of-the-valley is new as is bunchberry.

Bunchberry. Does this look a little familiar? Its cousin is the dogwood-see the April 29, 2009 post.

Wild lily-of-the-valley is easily confused with small False Solomons Seal.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Rain and Cold.

6-9-09 VERMONT: I came up yesterday. It was cool, in the fifties, and there was 2.35 inches of rain in the gauge. Over night it started to rain more, and we got another 0.5 inches by midday. In the afternoon, the rain stopped, but it stayed raw, cool, overcast and windy. I did get out to plant the little elm volunteers along the pasture fence. I replaced two dead basil plants. I’m guessing they died from cold weather. A few corn seeds and pumpkin seeds failed to germinate, and I planted new ones. The corn and pumpkin seedlings are about an inch tall, as high as an insect’s eye.

I saw a garter snake slither under the black plastic mulch, he’ll help with pest control. A big woodchuck is living under the little barn.

The flowers are all on schedule. In bloom: lilac, honeysuckle, azalea, burning bush, viburnums, blue berry, bleeding hearts, columbine, red trillium, forget-me-not, solomons seal, sweet woodruff, creeping phlox, false solomons seal, may apple, epimedium, celandine, geranium, siberian iris, foam flower, mt. bluet, meadow rue, jacobs ladder, lupin.

Woodchuck in the Grass.

Red and Blue.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

On Broadway.

6-6-09 SHORT HILLS: We saw “God of Carnage” with James Gandolfini, Hope Davis, Jeff Goldblum and Marcia Gay Harden last Thursday. The play is entertaining, sort of like “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, but not quite as funny or edgy. Seeing the actors on stage who are so familiar from TV and film is a bit odd and incongruous. It’s sort of like seeing your friends on stage. They are so easily recognized that you expect them to be the other characters you know from other vehicles.

We got to 45th St. a bit early and went to see the new Times Square Mall. Broadway is closed to traffic, but the cross streets and 7th Ave are not. All the triangles and trapezoids formed by the diagonal intersections of Broadway with the grid streets are for pedestrians. There are plastic patio lounge chairs and tables set out on the blacktop—talk about incongruous.

Broadway and 47th, I guess the economy has really slowed down.

Meanwhile, back in the garden, we have had three days of downpours and everything is soggy. The new pachysandra loved it. Today I potted two more elm volunteers for Vermont.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Opposite Sex Marriage.

6-3-09 SHORT HILLS: The English holly are all in bloom. The trees are either male or female unlike most plants which have both sexual parts on each flower. [Often, the flower must be fertilized by pollen from a different flower to avoid inbreeding.] The holly, both sexes, are aromatic with a sweet perfume that is quite recognizable and seems different, to me, from that of other plants. I may catch the aroma even before I notice the tree.

We have three large holly trees, two female and one male, that are probably around sixty years old and flower heavily. The female holly trees are heavily fruited in the fall, the berries turn red after the first frost, but are mostly bare of berries by March. There are fifteen volunteer hollies scattered around our 1.5 acre yard, presumably from birds eating the berries of our female hollies during the winter and later pooping the undigested seed elsewhere in the yard.

I wondered if the sex of the “children” was actually an equal distribution as one would expect. Of the eleven trees with flowers, there were five females and six males, a toss-up. Four of the volunteers were small, prepubertal[?], and had no flowers.

Right-Female English Holly with green central ball that becomes the berry.

Left-Male Holly, no berry, four pollen laden stamens.

Today I planted pachysandra cuttings in the grassless, dark area under the yew hedge, about 100 sq. ft. I took pachysandra that had overgrown its bed, spilled out into the driveway and needed trimming. Last night and today we had heavy showers, a good day to transplant.

New blooms: mock orange, arrowwood viburnum.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Two Tree Peonies

We're back from Boulder. I did about a hour of weeding to celebrate our safe return.

New blooms: clematis, peony, white rhodo.

Tree Peonies are eye-openers.