Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Harvest Begins.

7-19-17 VERMONT: Today has been dry, so far, and yesterday was good except for a brief shower with less than 0.1 inch of precip. Val and Steve left early yesterday on their way to Boston to visit Maggie.

Yesterday I did a bunch of weeding, and today I replaced three fence rails. The dratted rails are as fragile as potato chips. Tired of paying for them, I just find a small sapling near the broken rail, cut it down and trim it to fit.

Judy saw the Indigo Bunting on her walk around the pasture with the dogs today. That is the first sighting since the big storm. I went to that spot with the camera after the fence mending, but didn’t see him.

Yesterday I picked two quarts of blueberries and one quart of tomatoes, that made it into the house, and re-filled the hummingbird feeders.

New blooms: Queen Anne’s lace, Shasta daisy.

Another glorious hybrid daylily.

Queen Anne's Lace with a drop of Anne Boleyn's blood in the center.

Song sparrow doesn't come to the feeder, and you can see why.

Pearl Crescent was the only butterfly to hold still long enough for a portrait today.

Shasta daisy.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Block Party.

7-17-17 VERMONT: Judy and I hosted a block party on Saturday for about forty neighbors and a couple other friends from the Metro area. Everybody brought food, all delicious and surprising, and at the end of the evening took away the left overs and dishes, leaving fewer clean-up chores for us.

We had set up outside anticipating a dry day, but, just at the beginning of the party, it started to rain so we brought the tables and dishes inside, then ten minutes later it all went back outside when the rain stopped. It was a Vermont Fire-Drill.

Old friend Alan and Val and Steve were all big helpers with set up and take down. People met neighbors they didn’t know, and friends they hadn’t met. There are no pix. ‘What happens in Thetford, stays in Thetford.’

Yesterday was perfect, cloudless, dry, hot but not humid, and cool at night. Today started the same, but we got a T-storm in the late afternoon.

We visited the llamas and alpacas at Janet and Bill’s yesterday. Judy got a lot of attention from Bobbie the llama. Today we all went to Bradford, VT to get new shoes and boots at Farm-Way where they’re on sale. We visited the waterfall at Bradford and the historic green at Haverhill, NH.

New blooms: biennial foxglove.

The falls at Bradford, VT on the Waits River just before it merges with the Connecticut R. I should have done a video, the water is rushing and booming and has several stranded tree trunks.

Bobbie the llama giving Judy a kiss, he doesn't seem to mind that she's wearing an alpaca shirt.

Another hybrid daylily, this one in white....

and this one is pink.

Partially ripe apples are falling from the trees, pleasing Brady the horse and this friend to whom we haven't been introduced.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Table.

7-13-17 VERMONT: Rain again today. It has been overcast, dark and cold, in the mid-fifties since last night. We have had a fire going since the afternoon, our second this week, in July. Yesterday was gorgeous. I found a new moth, new for me, on our walk around the soggy pasture. Judy brought in a few more tomatoes.

I finished the re-modeling of the new kitchen table. It is now possible to sit at it with your legs under it. I also had to re-build the drawer because shortening the side apron made the previous drawer opening too small for the drawer.

Today, during a lull in the rain, I went outside to empty the rainwater from the boat, check the gauge and empty the half inch of rain, and pick a pint of blueberries, the first to ripen. Some branches were bent to the ground with the weight of the berries and the soaking rain. The early apples are bigger than golf balls.

New blooms: beebalm.

Another creature from the pasture, this one is called 'Gray Spring Moth', several are hiding in the tall grass.

Mallow is another mid-summer perennial, as you can see, it's still raining.

Hybrid daylily have different variations on the original aside from time of appearance. This one has obvious color difference and fat, frilly petals and that deep yellow throat.

This hybrid daylily has long, thin petals in different colors with a central stripe.

This is the new, old farm kitchen table from the auction. The aprons under the tabletop were so deep that you could not get your legs under the table. I removed them one at a time, cut them down by 1.5 inches, and then reinstalled them. That's a bowl of tomatoes in the center of the table.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kingfisher is Back.

7-11-17 VERMONT: More rain last night and this morning has left us soggy once again. There was only 0.1 inch this time. The culvert is staying clear so far after these small rains.

Summer is flying by, as usual, as mid-July approaches. I have done some weeding and staking floppy stalks, but the garden is mostly on cruise control, as I modify a rustic table that Judy fell in love with at the recent auction. One more day and it will be ready for prime time duty.

New blooms: delphinium, hydrangea, summer azalea.

Belted kingfisher giving me the stare from a pond-side hemlock.

The female has a rusty-colored chest band.

Northern pearly-eye is inspecting our fiber-optic cable connection.

Hybrid daylily.

Water lily, pink variety.

Butterfly weed, Asclepias incarnata, has attracted lots of plain old ants instead of brilliant butterflies.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Milkweed Debut.

7-9-17 VERMONT: After a few pretty days, we are back in a showery cycle with rain every day or so. I finished building up the wall of the culvert in hopes of preventing it from filling with sand and gravel with each rainstorm. I used cinder blocks on the side that abuts the road to make the barrier

Blue berries are starting to ripen, and apples are noticeably bigger. We had tomato salad tonight from our tomatoes.

I have seen rose-breasted and evening grosbeaks at the feeder, but the indigo bunting hasn’t been here, that I’ve noticed, since the big storm. The milkweed is blooming, and our big stand has attracted many butterflies, including some orange ones. They have not posed for a portrait, so I don’t know which of many orange butterflies they are. We’re hoping that they’re monarchs that will lay eggs on the milkweed for a bunch of caterpillars.

New blooms: mallow, milkweed, bindweed, ‘purple rain’ salvia, another hollyhock, filipendula, astilbe, red yarrow.

A second hollyhock opened.

Milkweed is all over the pasture, awaiting the monarchs. I did see two orange butterflies in and around the milkweed today, but neither sat still long enough for a pic. There are many orange butterflies and the milkweed is critical for the monarch caterpillars, but not the adults.

Song sparrow.

Astilbe has feathery flowers that last a long time. Many of the ones I had planted on the edge of the pond are gone.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Fireworks for the Fourth.

7-5-17 VERMONT: The guests left the morning of the Fourth to be back in NYC for work today. I hope they got to see the fireworks on the East River, which we caught a little of on TV after the local fireworks at Lake Morey. Both were good shows.

We packed the folding chairs, bug spray and the camera and set up on the golf course at the lake. There were many explosions. We got out pretty fast afterwards.

The weather remains perfect. Today I was back working on the culvert, which had re-filled with a lot of sand and gravel after the big rain.

New blooms: daylily, another hosta.

Here are several pix of fireworks at Lake Morey, including this orange burst.

another dramatic orange burst...

and reds...


another red...

and another red...

near the finale....


and one more.

Monday, July 03, 2017

July Flooding.

7-3-17 VERMONT: The rainy weather culminated in a severe storm on Saturday, 7/1, Judy and I were in Tunbridge for a horse show. The branch of the White River by the Fairgrounds was full and flowing fast from all the preceding rains when we arrived.

It started to drizzle while I was enjoying an Italian sausage, and a few minutes later, when I was in the Men’s Room, the rain turned abruptly torrential with high wind that blew over a sponsor’s tent. The wind was from the south at first and a short while later turned around and came from the north. All the horses and handlers headed to their trailers. Judy was sheltering with the souvenir salespeople and got the car when there was a lull in the storm.

We drove home through Strafford without a problem, but the storm delivered about four inches rain in about four hours and caused a lot of flooding. Parts of our road were washed out. The local towns all had a lot of road damage, trees down and loss of power. We had no power for about four hours. Parts of Rte. 132 were condemned and families were evacuated to shelters.

We got a month's worth of rain on the first afternoon of the month.

Anna and Gardner were visiting us for the holiday weekend with their friends Emily and John. Our roads were so bad that they couldn’t get back here and had to stay in Hanover that night. They got back here the next day, the last two days have been beautiful, warm and sunny, and we had a BBQ.

Trucks full of rocks and gravel are up and down the road today.

New blooms: campanula, Russian sage, first hosta.

At the Tunbridge Fairgrounds for the horse show as the storm began. The rains are coming form the left side of the picture.

About ten minutes later the wind and rain are now coming from the right side. The track is flooded, a tent blew over, the show is abandoned.

The next day on our road near the junction of the pavement and dirt sections there was extensive erosion like this driveway.

This driveway is now a canyon....

...about ten feet deep.

The road near us has washed out down to a single lane.

The next day was warm and sunny, and there was no rain for the first time in a week.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sogginess Prevails.

6-29-17 VERMONT: It continues to rain every day. There was another 0.7 inches in the gauge this morning with more rain most of the afternoon. It’s also chilly and overcast today. I have done a few chores during the dry spells, but the ground is soaked and the trees are dripping.

We had dinner in Hanover last night with Denny and Laura-Beth and Dave and Shari.

New blooms: foxglove.

Rose-breasted grosbeak is a frequent summer visitor, but I haven't seen one before today this year.

Lychnis also called rose campion is a reliable perennial about two feet tall with red or white flowers.

Typical weather this week with blue sky here and a storm over there.

Barn Swallow chicks in the barn, of course.

I like the single peonies better than the doubles, the wasp seems to agree.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New Plants.

6-27-17 VERMONT: I planted yesterday—three roses, Rosa rugosa, one of them ‘Alba’, and the other two pink, and two butterfly weed, Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’. The Asclepias went on the north end of the pond bank in full sun, and the roses along the pasture fence near the small barn and the other roses. That part of the fence is behind a stonewall, and I dug up a lot of rocks while planting the roses, the rocks will get replaced on the wall.

After I planted, we got an hour of so of rain, and today it’s raining again. I did a little weeding this morning before it turned wet. These last two days were cool, in the sixties, we needed jackets in the evening.

New blooms: stonecrop sedum, red peony, lychnis.

Mustard and Catsup or goldfinch and purple finch. Sorry the focus isn't quite sharp, but that is a very red bird.

Speaking of red, red peony.

Judy's pumpkin cart with flowers.

The red peonies, above, join their pink cousins below.

A not bad sunset.