Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Dig we must"

There are those who continue to believe that this motto belongs to Con Ed, but I know that the squirrels deserve full ownership. It's maddening to find entire pots of lettuce seedlings excavated to the very bottom. We never need to thin anything. Were it not for the squirrels, we'd have many more lettuce plants of many more varieties; there'd be calendulas, nasturtiums, and sweet peas galore, instead of in moderation only. At this time of year, the squirrels are so deeply engaged in burying acorns and pecans that they'll break off only if they think you're within an inch or so of actually touching them. They are obsessed and they have no fear. They also explore any newly turned soil. That's why the plants that stand the best chance of survival are volunteer seedlings and returning bulbs. Today's discovery was an overnight springing up of sweet peas. If we're lucky, any resulting flowers will be something better than the washed-out pink ones that often result.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Hummingbirds are gone

They stayed a long time, right on up until last week, but now they've moved on. Our Turk's caps were the greatest attraction, but they took advantage of every flower. We've had a slight shower this morning, and so have seen no butterflies today. Right through yesterday, we've seen several monarch butterflies each day, along with the occasional gulf fritillary. Honeybees are out working after the shower. Flowers include morning glories in profusion, Bright Lights cosmos in profusion, lantana in profusion, Turk's cap, purpleheart, four o'clocks in three colors, milkweed (asclepias) in two varieties, two kinds of calendula, ruellia, hyacinth beans, wild sunflowers, pink oxalis, and fennel on new green shoots up from the ground. Several kinds of anemone are sending up leaves. Mockingbirds squabble over lantana berries, both green and ripe. Serrano and jalapeno chiles in pots are blossoming and forming peppers, which are quite picante. Loquat buds are swelling on the bough. Grape hyacinths are showing their leaves, as are ornamental alliums, and so are various clumps of paperwhite narcissus where old pots of forced bulbs were dumped long ago. There are more pecans and acorns that could have been expected after this hot and dry season; they are sought by squirrels, blue jays, and a young woman who gathers them to take home as treats for her pig. The transoms were closed this week and most of the various fans have been packed away in boxes now that it's cooler. The sun rises and sets in what seem to be different corners of the sky this time of year. We are so glad that stupid Daylight Saving Time has finally concluded. It's cool enough now that the pumpkins on the porch have not even begun to rot. When they do, it's off to the compost pile for them. Every day, we find strange seedlings in strange places, thanks to the squirrels, which have no fear of us at all. One of these days it will be time to see if the floor furnace will ignite, just in case we need some heat in the house this winter.