Thursday, May 14, 2015

Loquat bonanza draws gray fox activity

This morning at about 6:45 am there was a gray fox in the pleasure grounds, drawn by the giant, juicy fruits of the loquat. Figs are forming; so are squashes, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, and passion fruits. We have greatly enjoyed dining on yellow bush beans. There is an On Deck ear of corn, appearing just days after the first tassel. Both orange and yellow Bright Lights cosmos are in bloom; the plans are volunteers. There is one volunteer corn poppy, along with one navy blue volunteer delphinium. Coreopsis continues to put on a show, as does pink evening primrose. There are about to be fennel flowers. Lantana and Turk's cap are now beginning to bloom. Some of the sweet peas are displaying seed pods. Sunflowers wild and cultivated are beginning to flower. Yesterday, the first Rose of Sharon flowers appeared: they are the white ones with a crimson center. We delight in all these days of rain.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Crepuscular visitor

At just about 8:30 pm on Friday, May 1, when it was not quite entirely dark, we were sitting outdoors when the largest gray fox we've seen yet came sauntering into the yard apparently headed either for water or for the loquats near the basins of water set out. The stripe atop the fox's tail was very clearly to be seen, as were black spots on the fox's face. The fox was aware of our presence, but sat down to take a little scratch behind one ear before reversing course and trotting around the end of the fence and down the street where foxes are most often seen.

The day afterward brought the first four o'clock flowers and the first squash and cucumber blossoms.

Bush beans are blooming profusely, as are sweet peas in many varieties. A passion flower or two may be found each day.

This amaryllis is up in the yard and is a handsome sight from the kitchen window. A couple of others, less showy, have returned and bloomed again in the containers in which they bloomed the first time around.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Butterflies, loquats, nigella

Although a frost took some potential loquat fruits, those remaining are very large and juicy. They have been attracting clouds and clouds of red admiral butterflies, which drink directly of the fruit's juice via any breach of the skin. Also seen in the vicinity, although to a lesser extent are many question mark butterflies. Every day we see some gulf fritillary butterflies among the passion vines, and some dark-form giant swallowtail butterflies and a few pipevine swallowtail butterflies. A great surprise arrival among the flowers are white and also blue nigella blossoms. They seem to have grown from seeds in a decade-old promotional free packet of mixed flower seeds. Before the flowers appeared, the plants had gone unremarked, on the theory that they were self-sown fennel seedlings. The flowers were recognized immediately, and the recollection of their name came without effort, although none had ever grown here and none have been observed around town in anybody's yard. Sweet peas are at a peak right now. Pecan flowers are falling. A gray fox was seen one morning at 4:30 am and again a few days ago at about 6 am. Passion flowers have continued to bloom, with from two to nine per day lasting about 24 hours. They attract honeybees and orchard mason bees. French harlequin marigolds are beginning to bloom. Corn poppies volunteered near the street, as did one delphinium, about to bloom. Coreopsis plants, flowering both single and double, loved the winter weather and are spectacular right now. The persisting cool nights are a treat. Who could possibly complain about this spring?

The perfect bowl for breakfast cereal, hot or cold

Why did Bennington Potters discontinue these? This is a Bennington bird bowl in blue in blue; there were also speckled greenish-tan Bennington bird bowls. The perfect size, the perfect depth, the perfect everything. The number on the unglazed bottom is 1808. Some call these porridge bowls, fish bowls, or fish soup bowls.