Archive for the ‘critters’ Category

From another world Sunday, August 8th, 2010

The Hub has been the great forager / waterer / weeder and general wrangler of the garden. We’ve established sort of a hand-off. I start seeds, pruchase plants, plant, water, thin, weed and then he takes over mid-summer, with watering, weeding and the wrangling. I like the dirt, the first tiny weeds easy to wipe away with a scuffle hoe and the planning process, but I hate the sticky grasses that jump up over night in the heat of the summer, the mosquitoes and trying to wrangle a tomato or pumpkin vine resembles something like putting pajamas on an octopus – I get overwhelmed and flee. I think we make a pretty good team.

So, today The Hub announces the first spotting of a Charentais melon. It was the slowest grower of my vining crops but I’m excited to see if it will come to fruition. Since I was out in the garden already, I did my weekly assessment – walking around, seeing what’s growing, what’s not, etc. And as I was checking out a silly pumpkin, growing off a trellis I’d hoped the beans would use (they didn’t and preferred to entangle themselves into the pumpkin vines and my catalpa) I stumbled upon this fellow

There is something so other-worldly about dragon flies, even more so than other goofy insects. The lace-like wings, helmet-shaped eyes, reed-sectioned tail and dainty legs – straight out of a sci-fi novel. This guy was especially formidable with his wingspan wider than my spread-out hand. We called the children over and they got a look. It’s a wonder what I can find in even my little urban jungle.

easter bunny damage Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Rabbit damage through the winter. Note the tell-tale litter of "raisins" underneath.

I’ve heard a bit on area-person’s bunny damage. Nipped branches, chewed bark ringing tree trunks at different levels depending on where the snow height was during that particular snack time, and piles of droppings under the most tasty and gluttonous of rabbit-dining experiences (at least they are leaving a very good fertilizer behind).

Today I took note of one of my own. An old cotoneaster bush at the SW corner of my house – a couple whole branches stripped of bark. This is minimal damage at best. So far I’m happy to report there have been no other casualties to note. My youngest trees/shrubs: a catalpa seedling, larch, forsythia and witch hazel don’t show any damage. I took extra care last fall to protect them. I utilized old circular tomato cages and set inside an additional lining of chicken-wire fencing or green plastic mesh. I made sure to go up to a good height knowing bunnies will skip along the tp of snow drifts and snip off any branches poking out from the protective icy layer.

The most noteworthy damage I’ve heard by a rabbit came from my parents. They’d just gotten back from a trip to find their internet connection down. After assistance from family and a call to the cable company followed by a technicians visit, it was determined that a rabbit had chewed through their cable in the crawl space under the house. Now that’s a hungry bunny.

Hummer spotting Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Hummingbird September 2009, Rufous?

Hummingbird September 2009, Rufous?

This Labor Day was a treat indeed. I stepped in to finish the mowing The Hub had started, just to get some fresh air and exercise. While walking through one of the side gates I noticed a blur of buzzing fleeing from my obedient plant (physostegia). I just assumed it was a hummingbird moth and didn’t really think twice. But, later The Hub ventured out and pulled me around the corner back to the south side of our house. It was a hummingbird! This was a first for our yard (if I remember right). And to the very common and sometimes invasive obedient plant.

The sage he is, The Hub declared later that if you want to attract native wildlife you need native plants. Point taken. No need for brightly-painted plastic bottles of sugar water.

I believe this is a female Rufous hummingbird. She looks a bit skinny so I hope she got a good meal. The obedient plant is flush with blooms so I’m happy this feast was available to her.

1 Morning Dove Monday, August 10th, 2009

Cerelia Aug. 8 with morning dove chick

Cerelia Aug. 8 with morning dove chick

“Don’t touch a baby bird – the parents will smell you on it and abandon it.” A myth used to keep kids from disrupting baby animals.

Finding animals in your backyard opens up great educational opportunities. Appreciation for the inhabitants that share our space is a gift that needs to be passed on through the generations.

This little dove was found by my husband and daughter. They got a close up look which very few do. The baby bird fell asleep under the gentle hands of my daughter . (or perhaps it just shut its eyes tight and chirped to itself, “This is not happening, THIS is NOT happening.”) The bird was then placed on the ground on top of a man-made grass nest. Later when my daughter was excited for me to, “Come see!” we went to the spot only to find it vacated. Without any cause for alarm it appeared the little critter had bounced or flown away back to it’s own nook in the great outdoors. Fly on baby dove, fly on! It left our daughter with a warm memory she won’t soon forget.