Sunday, March 21, 2010

A very wet and hungry Great Blue Heron eyeing my pond for a hearty breakfast the day after the Nor'Easter of March 13th!

The first grackle arrived last Friday. Flocks of robins and bluejays arrived earlier in the week ... so ... I am very hopeful that spring is here to stay!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Summer of 2009 ...

I know that I promised to write more but a sweet little collie puppy named Christie got in the way.

This summer flew but there were some wonderful moments in my garden. Here are a few excerps from my column:

July 16th: As I walked out onto my terrace late last Wednesday afternoon, there, lying still on the bricks next to my prized yellow hibiscus, was a female hummingbird. Her fragile beauty and delicate wings were absolutely breathtaking. When I gently picked up this marvelous bejeweled treasure, I felt a faint heartbeat.

Warmed in my cupped hand, her tiny heart began to beat faster and her wings began to flutter—and then, just as suddenly, they stopped. As tears filled my eyes at the thought of losing her, I felt her life force return. And, when I opened my hand, her wings were beating stronger and, this time, I could hear a distinctive “hum.”

As I set her free, I watched in awe as she quickly flew up into her favorite old pine tree in my woods.

Two days later, as I sat quietly on my chaise lounge, she reappeared and hovered for quite a while, just 2 feet in front of me, unafraid, flying up, down, sideways and backwards. She was so close that I could almost touch her.

Was this very special, tiny visitor putting on a spectacular aerial show just for me? Was she saying “thank you for helping me?” I truly believe that she was!

August 13th: The early morning has always been my very favorite time of the day. Still, my 4-month-old collie puppy, Christie, takes it to the extreme. She wakes up at 5:15 a.m., bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to have breakfast and play!

But there is a proverbial silver lining. My hummingbirds are also hungry early and while Christie and I “play” on the terrace, they are “dining” on the flowers in my pots. They fly all around us, so close at times that I can hear their distinctive hum and almost touch them. What an exquisite treat!

August 27th: It seems that this summer just flew by. One minute I was anxiously awaiting those lazy, hazy days, and the very next minute I found myself writing the last column of August. Did my puppy, Christie, take up so much of my time? Or did the cold, wet weather have something to do with it?

The unequivocal stars of my garden this year were the bejeweled hummingbirds. And while you cannot really call them “stars,” my big, loud bullfrog and my very vocal chorus of peepers made quite an impression on my nighttime visitors. Mama Turkey returned late in the season with only two poults and the ring-necked pheasant with his animated distinctive calls deserted me in July.

Catbirds, cardinals and American goldfinches dominated my feeders while George, the groundhog, was nowhere to be found. And each evening at around sunset, a 10-point buck peruses my garden while his subordinates—a pair of six-pointers—await his commands.

“Heaven” is the only word I can think of to describe my garden and the “wild friends” who visit!

September 10th: My collie puppy has made me fall in love all over again with the very early morning. To see our dark, clear, starlit East End sky slowly fade to a dusky dawn and to hear my songbirds awakening trill is truly awe-inspiring!

September 17th: My hummingbird has not been around these past few days and I suspect that she has already left for her long flight to Costa Rica. It seems that my garden is a little less magical without her.

October 15th: My flowers may be slowly getting ready for their long winter’s nap, and my hummingbird may have left for the warm and sunny clime of Costa Rica, but my garden is still surprising me with the most beautiful of gifts! Magnificent dragonflies and damselflies abound, skimming over the lilypads and dancing among the buff-colored inflorescences of ornamental grasses and the dark seed-heads of echinacea and rudbeckia. And their amazing colors—bright fuchsias, electric blues and iridescent greens—glittering in the sparkling fall sunshine absolutely fascinate me.

October 29th: Mother Nature, with her broad paint brush, has, seemingly overnight, transformed my garden into a golden wonderland filled with warm hues of orange, burgundy and rust. The birds of summer are gone and I am slowly welcoming back my winter friends—black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, nuthatches and woodpeckers. Bright red cardinals and bold blue jays abound, their feathers gleaming in the autumn sunlight, adding to nature’s marvelous tapestry.

And as I walk along my woodland paths with Christie, my 7-month-old collie puppy, I am enjoying her fascination with the falling leaves, the twittering birds, and the scampering squirrels as they noisily gather acorns for their winter nests.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

George awakens from his long winter's nap ...

George, the groundhog, came out from his long winter's nap. I had been anxiously watching for him since March ... and, of course, worrying about him. When the landscapers did my spring clean-up, they covered the entrance to his tunnel and I feared that George might suffocate. I did dig out the entrance immediately. But, on May 1st, I noticed a new "exit" so George is safe, fine and out and about!

Tommy turkey wanders aimlessly about my garden looking for his mother and his sisters. They are all off nesting, I suppose. I feel so sorry for Tommy. Yesterday morning I found him sitting on the doormat in front of my front door. I guess he's lonesome and just wants company.

I promised myself that I would write in my blog every day. Of course, I made that promise on New Year's Day but ... better late than never

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last Snow of the Year ...

Tommy Turkey spent all day underneath the fir ... eating!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hummingbirds ...

I named her Rose partly because she is so beautiful and so delicate ... and partly because she reminded me of someone very special to me. She stayed all summer, thrilling me with her graceful flights and enjoying the nectar from all the special flowers I had planted in my garden for her. She visited several times a day, resting on dead tree limbs or my wrought iron pillars, and I couldn't help but wonder if her nest was hidden somewhere in my garden.

I hated the thought of her leaving ... migrating to Costa Rica ... flying non-stop, some five hundred miles, over the Gulf. When she finally did leave, I truly missed her daily visits.

And, then, today, I received another gift of nature ... another marvel ... or marvels ... four ruby-throated hummingbirds were in my garden enjoying my Agastache and my Spigelia marilandica, a beautiful native wildflower with wonderful tubular orange blossoms. They stayed for quite a while just enjoying ... but not as much as I!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A September Weekend ...

One of the "twins!"

This weekend was absolutely glorious ... in the low 70's, sunny and dry ... a weekend that I just don't want to end.

I guess my wild-friends felt that way too since they all made an appearance. The twin fawns and the turkey babies have really grown ... almost as big as their moms!

Millie, the bunny, is also getting big ... but, thankfully, not as quickly as the fawns and the turkeys.

My pond was covered today with a flock of bluejays ... a lot prettier and more colorful than the grackles ... and just as rambunctious!

I saw Rose, the hummingbird, earlier in the week. I wonder when she'll migrate. It is truly amazing that when ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate to Costa Rica they cross the Gulf ... some 500 miles ... non-stop!

My weekend was extra special because my son Michael came to visit. He cooked me an absolutely delicious dinner: pork chops in a brown sugar sauce, smashed red potatoes and green beans with a fresh-from-my-garden tomato and onion glaze. Yummy ....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

John ... Millie's brother ...

... is much more cautious than his sister. He runs away the minute I open the door. I love seeing his white cotton-tail. He's enjoying the clover that I leave all over my garden as a special treat for my bunnies!