Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Book recommendation

Just finished "1491" by Charles C. Mann. It gave me a new perspective on the civilizations that existed in North and South America. I highly recommend it if you are interested in archaeology.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Future Plans

I am currently reading two books : "1491" (about pre-Columbian civilizations) and "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life". The latter is inspiring me to try vegetable gardening again.

When we moved to this home in 2005, my intention that first summer of 06 was to make a vegetable/perennial garden in the back. 07 was my first real attempt, and I got a few things from the garden but I lost the Deer War. This year I have focused on flowers entirely but regret that I have no vegetables to harvest and depend on a CSA and local produce stands.

So here's my future plan: to make a blueberry bed surrounded and covered by a cage; to make a vegetable garden either surrounded by a cage or electric fence; and to plant some fruit trees. Someday I may even make an asparagus bed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ground Hog Wars

This year I am doing battle with a ground hog or two. It seems to love to eat the leaves from the black-eyed susans and the purple cone flowers. I've resorted to chicken wire enclosures to keep the ground hog out.



The plants are putting out new leaves so I hope they will recover.







I don't expect to see many blooms this year.



One of my lilies that bloomed this week is pure white. There is a wonderful fragrance in that part of the garden from the lilies.










Almost all of the stargazer buds have opened.













Even the insects like the fragrance.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Eating Tasty Cornbeef (ETC)

Today I visited Cross Street Market on Light Street in Baltimore. Sarah had to have a shot so I accompanied her to that appointment which was not far from Federal Hill where the Market is. I had never been there, so she showed me around and then we settled on Big Jims Deli to have lunch. I had the most delicious corned beef sandwich I have ever had. It was the Big Jims deluxe with hot corned beef, swiss cheese and cole slaw on rye bread. Sarah had the tuna melt which she said was the best she has had. We sat in their "Executive Dining Room" and had a view of the comings and goings at the market.

If you make it to Baltimore, stop by Big Jims at the Cross Street Market.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Four-legged Bird?

Are the birds growing fur and four legs from the sunflower I put out?

This pregnant doe must have needed something in her diet that came from my birdfeeder. I've since taken the feeder down but she has been back recently to check if I still had it up. It's not going up until Fall. I do see fewer birds, especially the woodpeckers who visited regularly. They'll be back as soon as it reappears.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fawns Have More Fun

I wish I had the picture to go with this. Unfortunately it's on a roll of 35mm film - who still takes pictures that way? Anyway here's the story.

We returned last Sunday from a family wedding in MA. Of course I had to check out the garden to see what the latest damage was from the deer or ground hog. The deer had found the hosta blooms and eaten some of those. They had also gone into the pond and eaten the floating plants whose name escapes me. I'm not going to be able to spray them with liquid fence. Hopefully there are enough roots to recover.

Yesterday I happened to look out my study window and see one of the twin fawns sauntering up the driveway headed to the pond. It went right in and started dancing around. Sarah grabbed her camera (35mm film needing to be used, my digital out of batteries) and snapped some shots of it. We thought that the dance was likely due to the goldfish that are attracted to things in the pond. They cluster around my boots whenever I wade in. What will they do when the heron comes by? After a time it waded out and went to nibble on some hostas. I scared it away.

This morning as I was watering I realized the pond fountain was submerged. I quickly unplugged it, donned my boots and waded in to fix it. Later at breakfast when I told Dan about it, he said he had seen the fawn this morning walking through the backyard. Ah ha! "Fawn frolics in pond and upsets fountain" should have been the news headlines. Well, it is a very hot week and I guess it finds the pond a cool retreat.

In Bloom on this Date


Lily - just opened today.

Foam flower - a gift from a friend.

Solitary butterfly looks like its had a rough life.

Foxglove - second flowering this summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where are the Butterflies

Here is a picture of one of the three butterfly bushes in my yard. I am lamenting the dearth of butterflies this summer. As you can see, there were none to capture in this picture. Since taking photo I have seen a few butterflies, but no where near what were here last year.

Life and Death of a Bird

A thrush came to visit today and stayed unfortunately. It hit one of our windows with an unmistakable thud. Sometimes the birds survive that do this. I had hopes for this thrush at 7:00 am this morning.

When I went to investigate it lay there on its back next to my rocking chair and looked at me. I gently turned it onto its breast and left for an early appointment, praying that it would have recovered and flown off by my return. No, it was still there when I came home, but no longer living, so I carefully picked it up and placed it in the woods for another in the food chain to eat. The dead ones always disappear. I never see what has taken them.

It was sad to see the thrush because I recently learned from a friend of my youngest daughter's that the song we hear at dusk is that of the thrush. I never see it in my walk through the woods, but I noted its demise in my bird book and was reminded that the last death in 2007 was also a thrush. Elusive in life except for their song, prominent in death on our deck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Inaugural Blog

This is the inaugural post of this blog. I'm a novice at this but I intend to focus on three things primarily: birds - what I see in my yard; blooms - the triumphs and trials of gardening in a woodland setting; and books - what I read that others may enjoy. The ETC. part of my blog title is for anything else that I feel like sharing.
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