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.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Scenes from the Garden


Marigolds are lovely this time of year. Though, I do have one plant that hasn't bloomed at all.


Volunteer tomatoes are ripening nicely. This is the variety you see in the supermarket that's sold on the stems.


Volunteer cantaloupe is almost ripe.


Another volunteer cantaloupe that's much smaller. Don't know if it will ripen.


With all the rain there are lots of toadstools through the garden.


Chicken wire has kept the groundhog at bay so these could flower.


Miss Amelia day lily that I planted this summer. Of the three plants this is the only one to bloom.


Coleus looks lovely now with all the rain.


False dragonhead in bloom.


Another toadstool variety.


Goldfish think I will feed them.


A surprise flowering in the pond.


The largest tomato so far and probably for the year.


Arugula, spinach and mesculun (to the left) have sprouted.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hummingbirds

I've enjoyed seeing hummingbirds this summer. Maybe that should be singular since I only see one at a time. Lately if the hosta flower is bobbing it's because the hummingbird is inside.

This morning I watched as the hummingbird made its rounds: a purple flower that is blooming now called False Dragon, then to the remains of the bee balm. It paused to rest on the chicken wire surrounding the pink yarrow. From there it went to the new flowers on the yellow yarrow and then to the purple phlox. It saw the reflection of the phlox in one of our windows and headed there only to bump into the glass. It was okay because I saw it head for the trees.

They are incredibly amazing birds. They are very curious too because this summer if I was outside invariably when it came by it would pause to have a look at me then fly on. They should be leaving soon to migrate. Maybe next year I'll put up a hummingbird feeder.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Raccoons - The Continuing Story

On Monday, I put some peanuts out on the deck to entice the squirrel to come eat them. It ignored them so they were still there in the evening. This morning, when I came into my study I realized that I didn't hear the sound of the fountain in the pond. Looking out there I discovered that the fountain was totally immersed in the pond and out of sight. I unplug it and made a mental note that I would have to wade in there after school today.

I knew the culprit was a raccoon. It always over turns the dish we use to cover the connection between the extension cord and the fountain cord. I knew too it had tried to go fishing for goldfish in my pond.

At breakfast I looked out on the deck where the peanuts had been. All that were left were the shells and wet puddles. We traced the puddles across the deck to wear the raccoon had stepped on it until it stepped off after eating the peanuts.

This evening I put on my boots and waded in. Not only was the fountain pushed under, but a pot of water lilies were on their side too. What I couldn't find was the filter that goes on the pump. Fortunately I had an old one that was relatively clean that I could put on. I suppose when the water level falls some I may find the other filter. Another possibility is that the raccoon took it. I may have to take a tour of the yard to locate it. What I don't see is any evidence that the raccoon caught any goldfish, thankfully.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New raised Beds

With the fence installed around the new garden area I was able to order
blueberry bushes and more raised beds. The bushes came on Friday and were planted that day. The raised beds were assembled with major help from Dan on Saturday. This afternoon I filled one of the beds and planted mesculun, spinach and arugula.


One of the blueberry bushes.


Blueberry bushes are on the east side of the garden (along the fence).


Green beans are forming.


Looking north, blueberries to the right. Eventually the paths will be mulched.



First of the new beds to be filled. It could have used more soil but I ran out of bags. I'll get more next weekend for the other beds and wait until spring to add more to this first one.


Looking in from the gate.


Looking south. Newly planted bed in foreground.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Quick Read

Just finished "A Girl Made of Dust" by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi.
Set in Lebanon during the 1982 Israeli invasion.
Viewed through the eyes of an eight year old girl.
Describes the ravages of war and the impact on one family's lives.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Long Book Finished

I've been reading an archaeology book all summer. It's one of those books you can stop and start. I found it reviewed in"Discover" magazine in 2005, thought it sounded interesting, so I cut out the review and held on to it. The library never seemed to have it so when I got a gift card to Barnes and Noble I decided it was time I just bought the book for myself.

"After the Ice, A Global Human History 20,000-5,000 BC" by Steven Mithen was a fascinating look at the development of humans on this Earth. The author uses a fictional character who travels to every continent and through time on each continent tracing the development of the hunter-gatherer and then farming societies. Each make believe visit is then backed with the archaeological record that gives us the insight into our ancestors lives. Archaeologists today have an incredible scientific arsenal to rely upon to learn about events and people who lived in prehistory; "... the use of science: that which allows us to identify cotton inside a corroded copper bead, reconstruct the pattern of prehistoric migrations from the genes of people alive today, specify ice age temperatures from beetle wings and - most especially - establish the order of events by the use of radiocarbon dating." (p.506) You learn about how grain crops and animals were domesticated and the similarities the bind us together as humans no matter where we call our ancestral home.

A fascinating read if you are interested in archaeology and history.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Fence


Here are the two raised beds before the fence was installed. The netting was too confining for the plants.


Tuesday morning the holes were dug and posts cemented in place. It's about 16 x 24.


Today, Wednesday, the crew came back to put on the wire mesh then the horizontal and vertical rails.


Here's the finished fence. A gate was built to fit. You can see my bluebird box just behind the garden area. The bluebirds will love sitting on the fence.


Here's a view from below, it is on a slope.


Here's what you will see coming up my steepdrive. The tomatoes and beans have been uncovered. Netting no longer necessary.
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