summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Watching the Birds

I believe this season is going to be a fabulous birdwatching season.

This spring has already been crazy with the regular feathered friends as well as rare sightings for me.  

tree swallow

same bird stretching its wings

Last evening as Glenn and I relaxed on the back deck, we saw a bunch of bald eagles in flight and landing in our pasture.  I counted five eagles as well as one raptor which we think was an osprey.

one of the five bald eagles in our pasture

I was thrilled as I have never seen more than two eagles at one time (and that sighting only occurred once last year as a pair flew just over my head – single eagles are sporadic, too) on our farm. (NOTE:  When Glenn and I were living in Alaska, Bald Eagles were commonplace.  They faithfully followed the garbage trucks)

Glenn was less excited.  He remarked as to how one eagle could decimate his fish in his pond. And to make matters worse, Becky had found a complete fish skeleton laying on the ground, near the pond, earlier in the day. Now there might be five hungry eagles and an osprey whose diet, by the way, is fish and only fish making visits.  I kind of feel Glenn’s anguish even though I am not a fan of the pond fish as I mentioned in previous blogs.  I much prefer the eagles.  Then, Glenn added that the eagles might also eat our lambs.  I am rethinking this regal eagle thing.

Today, I saw a palm warbler.  Of course, I thought I was looking at a sparrow until I flipped through my bird field guide which is always kept at home. I was pleased to discover a new-to-me bird.  Then again, I might have seen many palm warblers thinking that I was only seeing sparrows – ugh! 

Even though I have been watching birds for years, watching does not make me any kind of an expert.  I am a novice at all of my interests, I think, because I have so many interests and I do not afford the time with any particular one. 

So, I keep limping along hoping to identify all my bird encounters as best as I can.

Hearing the birds, seeing the birds, photographing the birds, identifying the birds…all fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I See Apples and Cherries in My Future

apple blossoms have a pink blush

Yippee!  The apples and sour cherry are in full bloom.  And, the past few days have been sunny and warm which certainly helps get the pollinating bee population busy. 

cherry blossoms are pure white
Our last, and very late freeze, did not seem to affect the flower buds of these fruit trees.  The wisteria and lilacs were not as fortunate.  The flower buds on these plants shriveled and turned brown – better luck next year.  I will miss a few blossoms, but we will have our apple and cherry crop – yummy!

Now, I have to find a solution to the stealthy bird situation.  The ripened sweet and sour cherries seem to be favorites of many bird species and they usually beat me to the treasure.

I like my birds, and I do not mind sharing a few cherries but not the entire crop.

I will be hanging a few shiny CD’s to help ‘scare’ the birds away from my juicy cherries.

Does anyone have a better idea?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Pretty, Purple and Prolific

As the season of spring progresses, so do the plants in my garden.

The early spring blossoms have faded giving way to the next, fresh round of flowers.

The most spectacular, at this moment, is the money plant aka lunaria aka silver dollar plant. The money plant is a biennial flowering the second year of its growth. 

I started with one such plant in my yard years ago and now that one plant has spread, on its own accord and not by my design, into almost each and every flower bed that makes up the entirety of my perennial garden.  And, I am happy with its movement.

The money plant blooms are deep purple and long-lasting.  It is a favorite for me as I enjoy the blooms wherever I notice it growing.

At the end of the growing season, the plant produces a dried stem of silver-dollar sized, lovely translucent seed pods that can be utilized in many a dried flower arrangement or with several stems gathered in a vase. 

Or, these pods can be left alone to adorn the fall/winter garden beds.  And, over time, the seeds disperse via wind throughout the yard. 

The following year the seeds produce a leafy plant.  In the second year, those plants produce an amazing display of purple petal posies. 

Two years seems like a long time to wait for flowers, but once the cycle gets past the second growing season, not a year goes by without the fabulous flowers. 

At the end of the second year, I just pull out the entire plant and discard it.  Easy Peasy.  And no worries as I already have zillions of first year lunaria already established for the next season.

My candytuft ain’ t bad either. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fishing at the Pond

Osprey with its catch...

a bluegill in the talons of this rare visitor 
 to our pond

Monday, April 11, 2016

An April More Akin To March

Just over one week ago, April 1 to be exact, I woke early in the morning to the sound of April showers gently hitting the tin roof of the pergola just outside my bedroom window.

The sky was grey with the forecast of sun to arrive by early afternoon. And, the sun did arrive.

That little bit of rain quickly turned the initial hints of spring (early flowering daffodils) into an abundance of new growth and blossoms.

The grass seemed to change into its amazing ‘spring green’ instantaneously.  I could watch that grass all day just cherishing the initial green color coming out of winter that will age quickly to its more standard growing season green.  There is nothing that quite compares to that spring green.  It calls out to me to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.  And, I follow its quiet persuasion.

Along with the calling of the green grass comes the start of many blossoms – wild violets dot the lawn and flower beds, sweet cherry blossoms, later season daffodils, the many hues of tulips, ornamental pear.  The wide-spread money plant will be added to the mix within days.  The flowering dogwoods have just started to expand their colorful bracts, I have both red and white.  Even these precursors to the full flowered bracts add interest to my eyes.  Foliage develops indicating the location of many more flowering plants to entertain – irises, poppies, daylilies.  Flower buds on other shrubs enlarge with the hope of many more blooms in the future – azaleas, rhododendrons, sour cherry, apples, and so many more perennials.


The previously bare branched trees of the woods surrounding our pastures have hinted at life with a suggestion of yellow-green.  Accenting these trees are scattered a few maples with their brilliant red and pendulous seed samaras and the early violet blossoms of the redbud trees. 

A multitude of color is definitely coming back into my world.  I am exhilarated.

No matter how much time I spend strolling in my gardens, I never seem to spend enough time to absorb all the fineness that nature is providing.  I do my best, though!

Then, the wonderful spring weather quickly reverted to winter’s cold and blustery winds throughout the week.  Today a spattering of snow along with the subfreezing temperatures threatened all growing plants.  Many perennials exhibited damaged tender tips.  Blossoms drooped.

Tonight, the worst is still to come with the temperatures dropping even more.  (Note: I woke to a 20-degree morning.)

This late cold blast is not new.  It is normal.

But, it does not mean that I have to like it.  I do not!

Yet I do know warmer temperatures will return bringing lots of color and scents.

My anticipation is overwhelming.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Frog Frenzy 2016

Today is the day.  The day when the 2016 Frog Frenzy began.  And, once again, I am glad that I was able to experience this loud but amazing natural phenomenon.

I checked back to last year’s blogs and found that the 2015 Frog Frenzy occurred on April 13th.  This year’s event is eleven days earlier.  I wonder if that means that I can count on the last frost date to be 11 days earlier.  If so, that would make April 4th the first safe date to begin planting new plants and veggies into my gardens – hmmmm??

Yesterday, when I reached the pond, I could hear a frog or two, but nothing like today’s spectacle.

First, I could hear the frogs way up at the house despite a strong winds which created an alternative noise of its own.   The closer I got to the pond, the louder the frog clamor became.


And, there were lots of frogs today.  In fact, it seemed like the entire shore perimeter of the pond was occupied with these amphibians.  All their vocalizing was loud and non-stop.  There was never one second when the pond was silent.

Besides the frogs sounding off, the frogs jumped on each other, the frogs stared at me, the frogs swam, the frogs rested, the frogs…well, you get the picture.  The only thing I did not see the frogs do was eat. 

Last year the frog frenzy lasted only one day. So, I made sure to enjoy today’s frenzy.

Check out these funny frogs for yourself…