The Gathering



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Pussywillows and peepers

Posted by angelhelp on April 6, 2014 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

All the pussywillow catkins are past the furry stage and are covered in pollen, but despite the presence of other insects, there have been no bees visiting as yet. Neighbors have already begun using their leafblowers for hours at a time, eliminating any possibility of enjoying the tranquility of birdsong over a weekend afternoon. Spring peepers from the wetlands have made their presence known each night for nearly 2 weeks, an interesting descant to the hoofbeats of deer startled from their purloining of fallen sunflower seeds. Maple buds seem ready to burst at any time. Our snowdrops are past their prime but the crocuses make a nice show at home. Daytime temperatures range from mid-50s to mid-60s, yet thankfully the nights remain cool and refreshing.

Spring has sprung

Posted by angelhelp on March 28, 2014 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

It has been a wonderful winter with a reasonably decent amount of snow, but all good things must eventually come to an end. Ground ivy is making its presence known. Pussywillows were open before Ash Wednesday but whereas some catkins remained closed through the first weeks of Lent, they are now all opened. The nighttime temperatures seldom did below 30F anymore, and days are filled with the sounds and sights of male red-winged blackbirds as they stake out their territories. Daffodills and tulips have sprouted, with the former showing 5" of leaves. Precipitation is now exclusively in liquid form; as rain is expected for the next 48 hours, any remaining trace of snow will be melted.

Sugar maples are past peak

Posted by angelhelp on October 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

It's been about 2 weeks since the sugar maples were at their peak color. Warm weather has dulled the color show and delayed leaf fall for other species. There has yet to be a frost; in fact, houseplants don't show any signs of distress. Apple season has ended but the raspberry season continues. Bees visit the garden in hopes of finding a few more blossoms. Wooly bears are somewhere between a pencil diameter and a AAA battery diameter, the smallest I've seen. Most storms headed our way seem to split while still west and/or south of us, giving us overcast skies and high humidity without much actual rain. The yellowjackets are abundant, unfailingly homing on fruit and meat scents; they seem to know their days are numbered. Milkweed pods are empty, having long ago sent their seeds and fluff into the breeze. Late afternoon sun no longer seems stifling; later dawn has become a gentler awakening.

There's a delicious chill in the air

Posted by angelhelp on September 23, 2013 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

It was a cloudless blue sky with a refreshing chill to the air this afternoon as the sun descended toward evening. It's a perfect time for a campfire, a hammock, and an avian lullaby.

Cooler at last

Posted by angelhelp on September 22, 2013 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

At last, on this day of the autumnal equinox, it seems that our weather has finally cooled appropriately for the season. Sugar maples are beginning to show their fall colors as the more delicate foliage begins its seasonal withdrawal into obscurity. Walnuts, milkweed pods, and cattails are abundant. Honeybees, a rare sight nowadays, have tirelessly harvested nectar from the goldenrod next to butterflies, wasps, and flies. The woods seem quieter as humans return to their regular schedules and wildlife prepares for winter.

Muggy, Sticky, Hot Summer

Posted by angelhelp on September 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Summer was hot and humid this year as usual, with the usual assortment of wasps. The tick population seems to have exploded this season, especially deer ticks. Poison ivy is everywhere, profiting from hotter summers. Honeybee sightings have diminished greatly over the past decade; this is the second year with zero honeybees in the area. Bumblebees and other pollinators have filled the honeybees' niche despite local pesticide use. As of today, there has been only one day with comfortable temperatures and humidity levels; one can only hope that the arrival of autumn will not seem like a second "monsoon season" such as what we seem to experience each spring. It will be good to get out and walk again, maybe put up a hammock, feel the breeze, and listen to the birds!

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Posted by angelhelp on July 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

These nasties have spread to CT. Last night I picked one off one of our cats' faces. The disturbing part is that the cat was indoors, meaning these mosquitoes are coming into the house, following the people. The cat shook his head rather hard several times but the mosquito persisted in sucking blood straight from his forehead.

I can't help but wonder now if this isn't the same kind of bug that nailed me in the back of the leg, 5 separate times, 2 weeks ago. The resulting hives from the bites merged into one huge hive the size of my hand. It took 4 days of diphenhydramine to mediate the itch; the hive remained present for a week. I was bitten while sitting at a table in the house.

Mulberry jam

Posted by angelhelp on July 2, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Enough of our mulberries have ripened that it's now possible to collect enough to make jam. Black raspberries are coming soon. The garden has suffered from our endless rain, but there are peppers coming, apples ripening, and I have hopes that we might see some blueberries. Temperatures have hovered around 90F during the day and 70F at night with dewpoints in the mid-70s. Cloudier days have kept the temperatures down in the mid-80s, but it's a sauna out there!


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