National Hummingbird Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in September every year. Some communities celebrate this day with activities that include educational programs, hummingbird viewings, and field trips. Hummingbirds share the raising of the chicks and males live a lot shorter because they use so much energy in defending their nests. They use a lot of energy in flying and need to rest every 15 minutes, so we must make our gardens hummingbird friendly.
Common ravens have coexisted with humans for thousands of years and have been so numerous in some areas that people have regarded them as pests. Part of their success as a species is due to their omnivorous diet: they are extremely versatile and opportunistic in finding sources of nutrition, feeding on carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, nesting birds, and food waste. Some notable feats of problem-solving provide evidence that the common raven is unusually intelligent. Over the centuries, it has been the subject of mythology, folklore, art, and literature. In many cultures, including the indigenous cultures of Scandinavia, ancient Ireland, and Wales, Bhutan, the northwest coast of North America, and Siberia and northeast Asia, the common raven has been revered as a spiritual figure or godlike creature.
August is almost over; Sara is ready to go back to school. Summer is coming to an end, and it is time to get prepared for Autumn. The garden needs to be prepared for the Autumn/Winter season. A lot of crops love the cooler days, like cabbages and carrots. That’s also a good time for weeding the garden, since the mornings are not so warm anymore. Soon, the migrating birds and insects will visit the yard. It will be good for them to have a welcoming place where they can rest, before they have to move on to travel south. In the meantime, I’m sitting outside with a cool drink in my hand and enjoying the last days of Summer.
I love going outside when nature is covered in heavy morning dew. While Kevin did his morning walk, I captured some photos in our yard. So many beautiful dew droplets were hanging off these berries and leaves. When Kevin came home, he said he saw a doe with her fawns, and several rabbits out there. The dew will hydrate them. Maybe they will leave our neighbor’s tomatoes alone. Well, there is hope. The squirrels and chipmunks are quite sneaky. 🍅🐿
This afternoon, we finally got the welcome rain we needed so desperately. And we still could use more rain in New England. We had a nice thunderstorm. Once the sun came back out, I could see the rainbow in the distance. The drought took a toll on the trees. There is a chance, we might get an early Autumn display this year. Some of the trees and vines have changed their colors significantly over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, not all leaves will turn in September. It would be nice to have an Indian Summer throughout October.
Last week, I fertilized my greenhouse garden with fish emulsion. And the garden shows, it gets some TLC. The banana peppers, bush beans, squashes, and zucchini grow fruits. Our Foxtail grass and “Red Fox” coleus plants grew big and bloom nicely. We had several blossoms on our eggplant. But they fell off too early to form a fruit. Now that it is cooling down, I hope I have more luck with the plant. I also made another friend. Harvey, the Harvestman spider, moved into our greenhouse. However, since Harvey moved in, Button is MIA. Hmmm?! 🤔🤨
This year, we have a severe drought in Connecticut. Not enough rain has fallen this Summer. And it shows. Our birch tree, the sumac bushes, and the Virginia creeper vines change colors. Birds have picked most of the pokeweed berries. Only very few jewelweed blossoms are in nice bloom. Hopefully, we will get more rain in September. The flora and fauna need it.
Letting the dogs out, I saw this beautiful sunrise this morning. It became fierier with the sun rising. There were also four bats flying overhead. But they are so fast, my camera couldn’t pick them up. I probably have to film them instead when I get the next chance. Once a hawk was after the bats, they quickly disappeared into their hideouts.
Two years ago, Ozzy came out to join Chewbacca in the backyard in Texas. Once he was tired of pouncing to catch bugs, he enjoyed a stroll through the raised bed garden. He had a lot of fun playing “Hide and Seek” with Chewbacca. Ozzy played garden inspector next. The pumpkin leaves make nice umbrellas for shade; the potatoes and tomatoes show another set of nice leaves to hide behind them. And the bird feeder is refilled for the delicious “food” to show up in the garden. Everything is perfect for a young cat to explore the yard. When Ozzy decided to sneak over into the neighbor’s yard, the exploration was over. He had to go back inside. Exploration makes a cat very hungry. It was dinner and then nap time for our little “Meatball”. Ozzy loves meatballs and he looked like one.
Kevin had Lady Gaga on his bucket list for some time. Earlier in the year, I found out that she will be on Tour. Boston was already sold out. So, I tried my luck with New York. And we’ve got tickets for the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where the New York Giants and New York Jets call their home. This was about six months ago.
Last night was the show. We also had Sara with us. And she was excited as soon as Lady Gaga came on stage. The whole stadium was vibrating from dancing and jumping fans. Lady Gaga performed several songs from each album. We all had a great time yesterday.
This afternoon we had a nice thunderstorm coming through the Naugatuck River Valley. It cooled the air for a little bit. Therefore, it was comfortable sitting inside the greenhouse and listening to the raindrops hitting the roof. Button, my little greenhouse spider, seemed to like the break from the heat as well. She was hanging in there 😁. Now that the sun is back, it seems like nothing ever happened. And it is muggy, again.
Today was humid all day. It was uncomfortable. When the wind and the clouds came in this evening, it was still warm. But at least, we’ve got some raindrops before sunset. And a small rainbow appeared from behind our maple tree. Hopefully, there is more rain on the way tonight.
Who would have thought that Joshua was such a sneaky little butthead? Back in Texas, when Joshua was still a young cat, he couldn’t keep his eyes on the rotisserie chicken we got from the store. No matter how often we shooed him off the kitchen counter, he still found his way up there. So, what smart people do, we’ve covered the chicken up with the lit. But Josh was smart enough to open the lid and found his way into the container. Nothing is safe from that cat, especially chicken. Now, nine years later, he still finds a way to the covered chicken.
While photographing a few plants in my yard, a black animal crossed my path. Is this Bruno, the Black Bear everyone is talking about in our neighborhood? Okay, when I looked again, I noticed, we have a black cat in our yard. This was not my first encounter with this cat. My neighbor tried to get that cat out of his yard to dig holes and take a crap in his garden. At first, I thought it was Trixie, he tried to shoo her out of his yard. The second time I saw that cat, I knew it wasn’t Trixie. Chewbacca and him/her got into a fight. And this was the third time he chased a hummingbird across the yard. Naughty cat! Maybe I need to put a spell on him/her. I went back to capture photos of the yard, once the cat was out of sight.
So many memories come back when I look at these photos. When Kevin, Katelynn, Sara, and I lived in Texas, we loved walking on the town’s local trails. One of them was by Lewisville Lake, hence the name “The Colony Shoreline Trail”. The beginning of August has usually the hottest days of Summer. So, it was not uncommon that we walked when it was still 100℉+ in the evenings. We were used to it. And we saw people joking and biking along the trail. Sunscreen, bug spray, and water are the secrets to keeping going outdoors.
In this drought weather, a lot of plants strive in Texas. Firewheel, Ground Cherries, Horsenettle, Love-in-a-puff, Partridge Peas, Ragweed, Snow-on-the-prairie, Sunflowers, and many other plants love this hot weather, while others survive better in May and June. They will be wilted by the time July and August come around. That’s why we could enjoy wildflowers in Texas about ten out of twelve months of the year.
This evening, we’ve got another break from the heat and humidity in Connecticut. With the rain came also more pleasant temperatures. And the air smelled fresher. Sara was outside, catching raindrops with her tongue. I warned her to watch out for birds, LOL. We still have several days of heat ahead of us. On Thursday, it is supposed to be 98℉ (37℃). For New England, this is hot. Kevin, Sara, and I are used to this kind of weather. It’s much hotter in Texas.
Yesterday morning, I checked the plants in the greenhouse. After I added some fish emulsion to the watering can a couple of weeks ago, everything looked great and green, yesterday. The tomato, basil, and zucchini plants grew much bigger. My eggplant fruit didn’t grow much. But it has two more blossoms. Hopefully, our sunflowers will take off soon. They would provide some shade for me to sit in the greenhouse in the afternoons.
Leaving Wyoming, we entered the Black Hill National Forest, where we made our way to Mount Rushmore. But first, we drove through Custer, passed Crazy Horse, and looked at some interesting stone formations, while driving on US 385 and US 244.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Keystone, South Dakota
After visiting South Dakota, Kevin, the kids and I made it to Nebraska for the night. That night, they had a lot of tornado warnings. So, we tried to find a motel as soon as possible. The following day, all the storms were out of the area. And we could make our way all the way back to Dallas, Texas. We were happy to be back home.
This morning, when I woke up it was raining. Once, it dawned the rain moved out, and the fog rolled in. But the fog was only short-lived. I’m glad we are getting a break from the 80/90 degrees weather. Today, the high is supposed to be 75℉ (24℃). It’s humid, but it is bearable.
Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is the festival of the First Harvest. It’s held from the 1st to the 2nd of August, halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. This festival is named after the Celtic God Lugh It focus on the First Harvest of crops and offering them to the Deities.
Nature stands at the threshold of Autumn, it is still filled with summer’s warm delightful energy, yet there is something in the orange-tinted sunlight that speaks of change. Dusk arrives a little sooner than anticipated. The grain in the field and the fruits and vegetables in the garden begin to ripen.
We celebrate our progress and achievements, as well as the harvest at hand. We celebrate, knowing that we must stay focused on the crops that are still ripening. It is a time to reconcile our hopes with our fears. We joyfully receive the first rewards for our efforts, yet we still await the outcome of the remaining crops.
Lazy summer afternoons, Walks along the beach, Balmy evenings, cloudless skies, Stars just out of reach, Sailing on a quiet lake, Hammocks in the shade … These are simple treasures Of which, August days are made.
The vine tomatoes and peppers begin to ripen in the greenhouse. And the seedlings emerge from the soil. So far, I have borage, bush beans, cucumbers, and sunflowers as seedlings. I believe that once it is a little bit cooler, some more plants will pop out of the raised beds. Due to last night’s rain, it was cooler today. This might help with seed germination. I also have a greenhouse helper: Button, the spider. She makes sure our plants stay bug-free. I haven’t seen Karmo (toad) in a while. He’s probably camouflaged or hiding in the soil.
Chewbacca and Ozzy have their morning routine: First breakfast and bathroom before they like to go out in the yard and do some bird watching and basking in the morning sun. When the cats see me in the greenhouse, they both pay a visit for some fresh catmint. When it is too warm, Chewbacca and Ozzy come back into the house after two hours. But in Autumn, they all will hang out on the property for most of the day.
We had rain all day, today. And it came down quite a bit. The rain was so needed. The plants and the animals appreciate the fresh water from the sky. Everyone and everything was thirsty; except for Zoey. She decided she could wait to potty. And she rather chose the home office to do her business. I told her, this is not the business we do in that room. Zoey knew she did something wrong. She lowered her head, the ears went down and she trotted off to take a nap in Katelynn’s room. The joy of owning a pet. I definitely could tell, she was embarrassed and sorry.
This evening, Kevin and I worked on the other two raised beds in the greenhouse. After I positioned the cinder blocks in place, we filled in the beds with wood branches and dirt. Now, we let the soil set for a couple of days, before I begin to plant and sow more vegetables and some flowers in these raised beds. There is still so much Summer left in Connecticut. Time to make use of it.
Ozzy watched a bird for a while this afternoon. The bird must have been resting in our McIntosh apple tree. Since Ozzy climbs only smaller trees, this was the perfect opportunity to jump in the apple tree. First Ozzy tried to chat with the bird, but couldn’t see it. And eventually, it flew away.
Last week, I ordered more seeds from Botanical Interests for my greenhouse garden. And today, the package has arrived. The company always puts so much L.O.V.E. in its packages. Since it is only mid-July, there can still be so much done in a New England garden. Some of these plants can handle low temperatures, once they have established their roots in the ground. In the meantime, I want to enjoy some yellow, orange, and red colors inside the greenhouse in Autumn.
We have some growth in the greenhouse. The sun-gold tomatoes begin to ripen, the celery has recovered from the Black Swallowtail caterpillars, there are more bell peppers, and the bush beans sprouted in the raised bed soil. My Buddha statue was weathered and cracked. The top piece fractured just the right way so that I could place the face and portion of the upper body in the soil.
Now, that it is Summer Lisa has a lot of work done in her garden. She has a wonderful vegetable garden, with all kinds of goodies: eggplants, banana peppers, poblano peppers, tiger-striped bush zucchinis, all sorts of tomatoes, and tons of herbs. In the back, Lisa planted a lot of flowers for a colorful Summer. Her garden looks so beautiful. And Trixie, Lisa’s cat, agrees with me.
In these photos are some of my plants: eggplant, Golden Sun tomatoes, McIntosh apple, and Mandevilla blossom. Today I’ve also been sowing borage, Bush beans, Italian Flat parsley, marigolds, Mesclun lettuce, Purple Hull Peas, and sunflowers for companion planting; Common Buckwheat and Crimson Clover for improving the soil with nitrogen and attracting beneficial insects.