Friday, September 25, 2015

Autumn is here

I'm enjoying the signs of the changing season--a few changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and fall flowers.
I pulled the wilted leaves off the beauty berry branches and added a few Jerusalem artichoke blossoms.  It seemed to make me sneeze, so I took the bouquet out to the porch.  I think it makes a lovely arrangement.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A stroll around the yard

When I'm too tired to be actively working, I stroll around the yard and see all the things that need to be done.  But that's not all I see.  Here are some things I've seen this week in my yard and garden.

A red-spotted purple butterfly,
yet another bloom on my daylily 'Final Touch,'
 the divisions of irises that I transplanted from Mom's,

 some new growth on the daylilies and stokesia that were rescued from the neighbor's yard,

 the Jerusalem artichokes blooming in the garden,
a white-eyed vireo in the apple tree,

and a jetliner overhead--maybe taking people to an exotic location away from everyday toil... ...or maybe taking on a business trip people who would rather be at home in their yard and garden.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September color

Yellow is my favorite September color with goldenrods everywhere and ditches full of yellow tickseed flowers.  Of course, green is great for a September katydid, and red is perfect for a September wild rose hip.

September--such a beautiful month!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Three more butterflies

I found a few more butterflies to photograph on my way to 15 butterflies in '15.

With some watermelon rinds, I lured a red-spotted purple (which is sort of black and blue with orange spots in my way of thinking) to the compost bucket.

Also enjoying the scraps was a viceroy butterfly.  It appeared to be feasting on a bit of apple core.  Or perhaps some of the muscadine hulls had left a little juice on the apple core when they were collected together and dumped into the bucket.  One of its hind wings was quite damaged.

When I shot this little gray butterfly, I had no idea what kind it was, and I didn't really get a good look at its open wings, so I did not know if it was a butterfly I already had a picture of.  I was delighted to find out that it is a new one for me, a Carolina satyr.

That brings my total to 14!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The "two-minute" repair

The internet is surely a boon to do-it-yourselfers.  You can find a video of how to do most anything.  I will get to that in a minute.  First, the backstory....
A month or so ago, when I had the mower blues, it turned out to be an easy fix (even for us and we don't know much about engines).   Ds reattached the governor spring that had come loose and got me back in business with my mower.  It wasn't long at all before I had the mower blues again.  The drive cable had broken.  I think it's probably best to spare you the details of the miscommunication between my menfolk and me about where to get the replacement part.  In the interim, ds and I kind of jerry-rigged the mower by wrapping a piece of wire so that the drive stayed engaged all the time.  I just had to lift the front wheels when I wanted to stop going forward.  (I also tried to kind of start moving forward before I let the wheels back down so as not to stress the jerry-rigging.  It was a fairly arduous process, all in all, but it enabled me to get the yard, which was starting to look like a pasture, mowed.)
Yesterday, with new cable in hand, I decided to fix my mower.  There are videos showing the process.  One video was just over two minutes.  Of course, it assumes you know what on earth you are doing.  It assumes you know where the needle-nose pliers are.  It assumes you don't have to call your son (only to get a message saying his voice mailbox is full) to ask where the pliers are.  It assumes you don't wander around till you find another nice pair of needle-nose pliers that are in the glove compartment.  It assumes you don't manage to do something stupid and pinch a blood blister on your ring finger.  It assumes you will attach the cable in the order they say.  Now I'm picturing the dog caught in the ruined blinds, "It's cool, it's cool, I got the fly." 
It took me more than two minutes, but... "It's cool, it's cool, I got the cable attached!"

Monday, September 14, 2015

Putt putt

A week ago, I enjoyed a game of putt putt with my two menfolk.  I hadn't played in ages, and it was a nice diversion.  The course is an incredibly noisy place next to a busy highway and a go-kart track, but the designer made use of waterfalls to help mask the sound. 
It was nice to have an outing as a family.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A visit to the land of abundance

Friday I had the opportunity to visit with my parents.  I arrived unannounced, and Mom said she wasn't expecting anyone for lunch.  I told her that was not a problem, that I could just make myself a peanut butter sandwich.  She suggested an upgrade to a tomato sandwich and I thought that sounded good.  When Mom is in the kitchen, I always think of the scripture which mentions the householder who "bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." 
"We have some slaw, too, if you want that.  And sausage balls.  And you can have that boiled egg if you want it." 
I thought I would upgrade from a sandwich to a plate with tomato slices, slaw and sausage balls.  That was sounding like a pretty good meal.  Then the tomato and sausage balls started sounding like a good combo for the boiled egg.  "And here's a little bit of squash you can heat up in the microwave--and beans and carrots."  So, I did take a little of the squash and green beans with baby carrots.  I topped it off with a few homemade pickles.  Wow, I hadn't eaten that good in ages!  I finished it up with a few oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars and milk.
Later a sibling and a couple of nephews came by as well.  We listened to Daddy tell tales from the olden days.  Daddy tells his tales in a deliberate way.  The delivery becomes part of the experience.  There were stories of wells, dynamite, gold sluice boxes, Special Forces, coon hunters, and more.  Mom uses a lot more economy in relating a story, but she has experiences to share as well.  She told about descending into the family's 18' dug well holding to a rope with one foot in a bucket.  She had been tasked with cleaning out the sediment.  "Did you find the dipper?"
"Yes, that's what I'm using to dip the mud with."
When the water started to run in again, she was pulled up with the windlass.  Upon stepping out, her father handed her a two dollar bill which she saved for a long time.
We toured the yard and I ate a persimmon, a fig, and a few Chinese dates.
I have a little country property (that probably won't perc and is only good for growing pines, ticks, and redbugs).  At one time (when I could still deny the reality of the situation), I dreamed of perhaps having a house there.  I planted a few apple trees.  Last year the surviving apple tree had a couple of apples on it when I checked.  This year, that tree, too, was dead.  We did find some muscadines, though.  And I brought back a few branches from the beauty berry bush that we had cleared out around.
Mom had picked a tremendous amount of muscadines from a vine in her backyard.  If I'm not mistaken it is one my older brother found in the woods which was particularly good.  That was ages ago, and it is still bearing in abundance.  The cultivar I have at my house dropped its fruit prematurely two years in a row.  Mom sent some of the muscadines home with me.  The aroma is wonderful.
It was nice to visit with family, to get a sense of belonging, to enjoy the abundance, to reset my bearings.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This town (window) ain't big enough for both of us

Last summer I noticed the gray tree frog (with yellow under its legs) on my window.  I think it hibernates in a cubby hole in the window sill.  This year I was noticing it again.  However, recently, I began seeing the green tree frog, which is a little smaller.  One night I saw the gray tree frog hanging onto the edge of the window sill while the green tree frog was on the window.  The night after I took the picture of the green tree frog, the gray one was back.  I hoped I had not blinded the green one with the flash from the camera.  Not to worry, tonight the green one was back.  I saw the green one catch a large moth.  Then the gray tree frog appeared as well.  I watched as it crawled toward the green one.
Suddenly, the gray tree frog charged the green one, and the green one either fell or leaped.  Now the gray tree frog has claimed the whole window territory.  I guess that makes him a bull-y frog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Food for the critter visitors

I bought a pot of yellow coneflowers at the grocery store last week.  A couple of days later, I caught this tiger swallowtail and silver-spotted skipper visiting it.
While I took a few pictures of the butterflies, a chickadee scolded me for being too close to the birdfeeder.  Of all the nerve!  Even while I stood nearby, the chickadee visited the feeder.

Each night the moths gather at the window, attracted to the light.  This green tree frog waits to get its fill.  I would say I watch the frog eat the moths, but the frog is so fast, I can only say I see the moths disappear.

Any visitors at your place lately?

Monday, September 7, 2015

New trail

On my list of things to do this year, I put "hiking new trails."  Today, DH and I walked a few miles along the Neuse River Trail, a trail I hadn't been on before.  This is a great greenway trail and is also part of the Mountains to the Sea Trail.  It was pretty busy with bicyclists today, and it would be a nice place to ride a bike.  We also saw a couple of kayakers getting ready to put in.  However, the river looked a bit shallow for that, I thought.  I look forward to walking another section soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Picked first shiitake (and random nature pics)

I watched the shiitake that I first saw Sunday as it expanded each day this week.  Time to pick it!  This is what it looked like just a little while ago.  As you can see, some critter has been gnawing the bark of the log.  Fortunately, whatever critter that was left this mushroom for me.

Now, I just need to decide how I want to cook it.

Here are some more random pics from the last week or so around the house.

A sulphur butterfly in a white morning glory makes butterfly #11; four more to go!

 I already have a tiger swallowtail for my count, but this was a pretty sight.
Ditto for the pearl crescent butterfly.
I thought I had another butterfly for my count, but this little white thing is a moth.

The Texas mallow is still blooming prolifically.
I made a few cuttings from a rose of Sharon bush.

And the brown thrasher is enjoying the water dish.