Category Archives: Nature

A SUNDAY MYSTERY

I don’t surrender my fall weekends easily.

John’s 50th class reunion

Certainly justifies

A non gardening weekend.

586 graduates in the College High Class of ’67

13 National Merit Scholar Finalist.

Pretty impressive.

And a fun group of people, too.

So with little to report

From the garden.

I’ll just leave you with this

Mystery to solve.

We found this suspended in the Mandavilla

Just before we left on Friday.

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It’s still here this evening.

It’s not attached,

It’s just hanging ,

In the midst of a web

Connected to the plant.

I’ve been observing nature

Up close for a very long time.

This is completely new to me.

Anyone know what’s about to hatch

Right outside my back door?

Gail

“He who finds a thought that lets us a little deeper into the eternal mystery of nature has been granted great peace.”

                                                Albert Einstein

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Filed under Fall, Gardening, late summer garden, Mandavilla, Miracles, Mystery, Nature, Uncategorized

PLAY DATES

Ours is an “arranged” friendship.

When Bay and Debra moved to town.

Bay’s mother, Jean,

Was concerned that Debra wouldn’t have time

To meet new people.

What with two toddlers,

A new medical practice

And studying for her medical boards!

Jean asked if I’d give her a call.

I did.

The four of us went to dinner

And have been friends for decades.

Early on we decided we needed

Scheduled “play dates”.

This often consisted of trips to

The city.

Clothes shopping for kids

And long lunches.

During which we discovered

That we had been living

Somewhat parallel lives.

Over the decades play dates

Turned into scheduled weekly calls

When Debra moved to the city.

There were years where life overtook us

And we didn’t have much time to

Keep up with each other.

But ours is an easy friendship

Since we see the world

Through many shared life experiences.

Friday was the first scheduled play date

For quite some time.

The plan was to go to the city.

Run errands together

Have lunch

And great conversation.

But mid-week

I realized that my garden

Is full of bugs

This time of year.

And Debra is in full-blown

“Macro bug mode”.

Her Instagram tag line is

“Read images while at work.

Take images while away from work.’

She takes the most amazing pictures.

Birds in the winter.

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June flowers in Giverny

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And now bugs.

Early in the week.

I had spotted three orb spiders

And a big praying mantis.

But by Thursday night

I was down to one orb.

I feared I had gotten her here

Under false pretenses.

Friday morning she arrived

At sunrise.

Bearing gifts.

Her famed cookie dough.

The Holy Grail of Chocolate Chip cookies.

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I directed her to the surviving orb.

She began to click away.

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John couldn’t resist

Getting in on the day.

Catching bugs

To feed to the spider

For Debra to photograph.

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And before we knew it

Orbs began to appear.

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Totaling four in all.

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Next I found a praying mantis

Or two.

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So she clicked

And I scouted for bugs.

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She sees the garden through her macro lens.

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I see it as a gardener.

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I know where the bugs

Hang out.

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We were a good team

As usual.

It was a delightful morning.

Play.

It’s as important now

As it’s ever been.

Gail

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Monterey – 2010 with Debra & Kristina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, Fall, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Friends, late summer garden, Monet's Giverny, Nature, Orb Spider, Praying Mantis, Uncategorized

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE

This has been an unusual summer

On many fronts.

I’ve been gone half the summer.

Two weeks here

A week there.

Grand kids will do that to you

I’ve learned.

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Not that I mind

I don’t.

But I’m not used to flitting around

Like that.

Then there was August.

Days turned into

Weeks of mid-80’s

And there was the rain.

In a month when it might not rain

At all

We had 6 inches!

So…

Combine my absence

With cool temperatures

And gentle rains

And what do you get?

A jungle.

The Cockscomb is officially

Growing out of its mind.

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Zinnias have popped up

Everywhere.

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The Asters are blooming,

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And Cleome is still going strong.

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Then there is the crabgrass.

If you don’t pull it.

It just keeps growing

And growing.

I think I’ve filled

Four poly carts

With the stuff.

Yesterday I managed

To get about half way through

The weeding process.

With a little deadheading

Along the way.

That’s really all there is

To do out there right now.

That and enjoy Mother Nature.

Yesterday was a tough day

To be one of these.

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Not sure if it’s a moth

Or a butterfly.

First one was eaten for lunch

By a Praying Mantis.

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Then this Orb spider

Had another one

For dinner.

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I was still

In the garden

At dusk

When the locust chorus

Began singing

A familiar song.

Fall

Isn’t it yummy?

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, cleome, cockscomb, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening, Grandchildren, late summer garden, Nature, Orb Spider, Praying Mantis, Rain, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

THE GARDENERS

One of the thing that intrigued me

About Monet’s garden

Was how you keep it looking so good

For 500,000 visitors a season.

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A challenge to say the least.

So I was curious about the gardeners.

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Normally in this situation I would simply

Sic Debra on them.

After all she is a most curious person

And has a way of interrogation that is

Gentle and charming.

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But we had a couple of problems,

One, the gardeners were at work.

And we were there during their busy hours.

So we were asked not to bother them.

Then there was the fact

That they spoke French

And I don’t.

But you can learn a lot

By observing from afar.

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One question was about poppies.

They pulled them up

By the root

Just as the last bloom wilted

Before the seeds had matured.

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Yet they look like

They have self-seeded.

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So the unanswered questions was

How?

Do they dry the green pods

And save the seeds

To sprinkle in the snow?

My suspicion is that they return

To the garden

Via compost.

I never got the answer.

But sometimes mystery

And unanswered questions

Are just as much fun!

So since I wasn’t sure

Of the fate of these green pods

Packed with seeds of a color of poppy

I had never seen before.

A few seemed to find their way

Into my pocket.

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Couldn’t wait to get them home

And dried

And sprinkled

Into my own garden.

But….the last night

Someone commented about how fast customs moves

With the use of drug dogs.

And since these are the very variety

Of poppies that the USDA has banned in quantity.

We decided to leave them behind.

Kristina really wanted to see her children again.

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And not get caught up

In a gardening tour

Drug bust!

You would think that pulling all these poppies.

Would leave giant gaps in the color.

But as soon as one plant was pulled

Someone else came along

With a plant just as tall in hand

And planted them in the empty space.

While we were there

They replaced the poppies

 

With Cosmos.

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Three foot tall cosmos.

Which took me to

Wander through shall we say

The “guts” of the place.

The greenhouses.

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And cold frames

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Where they are grown.

They were filled with plants

Ready for the big show.

I found the  yellow wheelbarrows

I had noticed throughout the garden

Brimming with plants

Headed to the compost pile.

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They were stacked against the fence

Just like mine at home.

For me

Seeing the process

Was just as interesting

As the finished product.

I think it was there

That I found

My gardening Monet muse.

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Gail

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.  So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”

Claude Monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Compost, Cosmos, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Nature, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

PUTTERING AROUND

You can tell that spring is winding down.

The temperature is rising slightly.

There are fewer rainy days.

And the big garden jobs are done.

The few pots I have are planted.

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Tulips have been pulled.

And the plants I couldn’t resist

Have nestled into their new home.

Now comes the weekend

When there is time

To putter.

You know

Doing the little things

That you’ve been walking past

And ignoring

Till the time was right.

Digging and thinning the Iris.

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Hanging the sticky traps for those nasty thrip.

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Spreading the crushed egg shells around the Hosta

Hoping to discourage the slugs and snails.

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Planting the first Zinnias in the bare spots.

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Staking, trimming and caging the tomatoes.

It’s going to be a good tomato year

Since I’m all ready seeing blooms and tomatoes

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And finding time to see the world

Through my macro lens

Discovering a pollen laden bee

Inside a Hollyhock bloom.

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I so enjoy puttering.

Gail

P.S.  In my last blog I said that there was not a farmer in my generation.

I stand corrected and apologize.

My sister Ann took delivery on her new tractor this week.

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She’ll use it as she tends her 40 acre pecan grove.

Planted by our father.

Which she inherited

And is improving.

So she can pass it on

To the next generation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bees, Generations, hollyhocks, Hosta, Nature, spring, Tomato, Uncategorized, Zinnia

GARDENING FOR GOOD

This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.

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And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots

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More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.

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Including a few Master Gardeners.

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Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.

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And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.

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Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.

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Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.

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Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.

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Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.

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He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.

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It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables

TRADITIONS

Keeping traditions alive

Can be a tricky business.

I’m a believer in tradition

It gives a continuity to life

Between generations.

But you have to pick and choose

What to hold on to

Or there’s no room for the new.

The May Day’s of my youth have

Disappeared for a decade or several.

The last few years have given me hope

That this gracious tradition is not dead.

May Day had many incarnations

My favorite is the May Day of my youth.

Makeshift construction paper baskets

With pipe cleaner hangers

Filled with flowers

And hung anonymously

On doors of family, neighbors and friends.

A simple kindness.

It just seemed natural

That there should be a way

To re-introduce May Day to the next generation

What better chance than the church youth group.

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So this evening they came to make bouquets

For members of the church.

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You never really know

When you do something like this

If kids are going to like it

Or if you really are a much older lady

Than you let yourself believe you are.

They jumped right in

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Making 10 wonderful arrangements

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To spread kindness

Throughout the town.

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When I came back into the house.

As fate would have it

Some anonymous children

Had left a May basket on our door.

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And decorated the pot at our front door.

With none other

Than an original ladybug.

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Judging by the glitter

I’m pretty sure

Cassidy, Sloan and Beth

Made a surprise visit.

Kindness training

Something we all need

I’m guessing even more so

In 2016

Happy May Day

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Children in the Garden, Flower Arrangements, Lady Bugs, May Day, Nature, Uncategorized