Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sunday Sightings

Hi, I'm finally back and pleased report that I'm fine now and all of my co-workers are still alive. I got a little short with one person who wanted to use my computer on Thursday morning when I was in the middle of panic mode, but apologized to her later and all was fine. Fortunately, she understood, but I think I kind of scared her.

The weather here has been so beautiful that I feel guilty even talking about it because I know so many areas around the country are having extreme weather right now. Yesterday was another nice day: no wind, low humidity, sunny and high in the upper 70's. I took my time mowing the lawn because I wanted to see everything that was going on out in the yard. I noted the interesting sightings and went back this morning with my camera. In no particular order, here are some of the things I saw around the yard.

A pair of purple martins are still hanging around. One of them is an adult male--see how dark he is. I let the gourds down yesterday for a check, but there is no evidence of nesting activity. I'm pretty sure it's too late for them to start anything this year, but it sure is a treat to have them flying around and listening to their lovely song.
Sometimes there will be 3 or 4 flying around, but mainly I see just this one female the majority of the time.

Lots and lots of common milkweed blooming all over the yard. I love the sweet smell of the blossoms. I thought it was interesting that I have white-colored blossoms on the plants at one end of my yard (where the soil seems to be mostly red clay)....

....and really pink-colored blossoms on the plants that are in the front of the yard, closer to the house. The soil still contains clay, but it's much darker. That's the only reason I can think of for the difference in these plants. If anyone knows the real reason, please let me know in the comments section.

I found several piles of these grackle feathers.....Cooper's Hawk taking care of these nuisance birds for me. Good job, CH!

I saw these pretty lavender-colored blossoms near the road ditch. A check of my Wildflowers of Minnesota book told me this was Hedge Nettle (a member of the Mint family) and a cousin of the not-so-pleasant Stinging Nettle, which I also have a few nasty patches of.

Speaking of nasty patches, here is one of my larger patches of the Wild Parsnip. I'm very watchful around this plant. Some of the larger ones I try to get cut down. As far as I can tell, the only redeeming feature of this plant is that it's a host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar (and I have found some of those caterpillars on wild parsnip before).

I've had small flocks of Cedar Waxwings hanging around all summer. Here's one of the reasons: Mulberries. Several years ago, I ordered some mulberry trees to plant in my yard. For whatever reason, I seemed to think the catalog said they were a Zone 4 tree and I later found out they were actually Zone 5. I lost a few of them after a couple of years, but the ones that are still alive are doing very well, and this year they're loaded with fruit. The berries are delicious and I usually try to snack on a few myself while mowing under the trees. All of the fruit-eating birds (robins, catbirds, and cedar waxwings) are spending lots of time in these mulberry trees this summer. (The really dark ones are the ripe ones.)

The flowers in my butterfly/hummingbird garden are doing great. The daylilies and liatris are just starting to bloom and the delphinium is still covered with blossoms.

The Monarda has opened lots of blossoms in the last week also. (Inside the little ring at the top right of the picture is Lobelia--I don't water this plant as faithfully as I should, so it's slow getting started; I can't wait for those red flowers to start blooming.)


Body Soul Spirit said...

Glad to hear that things have settled down at work. Your flowers are lovely. Red currant bushes are bird magnets around here right now.

Jayne said...

What a beautiful yard you have Ruthie. Glad to hear your mind is still intact. :c)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Ruth,
Red currant--I don't have any of those, but sounds like I need to look into finding some. They must be a zone 4 plant, right?

Hi Jayne,
I'm hangin' in there. I feel bad I let the stress get to me, but reconnecting with nature and my blogging friends has really helped. :-)

Mary said...

Well you made it through the work week. I'm glad.

I've had some rough times are work during the past few months and the only thing that keeps me sane is what helps you. Outdoors and blogging.

Your weather sounds absolutely wonderful and your flowers are benefitting from it. Wow - your gardens are lovely.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
Don't let those small pictures fool you--I had to pull bunches of crabgrass out before taking them! Maybe tonight I'll post pictures of my really weedy patches--the shame of showing those pictures should get me motivated to clean them up.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking back to when you first started blogging [3-07] and really enjoy all the pretty flowers and weeds in full bloom now. There was so much snow on the ground at that time, it's amazing how fast things change as the suns rises in the sky and starts bringing warmth to the earth again.

Larry said...

Thanks for the update-lots of nice stuff to see-I'm a little possesive of my computer too.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
It really is amazing how much the weather can change in only 3 months. Those snow pictures are saved in my files and I stop to look at them every so often.

Hi Larry,
It's nice to know I'm not the only one. Even though it's not technically "my computer" or "my desk" I tend to make these things my own when I'm working there and I sure don't like other people messin' with them!