Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I was crouched by the pond today, musing that I had yet to see a turtle in it, when something drifted into view:

Oh! I was thrilled! I was -- wait ... it's ... dead? I watched it hang in the water for a long time without moving as I wondered whether our pond is actually as healthy as I'd hoped. Finally the little turtle stretched out its wee legs and lazily turned over.

Whew! I found a second one nearby doing the same kind of thing. I'm guessing this is a form of camouflage: maybe if it looks enough like a floating leaf, it can escape being eaten. The great blue heron was also at the pond, hoping for a tasty turtle snack. I could only find two baby turtles, but I'm assuming there were many more to begin with and some have fallen victim to herons and other dangers.

This one put on a mad burst of speed:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yellow Jewelweed:

And Spotted Jewelweed:

Bees have to really commit themselves to reach the nectar:

The seedpods are excellent fun because they pop open at a touch, spewing seeds and little green springs all over. I've read that you can eat the seeds so I tried one this morning. I found it quite pleasant, but I'll save any more I gather for smuggling to Beechwood and planting.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

As fall approaches I find myself wandering through -- or past -- Beechwood without actually doing any work. I accomplished a lot over the summer and now I think I'll just admire things before winter arrives. The insects are still very active:

A cardinal wonders what I'm up to:

A sedge extends its seeds over the pond:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh, little rose tree, bloom!
Summer is nearly over.
The dahlias bleed, and the phlox is seed,
Nothing's left of the clover,
And the path of the poppy no one knows.
I would blossom if I were a rose.

Summer, for all your guile,
Will brown in a week to Autumn,
And launched leaves throw a shadow below
Over the brook's clear bottom, --
And the chariest bud the year can boast
Be brought to bloom by the chastening frost.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sunday, September 13, 2009

That's our great big bur oak. It has a lot of dead branches but it seems to carry on.

I didn't intend to wade into the muck today but I spotted an Argiope aurantia on the Islet of Langerhans, so what could I do? They're too impressive to ignore.

Did you notice what she's planning to have for dinner?

We could use some rain any time. The pond is losing all its pondiness:

I spotted the Loch Ness monster lurking in the scum:

In places it looks more like a tar pit than a pond:

The crazy clump of cattails is going strong:

Back on dry land, I went over for a closer look at the bur oak and -- wouldn't you know it? -- found another argiope spider:

Elderberries: who's ready for pie?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Knotweed day! See all those seeds ready to find a new home? I decided to deal with the regrowth right away, along with a few bits I'd missed around the pond. As I worked a couple came along with their dogs and asked about what I was doing. They were curious about poison ivy too, so I walked them down the path a bit farther and pointed some out. It's good to have a working knowledge of it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The pond's water level is dropping as the dry weather continues. I could easily cross to the Islet of Langerhans now, although I'd still want my spiffy boots in that mud:

There's still lots of raccoon activity around the pond:

Boneset (white) and Joe Pye weed (pink) pose with some goldenrod beside the pond:

I found this mass of roots beside the pond too. Not quite sure of the reason for it:

Remember the lovely blue flags?

This is what they do in the fall:

The offshore butter-and-eggs tried to spring up again without my noticing, but I'm not that easy to fool:

The wild grapes look just about ready. If I were more ambitious I'd try making jelly, but I guess I'll just leave them for the birds:

There's more boneset in the north half of the site. In fact, there's a very large patch, so if your bones need setting, drop me a line. Can you see the purple-flowering raspberry hanging in there at centre left?

A closer look at the boneset:

Some dog-strangling vine demonstrates its talent for climbing trees:

Here a seedpod has split open to free the fluffy seeds:

In general there's an air of winding down and the beginnings of decay. The flowers that are left are looking a bit worn:

More fluffy seeds ready to take to the air:

The damage from insects and blights can produce its own kind of beauty:

Spot the grasshopper hiding in this picture!