June 16th, 2018
As usual, a very busy work schedule has prevented me from writing. Well, that’s a bit of a misstatement, its not that I’m too busy to write, it’s that by the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer and work on A-Nother thing.
I’m sitting at the patio table in front of the kitchen. I’m drowning in a world of green news. Above me is a cherry tree that the constructor of this house wanted to bull doze over. How on earth could he have thought such a thing? It’s got such lovely architecture. It serves as a hanging post for the bird feeder and its boughs have cradled hundreds of birds since the house has been built. Now it’s far reaching spread is filled with tiny nascent black cherries that will ripen in August and feed a multitude of happy bird foragers.
f they spent less time fighting over the feeder their nutritional needs could be cut in half. I have two feeders this year. The one that my mother used to own gets the most traffic. It’s up on the porch next to the avocado tree that I have (which by the way is taller than me…and I’m 6’4″ 🙂 The second is in the Bechtel crab that is before me now. Baltimore Orioles frequent the one on the porch, but can’t get into the one I have down here because of the way that it is designed. I see a B.O. now flitting in the dizzying heights of the trees that line the creek, it’s bright orange breast unmistakable in the morning sun.
It’s been a burden to keep up with the grass. I have had more time this year than past years, but it only takes one week away from the house to have every yard explode and then set me back. Once it gets to a certain height, you can’t just mow it once, you have to mow it twice, doubling your work.
…that color. Electric in this light. Mow the grass and they flock to the trees above it, scanning the lawn for half mowed insects. I love watching them forage.
The dog is up to her usual staple of killing, murder, maiming and mayhem. This from an excerpt on my facebook page that was widely read and enjoyed:
So for the longest time, I thought to myself, ‘I want some ducks’. I just had this vision of me sitting by the stream watching ducks. Years came and went, I got no ducks. Cut to the lady at the feed store. She says, “Hey, you want some ducks? I’m hatching out some ducks and I’m looking for homes for them.” I was like, “Do I want ducks???!!” And then I thought to myself “Do I really want ducks?” I told her I would take the ducks. Two weeks later, she passes off 4 ducks to me stuffed in a box in the parking lot of the feed store. I take them home and the dog is FASCINATED by the ducks. I’m like, “Rye, do NOT play with or eat the ducks.” I monitor her behavior. “Ryyyyyyyyeeeee….what did we talk about when it comes to ducks? Be gentle with the ducks, Rye.” Rye was gentle with the ducks, but never lost the look of a little electric sign in her eyes that read ‘Good Eats’ when she fixed her gaze them. So days pass, then weeks. The ducks grow. Rye comes with me during feeding time. “Ryyyyyyyyeeee…” I move the ducks to the stream. I spend hours preparing a place for them to live. Rye is enraptured by the whole thing. She sits by the duck cage. She watches them swim in their Tupperware storage bin. Finally the day comes when I open the door to their cage. I figure they are acclimated enough and they can head out into the stream. After a few days of cautious exploring, they dash off into the landscape and never look back. They LIVE on the stream. Rye sits next to me trembling as she watches them paddle in the water. She never makes a move towards them. I praise her, “Gooooooddd Girrrrllllll”. I catch her by herself by the stream. Even without supervision she is good with the ducks. I love my dog. What a good dog. Cut to yesterday. I’m on the phone with a client. To my absolute horror Rye pads up to me DRENCHED in water with a duck in her mouth. My jaw hits the ground about the same time as the load of shit hits my pants. “RYE PUT THAT DUCK DOWN! JESUS CHRIST! I yell so loud, I blow her out of her fur coat. The client is like ‘What the hell is going on over there..?’ I finish the call and attend to the duck. When I approach it, it lifts its head off the ground and entreats, ‘Quaaaack’. So pitiful. Her mates are down on the pond. I figure, if she’s going to die, she might as well do it in the company of her friends. I lay her by the stream and her feet seem to be unresponsive beneath her. I think to myself, ‘Her back is probably broken’. I am overwrought with anxiety and sadness. For the rest of the evening and into the middle of the night, I pray for a miracle. And when I wake up? A MIRACLE! My dog is missing. No…I’m kidding. The little duck is fine! She’s alive! She’s swimming with her friends as though nothing happened. I can’t believe it!
Now the ducks, all three, live happily down at the swimming hole. Each morning and night I go down and dump feed on the shores of the water. They rush to it and strain it through their orange muzzles. Afterwards they stand in ankle deep water and preen themselves before dunking quickly underwater for a full back splash…sometimes even diving below the water and swimming. I love watching them. They orchestrate their movements together more closely than chickens.
Cherries, Blueberries, and Raspberries
Uneven crop of stone fruits this year. My theory is that the large amount of rain we had this year caused things to rot. Sweet cherries took it hard on the chin this year and the sour cherries started out promising, but now looks like they too succumbed to rot. On the flip side, a few plums and all of the peaches set a lot of fruit. Also, the intrepid blueberries did their part and the raspberries, I think because of all of the wet weather, are firming up nicely. The wild patch will be huge and my cultivated one also has at least a pie’s worth of berries.
Tackled the asparagus bed. Mowed everything, weeded and mulched BOTH beds. Took me about 8 hours. Fertilized the primary bed with 15×3, but left the nascent bed alone. Now that I think of it, maybe I’ll sprinkle it with some chicken manure…I don’t want to overdue it. Much of the plant roots in that row live close to the surface. This fall, I’ll see if I can get Kevin to bring me some manure and I’ll place a thick topping on the surface…see if I can’t bury them a bit deeper. I still have plenty of thick stocks that I might harvest, but I’ve pulled probably 10 quarts so far this year for the freezer and given some away as well. I’ll let them rejuvenate. Some stocks are now in bloom and the honey bees are filling their pouches with it’s bright orange pollen.
On that note, I’ll write about the bees and then get to work. They have exploded. There are at least 4 or 5 frames in the top super filled with honey and comb. I can’t quite see the extent to which they have filled things out because the frames of the top and bottom supers have been glued together with comb and I don’t feel like fucking around with them and setting their efforts back. What do I need to see deep inside for anyway. Clearly they are happy.
They are also especially black, much blacker than the carnolians that I got last summer. That queen was lousy. This one is an egg machine!
The two supers are positively on fire with activity. I added a queen excluder and a honey super on top. I’m still feeding 1×1 sugar water as the bees have needed to build out a lot of comb. Next year, if they survive, I’ll cut back and let them forage nectar on their own (though god knows that they are foraging!), but this year, they are going through a quart of sugar in about 3 days!
Oh, and I didn’t catch a swarm 😦
All right, one last post. I planted peas like they do in Colonial Williamsburg. Spaced widely apart and given a trellis. This method grows vines that are about 3 or more feet tall. We’ll see how productive, but I have my fingers crossed.
This sentence was written in 2019. The deer ate the peas. I mean…
Also, planted eggplant and mulched that bed and the kale thickly with grass. ALL RIGHT. I HAVE TO GO!
You should have saved yourself the effort. The eggplant was eaten by flea beetles and the kale was eaten by deer and cabbage moths. I hate to be a downer, but I’m being truthful!!!