Crickets Wednesday, Aug 24 2016 

It is odd how we always think of crickets as a summer insect, but they really aren’t. Or more accurately, summer is a complicated set of seasons and not one season at all. Crickets belong to late in August, to the lengthening nights, the tall and drying grasses, and the leaves that are no longer the luscious green summer leaves but have become whip thin and rustle in the stirring breeze.  Sometimes, there is the drenching summer humidity; but nearly as often are the days with temperature changes of twenty or thirty degrees.  This is cricket weather, they don’t belong in the velvet darkness of June or even July, when the fireflies are at their peak and all is green and growing. They are an odd echo of the spring peepers, but somehow a steadier sound. The peepers are frantic and (naturally) very directional, since they always come from one location: a suitable pond. If the peepers are a sudden wellspring of life, the crickets are the steady, encompassing beat of life fulfilled.

August Still Life Monday, Aug 22 2016 

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Ecosystems Saturday, Aug 20 2016 

You know your vegetable garden is well integrated into the natural system when the particular challenge while picking green beans is a frog. To be exact a little orange/brown wood frog about the size of my thumbnail industriously exploring the beans.  I have no doubt that it is a good spot for him.  Probably the off spring of the adult wood frog I saw in the next bed over the other day. The bean patch at this time of the year is fairly damp and rather full of little critters for him to eat.

Finally saw a yellow swallowtail butterfly, the black ones are far more common this year.

Flowers everywhere Thursday, Aug 18 2016 

August is a hard time to have flowers around here: heat, sun, and humidity, combined with a short growing season knock out a lot of things. Most plants that like it in New England are designed to be done by late July, then there is a lull until September when the asters and goldenrods really explode.

That being said the list is amazing: Garden Phlox, goldenrod (of at least four varieties), Black Eyed Susans, Turtle’s Head (pink), Obedient Plant, early wood asters, honeysuckle (still), Garden Sunflowers, native sunflowers, monarda (bee balm), Rose of Sharon, Ligularia (large, mustard yellow, daisy shaped flowers), Shasta daisies, species lilies, cardinal flower (both the blue biennial and the red perennial), plume poppy, hyssop, and probably some things I am missing.

The rewards? Well, an innumerable number of pollinators, a determined song by the crickets, a wood frog merrily hopping through the garden, many Black Swallowtail butterflies, dragonflies, other smaller butterflies, and the list goes on.  It may be late in August after a hard summer, but the life of the world rises in the dusk light on a hundred thousand wings from out of the flowers.

New blog to visit! Monday, Aug 15 2016 

Work in progress, but hopefully the kinks will get straightened out and more people will get to see some very nice watercolor work!

Holly Hall: The Magic Moments of Watercolor:

https://amagicmomentwholly.wordpress.com/

Wildlife! Sunday, Aug 14 2016 

Or how to annoy the fishermen…..saw a very proud Bald Eagle the other day down on the river by the retaining wall in town. A popular fishing spot because the bend in the river hits the wall and makes a fairly deep pool.  In a year like this, those deep pools are critical habitat for the trout. They are, of course, also a confined space.  The eagles know this too, so it isn’t too uncommon to see the pair that lives up on the lower reservoir dropping down to the center of town. Often they will hang out on the hill that rises to the west of the river, which is on the other side of the road that runs on the top of the wall.  In this case, he or she popped up over the wall and over the road a little more slowly than is their wont.  With good reason.  That had to have been one of the bigger trout in the river.  Emphasis on past tense.  The eagle looked, if an eagle can, rather happy.

Why I like the seasons Saturday, Aug 13 2016 

Because, you can always long for the other extreme! Beat the heat?  The basement is a good choice otherwise, think cool thoughts:

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Rainstorms Thursday, Aug 11 2016 

It is funny how we tend to react to rain, even today when most work is indoors the instinctive reaction is a desire to stop and wait it out or at very least stop and watch it for a little while.* These days we work right on through storms and I can’t help but wonder if that disconnect does odd things to us.

A project can’t get delayed because of the weather, but perhaps it should?  The modern ‘on time’ ‘lean’ culture has a great many benefits, but it also has some drawbacks.  Sometimes, they are obvious: watching two guys load a very large and expensive bit of machinery in the middle of a thunderstorm because it had to be at another facility by lunch time.  No slack in that schedule or in that operations budget, but what is the long term cost?

In paperwork, there is no safety concern about working through the weather. But, is there a mental quality to it? Would it actually be a negative if we did what that deep, old bit of instinct tells us to do and simply watched the rain for a few minutes? Maybe I’m just a Luddite!

 

*Assuming one is not so deep in the bowels of a building that one can’t even hear it.

Sunflower Monday, Aug 8 2016 

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Your retrospective continues. Sunflowers from a few years ago. This year’s sunflowers are mostly wonderful dark mahogany (Chianti, I believe is the name) and multi stemmed short yellow. Very elegant and a very nice addition to the garden. Something about a robust annual that you know will be dead in the season and with which one need not fuss….there is an appeal to that!

Thunderstorms Saturday, Aug 6 2016 

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The perils of summer in New England…..A sketch of an unfortunate boating party caught out in a thunderstorm in an August night sometime around 1880.

I rather like the turtle down at the corner!

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