Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sticky August Eve

Just some photos from a sticky August evening...

The front garden is finally coming together... Just give me a few more years.

This Japanese Forest Grass has been a real success, even during our dry spells.

Remember all those annual seeds I planted? The deer ate most of them...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hummingbirds Are Bitches

My begonias, which I overwintered inside last winter. Love 'em!
When the humidity is on a mission to match the summer heat, we spend hours simply marveling at the unbearableness of it all. And when we get tired of that, we turn on NPR to hear the latest in the Presidential Election From Hell. It doesn't take long to tire of that nonsense. So the final source of entertainment on Flat Top in August is watching our hummingbirds. And lemme tell you, if you think presidential elections are vicious, you should watch hummingbirds in action.

We have your basic red-and-yellow feeder hanging from the underside of the upper deck, so I can watch these amazing birds whenever I cook. (Which is three times a day, if not more if you count pesto-making and tomato roasting, but I digress.) We have a staple of about six hummingbirds who frequent our sugary waters -- one day I swear there were at least 10 of them --  and apparently there is a clear pecking order in the hummingbird world of who has a right to belly-up to the feeder. The problem is that every bird seems to think that she or he is at the top of the pecking order and we witness fierce, ugly battles among the birds as they dive-bomb one another and chase each other away from the feeder.

Crappy photo quality, but ...
Then there's this one bird, let's call her Miss Bitchy, that hangs out in a dwarf tree I have planted nearby. Whenever a rival lands on the feeder, Miss Bitchy buzzes over and chases the rival off.  Or when two rivals chase one another away from the feeder, Miss Bitchy swoops in to get a good long uninterrupted drink.

Maybe it's because I grew up in L.A., but I never knew hummingbirds' true nature. It's worse than human nature, I tell ya! And the hummingbirds do this all day long. And we waste hours, OK maybe just many minutes at a time, watching them. Yes, this is what our lives have come to.

OK, we HAVE been busy doing a few other things, too. Mason has been up to his eyeballs in car repairs. The sunroof died on the Jeep, and because it died in an unlocked position, he had to do something about it. So off for a 2-hour ride to the junkyard, then a 6-hour operation where Mason had to completely dismantle the Jeep's headliner to install the new/used sunroof. The day that got fixed, the driver side window motor died. Then the passenger side window fell into the door. Mason's chores never end.

How cool are these Calypso dry beans? Can't wait to eat them!
Me? The dry bush bean harvest has begun. My Juliet tomato bush continues to produce. I'm up to my eyeballs in squash, and squash bugs. Two dozen jalapenos are awaiting pickling. And the fall seeds have been sown.

Nick? He loves that we've been running the ceiling fan all day long.

Spores on the underside of my new fern, a Japanese holly fern that the deer supposedly won't eat.