Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Wednesday, September 14, 2022



The Hummers are passing through.

In the early spring and early fall, we start seeing more hummingbirds as they migrate to or from Mexico and Central America. Right now, we are seeing more as they begin to move toward the coast in preparation for the 500-mile trip across the gulf or down through Mexico.  However they go, these small birds can make the journey in less than a day.  Pretty impressive.

So, when I noticed more hummers in the yard, I set out the feeder.  Right now, I have one (possibly the same one each time) that is feeding from the multiple bird feeder throughout the day.  There are several others that try approaching the feeder, however that pushy little bird keeps chasing off any others that are interested in stopping by for a meal.

Now, (several days after I started this), it seems the original bird has either moved on or accepted that other birds can feed and there will still be plenty for all.  I look out currently to see 4 or 5 little hummers sitting at the feeder for breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon and so on. 

So, just in case you ever needed to know –

A hummingbird’s brilliant color is not caused by feather pigmentation, but rather by iridescence in the arrangement of the feathers. Light level, moisture, angle of viewing, wear and tear, and other factors all influence just how bright and colorful the bird may appear.

Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, though their feet can be used to scoot sideways while they are perched. These birds have evolved smaller feet to be lighter for more efficient flying.

Hummingbirds have over 900 feathers, the fewest number of feathers of any bird species in the world. Not only do they not need as many feathers because of their tiny size, but fewer feathers also keep them more lightweight for easier flight.

An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute. In comparison, a human's average heart rate is only 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest.

Hummingbirds have no sense of smell but have very keen eyesight.

Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs of all birds. Their eggs measure less than 1/2 inch long but may represent as much as 10 percent of the mother’s weight at the time the eggs are laid. A hummingbird egg is smaller than a jelly bean!

This year at our garden club’s plant sale, I bought two Rose of Sharon seedlings.  And, promptly planted them in the ground, side by side, somewhat intertwined (I wanted them to think they were one plant).  Both have done very well and this fall they’ve bloomed.  Both were supposed to be white and I was expecting them to look like this

However, this is what I got -

Fine, I like purple.

And, this

I’ve never seen a white one quite like this.

Rose of Sharon or Althea grows very well here.  It likes our summers and winters.  They attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.  The leaves are edible as are the flowers.  The plant is being studied for its ability to lower blood pressure and it contains vitamin C and other antioxidants. 

We’re still having summer though the temperatures have dropped to the low 90’s and this morning at dark-thirty it was 68° outside.  That’s like kind of coolish (for us anyway).


14 Sep 2022

Monday, September 5, 2022

Today and Yesterdays


Today I swallowed a bug.

I know, sounds like something from Shel Silverstein or Simms Taback.

I’ve spent the past several weeks doing a coupla three hours out in the yard on days with no rain.  My goal has been to:

Weed places I’ve completely ignored for the past 3 months.
Start putting into the ground, plants I do not intend to winter-over.
Move a few things from one place to another.

And while the temperatures haven’t been abysmal, I have gotten outside by 730am and back in by 10am, hot, sweaty, and very tired.  We’re lucky (sort of) here as we have a very long growing season (like from February to November).  The good thing about it is that I can plant things in the fall and not worry they’ll freeze in six weeks.  Of course, the bad thing is that we have six months of very hot summer.  

Today I decided to weed my herb garden. 

Because I tend to ignore my #1 piece of advice to gardeners (know how big your plant will be when fully grown and plan accordingly), I tend to think

Yes, I’ve planted 9 herbs, all of which will be 2-3 ft tall and wide when fully grown.  But, but, but – lookie there – an empty space or two and I can squeeze one (three) more plants in there and there and there.

This past spring, I thought that same thing and planted sunflower seeds.  All of which came up.  All of which were big and T A L L.  All of which, while beautiful in April, May, and June, died in the mid-July heat and drought leaving some very big stalks I couldn’t pull up.  Today, after spending some time working on one of the stalks (push, pull, push, pull – getting looser!) took a deep breath in preparation to pull up that stalk and …… I swallowed a bug.


Last time I wrote, (yes, I know, a while back), I mentioned the August Earth Lab – Ikebana, The Art of Japanese Flower Arranging.  It was a huge success.  We had a large group of people and everyone worked on a flower arrangement and seemed to have a very enjoyable time.  Yay!

Coming up sooner that I thought is the next Earth Lab.  The working title has been


A little wordy but I’m working on that.  Oh – yes, it’s my program.  I plan to talk about how best to preserve, use, and protect the herbs grown.  With the holidays coming up, suggest some unique homemade gift ideas.  Plus, make some suggestions as to herbs that can be planted now and have a good chance of surviving whatever winter we have provided it doesn’t look like this.

Originally my program was supposed to take place in October but we had to do a switch.  And, then I promptly didn’t think about it until last week. 

Working under pressure –
the right way to get things done! 

For the most part, it’s done.  Just a few more tweaks.

I hope you noticed in the third sentence above “days with no rain”.  Yes!  After months and months of 100+° temperatures and serious drought conditions, we started getting some rain. 

I don’t like to boast but I may have helped by dancing around the house with my rain stick.

Or, possibly whoever controls the rain taps finally got the plumber out to fix the problem. 

Or the universe finally took pity on us here and allowed the rain to come back. 

Whatever it was – THANK YOU!

Guess I’ve probably bored you long enough.

5 Sep 2022