Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's a Beautiful Thing

My dad forwarded this video to me. I thought I'd share with it with you. There are good folks in the world.

Please - if you are a fisherman, please be sure to take care of your gear when it gets fouled in trees, rocks, bridges, etc. You may not save a whale from certain death, but you could prevent the death of birds, turtles, or other wildlife. And if you see tangled line while out paddling, swimming, hiking...collect it. You, too, could save a life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Yellow Flowers of Fall

While touring the native flowers around my yard, I came to the conclusion that there are an awful lot of yellow flowers out this time of year...and they all look the same!

Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)

Green-headed Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata)

Rosinweed (Silphium Trifoliatum)

Sneezeweed (Helenium sp.)

Unknown, but probably yellow

 Ooops!  Not a yellow flower!

Now, in all fairness, not everything is yellow (although I did leave out the woodland sunflowers and the western sunflowers, which are also yellow, rayed flowers).  A few other colors are lingering:

 Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera)

Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta)

                                          Prairie Heart-leaved Aster (Aster oolentangiensis)

Purple Giant Hyssop (Agastache scrophulariaefolia)

Yellow Giant Hyssop (A. nepetoides)

Horsemint (Monarda punctata)

The Rosinweed is one I've been waiting to bloom - love the name, the rabbits kept eating the plant, so I have been chomping at the bit to see what this wonderful plant would look like.  Here it is:

I do like the form of the plant - it's compact, solid, growing quite tall all of a sudden, and the whole of the plant is riddled with flowers and buds.  Had I looked at the scientific name, however, I probably could've guessed it would be a rayed, yellow flower - it is a Silphium, after all. 

The prairie heart-leaved aster was another I was eager to see in bloom.  Asters as a whole can be very confusing flowers to ID, especially since they readily hybridize (scandalous!) and I was looking forward to seeing one with such a delightful name, although I must admit I haven't seen a single heart-shaped leaf on the three plants I put into the native flower bed.

 Also known as Sky-blue Aster, this is one of the last asters to bloom in the fall.  The flowers, as you can see, are a delicate pale purple.  I'm guessing the bees are gonna be lovin' this plant now that many of the others have given up the ghost for the season. 

And out in the fields all around the house?  What is blooming there?  Assorted grasses and knapweed.  In other words, they are pretty barren - even the knapweed is Spartan this year.  The field behind my house is brown...90% brown.  Not a spot of color to be seen anywhere.  Hopefully I will be taking care of this in the years to come:  big plans to burn it and plant native flower seeds...and shrubs...and trees.  We shall see what the budget can support!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BB in the BB

I love my "bird TV".  How delightful it is to sit on the sofa and look out the window at the antics of the birds (and other wildlife).

I admit, I don't always keep the bird bath cleaned and filled...I go in fits and spurts on that.  I filled it about a week ago, and then a week of hot, hot weather evaporated most of the water, and what was left had become quite slimy (algae?  bird schmezz?).  So, a couple days ago I schlepped the hose over to the bird bath and gave it a good scrubbing, after which I filled it right up with cool, clean water, and then headed off to water the shrubs and wildflowers I recently planted as part of my on-going effort to naturalize the landscape.

Soon the birds had found the newly watered plants and the clean bath.  They went to town.  Not only were there easily a dozen or two sparrows flitting around in the grass, but a family of bluebirds decided it was bath time.

And, just for laughs and giggles, here they are in action:

(The background sounds are either traffic on the road, Dr. Who on the computer behind me, or the dog.) 

It's amazing how just a small bit of water can bring so much life to a yard.