Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Early Spring in 2021

It was a pretty mild winter this year without any particularly severe cold snaps and without any thaws either. After a green Christmas we had a good blanket of snow shielding the ground all through January and February. Now soneone has flipped the switch and spring is running at full speed.

Below are three photos of the north side of the berm from March 20 to March 30. Ten days ago it was still winter on the north side of the berm. Now the snow has practically disappeared and the crocuses are out.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Downy Woodpecker

The other evening I was walking by this birdhouse and saw a downy woodpecker poking its head out of the hole. It is the second time I've seen a downy woodpecker around this birdhouse in the evening so I guess it is one of their regular roosting holes. I always think of birdhouses as places for nesting in the summer and forget some birds also need places to shelter at other times of the year. This is a daytime picture from earlier in the year of course, as it was too dark to get a good picture.

A few weeks ago the mower took a swath out of the 2010 bush are. I don't know what the mower was thinking, perhaps he remembered an old path that went aproximately that way but that path hasn't been mowed in five years and was thoroughly filled in by the sumac. There were a few elderberry and nannyberry bushes planted there that were struggling amongst the sumac, perhaps they will come back stronger.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Late Summer Update 2020

We had a dry June and July but we have had a few good rains in August and the grass has greened back up. The picture above is of the 2013 planting area. The seedling pine trees that were planted there 6 or 7 years ago, are now about 6 feet tall. Some of the burr oaks (picture below) are also about that tall while other are still fighting with the grass.

Grass still dominates the 2011 and 2013 planting areas but has grown sparse in the 2010 and 2009 planting areas where the sumac and trees have formed a continuous canopy. The grass is still holding on underneath the sumac and in clearings but some perennial old-field plants like goldenrod, milkweed and thistle that had established themselves in the 2009 area are now losing ground.

Annual Updates:

  • I saw some bats one spring evening when I was out late on the north side of the berm.
  • I saw a monarch butterfly along the berm yesterday.
  • I cleared out the patch of dog strangling vine at the end of Newhaven again. It is every bit as large as previous years. I found a single DSV plant behind the houses along Kimdale St.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Black Locust in bloom

Aunt Pat's Black Locust bloomed for the first time this year. It is five years since I transplanted it from her home in Curry Hill and it has turned into a handsome tree.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Baltimore Orioles

A couple of Baltimore Orioles flew out of this lovely crabapple. I attempted to take a picture of them as they were hopping around in the bushes but all I got were flashes of orange in leafy green. It is interesting how you can see things much more clearly in real life than in a photo. It isn't just a matter of pixels, "seeing" is more interactive than "looking". You change your focus of attention, you use your depth perception, you move your head to parallax shift thing that are in the way, all in order to construct an image in your mind of the item that has attracted your attention.

I've been noticing these violets along my path for about a decade now. The mowers abandoned their strip around the 1995 planting area over 5 years ago, and now the sumac are starting to overgrow the path yet the violets persist. The trilliums and bloodroot I planted that are a few steps away from these violets inside the forest are still there. They have hardly expanded there presence. I think there were 6 trilliums this year, before the rabbit tax. Time moves at a more sedate pace for plants.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Spring Stirrings 2020

Pink Spotted Lady Bug Coleomegilla maculata

These pink spotted lady bugs over-winter as adults in large groups and can often be found stirring from their slumber location in the early spring sun. I came across a bunch of them earlier this spring at the base of the large oak tree. A couple of days ago I think I came upon the same group but this time they were chowing down on dandelion pollen. Practically every dandelion close to the oak tree had a pink lady bug on it.

I've met this cute baby bunny a few times this past week. He has been hanging out by the large poplar cut down by the hydro people. The logs provide convenient hidey-holes for him. The logs also provide convenient places to sit.

I've planted 5 sugar maples seedlings, 2 baby spruce and a small cedar this spring. I've also done a fair bit of clearing of poplar suckers to give more light to the slower growing maple trees.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Hydro Easement Clearing

The hydro people cut down a few trees that were intruding into their hydro easement last fall. Two of them were large Cottonwood poplars and three of them were maples. Unfortunately one of them was my pig tree, so I've lost my piggy that was slowly getting swallowed by the tree. The cottonwood poplars were very large and when they came down they damaged a spruce tree, a maple tree and a bunch of sumac in the 2009 planting area.

It is an early start to spring. The snow is mostly gone, the buds are swelling and the grass is starting to green up. The starlings in the bushes across the Huntclub were making quite a racket as we walked along the path today. Other years I probably wouldn't notice them nearly as much but the reduction in road noise due to the coronavirus shutdown has been quite significant.