Saturday, December 18, 2010
I have been scattering the sunflower seed on the ground as most of the feeder tops are frozen hard. A good variety of birds are here for the feeding. Two of the ducks have gone missing at the pond and I am hoping they are sheltered somewhere close by. The rabbits are active as their tracks are seen all over the place and yes, the coyote tracks are out there as well.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The hawk is back. I love to see these beautiful raptors. They sail high in the bright blue sky with vision that can spot a small mouse or vole that becomes a quick snack. I know they are called 'chicken hawk' by many people and I am certain they could carry one away. They are a protected species and I hope they will remain so. This wonderful photo was shot by sdgritton.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This buckeye was taking a siesta during the days of September. A frightening face to see if you were a bird considering it for a meal. Yes, a part of it's wing has been torn away but the beauty of it is not diminished.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
One interesting thing about this butterfly is that the males are territorial and will chase other males from the area that they claim. The caterpillars will use silk to help fold and hold a leaf together and then feed alone inside this nest. Red Admiral butterflies can be seen throughout most of North America.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Another beautiful weed in bloom during August and September. This plant is showing off purplish blue flower heads but can sometimes be seen with white flowers. It is a member of the aster family and can do well in perennial flower beds, just remember that it is spread by seed and underground creeping.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Goldenrod is a very showy plant that blooms late summer and can be seen in bloom past frost. It grows three to four feet tall. For many years people believed that it was a cause of allergies, but it has been given a reprieve on that sentence. The very name of this plant describes it, golden flowers atop a rod of green. There are roughly one hundred species of goldenrod and thirty of them are known to grow in Kentucky, it is also the state flower for Kentucky. Placing it in a wild garden with wild blue asters would present a beautiful display. Look for them growing along the roadsides.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The pollen of ragweed drifting on the breeze can cause sneezing fits and allergy woes for those that suffer from hay fever. Common ragweed is the more compact of the two and can be recognized by the 'toothy' lobes of it's leaves. Giant ragweed can reach heights of twelve feet and has palm-like lobed leaves. Both plants sport spikes of greenish yellow flower heads that contain male and female flowers that bloom August through September.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
A scattering of sunflower volunteers sprang up around the arbors where the bird feeders hang. None of them have been large or showy but this little one impressed me with its look of bashfulness.
This photo is also one of the first I took with my new iphone. I am learning about the many things it can do.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The crab apple tree has branches loaded and drooping to the ground. I did not intend for this tree to be, an ornamental crab apple was planted and a few suckers came up that I neglected and overnight (it seems) there was a tree bearing fruit. Much fruit! These small fruits make a delicious jelly that is good served with cold meats during the holidays. The critters enjoy eating them as well. The difference between a crab apple and an apple? Any apple with less than a two inch diameter is considered a crab apple.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
My previous post was of this plant in dire need of moisture. One and a half inches of rain fell the day following that post. The results show us what a good drink of water can do. It can do marvelous things for humans too. Drinking water every day is good for your body and your skin. Sometimes when you think you are hungry your body is really asking for a drink of water or you feel a little 'tired' and the body is in need of hydration. Everyone seems to be carrying a water bottle this days but how many times during the day is it being refilled.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The first flower buds are appearing on the teasel. A beautiful bluish purple bud that starts in the center of the flower head.
Blooming will progress up, down and around the flower head. As the buds unfold the white stamens seem to burst from their centers.
This small patch of teasel is capable of producing thousands of teasel plants so corrective action will begin soon.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I have allowed a small patch of Teasel to grow this year, I may regret it next year. The old english name Teazle means to tease cloth and the heads of teasel were used to raise the nap on woolen cloth. It has medicinal properties and even the water that collects in the leaves have been used in cosmetics and to soothe inflammation of the eyes. The teasel plant can grow to heights of seven feet and the tap root can grow to depths of more than two feet. A single plant can produce over two thousand seeds. Today teasel is used in horticultural plantings and dried flower arrangements. The flowers when they appear will be purple and I will try to do a post of them again.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
"Mama" and one of her babies. Groundhog, woodchuck, marmot are some of the names used to identify the largest member of the squirrel family. They dig burrows up to forty six feet in length and will have up to five entrance/exit holes. Grasses, plants and fruits make up most of their diet. Climbing trees and swimming are activities to be enjoyed or for escape if needed. If provoked they make a whistling noise and this has earned them the nickname whistle-pig in some areas. Not usually welcomed by humans as they can undermine the foundations of buildings and ponds with their burrowing.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I find it amazing that after sixteen years of living here at Weedy Acres new items are constantly appearing. In early spring I noticed these purple flowers in the fence row and at the edge of the mowed area of the field. They are exquisite and small reaching only a few inches in height. They are also called everlasting pea and perennial pea. The most interesting fact about the wild sweet pea is that the structure of the flower allows only one type of insect to pollinate it, the bee.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
The little ones have not opened their eyes in this photo taken on May 2. They have the beginnings of feathers but will the keep the 'fluff' on the head for a while. There are four babies in this nest and it is already crowded and will become more so as they grow. The photo that I have placed in the header is of one of the parents. It is perched on a bird house but robins do not nest in bird houses but build their nest of mud and grasses and are known to place them in precarious places such as low in a Nandina bush or on the top of an automobile tire while the car is parked.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Do you know that the dandelion was brought to this country for it's medicinal purposes and that there was a time when gardeners pulled out the grass to give more growing space to the dandelion.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Nandina bush. One can only hope that good fortune will smile on this young couple and give them the happy ending they believe awaits them. More on this story to follow.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Birdseye Speedwell named for St Veronica and sometimes called persian wildflower has bright blue flowers with dark blue veining, a white center and one of the four petals is always smaller. The ones in this picture are about one quarter inch across. It is often used as an ornamental ground cover and blooms early spring to early summer. I think it is beautiful.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Wild onions are members of the lily family and are known by many onion/garlic names. The flowers are white, sometimes pink or purple. I never see the blooms as the mower is in operation before bloom time in this area. They are edible but first things first, do not eat any wild onion/garlic that has been sprayed with any chemicals and do take a stem and break it and smell, it should smell like onion. They can be used on baked potatoes , in soups and salads, try cooking them in a skillet with a small amount of water and a little bacon grease then add beaten eggs and scramble. They can also be frozen for later use. Another word of caution, do not overeat wild onion/garlic as it will send you to the "throne room". On the plus side they give a boost to your immune system and mosquitoes and gnats will leave you alone.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
There are many species of bitter cress. They are members of the mustard family. This one is Hairy Bitter Cress. Considered a spring wildflower as well as a weed, it blooms from early spring to early summer and is familiar to most of North America. In the spring it is a very petite plant with blooms that are about one eighth of an inch in size, they are very pretty and delicate looking.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Be Different...Act Normal has some interesting heart shaped rock art on their blog today and I remembered this piece I put together a few years back. These pieces were found when the pond was being done. The two fossils were found fairly deep in the digging and the portion of the arrow head found after the work was completed. I thought it interesting that when placed together they formed a fish which of course was going to be stocked in the pond.
Friday, March 12, 2010
This small home would be perfect for a young couple wanting to start a family. A plentiful supply of home furnishing materials are already on the property. It is situated at a desirable location in the country with several bird feeder buffets near by and worms available for the early bird, but only if he is ahead of the mole. A bird bath is in the vicinity and filled with fresh water daily. There are lots of line free air space for flight training lessons. Applicants need only arrive in feather.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
A Red Fox ? The size is larger than an average fox and I have not seen one with this much grey coloring in it's fur. It has been seen hunting here for several days now and I have no complaint with that as we are overrun with voles and moles. Foxes are found in most of the U.S. and Canada. They are omnivores, eating fruits, berries, grasses, insects and small mammals. They mate between January and March and usually give birth to a litter of two to ten kits. Except for breeding they do not usually use a den and sometimes will sleep in the open with their tails wrapped around their nose for warmth. Photo compliment of SDG.
Monday, March 8, 2010
A lone duck very different in color from other ducks that frequent this area. I am judging it to be a Lesser Scaup there is also a Greater Scaup and the differences are in the head shape and neck coloring. The Lesser Scaup having a purple color and the Greater Scaup more green. I feel certain it is migrating to it's home in the north after a winter vacation in Mexico or northern South America. For more information visit ducks.org. Thanks to SDG for getting the shot.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I am thinking green. Green and spring and warm breezes, blue skies with fluffy white clouds. This winter seems to me a long one and I am ready for the greening of the land and trees. Rebirth, new life and blessings for us all. The small baby robin in the picture was receiving flying lessons from his parents last year. Both parents do participate in this endeavor and will let you know if you are too close to the precious one.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
A Valentine from a wonderful friend in North Carolina. The art work on my card is by JK, a student at Arthur Edwards Elementary.The inside of the card gives me this information, an art gallery provides the card stock and envelopes to participating schools for the kids to make valentines. The gallery then displays and sells the cards and gives the money back to the schools to purchase art supplies. Is this not just wonderful!! I have a unique card with a hand written note from my friend and more art supplies are being purchased for the students. A real winning situation.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
If you have only a small space to grow gourds you could consider the ornamental variety. These are the colorful small gourds you see in the stores and markets as fall approaches. They have yellow blossoms that open during the day and they require only ninety days to maturity. They could be grown in a large pot, half barrel or small area with a trellis to climb. The small ornamental gourds are known as soft shell gourds and once cured and placed in water they will soften. Some crafters use this as a way to cut the gourds with scissors and craft knives to make flowers and other crafted creations.
Friday, February 12, 2010
The Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville had sponsored a state wide Biggest Gourd Contest for many years. I didn't consider checking to see what the measurements of other gourd winners were, I just read the requirements for entry. There was only one, you had to share seed with every one that requested them. I sent in my entry and a short time later received a call from Byron Crawford, the man responsible for the contest. He visited and took this photo and wrote an article for the paper. The gourd was the third largest in the contests history at seventy four inches in circumference. That seems small in comparison to the ninety and hundred plus inches that later winners had and maybe one of them was a descendant from my gourd. I received close to fifteen hundred requests for seeds. The counter employees at the post office were kind enough to work with me on the mailings. I took in several envelopes of seed each day for hand canceling. The big gourd cured and was taken with me to craft shows where many people had no idea what it was. I do still have it.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The twins were an oddity, they grew from one stem and they measured ninety nine and one half inches around. I really had my fingers crossed and breath held waiting for them to cure. All the gourds on your vines are not going to cure. Usually they have not had enough time on the vine before a hard frost. And remember, the frost is not going to kill a gourd that has matured. Hard shelled gourds needs one hundred and twenty days on the vine to reach maturity. I always planned on losing about twenty five percent of my gourds. I do not worry about cutting gourds from the vine before a frost, they can cure in the field and people that raise acres of gourds allow them to do so. If you have only a few gourds, you can harvest them and place them on pallets for air circulation and leave them outside or inside a barn or shed. The gourd is ninety percent water, as the water evaporates through the shell it hardens and the gourd becomes light in weight and the seeds inside are released and the gourd acquires it's rattle. Sometimes gourds will have a thunk thunk sound when you shake them and this is the result of a seed ball. During the curing process the seed pods inside the gourd pull together and dry into a hard ball. I always cut these gourds and if the shell is thick they can be used as bowls or other containers. I did move the twins to a pallet and waited but they did not cure.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
When the gourds are first setting on your vines it is fairly easy to get in and out of the patch as you can see where the vines are growing. You will want to get in and sit up as many gourds as you can so they can grow with a good flat bottom. As time and vines take over this will not be feasible as you can kill a vine by stepping on it and in turn destroy your gourds. The vines will be producing blooms and gourds right up to frost time. Any that don't manage to have a flat bottom will just give a creative burst to some artist or crafter.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Gourds have male and female flowers, getting to know them is just part of the fun of growing gourds. The male flowers will arrive on your plants first and sometimes you think there will be no female flowers at all and then one day, viola' there they are. The male flowers are on tall shafts and have small yellow stamen, the female flower will have fat yellow pistils. You can let insects do the pollination or you can help. There is more than one way of course. Some folks take a small soft brush and gently wipe it over the stamen of the male flower and then wipe it over the pistils of the female flower. You can also snap off the male flower, turn it upside down and place it onto the female flower and gently thump the male flower to release the pollen onto the female pistils. If you look closely at the flowers in the photo you will see that under the top center flower is the actual little gourd. This way you will know what your gourd plant is producing as gourds are notorious for cross pollination. Hard shell gourds such as the ones in the photo have white flowers and open their blooms mostly at night and you cannot rely on the bees to pollinate for you. I have seen hummingbird moths at the gourds in the evening and I have never tried to kill all the bugs that are wanting to feed on the gourds, I need some of them in order to have a harvest.
Monday, February 8, 2010
A photo showing one half of the piddlin' patch. There are ten gourd plants in this part of the patch. They were planted ten feet apart and given ten feet on each side, yes they do need that much room and would take more if available. Each gourd plant will produce a main vine, you want to pinch this off at the end when it reaches a length of ten feet, this will force the plant to produce lateral vines which in turn will produce more gourds for you. I had a boundary and any vine that went beyond that became fodder for the mower.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
A different angle of the arbors and you can see the gourds are on the outside as well as the inside of the arbors. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you will see that each gourd is sitting on a small platform. These were scrap pieces of particle board from a construction site and I used some old cord to attach them to the arbors. Gourds are ninety percent water and they can be heavy hanging from any structure and risk falling without support, the wire fencing that is supporting them can also cut through the vine. The boards insure that the gourds will have a nice flat bottom for sitting as well.