Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stoking Up

I didn't  need the radio earlier this week to warn me of the coming rain from tropical storm Beryl. The birds came in droves to the feeder that morning, as they always do before a storm, but they seemed more intense this time.  Somehow they knew they may be holed up for awhile and needed to fatten for the siege.  I could almost see the seeds moving down the feeder tube—in the same way the hands of a clock move.  Nearly every feathered species we have here came in groups.

One bright breasted robin even came to stoke up. I have never seen a robin at the feeder, ever. He didn't actually light on the feeder bar, but took advantage of the seed chaff beneath it. A first.

The tiny brown-headed nuthatches got away with a bit of arrogance because they're so darn cute. Not easily intimidated, they chatted away on the deck rail, waiting while I refilled the feeder. "Hurry it up, woman," they might as well have said. "Can't you see there's a storm coming?" They sound a bit like the squeak of a baby's squeeze toy. Whee-hee. Whee-hee.
Brown-headed nuthatch
Taken today, through the window, not on the day of the supposed rain. 

So when the clouds rolled in, I expected torrential rain, and looked forward to a reprieve from watering the flower beds. The sky turned dark, the air heavy. But the rain never came. It spritzed a bit, making dark spots on the deck floor and nothing more.

If it's going to be another hot summer of drought, I fear for the hydrangeas who are already on their last legs from the past two summers.

And the blueberries, which are just beginning to ripen.  They're usually finished before the high heat of summer arrives.

Low 90sF/30sC today. And it's only May. dkm

Sorry, flowers. You're only getting coffee this summer. 


Niki said...

Gosh, in the 30's. PG and I were up early on this first frosty day of winter chasing sheep brrrrr. My cheeks stung. I think snow is expected next week :(

dkm said...

Snow! Closest thing we have to snow right now are those little white petunias I found at the nursery this this year. A new hybrid of some kind, I think.

Pukeko G said...

Clever wee birds aren't they ? I would do the same if it were put out for free :) We had a wet summer and so far a dry autumn and lovely first day of winter :o))<

dkm said...

Chasing sheep on a frosty morning. Sounds like a storybook existence from this town girl's experience, two generations removed from anything resembling a farm. So exotic, sheep farming.

bibi said...

Debbie, are those foxgloves? I don't recognize the foliage, but the tall stalks remind me of foxgloves, which I totally love, but I can never get them to return for a second year of blooms. When I get home I want to come and walk in your garden again.
Your New Zealand friend must live far south of Mandy in Auckland. They have been in the 60's this week. Oh how I miss her.

Jane Robertson said...

I LOVE your garden! I'm repeating comments previously made I know, but it is so green, cool, refreshing, peaceful, enclosed (totally belies the heat). I like the limited palette - that adds to the restfulness.

I'm glad the birds stoked up, even if, in the event, it was unnecessary. Lovely nuthatch.

"So exotic, sheep-farming". Excuse me, but I think most NZers would hoot at that one.

dkm said...

Bibi, are you in Auckland now?! I'm soooo jealous! Allow me to make online introductions to Niki and Pukeko G and Jane! On southern island, not northern, but close enough for me. How long will Mandy and family be there?

And ditto on the foxgloves---love them but had no luck with them back when I was a more active gardener. Neglect is probably the key b/c they are biennials. They reseed themselves, just not always where you want them, and since they take two years to bloom, if you pull the new strays, they can't bloom. Try shaking out the seeds right over the bed, and let me know if they come back :-)

Neglect is definitely the key for the spires in the photo---acanthus mollis (common name: bear's breeches) They take a few years to get established, but will spread if you leave them alone. I planted ONE plant about ten years ago, for the showy leaves. Didn't know they bloomed, which they didn't for a few years. Now they've taken over that bed, rewarding my neglect spectacularly. Those candlestick flowers stay pretty for about six weeks. An ancient plant---the model for the leaves you see at the top of Greek architectural columns. Kind of expensive, so come dig one of mine. I have plenty to spare in all the wrong places. Better yet, cut one mature spire (soon) and shake out the seeds in your garden. I doubt if they're natives, though---probably from the Mediterranean, making foxgloves the better choice for Ga.

dkm said...

p.s. I should write about no rain more often. Since this post we've had three good rains. Birdbaths are full and the raingauge says 2.5 inches.

Nicole Burgoz said...

What a beautiful garden!
And talk about smart birds, huh?!