Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our new bench

We ordered a new bench, which arrived on Tuesday. Drew assembled it yesterday, and moved it into place today. It is a Lifetime 60054 Convertible Bench / Table, and I love it!
We placed it behind the "bird-feeder" tree where it will afford me an opportunity for some good photography, hopefully.
Drew and I sat quietly for awhile to see if any birds would fly in, and we saw a couple of purple finches and nuthatches. Fun, fun, fun...
Then, Neighbor Carla came over and sat awhile. As soon as Neighbor Shannon gets home, she will be required to sit there as well! Thankfully, my friends tolerate my idiosyncrasies;-)

Daylily Season Has Begun!

Yahoo! The first daylily of our gardens has bloomed! This beauty is in the sun garden next to the front stairs. I get incredibly excited with each opening of these gorgeous flowers. I have quite a variety of them and they all have different bloom times.

June 2016 Precipitation Total

June Precipitation Total = 2.575" = 2.58 inches of rain.
We got another 0.04" of rain since yesterday morning. This makes us 1.4" below normal. And we have relatively hot and dry weather ahead. Let's hope that people shoot off fireworks with care so our forest doesn't burn down.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yay...More rain!

We got 1.57 inches of rain by 9:45 am. This plus what we have for the month thus far: 0.965 + 1.57 = 2.535 " thus far. The average amount of precipitation in June is 4 inches, so we are quite low, and very dry. We are supposed to get a some thunderstorms tonight, and that should yield a bit more rain, hopefully. I am loving the new rain gauge!

Blankety Blank Japanese Beetles have arrived

The Japanese Beetles have arrived. They start their voracious munching of plants by the 4th of July each year. They are a few days early! Go figure;-(

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All Weather Rain Gauge

Rain Total: 0.125" measurement taken at 6:30 am. (Note: Up until today, and not including today, the amount of rain that we have received for the month of June is approximately 0.84". I got this information from I'll take another measurement at 7am tomorrow morning, and will try to be consistent with this time frame each day, until the end of the month, so that we can get a picture of the total amount of rainfall.) 0.125 + 0.84 = 0.965" thus far.
We just decided to get a bit more precise with our rain measurements so we bought an All Weather Rain Gauge (which we bought from the Weather Your Way website.) Actually, I am thinking of having my students measure rain and snowfall next year, so I need to practice. I also need to take a short class on how to correctly use the all weather gauge before I can join the CoCoRaHS Network (aka Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.) Here is a CoCoRaHS tutorial on how to use the all weather rain gauge, including placement (which we have incorrectly done here. Darn! Now, we have to find a different location for it.) And, here is a video webinar - Measuring Precipitation: Unique Situations and Challenges.

I had hoped that we could have an official weather station on campus, but it would have had to be monitored daily, and with school out for weekends, summer and vacations, this just wouldn't work. So, we'll hopefully contribute our rain/sleet/snow information. CoCoRaHS has a blog that we will learn a lot from as the science of meteorology is incredibly complex.
Here we have our two gauges together.
This is a close-up of our old gauge.
This is a close-up of the all weather gauge.
It has multiple parts to it, with a measuring tube that fits into an outer cylinder. There is a funnel that catches the rainwater and channels it into the measuring tube.

The all weather gauge is easier to read with its measurements read to the nearest 100th inch. The measuring tube contains a maximum of 1.00 inch of rain. Any overflow goes into the outer cylinder which you would pour into the measuring tube multiple times, if necessary, to calculate the total amount of rain. If rainfall is below 0.01 inch, it is measured as "T" for trace.
What I did find interesting is that one of our 55 gallon rain barrels got 2/3 of the way full after our short 0.125 inch rainfall, which yielded about 37 gallons of water collected from the front side of the roof.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Many Moods of a Dahlia

I have a love affair with Dahlias. I get lost in their fire and light brilliance, and especially enjoy photographing them.
This is my most recent aquisition. The rich pink and yellow coloration reminds me of a beautiful sunrise.
Hello Dahlia!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hairy Woodpecker Mom and Chick

I happened to glance out of the kitchen window, whilst preparing dark chocolate brownies, and spied an adult female hairy woodpecker...
 feeding her male chick (who was bigger than she was;-)
Sorry for the fuzzy photos. I was shooting (hand-held) through the kitchen window so as not to disturb the birds, and it was drizzling as well. So, the photos are not the clearest.
Confused about the difference between hairy and downy woodpeckers? Check out Cornell University's Project Feeder Watch
Hairy woodpecker near feeder / downy woodpecker below.
Look at the difference in bill length!
The hairy woodpeckers have longer beaks ("as long as the distance from the base of the bill to the back of the head"), and solid white outer tail feathers, among other features.

The Browntail Moth has arrived! Quick, call the Daleks: "Exterminate! Exterminate!"

Notice the characteristic broken white lines and the two red dots.
Oh my, oh my...the defoliation of many hardwood trees and shrubs is occurring in southern Maine, on up into Midcoast Maine. We visited with massage therapist friends, Darcy and Ray (Riverview Sauna/Spa and Massage) today, and saw the devastation left behind by the dreaded browntail moth caterpillars. Oak trees and an apple tree were completely denuded on their property. Then, on our drive home, I was on the lookout for evidence of the moths in our neck of the woods, and saw it. Aughhh! Then, I remembered that I had kicked aside a caterpillar while gardening, yesterday, and it had the two red dots on its rear. No, tell us it ain't so!
Browntail Moth Female
Browntail Moth Male

Watch this news report, "What To Do About Browntail Moths", and read this outdated article from the Maine Division of Forestry. I say "outdated" because the moth has moved inland (we live 16 miles from the coast) and up into Midcoast Maine. This 2015 Portland Press Herald article is interesting as well.

By the way, Darcy heard that if you get a rash from the barbed caterpillar hairs, you might try putting duck tape on the affected area, and then pull it off after about 10 minutes. This will rip the caterpillar hairs out of your skin and the rash should subside in about 12 hours. Worth a try!

It's a mosquitoey year-Lets repel them!

I was just reading an article titled, "9 Plants that Bug Bugs - Including Mosquitoes." It caught my eye because it is difficult to enjoy the great outdoors without covering ourselves with Deet. So, I just might put some pots of the following plants on our front deck: Marigolds, petunias, catnip,  rosemary, and basil.