Wednesday, October 24, 2018

We Got Snow!


Yay! Our first snow of the season fell this morning!
It lasted for about an hour.
The temp. was in the mid-30's. And, although there was no accumulation...
it was pretty while it lasted!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Increased beaver activity on the eastern shore of Caesar Pond

I went for a short pond prowl on Caesar Pond today. The colors have faded and the leaves are falling...along with the trees! I had noticed a lot of beaver activity on our eastern shoreline, near where we have our dock and boat. 
The beavers have expanded their tree felling activities to our side of the pond! They have dropped a red oak...just down the shore from our dock.
And a birch that you see in the water, as well as a girdled oak next to our neighbors' dock. That tree will fall with the next wind storm.
I am going to show some close-up photos of each of these trees separately, starting with the northern red oak that you see here. I was fascinated by the part of the stem that was debarked as it was laying in the water.
I paddled up alongside the tree for this photo. I hope to heck that the beavers make good use of as much of this tree as possible.
They seem to have a good food stash started at the end of it.
Here is a close-up of the food stash, or could it be the beginnings of a new lodge?
And a dining "table" further out! There are lots of these "tables" around the pond.
Getting back to the oak...you can see where the beaver has tried to chew through this part of the tree and stripped the log.
I was fascinated by the base of the tree where the beaver was successful in felling it.
Check out the cracks in the base due to the torque as it fell.
And, check out all the green bottle flies who are supping on what may be sugars in the wood? or moisture? I'm not sure, but fresh wood does tend to draw in the flies. There were lots of them!
Looking at the birch...I think the beaver is making good use of this tree.
I love seeing the gnaw marks...Lotsa good eats on this log!
Now for the second oak...The beaver really did a good job on this tree. Unfortunately, when it falls, it will get very close to the dock that is used by quite a few folks at the southeast end of the pond, where the snowmobile trail comes through.
But, wait! There's more! This oak just dropped further down the shore, on the other side of the dock from where the beaver munched tree currently is.
And...lastly...here is the active beaver lodge located along the northwest shore of the pond. Neighbor Carla often joins me on my pond prowling photo expeditions and shows the scale of the massive lodge you see here.
I would be remiss in not showing you one of our perpetrators of all the tree destruction!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Planting Perennials

Picture from the Breck's website.
Today, I planted Astrantia in two holes in the primary stump garden (two plants in a hole on the south side and two plants in a hole on the east facing side.) I also planted two plants in a hole on the south facing side of the secondary stump garden. I am trying to extend the season of flowers for honey bees who will go bonkers for these flowers in late summer!
Picture from Breck's website.
I planted Blue Angel Hosta in front of the bird feeder tree where there is fairly deep shade, so we'll see how it does. I may have to amend the soil more than I did as it does like a rich humus soil.
Picture from the Breck's website.
Then, I planted Bowl of Beauty Peony next to the third stump garden, on the north side of the stump. I hope it gets enough light there. If not, I can always transplant it somewhere else. I also need to add an inch of soil to cover it up. The package directions said to plant it level with the ground, not under, while the website says to cover the root with 1" of soil. And, the soil might not be rich enough either. Aughhh...But, on the bee front, bald faced hornets do enjoy the peony flower buds that they will drill holes into on occasion (possibly to drink nectar.)

Picture from the Breck's website.
Lastly, I planted Spanish Pinkbells: 3 in front of the flower pot stump (old maple stump), 3 in front of the bird feeder stump, 3 on the outside edge of the bird-watching bench, 3 each on the back and north side of the tertiary stump garden, random placement of Pinkbells in around secondary stump garden, and in three places along the primary stump garden, and a few in the front edge of the sun garden.
Picture from the Breck's website
In Cara's GardenThere are also 10 Spanish Pink Bells along the front edge of the front garden. And one Kansas Peony in the front garden nearest the lilac. 

First Freeze of Autumn

Oh boy...I decided not to pick lettuce last night because the outdoor temp. was only supposed to get down to 34F. We usually miss the first frosts and freezes being next to the pond. But, when I looked out the window this morning, I saw frozen white water droplets on the porch table cover. Then, when I stepped outside, I went sliding on the deck! Lettuce is frozen, tomatoes (lots of them) are frozen, tiny zucchini is frozen... Moral of the story: If you think there is a chance of frost, cover your plants and pick your lettuce!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Little Red's afternoon meal

We do love Little Red and are provided with chuckles on a daily basis.
Little Red has so many seed choices on the stump that decision making can be a challenge!
Yummmy...Sunflower seeds are the best!

Last day to pick apples!

This photo is of Amelia Apple Tree before we began to pick her last apples. She is now apple free!
The threat of frost is in the air. We travelled to Hazel Hill Orchard to finish picking apples from Amelia Apple Tree. She yielded 94.57 pounds of Cortland apples this year. Now, to bake apple pie bread, make sweet applesauce, and eat crunchy, sweet and juicy apples;-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Photographing the Sun

Without much zoom the sun seems rather diffuse through the filter.
We just purchased a black polymer solar filter for our cameras as I have been wanting one for awhile. When we had a telescope years ago, we took some nice photos of sunspots (back in 2002.) But, the telescope was gifted to our nephew when he was a teenager.
Just a wee bit of zoom
Now, with more advanced digital cameras, we can more effectively use the solar filter. Our filter is very inexpensive. The hydrogen-alpha model of filter, that would allow us to see the swirling magnetic fields and gas loops, is mega bucks, so we'll be satisfied with this one.
The filter gives the sun an orange glow. Never, never, never photograph the sun without a filter.
Drew zoomed in a bit more. I think it is so fascinating that we can photograph something that is 93,000,000 miles away! Did you know that you could fit 1 million Earths inside the volume of the sun?
Click on the photo to see that the surface is not as smooth as you would think.
Remember that the sun's surface consists of plasma at super high temperatures with lots of magnetic fields.
Finally, he achieved maximum zoom to see the surface of the sun. As the sun is in Solar minimum, there are no sunspots. The next sunspot cycle will stretch from 2019-2030.

Click here to read an interesting article from the Huffington Post on the next sunspot cycle and solar maximum.
Photo through our telescope back in 2002.
And here is a sunspot photo we took through the telescope in 2002. We will be able to achieve that level of detail with our camera equipment, sans telescope, when the sunspots appear! Patience, grasshopper...patience...


But, Drew just told me that Mercury will transit the Sun on Nov. 11, 2019, so we are hoping for a sunshiny day in a little over a year for that event! Lots to look forward to! Check out the Time and Date.com website for more detailed information.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Drew and "Little Red"

Little Red waits as Drew cleans the bird bath.
Drew has a relationship with somebody other than me, and I'm okay with it!
Little Red patiently waits while the bird bath is filled.
This relationship started in springtime when Little Red started visiting the bird seed stump as a young pup.
Little Red says, "Good Morning, Good Buddy!"
He has continued to visit many times, daily, and seems most comfortable when Drew is nearby.
We are hoping that "Little Red" continues to visit all year long and that he remains comfortable with Drew into next year as well.
Besties!