Vegetable Flowers

The raspberries are finished now, though all kinds of birds are wild about the remaining mulberries in the big tree in the easement.  Now is the time for summer vegetables.  Last weekend I took these vegetable flower pictures.

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Cucumber flower.  The first cucumber is a little small yet.  It has been dry, so I will probably put the drip hose on tomorrow for a few hours.

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Zucchini flower.

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Eggplant flower.

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This is the first year I have grown white eggplants.

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Tomato flower.  Green tomatoes are ripening, but I have eaten a couple of sweet cherry tomatoes.

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Wax bean flower.  I have been picking yellow wax beans every day and cooking them up.

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The French pole beans are climbing the poles and string lattice, and they have been flowering, but I have not seen the thin green beans yet.  Soon!

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Kale planted last year is flowering now.  I just keep breaking off these flower stems to keep the plant producing leaves.  On the right is wild kale that it tender and easy to use.  In the back left is curly kale.

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There are a lot of pepper flowers now.

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Dill in bloom.

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Cone flowers.  The birds, bees, and butterflies need food, too.

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Joe Pye Weed

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Liatris spicata blazing star

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Great blue heron at Lake Katherine, where we often walk on Saturdays.  There are a lot of fish in this lake, so happy hunting.

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Another shot of the heron and lily pads.

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The little house wren thinks he is king of the yard.  He has been busy bringing home lunch.  I saw glimpses of a cedar waxwing and an oriole in the yard this week.

Rabbit Story:  A while ago we were excited that we chsed a baby rabbit out of the yard.  A larger rabbit somehow got in for a visit sometimes, but politely went out the gate when we opened it.  Then about a week ago Dan discovered five baby rabbits in our meadow!  Our neighbor helped us chase them out of our yard.  He was hoping they would come and live under his deck.  Every now and then we find a little bunny in the yard, so it is non-stop, but so far the damage has been manageable…  We just have such a cozy habitat for insects, birds, and even mammals.  The brave chipmunk ran by me few times as I read outside this afternoon.

Bees, Bagworms, and Assorted Bugs

Every kind of little critter is making its last effort to feed and reproduce.  Grasshoppers, spiders, goldenrod soldier bugs, and many other unknown creatures are doing their thing now.

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Bee on zinnia.  These zinnias have been a favorite this week to a monarch, a black swallowtail butterfly, and goldfinches eating the seeds.

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The pink turtlehead flowers are starting to bloom now.  The bees like to crawl all the way into the flowers.

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Bagworm crawling up the garage door.  The bagworm inches along bringing its case behind it.  The case is a disguise that makes it look a little like a pine cone.  I understand that these can cause a bad infestation, defoliating trees.  In this case there was just one wandering around the driveway and up the garage door.

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Blue damselfly on basil

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Goldenrod soldier beetle on black-eyed susan flowers.

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America dagger moth caterpillar moving across the compost pile.

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I saw quite a few of these planthopper bugs in the yard recently.  This one ended up inside the laundry room door.

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Big spider webs are appearing around the yard.

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The milkweed seeds have popped out of their pods and this one got stuck in a spider web.

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When I looked at this picture on a big screen I can see little purple bugs, that look like ticks, chewing on this eggplant.

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I need to enjoy these summer days while the weather is nice!

Warbler and Goldfinch find Lunch

This afternoon a palm warbler (I think) and I took an interest in each other.  I was shooting pictures and the warbler was gradually coming closer to me.  It is hard to focus on a little active bird, but here is what I captured.

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Palm warbler on solidago rugosa ‘fireworks’ goldenrod.

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Here is what that corner of the garden looks like.  I have been enjoying it from my office window all week.  New England purple dome asters, goldenrod ‘fireworks’, and zinnias.

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The day I took this picture the asters were hosting a grasshopper, a bumble bee, and a fly.  The fly might make a nice snack.  Would the grasshopper be too big or would it be delicious?

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Palm warbler hopping my directions and stretching to see something.  These birds are passing through during their migration.

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Goldfinch eating coneflower seeds.  It is fun to see the goldfinch enjoying these seeds.  Sometimes I want to pull down these dried up flowers because these aren’t very attractive, but when I have the goldfinch in the yard it is fun to leave them for him.  It could be a female or a male that is starting to lose its bright yellow summer color.  Not sure.

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What can you see in this picture.  Look closely….

The rabbit is baaack…

I am enjoying the alyssum and the chrysanthemums I planted in the spring, along with the orange and yellow zinnias.

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No sense spending a long time chasing him out of the yard when we don’t know where s/he is getting in.  Nice fur.

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Meanwhile, there was a frost warning last night, though no frost yet.  So it is time to be vigilant and start bringing in as much of the harvest as possible.

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Now that the wax beans are slowing down it is easier to see and enjoy the marigolds.  I also brought in a bucket of pole beans that had dried on the vine and shelled those today.

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I think this is a cabbage worm.  We have had soo many cabbage moths in the yard this summer, with all the kale and cauliflower that we have been growing.  I am surprised I have not seem more of these worms.

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Walking around Lake Katherine this morning I decided to looks more closely at the ducks to see if there were any that were not mallards, and I think this is an American coot.  The lighting was not great, but it has a black body and a white bill.

Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Zucchini, and more

All of a sudden I am seeing red show up in the garden and the tomatoes are coming.  It is time for the summer vegetables and they are coming quickly.

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Marketmore cucumbers.  The vine went through the fence and we have cucumbers hanging in the easement.  Phil and I are each eating about one a day.  We peel the skin and remove the seeds and it is a refreshing summer food, whether in a salad or just as a snack.

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This tomato is called “Amish Paste.”  I expected a smaller plum tomato like I see in the supermarket, but all the tomatoes are huge in my garden, it seems.  I also planted “gold medal” tomatoes that each weigh a lot and are yellow.  It looks like I will be making spaghetti sauce next weekend.

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“Black beauty” zucchini flower.  There are three bugs taking refuge here, a bee, possibly a cucumber beetle, and a really small bug of some sort.  I had two zucchini that got really huge before I saw them and I just threw those in the compost pile.  Otherwise we are trying to catch up on eating the zucchini.  Now that we have finished eating all the cauliflower we can probably get to these.  There are also a lot of green and wax beans in the fridge.  I have given some away and put bunches of them in cauliflower soup.

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Speaking of cauliflower, I was finally cutting back the old cauliflower leaves and putting them in the compost.  I noticed that beside most of these plants there are new cauliflower plants coming up from the roots next to the mother plant.  I am not sure if I will get cauliflowers out of these, but may get some nice greens to use.

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The brussel sprouts are coming along well.  The little sprouts are forming along the stalk.  We will see if the little tomato cage will be able to hold the weight.

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Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers.  I love these!  These long peppers turn bright red and are a great snack.  I ate several last week.  I ordered my peppers and tomatoes as transplants from Seed Savers.  I like the variety they have a little more than what I get locally, though I sometime end up with local transplants, too.

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It looks like I have a few “Ichiban” eggplants to throw into some recipe.  I have another eggplant, an American variety, that seems to be producing its first fruit now.

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This interesting picture is not from a visiting cat or dog.  They are mushrooms on the sight of our former silver maple tree.  Mushrooms are fungi and this is the above ground representation, maybe like a flower or fruit.  I am happy to have mushrooms in the yard and I think it is a good sign of life in the soil.

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Viburnum dentatum ‘Christom’ blue muffin berries are ripening for the birds.  Keeping the birds fed is part of the plan in having an ecosystem full of biodiversity, that works without pesticides or herbicides.

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While cleaning up this weekend I came across this caterpillar which I think might be a silver spotted skipper caterpillar.  When I first saw it I thought it was a cabbage moth caterpillar.  But when I looked at the picture of the butterfly it looked like a butterfly I had taken a picture of earlier this past week that I could not identify.

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Silver spotted skipper butterfly on agastache ‘blue fortune’ giant hyssop.

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The zinnias have been attracting a lot of wildlife this week.  This very bedraggled swallowtail butterfly has been visiting all week.  I know it is the same one because it is missing a good part of its right wing.  I read this week that butterflies only live 8 – 10 days.  Then another website said that swallowtails live about a month in the summer. In about five minutes yesterday afternoon I saw four different kinds of butterflies in the yard.  I can’t get pictures of all of them and they are all so different.

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The bees also love the zinnias.

Empty birdbath:  The birdbath has been completely empty this week.  No robins, sparrow, finches, starlings, or any other birds visited it, as far a I noticed.  I changed the water several times.  I seem to remember something like this happening last August.  Where have all these birds gone?  I saw a few sparrow gather on the fence yesterday, but then they flew off.  Is there something else exciting happening?  Is it pesticides?  However I do have two kinds of birds visiting in the yard.  The cardinal couple have been around all week making clicking noises in the bushes on the northwest side of the yard.  The goldfinches are also busy working on the zinnias and other flowers they can pick apart for seeds.  The mulberry tree continues to attract birds, but they are far up in the branches.

Fall vegetable planting:  I got out today and planted several patches of lettuce and kale.  It is a little late, but hopefully we will get this plants going so we can have a nice late harvest before the snow falls. I would plant more, but the garden it full!

Snake:  Dan said he saw a little brown snake in the yard by the unmowed grass yesterday.  Glad to know they are still around!  If you made it this far in the blog – Thanks!