Tuesday, May 17, 2022

My Rustic Gardens...


When the weather is nice on these May evenings, Millie and I go walking over the hill late in the day just to hear the whippoorwill's call.  My how that brings back wonderful memories of when I was a child visiting my grandparents.  It seemed there was a whippoorwill in every tree. I loved those lonely calls then, and still do to this day.

 Dan keeps warning me to watch for bears when Millie and I are out walking through the woods.  (A couple of weeks ago, my son saw a mother bear and her two cubs making a bee line straight toward our hill.)   But, of his warnings, I just reply, "There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain."  (The kids loved that story when they were young.  Of course, as you might guess, there actually were bears on Hemlock Mountain.*) 

The Summer Tanager still makes regular visits to the backyard to sing his sweet song when I am out and about.   A little earlier, when I was out hanging sheets on the line, the ruby-red male perched on the fence and put on quite a performance.  He seemed totally unconcerned that I was shaking out wet laundry.  I think he likes me!

 I have seen the female only a couple of times.  I love the orangish coloring on her underparts and the olive on her top with olive brown wings and tail.  Her taste for dressing is exceptional, I think.  

In the picture to the right, the Tanager has come to serenade me as I feed the hummingbirds. It was another excellent performance.  He is, for sure, running a close second to Merle Haggard and the whippoorwill, two of my other favorite performers.  (And, of course, I should mention the oh-so-beloved mockingbird that delights us every day.)

Before the Tanager heads south to Mexico or beyond this fall, I hope to get at least one good picture of him, and hopefully, one of the pretty female Tanager too.  I would also like to record that pretty song the male sings so well.  (I already have several of the whippoorwill's song recorded on my phone.)

And, finally, another small garden, which is pretty much a work in progress, has a mix of veggies and flowers.  And blueberries.  Most of the flowers are marigolds and mints planted to keep away the deer and, hopefully, the aphids that have had a field day with the tomato plants the past couple of years.

The hummingbirds are busy in the honeysuckle thickets now, having their fill of nature's sweet nectar, and most assuredly, beginning to raise their families.  A few still visit the feeders during the day, and especially early in the morning and late in the evening.  But, they will be back, lots of them with their young in tow, and that's when feeding hummingbirds becomes lots of fun.  And lots of work!  

   *The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh