Monday, July 24, 2017


If you feel like you're stuck in a pattern that will never change -- take heart! Nothing is forever! (We will ignore the possibility that things could get worse; for the most part, the direction of travel in life is up -- from tremulous to better!)

After days, nay, months of stormy weather, we begin this week with terrific skies (partly cloudy, mid 70s F or 24C), no sign of rain and -- hold on to your hat, hannah! -- a significant downturn in the mosquito population!

Oh, I'm not talking about a complete disappearance. But what for you is unacceptable, for us, here, at the farmette, is delightfully modest! And so today, our mosquito problem is delightfully modest!

I did not think I would again see the day when I could walk to the mailbox and back without hearing a buzz around my head. Today, I did the walk. No buzz.

I still wear my netting for the garden clean up, but I'm starting to enjoy the act of pruning again. A few swats with the paddle and the bugs disappear for a while.

We are at the peak of day lily blooms and so I cannot leave my camera behind as I work the garden. I love the abundance of flowers, the color and variety and so yes, there will be more than one flower picture today on Ocean.

Too, I'm upsizing the photos somewhat. My daughter, who is a loyal Ocean reader (actually both daughters pop in here... hi daughters!), said that seeing the garden in person is even better because Ocean doesn't do justice to the enormity of the enterprise. I suppose a camera lens (or at least my camera lens) cannot compensate for the roving eye. Still, a larger photo tells a better farmette story and so I am going to favor the larger frames. (Until winter sets in: we can go back to a smaller scale then!)

Let's get started! I am more efficient now in working the garden: it takes me 90 minutes to snip all the spent lilies. (I do this before breakfast; I want to enjoy my coffee with a view toward a good, clean garden.)

I'm working along... Here's the great bed, looking toward the farmhouse:

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But I do have to be careful. There are spent lilies that I do not want to disturb. Like this one... (These frogs are so tiny, but I keep my eyes out for them -- they survive the winter in the boulders below the top tiered bed. This is their moment of high livin'!)

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The bed to the west of the porch has a number of later bloomers. They're just beginning their show.

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But the front porch bed is still going strong!

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And the colors are, as always, astonishing (blending here with a true lilium):

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Okay, the fields around the courtyard are all taken care of. The great bed (looking toward the barn) is probably the easiest to photograph. It's both wide and long and even if you miss half the flowers in any single shot, you still get the feeling of abundance -- which, of course, is the goal here.

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And now I am by the road, working on that front bed.

The palate here is terrific: no one lily is more important than its neighbor, or any of the complementing flowers that weave their way through the long bed. I'm sure you can spot the six varieties of day lily below, but in that small photo, from left to right, there is also a strawberries and cream hydrangea, a purple liatris, a white lilium and a white campanula, a gaura, a veronica, a lavender, and in the far back --  a yellow native flower with an acacia like foliage -- I cannot remember its name, but it has more bees than any single flower in the bed! They all work together!

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Okay okay okay! I do not want to exhaust you! Breakfast!

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With our beloved view from the porch.

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And quite soon after, I am off, passing this beautiful field just across the road from us (the one where sandhill cranes hang out)...

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... to the bakery, to pick up croissants for the first half of the week and from there -- to Snowdrop's school, to pick up the little girl.

Did I mention the weather is perfect? It's playground weather, no?

Yes and no. Snowdrop does a quick climb at a restless pace... She's looking for something new. I suggest the lake water. I mean, we don't have to swim in it, but how about a good splashing session?

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Nope. This next pic says it all: I'm happy just looking at the lake!

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Somehow she has gotten it into her head that fish bite. And so the minute I say -- come here, Snowdrop! you can see tiny fish swimming! -- she backs away.

I think I am, with Snowdrop, pretty go-with-the-flow. But every once in a while, I just want her to reconsider. Wearing a sweater is a good example and I do admit, I have made no dent in getting her to reconsider even that much!

I have better luck with the lake.

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Oh, she's not 100% on board, but her few splashes are good enough!

And now, are you ready to go swimming in the pool?

Is she ever! It's as if she hadn't been to the pool for months!

The fact is, it's still a bit cool and so the pool remains quite empty for the first half hour.

(She tells me she's doing yoga in the water...)

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But even as it fills, she does not want to stop her play in the water.

Here's an interlude: she sees kids on the seesaw to the side of the pool. We try it...

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Fine, but her weight is too slight for the seesaw to ever go down.

We're back at the pool. For a long, long time.

Finally, we return to the farmette. What's this! Ed has been picking our little tomatoes! Snowdrop finds the basket...

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And dives in. (And when I take the basket away, she retrieves it, to devour the little tomatoes. She reminds me of myself not too far from her age: I'm told I hung out at my grandma's tomato patch and picked and ate the tomatoes as quickly as they ripened.)

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Evening. Ed comes in from his beetle hunt (he has been taking care of the beetle population in our orchard): the mosquitoes are definitely at a low for the month! -- he tells me enthusiastically.

Perhaps. I wont count on it, but on the other hand, we've had a horribly buggy season. Maybe it's time to turn it around?