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Archive for July 4th, 2009

It is Independence Day.   I put the flag out this morning.

I never get through this day without thinking about the firebrands meeting in the Boston taverns, drinking their ale and bitching about the heavy hand of the British overlords.   I can imagine Sam Adams and Paul Revere clutching their mugs and declaiming in inebriated fervor.   Somehow that all got organized to the point that the traitorous dogs managed to get a whole bunch of other disaffected colonists together to actually fight and die for the cause.

Ultimately there were fighting words spoken, written, signed, sealed and delivered to the Crown, and the rest, as they say, is history.  It is why we celebrate this day, and an episode in history that politicians have been referring to ever since.

By the accident of birth and the diligence of my late Aunt Maurine, I know that I share blood with that history.   I have at least one Revolutionary Ancestor.   I’m sure that there are probably others, but the young man we can trace our roots back to and prove our lineage from was one Joel Gibson, a private in the 1st North Carolina Regiment.   We know he survived the war because he received a pension for his service.  But the fact remains that he was willing to put his life on the line and allow his farm to be neglected in his absence in order for the brand new United States of America to be birthed.

I’m rather proud of my lineage, actually.

We also know that one of our maternal ancestors was a full blooded Mohawk  Indian.  She was one of numerous Indian children separated from their tribes, “adopted” and raised by a white family.   In addition to our Revolutionary ancestors, we also have traced our lineage back to the Mayflower; we are some of the numerous Doty descendants.  We had ancestors on both sides of the Civil War, and one roamer with a dedicated wanderlust who happened to serve during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Perhaps that explains my occasional need to go off on solo road trips on occasion.   It satisfies some deep need within me to get away from all the normal routines of my life and “explore” new territory.

I love my familiar territory, though.   Yesterday I was moved to take some photographs (yeah, I know — big surprise) of the Petite Prairie.  I got the plants I purchased at Cottage Garden planted, and as I was preparing to do the job I started thinking about the bed, its contents, and the nature of the planting.   I decided that since I am referring to the bed as the “Smallest Prairie in the Universe” perhaps I should re-evaluate the things I have chosen to plant there.   I decided that cultivars of actual native plants were acceptable, but aliens should perhaps be located elsewhere.  So I removed the Miscanthus sinensis and the Japanese blood grass.  This not only “purifies” the prairie, but it provides room for the newer flowering plants I just purchased.   It also means that in a few years I will not be tearing my hair out as I tear out the extremely invasive blood grass and fountain grass from the planting.

It looks like this right now.

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The Knockout Rose is engaging in a new wave of bloom.   It is such a hot color, it glows in the evening light.   I called this shot “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” since it has the dead bloom of the day before, the burgeoning glowing daily flower and the bud that will bloom tomorrow.

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Moving around to the Hosta Dell, I found that the microphylla thyme on the Thyme Walk has started blooming.   It is so cute, but you almost need a magnifying glass to see it.   For scale, bear in mind that the pebbles in the following picture are about the size of my little fingernail.

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Then I noticed that the gravel in the Japanese Rock Garden was sporting a halo of weeds, so I put on my Zen face and proceeded to traverse the area and remove all the “volunteers.”   It was while I was doing this chore that I found evidence that the ecosystem at The Havens is  healthy enough to support a variety of wildlife, including the predators at the top of the food chain.   Apparently, life is so good that my resident Western Ribbon snake grew out of her skin and had to shed it.   She availed herself of the rough rocks making the ridgeline of the Rock Garden to slip out of the old, too-small skin.   I got a shot of it in situ, and it wasn’t until I was cropping the image that I noticed the feather nestled in there as well.   The birds sit up on the den tree above the Rock Garden and preen, so I imagine this is the result of that activity.   There have been a lot of fledglings around lately, getting their feathers in and arranged properly.

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After I acquired a few images of the skin in place, I carefully removed it from where she had discarded it.   I felt quite elated as I inspected the snake skin, it isn’t often that you find one that is completely intact.  She slithered out of it, starting from her head, and the whole thing just slipped off so neatly.   Of course, it is inside out.   You can see the spot where her eyes were, and the thin part of her lower jaw is even there.

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I shall leave you with a couple of  images of the center of an infant sunflower the blue jays kindly planted for me.   It won’t be long before the finches discover it and open up the Sunflower Cafe.

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