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Archive for June, 2010

We’ve been pretty hectic around The Havens lately, not so hectic that we couldn’t make visits to other blogs, but a little too busy to actually sit down and make a post.   Even now, as I sit at the computer, I am second guessing my decision to make a post at this time, as I listen to the wren singing about the new day.   This will probably be a pretty quick post, actually.

Our son Jesse has come home from where he was stationed in Iraq for a two week leave before he goes back there.   It is interesting to watch this young man develop as he accepts and is changed by the new responsibilities that come with rising rank.   It is also wonderful to see how the commonality of experience has drawn him and my darling husband closer together.

We had a family dinner the other night, and enjoyed watching him interact with my father and my sister.

That last picture perfectly demonstrates why the Navy refers to the area where the coffee service lives as the “Coffee Mess.”

For my birthday, my son presented me with an iPod nano, and I am overwhelmed.   Thank goodness my IT Guy (that would be Jim) was here to load it up with music.   It is all prepped and ready for my upcoming drive to Texas for the memorial service for my older sister’s husband.  (I’m leaving tomorrow.) When Jesse saw the list of music that I selected from the CD carousel, he opined that he probably should have gotten the 64gig  iPod instead of only the 8 gig.   Whatever that means.  Anyway, it pretty much blows me away that this tiny little box contains the music on 60 CDs, plus has a camera and a speaker.   Amazing.

It is blueberry season here in the Ozarks, and yesterday I went out to the blueberry patch across town and picked three and a half gallons, which are now resting comfortably in the deep freeze, awaiting future reference.    I intend to get out there after I get back from Texas and pick another 3 or 4 gallons, that way we’ll have plenty set aside for the winter.

Out in the garden, the birds are still singing away.   We are hoping for some rain, it has been sweltering here with temperatures in the 90s every day, and no rain all month.

The day lilies don’t care.   They are getting adequate water and seem to be putting on a show a la Zeigfeld Follies:

The hostas have a competing performance going on in the Hosta Dell.  The day lilies are providing back up down there.

The Rain Garden is looking quite lacy and delightful too, although it doesn’t make me think of lines of can can dancers kicking up their heels the way the day lilies and hostas have been.

Well, I’d love to spend more time with you all, but there is a lot to do, so I had best get a move on and go do it.  There are weeds to pull, beans to pick, water to distribute, flowers to admire, birds to listen to, and a dog that wishes I would pay attention to her and not the dumb-ass computer.  Plus I have to do 4 massages today.

I’ll probably not be making another post until I get back from Texas, so I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Catch ya on the flip side. . .

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Well, Jim has started his new job at the Commissary for real now, training is over.   They assigned him to the Produce Department, which really is a very good fit for his skills and expertise.   And it is also more interesting than running a register.  It is truly amazing how much business goes through that store.   He told me last night that they regularly sell $9000 worth of produce EVERY DAY.   That is a heck of a lot of lettuce.

The irony of working for the gummint is that you start off and you work and you work and you work and then after two pay periods you actually get paid.   So we haven’t actually seen any money from this.  But the good thing is, we know we will.

I still remember when I worked for a certain person (who shall remain nameless), and when her employees got paid we basically raced each other to the bank because the last one there usually had a rubber check in her hand.  She always blamed the bank, but in my experience the bank is usually not the one at fault in these sorts of cases, especially since it happened EVERY week.   But I digress.

This job has caused a huge shift in our lifestyle, which is particularly ironic because not two weeks ago I made a statement elsewhere in the blogosphere about how hard it was for me to get up early so I could catch the dawn light for photography in the garden.   All I can say is, the Universe is always listening, so be careful what you ask for.   Jim has been put on the morning shift, and so four days a week he is expected to be AT WORK at six ante meridian, which no matter how you write it is pretty early for people who have had the habit of staying up ’til midnight every night for the past decade or so.  Since he does have a bit of a commute to work, and he also likes to have coffee before he goes off, we are getting up at 4:30 a.m.  I fully realize that he is capable of getting himself off to work all by himself, but we have always been a team and so I have been getting up right along with him.

I have been enjoying the early mornings in the garden.   Since it has been heating up into the 90s by mid-day on a regular basis lately, the cool of the morning has been very pleasant for working in.  There are other advantages as well.

I have been able to capture a few dawn-lit images out in the garden that please me.   I have a squash blossom, the first one on my zucchini plants.

Sharing her pot is a scarlet runner bean vine.

Hollyhocks and day lilies open early in the morning.

This is my borage blooming.

Not that long ago, some other blogger was talking about how much her bees loved her borage, that they swarm all over it.   Well, my bees have something more compelling to avail themselves of at present, and are studiously ignoring the borage in favor of the poppies.  There is a tachnid fly in there in the first photo, too.

Now, those poppies are Papaver somniferum. I find it interesting that as long as I don’t go out there and slice the seed pods for resin production, it is legal for me to grow these poppies in this country.   I guess the poppy seed producers had better lobbyists than the hemp fiber producers.

My honey bees are very enamored of the poppies, they wallow around in them all morning.   They have a distinctly different aspect when they are dealing with poppy nectar than they do when they are dealing with other nectars, say like the asparagus (which they also love), or the lavender, or the clover.   When they are at those flowers, they view me with grave suspicion and studiously move away from my photographic efforts, frustrating me no end.   But when they are indulging at the poppies, they don’t seem to care and I can get the camera right up there next to them.

We had a wild swarm of honeybees move into “The Havens” about six weeks ago.   We have a flicker nest box that the flickers eschewed, and when the starlings started using it, Jim blocked their access by nailing a couple of slats over the next box opening.   He didn’t take it down, hoping that the hollow behind the slats would induce the wood pecker types to pound their way in.   No such luck.   Then a swarm of honeybees moved in and so we decided that was cool and they could have the box for their very own.

There is enough of a gap that the bees seem to think this box is just the ticket.  Here’s a closer view of them going in and out busily this morning.

I hope this hive does better than the last group who moved into this box, which was about three years ago.   They did not make it through the winter.  It was the year of the ice storm, so they may have suffocated when the box was encased in ice.   Anyway, I wish we had a proper hive for them to live in, but this wild swarm seems to think that the accommodations are just fine.

And I am happy to have honeybees pollinating everything.   I am rather curious about the honey they are producing.   First they collected from the lavender, then from the poppies.   They are also loving the asclepius, and all I can think is that this must be a quite interestingly composed honey.    Relaxing. . .

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Once again it is the 15th of the month, and time to share what is going on in our gardens on a long lived meme begun by Carol over at May Dreams Gardens:   Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. It is an interesting meme, and I enjoy visiting the other gardens, although I admit I don’t always have time to visit all of them as this has become a very popular meme indeed.

I have now been participating in this meme since 2007.  It doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long, actually.   The original idea was we were supposed to be making lists of what is blooming, what has just finished, and what is coming up, but I admit that the “list” part of this meme fell by the wayside on The Havens blog very early on.   To publish an exhastive list was, frankly, exhausting.   And for this Gemini, it was impossible to keep my attention focused long enough to make such lists.

I’m afraid this month is no different, and frankly, the lists just keep getting longer as the gardens keep expanding.   So today, I am going to use the secondary theme of “Riots of Color”, which is what is going on in my gardens right now.   Everywhere I look, there are riots of color, out in front, along the east line where the orange trumpet vine is blooming, by the sauna, on the root cellar, in the stroll garden.   I invite you to accompany me on a short stroll through the property on this showery day.   Better put on some long sleeves and maybe even some bug spray, because not only are the flowers rioting but there are squadrons of mosquitoes patrolling, and they are out for blood.

Yesterday the lance leaf coreopsis in the Petite Prairie was rioting in the sun.

The vegetable garden is looking splendid.   So far we have two gallons of asparagus and four gallons of peas put by for next winter.  The onions and garlic are almost ready for harvest.  The cucumbers and melons are up and growing.  The tomatoes are blooming, the broccoli is making heads, the carrots and beets are developing.   It’s all good.

For the first time since I planted it over a decade ago, the wisteria is happy enough to put on a second flush of blossoms.

The mulberry trees are bearing ripe fruit right now, so there is a riotous bird party going on over there.

I shall leave you with a few of the more fashionable ladies who are displaying their beauty rather wantonly.  A day lily in the front:

The tuberous begonia in the hanging basket in the pergola:

And my personal favorite, a poppy bespangled with the morning’s rain:

Y’all come back  now, hear?

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The poppies are blooming, and the bees think it is terribly exciting.

The Hosta Dell.

Echinacea, liatris, coreopsis in the Rain Garden.

Black eyed susan and skullcap in the Petite Prairie.

Oriental lilies, asiatic lilies, orienpet lilies, day lilies in the Front Garden.

Baby robins in the Marechal foch row of grapes in the vineyard.

Little green apples — golden delicious.

Water lily on the pond.

Have a beautiful day.

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Not that busy

Yesterday was one more frantic day in a line of frantic days that we experienced as we get accustomed to Jim’s new job.  I was thinking that maybe I’d never have time for the computer again.

Silly me.  I pretty much kept today free because it is my birthday, and the nice blank space in my appointment book was quite in evidence even yesterday.   It’s a good thing too, I need a lot of free time because last night my mother had a heart attack and is in the hospital.  So it’s a good thing that I have the day free so I can go visit her.

Odd sort of birthday, too.   I have heard from every person in my family today, because we are busy discussing the situation and supporting each other.   But so far, no greetings of the day.   And I don’t feel particularly celebratory.

It never rains but it pours, to use a very over-used phrase.  I mean, my dad was just in the hospital last Friday, Saturday and Sunday to have a brand new pacemaker installed, which seems to be making him feel much more peppy.   The parents stopped by yesterday afternoon and his color was much better and he was claiming great health and within literally less than an hour my mother was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

I talked to her this morning and she sounds great.   Her main concern is that she has irises that need to be planted and she is chafing at the bit to be released so she can go do that.

The stroll garden is rolling on into its summer phase, the echinacea are starting to bloom.  This is how the rain garden looks today.

Well, I have to get ready to go up to Osage Beach where Mom is, and there is a big thunderstorm headed this way so I’ll post this now.   When we have storms in the area our internet connection gets really intermittent.   Despite what the phone company says, I think that when there is a lot of rain on the ground it affects their switching equipment.

Anyway, you all have a fine day, and stay healthy, hear?

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