Tag Archive | garden

Hummingbirds: Rufous

“Both male and female S. rufus are territorial; however, they defend different types of territories.[9] The more aggressive males fight to defend areas with dense flowers, pushing females into areas with more sparsely populated flowers.[9] Males generally have shorter wings than females, therefore their metabolic cost for hovering is higher. This allows males to beat their wings at high frequencies, giving them the ability to chase and attack other birds to defend their territory.[9] The metabolic cost of short wings is compensated for by the fact that these males do not need to waste energy foraging for food, because their defended territory provides plenty of sustenance.[10] Females on the other hand are not given access to the high concentration food sources, because the males fight them off.[9] Therefore, females generally defend larger territories, where flowers are more sparsely populated, forcing them to fly farther between food sources.[9] The metabolic cost of flying farther is compensated for with longer wings providing more efficient flight for females.[9] The differences in wing length for S. rufus demonstrate a distinct sexual dimorphism, allowing each sex to best exploit resources in an area.”

I copied this straight from Wikipedia. Fascinating. Fair? For some reason, I trust their information for basic science, though I might be skeptical for more subjective knowledge. Around here, we call these birds “little bulldogs,” or more subjective epithets. I love them despite their aggression; they are beautiful, remarkable creatures. I am grateful to have the Rufous and the other two species zipping around the yarden all day, intensifying in the evening.

I’m grateful to have stumbled, after 29 years, into a spot in the woods where I have never stood before, a view I have never viewed.
I am happy to share my flowers, and grateful for the trust of the mangy doe. I wonder if she’s still pregnant, or if she’s already got a fawn. Her belly looks bigger than it did a couple of days ago. Her teats are enlarged; but not like the mother of twins, who hasn’t come into the yard for more than a week, though I did see her and the fawns just south of the fence the other day, which was reassuring.
I am grateful for green! So much lush growth. I love these rattlesnake pole beans.
I picked this load this morning, and this evening there are more ripe and ready beans. I picked even more a couple of days ago…
…so this afternoon I blanched the two batches…
…and bagged them for the deep freeze. I’m grateful for the knowledge and technology to do this.
I’m grateful that the Chimayo peppers are fruiting between monster tomato plants in the new beds.
I’m grateful for all the flavors of green growing in the garden right now, and for living through to another gorgeous sunset; and for a house to live in, and water to make rain on the garden and grow food in abundance.

Pollinators

Not a pollinator, but I’m grateful for this roly-poly little kitty. I may have a new kitty: I came home from a lovely dinner tonight and saw a small black cat crying out beyond the compost bins. I put some food out. It will depend on Topaz, among other things. We’ll know more later.

I’m grateful for all the pollinators. I haven’t even cracked the manual for the new camera, and the current lens won’t give me the crystal clarity of the macro lens on the old camera, but I’ll get there eventually. Meanwhile, playing around with it this morning I caught a few pollinators doing their thing. Imagine where we’d be without them! So grateful for pollinators, and the fruits of their labors.

Honeybee pollinating tomatillos
Leafcutter bee on marigold
Sunflower bee on some floral surprise I thought was going to be a zinnia…

I’m grateful for the 4000 species of native bees in North America, and the dozens that forage and nest in my yarden. They’re responsible for pollinating about three-quarters of all our food plants, but their very existence is not well known to the general public. I didn’t know about them until I started raising and photographing honeybees, and paying attention to all the other pollinators I discovered through my camera lens. There aren’t nearly as many individual bees or bee species in the garden this summer, making me cherish them all the more. You can learn to identify and plant for native bees with the Wild Bee ID app put out by the Center for Food Safety, and enjoy some of my better photos while you’re at it.

I’m grateful for these rattlesnake pole beans, the first green beans that have thrived in my garden ever.
Grateful for today’s harvest of green foods, and for the pollinators that made them possible.
Garden to table…
Grateful for a healthy lunch partly from the garden (green beans, basil, fennel, parsley) and partly from the pantry (garbanzos, cannellini beans, olive oil, rice vinegar, and poison fish croutons).
Grateful for the first ripening tomato, and the pollinators, mostly bumblebees, that made it possible.

Vichyssoise

Let’s get the phoebe report out of the way: grateful that all four chicks are filling out, and moving around on the nest platform.
Grateful all the leeks are growing well enough to need thinning…
Testing the potatoes, which have never yet bloomed; surprised and delighted to unearth three lovely red potatoes while checking. Grateful that I can start a slow harvest of potatoes!

I was grateful this morning to find myself with both leeks and potatoes in my hands, fresh out of the garden. There’s only one thing I think of with both those vegetables: vichyssoise! It was my father’s favorite soup, which I’ve known my whole life. Today I thought of him, grateful for his culinary skills and interests that he transmitted to me. I’m grateful for many things about today, including vichyssoise.

Grateful for a quick and easy recipe, and that I had all the ingredients including chicken stock in the freezer; grateful for the freezer, and the solar power to run it, and all the conditions and people who made possible the freezer in my mudroom, and also the blender: Grateful for a good blender with a glass pitcher so I could pour the soup in hot, blend it to velvet, and let it cool, before adding cream and enjoying. Grateful there’s plenty for another meal.

Gratitude

Grateful for the desert willow’s resilience, for the doe’s tranquility browsing the yard, and for the fence that protects my garden investments from her.

Have I mentioned lately the point of this commitment? I chanced to have a conversation with a young conservationist the other day, and she mentioned grief. Grief is one of the most appropriate emotions for any of us to be holding, juggling, however we choose to acknowledge it. Gratitude is another. The two complement each other: they are antidotes and catalysts at the same time, grief and gratitude. Whichever one you start with can lead you to the other, particularly if you start with grief. From my particular world view, grief and gratitude are the most appropriate emotions for anyone aware of the climate crisis. [trigger alert: these links are not for the faint of heart.]

So I’m grateful for the mental fortitude I’ve cultivated this past year, and my whole life, really; grateful that I can put myself in perspective with the world at last, after decades of exploring the relationship. I am content to be a small pebble in a small pond, causing small ripples. I am sitting in the teepee, watching the giant blue planet approach. I am grateful for every moment of beauty and grace that I can be aware of, as the moments of this fleeting life flow through me.

I’m grateful for the second clutch of phoebes, chicks about a week old and just today visible above the rim of the new nest, on the right side of the platform.

Sunrise

Grateful to wake up to this view from my bed.

Literally (I don’t see enough of them, as a night owl) and metaphorically: sunrise on the next phase of this unpredictable journey through life. I’m grateful for another amazing day of retreat, and for the accomplishment of certification as a mindfulness teacher. So much gratitude!

And always grateful for the big Stardog, and the glory of the garden.

Mercy

I’m grateful for the flourishing garden, another type of mercy in a hard-edged, mechanical world.

Sometimes this is all that occurs to me to say: Mercy!

I’ve spent the entire day working on a 10-minute presentation for a retreat this weekend, except for the time I went to PT or was eating. I’m immensely grateful whenever I get so inspired that a whole day goes by absorbed in a project. It’s a type of mercy to lose myself and all my concerns in the creative process.

Another Sunset

I’m grateful we all lived to experience another sunset (all in my immediate circle); grateful for cooler, more appropriate summer weather; grateful for reclaimed garden space in the dog pen:

Before, when I first dreamed it up in March…
Later, during the visioning…
Today!
Grateful for coffee bags from Rubicon Roasting, doubled and filled with dirt. Cantaloupe starts go in them in a few days.

I’m grateful for another effective day in the garden!

All Ten Feet

I’m grateful for all ten feet that enable Stellar and Topaz and me to walk through the woods most every morning. After visiting the Survivor, whom we haven’t been to see in a couple of months, we came home and rested by the pond, where they both drank and I meditated.

I’m grateful that I got all but a few cantaloupe starts planted, and all the soaker hoses set up, yesterday morning before my hand was curtailed. This will make the next month in the garden much easier. I’m grateful for the splint on my left hand because it hurts a lot less.

Just This

Old painting, new life. I’m grateful my brother painted this fifty years ago, that I wouldn’t let it go when the old house sold; that I kept it rolled up in storage for decades, and unfurled it a couple of years ago thinking: better it hang somewhere, even outside, than spend the rest of its life in a tube and get thrown away whenever I die. It survived two years ignominiously screwed to the wall a little askew, but today it finally got framed and hung straight. I’m grateful to Wilson and his little helper for crafting the beautiful slab wood frame. Grateful for the mill down the road that sells its scraps so reasonably. Grateful I have a wall to hang it on. Now, looks like it’s time to finish the wall with a coat of smooth plaster: I’m grateful for how one thing leads to another, and we grow.

Looking back over that half century, I’m grateful that the oasis of wild joy and color in this vision from my childhood has come to vibrant life here at Mirador.

…and of course, I’m grateful for this.