Tag Archive | hummingbirds

Harvest Festival

The first snow down to our elevation arrived overnight Thursday, a good two inches.

The first snow down to our elevation arrived overnight Thursday, a good two inches.

I spent most of the week, and especially Wednesday and Thursday, bringing in everything from the garden: the last tomatoes (red and green), peppers, squash, rose hips, legal marijuana, and all the house plants from the patio. Usually it’s not until the third week in October that the temperatures drop into the 20’s, but Friday morning’s low was 29, and this morning’s 25. Overnight Thursday my sunroom turned into a narrow hallway, filled with a dozen cacti, half a dozen geraniums and as many jades, two lime trees, potted basil, peppers, rosemary, and chives, and a bunch of ornamentals. But before the snow I took plenty of pictures.

Agastache, hummingbird mint, a reliable late-season hummingbird feeder, remains in bloom long after I've taken down the feeders; late migrants passing through find plenty of sustenance here, and the sphinx moths love it.

Agastache, hummingbird mint, a reliable late-season hummingbird feeder, remains in bloom long after I’ve taken down the feeders; late migrants passing through find plenty of sustenance here, and the sphinx moths love it.

First harvest of fall carrots, a rainbow mix.

First harvest of fall carrots, a rainbow mix.

The sum total of my Yukon Gold crop; ten plants each produced only a couple of potatoes.

The sum total of my Yukon Gold crop; ten plants each produced only a couple of potatoes.

One row over, these Sangre de Cristo potatoes produced five or six from each of the two plants I've harvested so far. These all came out of the ground still attached at the roots. The other eight plants are mulched under a foot of loose straw for gradual harvest over the next month or so. At least before the ground freezes solid, and who knows when that will be.

One row over, these Sangre de Cristo potatoes produced five or six from each of the two plants I’ve harvested so far. These all came out of the ground still attached at the roots. The other eight plants are mulched under a foot of loose straw for gradual harvest over the next month or so. At least before the ground freezes solid, and who knows when that will be.

Yesterday I brought in eight cups of rose hips off the wild pink rose, with grand plans of making rose hip jelly.

Yesterday I brought in eight cups of rose hips off the wild pink rose, with grand plans of making rose hip jelly.

Out of four cauliflower plants I put in the ground early, three bolted early and produced small, bitter, diffuse heads. But one made a beautiful fruit, and this one I steamed, then chilled and frosted with a spicy avocado spread for a salad called, in the best Indian cookbook ever, Gobhi Salaad.

Out of four cauliflower plants I put in the ground early, three bolted early and produced small, bitter, diffuse heads. But one made a beautiful fruit, and this one I steamed, then chilled and frosted with a spicy avocado spread for a salad called, in the best Indian cookbook ever, Gobhi Salaad.

A rogue daikon radish, one of four that emerged this summer from seeds planted well over a year ago.

A rogue daikon radish, one of four that emerged this summer from seeds planted well over a year ago.

Butternut squash on the vine. After a light freeze to sweeten them up, I harvested two that came from this vine, and one other. Many of these vegetables started out in Ruth's greenhouse, and she generously offered starts around the community.

Butternut squash on the vine. After a light freeze to sweeten them up, I harvested two that came from this vine, and one other. Many of these vegetables started out in Ruth’s greenhouse, and she generously offered starts around the community.

I can't even eat jalapeƱos! Yet I grow some every year. These will get pickled, because I delight in the idea of pickled peppers. Then I can always have some handy when a spicy dish calls for one or two.

I can’t even eat jalapeƱos! Yet I grow some every year. These will get pickled, because I delight in the idea of pickled peppers. Then I can always have some handy when a spicy dish calls for one or two.

Butternut, spaghetti, and delicata squashes ready for delicious winter dinners.

Butternut, spaghetti, and delicata squashes ready for delicious winter dinners.

A bountiful calendula patch, thanks to Katrina's snipping of heads early in the season. What seemed brutal at the time resulted in a lush display later, a bright spot in the yard that makes me smile whenever I catch a glimpse in passing. These blooms are drying for tea.

A bountiful calendula patch, thanks to Katrina’s snipping of heads early in the season. What seemed brutal at the time resulted in a lush display and a bountiful harvest later, a bright spot in the yard that makes me smile whenever I catch a glimpse in passing. These blooms are drying for tea.

Garden quiche for Sunday brunch with a homemade crust, eggs from Pamela, and veggies all from the Mirador garden.

Garden quiche for Sunday brunch with a homemade crust, eggs from Pamela, and veggies all from the Mirador garden.

Hard work for two days, Katrina pried out the stepping stones and roughed up the gravel, then I leveled and reset them. I hope this will make it easier to keep them clear of snow and ice when the time comes, all too quickly.

Hard work for two days, Katrina pried out the stepping stones and roughed up the gravel, then I leveled and reset them. I hope this will make it easier to keep them clear of snow and ice when the time comes, all too quickly.

One lovely storm after another moves through these past few weeks.

One lovely storm after another moves through these past few weeks.

 

 

Runaway Summer

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At last the rains came. Last week, almost half an inch over the course of five days, this week half an inch in one 36-hour period, and a few days later, two-tenths in an hour, most of which fell in an eight-minute hail storm that left squash leaves in tatters. But the fear of fire is diminished, and the need to run water on the garden as well.

In the throes of summer’s runaway roller coaster I have been neglecting morning rounds; company, a several day water crisis, a family catastrophe, and the sheer demands of the garden have all conspired to distract me from sharing the wild beauty of Mirador’s blooming yard. For today, a brief synopsis, and hopes that I will do better from now on.

The potted agave that shot up its stalk last summer has finally bloomed, and this too took much of my attention for the past month. How sedately it opened, one cluster at a time. I expected some special moth, or fly, some nighttime pollinator to visit, and was surprised at who came to dominate. Hummingbirds! All three species here have been striving to feed from its dripping nectar but of course the little bulldog rufous birds have held sway.

In the early days of the flowers' opening the rufous hummingbirds began to guard the stalk, fighting amongst themselves and chasing off the black-chinneds and the broadtails.

In the early days of the flowers’ opening the rufous hummingbirds began to guard the stalk, fighting amongst themselves and chasing off the black-chinneds and the broadtails.

As the inflorescences opened more they continued to maintain control.

As the inflorescences opened more they continued to maintain control.

Echinacea opened and bumblebees came.

Echinacea opened and bumblebees came.

Leeks flowered and all manner of bees came.

Leeks flowered and all manner of bees came.

Mullein shot up its neverending flower stalk and honeybees came.

Mullein shot up its neverending flower stalk and honeybees came.

And the hundreds of images I’ve captured in the past month I’ve barely begun to sort; my dear neighbors provided me with an insect field guide that I haven’t had time to study; work deadlines loom large. My dearest auntie lies recovering from a broken hip; I cried myself to sleep last night in fear for her recovery, and awoke this morning way too early to the morning star rising over the West Elk Mountains. But the day dawned crisp and clear, July’s parting gift, and I’m optimistic about everything… for now. The fernbush has opened its candelabra blossoms and welcomes a host of buzzing insects, some too fast and tiny to capture. There is always some lovely distraction outside when I am sad.

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