Morning Stretches

Enjoying the garden and its gifts has taken a bit of a backseat this spring as massive pruning after Snowpocalypse is ongoing and sometimes overwhelming. I’m nearing the end of the cleanup of my garden, but there is always more to do. Yesterday, instead of sawing, clipping, and composting, I spent some time rambling through my gardens, stretching my legs, camera in hand, at the ready. In the hullabaloo of chores, I haven’t focused on appreciating the resilience of plants as they’re bursting forward with spring growth, or spent time admiring the determination of honeybees as they gather for their hive.

This honeybee, pollen pantaloons (prosaically: corbiculae or pollen baskets) in full, golden glory, focuses her attention on a cluster of Giant spiderwort, Tradescantia gigantea. As I observed and clicked, she zoomed in, proboscis forward, to sip the succulent nectar from the sweet bloom.

Bums up! Soon, she leaned in to the depth of the flower. Is there more in there??

After nosing around a bit, she climbed out, those pantaloons even heavier with pollen.

Having worked one bloom, she headed to a neighbor, repeating her efforts.

It’s been an interesting month, this March 2021. I’m pleased that my garden has mostly rebounded (still waiting for you, oak trees!) but there was little time between the frozen, snowcapped devastation and the onslaught of spring growth to catch a gardener’s breath. Garden critters haven’t missed a beat, though. Their concerns are survival–food, cover, procreation–and so they remain active and in shape for their daily duties.

Joining with Anna today and Wednesday Vignette. Check out garden stories for this last day of March and happy pruning and garden watching!

Hear My Tweets!

It’s not what you think.

There’s always that one who looks at life differently!

Cedar Waxwings, Bombycilla cedrorum, gather in a circle at the bath and eagerly await to hear from Dear Leader.

Dear Leader arrives and takes the podium, followers bow.

Fellow Waxwings listen raptly to Dear Leader’s tweets, cheeps, chirps: So let it be tweeted, so let it be done.

Are the waxwings organizing something nefarious, or is Dear Leader simply imparting directions for the water feature visit? Considering the amount of waxwing poop the hordes of beautiful birds leave behind, the two goals might be the same.

For more garden stories, check out Anna’s Wednesday Vignette.

It’s a Stretch

If nothing else, I’m impressed with his determination.

But balance and agility of this hungry squirrel are admirable, as well.

Squirrels, like many birds, enjoy peanuts and will go to great, stretchy lengths for their fill. I don’t mind their eating the peanuts that I intend for birds, except when one of these rascally rodents plants its fuzzy butt on the feeder and gobbles up the goods. Last summer, I discovered the use of hot pepper sauce to mix into the peanuts. Birds don’t taste pepper sauce, but squirrels steer clear of the fiery mix. The pepper sauce is so hot, that I wear gloves as I mix the blistery stuff with the peanuts and I stand as far away as possible, turning my head and holding my breath I wash out the container that I use for the mixture. The cloud of pepper sauce is remarkably cough-inducing. I can’t even fathom what it would be like if I got some of it in my eyes.

I don’t want to think about that.

During the season of squirrels-loving-peanuts (now until mid-summer) I do toss out handful of peanuts on the ground for the squirrels, I’m not a monster, after all. I like squirrels, I’m (mostly) glad they’re in my garden. I know they benefit from the peanuts, especially the mommy squirrels, and I’m happy for them to nosh the fat-laden protein. That said, I don’t want them bullying the birds at the feeder. So, hot sauce it is.

This acrobatic feat, this stretch for the treat, is the sign I need to rev up the pepper sauce with peanuts concoction. It’s another sign of spring to come.

For other garden stories, check out Anna’s Wednesday Vignette.