| When I was growing up, this was simply The Pool,|
enormous in size, with a building donated by the Deere family.
Moline classmates still talk about The Pool, where we could walk or bike and spend the day. We had a Y downtown, but this was the favorite place.
The Pool has been re-established in the backyard, and grackles are happy. I knew they would be suspicious of a large, blue plastic circle of water. Yesterday, the grackles were perched on and around the pool, perhaps sizing it up for a disposable diaper drop. Soon all the birds will frolic in the shallow, clean water.
Part of the fun is watching a bird chase its kin out of a bath, so it lands in another or decides to eat for a time. They are constantly moving, communicating, feeding, drinking, and bathing.
Mourning doves have been enjoying the Jackson EZ Bird Swing, but yesterday one sat there and looked into the bedroom at me, perhaps wondering why I was trapped in such a large cage. Birds are used to our movement, so they hardly notice us watching them close up.
To prove they were not lazy freeloaders, like the squirrels, the starlings patrolled the lawn, looking for bugs and worms as they slowly walked through the grass.
I hauled the suet out of the fridge - to reward the bug-eaters - and put about six pounds into two giant metal baskets made to hold the stuff. Rain or shine, the starlings and grackles hang on the baskets and eat suet. Woodpeckers also enjoy the baskets.
|Pests like aphids attract pest-eaters, like ladybugs.|
Ants, Aphids, and Natural Controls
First I saw ants all over the white roses. Ants are proof the aphids are snacking on the buds and blooms, excreting sweetness for the savvy ants. Some white blooms were ruined and cut off. Now I see no more ants, so the aphid eaters have arrived.
Last year I had two white KnockOut roses (still do) and saw them hit hard with aphids, but that only happened for the first bloom.
I wanted to order preying mantis egg cases, but I was too late. None are available, period. Instead, I will plant garlic near the white John Paul II roses.
The first bloom of the KnockOut roses is over, so I used pruning shears and large shears to hack away at all eight KnockOut bushes (four red, two white, two pink). Given the steady rain, the roses will respond to the pruning by having another growth spurt and blooming rapidly. I leave the trimmings for mulch. The exception is in the next paragraph.
One rose went all black spot, a bad fungus that resides in the soil. Those canes were lopped off and put in the trash. No black spotted leaf will get better, so each one has to go, along with the cane. If the rose continues to misbehave, it will be replaced.