Sassy and I are usually up before dawn, so she waits for some sunlight to take our walk. Today the sun was up already. Sassy ate her Science Diet breakfast while I got dressed for the walk. She walked toward the Four Esses, where every daughter's name starts with an S, but she veered when the Army Ranger called out. "Get over here, you three-legged dawg."
Sassy's favorites are greeted by a howl of pleasure - "Ah-roo-roo-roo." The Ranger and I had a long talk about politics and crime while Sassy got petted and combed by my fingers. When she was ready to walk, she barked sharply. "Have you got an appointment?"
"Bark! Bark!" People laugh about our dialogues, but we communicate all day long. She stops on our walk, hanging back so I can play "Go. Go." with her. She will be 50 feet back and bark sharply. I yell "Go go go go!" as she races toward me, like the days when she was running toward me in the park. I reach toward her and she dodges me each time.
If I miss the implication of her sounds and body language, she lets me know. The other night I thought she was ready for sleep at the end of our bed. She sat up, after having lidded eyes and that drowsy look. "Aroo. Bark! Bark!"
She wanted good-night petting from both of us. She wants to be invited, so I clap my hands softly and say, "Move, move." She comes up and sits for some petting from both of us, with exclamations of how gentle and loving she is. We enjoy that session almost every night, but we have to invite her.
If I miss all hints I suddenly find a dog's head under my hand, with a big Sassy grin looking up at me. "Time for night-night?" She will stand up and fall over for both of us to pet her.
|That is the hanging feeder - not my photo.|
My squirrels are much livelier.
Feeding Time for the
The normal quota for the bird feeders is - one big cup of sunflower seeds for the platform feeder and four cups for the hanging feeder.
Today I had a young squirrel on the platform and another one using the hanging feeder as his vending machine. Squirrels know to spin the six-sided feeder to bring the loose seeds closer. I closed the window sharply to reset the feeders.
Birds and squirrels fly, but still remain close to the food. The Butterfly Bush is strong enough for both. Now seven birds are on the platform and one squirrel is spinning the hanging feeder for breakfast.
Spiders Casting Their Nets on Privet Hedges
Two neighbors behind us on Joye Street do landscaping work and have boxy privet hedges on the front of their property. They keep them trimmed neatly.
Almost every morning the spider webs on top of the hedges are highlighted by dew. What a bountiful zone for spiders. They can snag the insects landing on top and the bugs crawling up from the branches. Bushes are feeding zones for spiders, nesting places for birds, and havens for insects.
The webs are irregular circles, never touching, leaving a margin around each feeding site. Web spiders are created and engineered to cast a net wherever food is likely to appear.
Spiders without webs (cursorial) march across the property to hunt for food. Spiders alone number in the thousands in a field, so one can only guess how much damage they do to pests.
God manages all the beneficials so they have their own territory and favorite foods, including themselves. Almost every beneficial will devour its own, but that protests the gene pool to favor the strongest.
|At first we earthwormed the yard,|
mulched and pruned the Crepe Myrtle.
|The Crepe Myrtle was newly trimmed in this photo.|
Now the bush and yard are even more bloom covered.
Not using toxins is one way to trust in God's Creation, engineering, and continuous management.
The plants and animals carry out their duties according to a calendar and plan we do not comprehend or implement. I know the Crepe Myrtle bush enjoys plenty of sun and food for its roots, so I have another pyramid of food under the bush, an explosion of color people point to as an example of they want to grow.
The food supply is comprised of cow manure, shredded wood, the blooms I cut off to encourage more growth, twigs cut to spur growth, pieces of rotten wood, and pieces of lawnmower manure. The large powered lawnmowers build up clumps of dust and grass, which fall off from time to time. Some are scraped off. They are pure energy held together by fine dust. This larder is almost free and always settling down.
The soil creatures, mold, and fungus work on the more complex ingredients of bark and mulch, and share it with the roots below. Spiders set up shops to process fresh insects, the hollows and dampness ideal to attract their food. Bees manage the flowers to provide seed for the Cardinals nesting above.
Bacteria devour the simpler foods, like grass, below. Earthworms and slugs shred bigger pieces, and bacteria in the earthworm gut carries out digestion for the earthworm. Since bushes attract insects, the Cardinals also have fresh meals for their young. Additional flying patrols are carried out by beneficial insects like wasps, tiny Flower Flies, Tachenid Flies, and Ichneumon Wasps. Although I knew only a portion of this last year, the creatures did their work anyway.
If anyone has ever worked on a church building project, it is well known that the project will take at least two years to complete from start to finish. Many details have to be managed, so one error can spoil the results. And yet, this little spot of Creation can exist and flourish with only a little help from us, if we only appreciate what God has created, engineered to perfection, and managed so well.
|Fluffy pink fireworks of flowers|
hide the Cardinal nest within.
Note the layer of branches and mulch
on top of composted cow manure.
Inspecting the Yards
Once again I am Hamlet debating - "To water or not to water, that is the question."
Some genuine rain is promised for tomorrow, and I soaked everything already for the recent faux-rain. The KnockOut roses look splendid because we pruned them back by 50% at first droop, and they received some serious rain right after. Our helper and I clipped off the spent KO blooms, so now they are all fresh and bright and reaching their former height.
Roses droop in dry and hot weather, so pruning and soaks give them energy. I have no qualms about sprinkling and hosing them down, to remove the dust and sweat from their toil. OK - just the just. Rose canes are spongy rather than woody, so they soak up the water fast and loose it fast on hot, sunny, windy days. The spongy canes green up fast too.
|Veterans Honor - give the rosebush,|
share the blooms.
Falling in Love roses donated generously and now rest for the next cycle. They will be a very special next year, with the roots established all winter. I expect some good rains will yield another crop of these roses.
Easy Does It orange roses produce strong stems and clusters of roses. Its color production says "Look at me" all the time.
Mr. Lincoln will generate the longest, strongest, and most fragrant roses before any other hybrid tea. If someone wants to grow impressive roses for the vase or yard, Mr. Lincoln is an easy choice. Our friend loves to see her Mr. Lincoln bud open up and slowly turn purple.
Veterans Honor is the other red rose bloom in mug-like form, fat rather than tall in shape, its red color so pure that the blooms glow in low light and stand out among all other roses in the garden. Veterans Honor also earns high praise for its longevity in a vase.
In the backyard I found two roses with non-rose leaves. I looked again. Growing from the middle was probably a nut tree, planted by the squirrels - watered and mulched by me.
The ground is so fertile that nuisance trees and bushes erupt from the ground, so I am always doing some weeding and yanking out growth.
|Mr. Lincoln buds are tall, very fragrant,|
and open up to large blooms.