|The Cardinal was happy to work on field corn left on the ground.|
Yesterday the weather scholars were divided about the rain situation. One site suggested days of rain ahead. The other predicted very little rain. Meanwhile, the clay soil was turning white and even the weeds were drooping.
I am committed to growing a robust Pokeweed in the bird feeding area. Parallel to the nuclear triad - US defense doctrine, this is a plan where the birds and insects will be supported by
- a large, mature Butterfly Bush,
- a younger Butterfly Bush with great potential, and
- a Pokeweed that can grow to a height of 20 feet.
When all three are fully growing for the summer, I should need a machete to reach the two hanging feeders. And. That. Is. OK.
The lack of a waiting room diminishes the activity on feeders. Various do-gooders advise against anything near the feeder that would hide a cat preying upon birds. But we have a wide open rose garden that often boasts a living cat statue, lying in wait, needing no cover, anxious to bring about the fabled balance of nature.
Birds need water, food, and shelter, so I have five birdbaths with fresh water. The birds dirty the water, which I drain onto the bushes on the perimeter - Clethra, Gooseberry, Beautyberry. Every creature is happy.
The birds switch off with each other while feeding all day long. They land on the feeders, the six-foot bird-swing, the window ledge, and the Butterfly Bush. Various bumps and nudges make them hop to another feeder, another place to rest. Some birds with large bills (Grosbeaks, Cardinals) will crunch their sunflower seeds on the spot. Others like Chickadees will hammer their seed in their claws until opened and eaten. The Finches seem use their beaks to knock out 10 seeds for each one they eat. Squirrels, Cardinals, and Mourning Doves work over the ground for the rejected seeds.
The squirrels seldom climb for the food, since they have plenty on the ground.
I watered the backyard yesterday and later gave the main rose garden a thorough soaking. My reasoning - we could get adequate rain, even too much rain, but the new roses had to be soaked again and the mature roses would not object.
Butterfly Bushes and Pokeweed have drooping leaves. I gave them extra water and they perked up right away.
I have been dipping rainwater from the nearby barrel - for the new Crepe Myrtle growing near the kitchen window. The frequent baths have made it the fastest growing Crepe Myrtle of the five twigs I got on sale.
My special project is the young Butterfly Bush in the bird feeding area. I built logs around it, to protect it from collisions when I am feeding the birds. This also creates a good fence for holding organic matter. I raked grass clippings up and packed them around the bush. Then I added coffee grounds, which are not as magical as some pretend. However, they do hold water, so the grounds will increase the infiltration of rain as soil creatures pull them down. More blessings for the little Butterfly Bush are the cantelope rinds upside-down in the midst of the grass mulch. (Google's spell-checker changed cantelope to antelope and can't elope.)
The roses along the fence go some soaker hose water, and the front yard was sprinkled. And it rained hard all night. Plus - the rain started again this morning.
| The squirrels ate one corn ear per day|
and put empty ears near the bird-feeders,
to remind me of my duty to refill their special chair.
As Farmer Gabe Brown has said on his videos, cover crops prevent drought, flooding, and erosion by taking in water more efficiently.
When I pour water onto mature roses, it is like watering a drain in the street. The water soaks in, does not pool, and there is no runoff.
Now I have a lot of groundcover growing in the mulch, much of it Buckwheat.
I am also letting Wild Strawberries have their way in the rose garden, because birds will continue to plant them. The berries spread like weeds, protect the soil, and feed the birds that planted them in the first place.