Thursday, July 28, 2011

Number 88! Also, Fun at the River

Last night, while seated at the supper table, we spied the lovely fast swoops and dives of a flock of Barn Swallows in the area at the front of the house.  I'd seen them a few days ago while watering my vegetables, but wasn't quite comfortable in my identification.  I believe I speak for us both when I say that we hope they caught a very large number of those dang grasshoppers, which are a plague again this year.  Although these birds are not uncommon by any means, this was our first ID here.  Dryad Ranch species # 88: Barn Swallow!

We had house guests last weekend, and a fun time was had by all.  Nothing like being able to head down to the river to dangle one's feet in the coolth:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hilarity Amongst the Tomatoes

Dryad Ranch was blessed last week with an overnight visit from my son, who was on the first leg of a cross country road trip to his new home in Washington DC.  His fiancee just started a new job with the Department of Energy and it's been just a tad stressful for them the last several weeks.  (Yours truly can hardly wait till August for the big matrimonial event.)  Of course, there had to be a photo op and what better place than the tomato patch? 

The raised beds that were built for this year's vegetable garden are proving to be ever so much more productive than our straw bale attempt last year.  We've been eating cucumber salad every day for a couple of weeks and have practically forced some of the overflow onto friends and neighbors.  (I still have a lovely freshly-picked selection right now as a matter of fact, if anyone's interested.)  We're about done with green beans, I think, maybe we'll get one more meal out of those.  I've also done the first picking of a couple of varieties of heirloom soup beans - they did well, but should really be considered more of a row crop I think, as we won't end up with a large quantity.  It's not the plants' fault, now we know how many need to be planted, meaning more than we have room for just now. 

Oh what the heck.  For the entertainment value, another insect photo.  (If not fungi, then bugs.)  I found a couple dozen of these tarantula hawks on some evidently delicious wildflowers down along Lion Creek.  I love how their antennae curl like that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sparkling Gem of a Driveway!

I could possibly go exclamation mark-mad but will somehow restrain myself to only one.  The other day, our neighbor Tom, who writes this excellent blog, came down the hill with his grader and did a superlative job on making our circle driveway Downright Spiffy.  Heaps of gratitude coming your way Tom for that assist.  The next day, a big truck arrived and now the driveway is all gravelly and really super duper.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Any Number of Complaints

Last Saturday afternoon, after a mini-cleaning and cooking frenzy, I blew off the rest of the chores and shouldered my camera bag and went for a walk. I decided to go down to the big ford on a neighbor's place and then walk downriver till I got to our place, then hop the fence and head home. This is where all those complaints I mentioned there in my title come in. It was hot, I had a 17+ pound sack of camera gear on my back, my right sock wasn't on quite right, I dropped my big water jug in a fetid backwater of the river and got some nasty scratches on my arm from a blackberry bush when I fished it out. From time to time, some salty sweat rolled down my face into my eye, which stung. The skeeters were fierce and the sun was bright.

And I realized that I had the biggest grin on my face. I love going for walks like that; that river is just the best. What a great few hours. I didn't get home till almost 6.

I was almost home, when I stopped for these wildflowers, which are on the slope just below the house near the spring. Dang, I just love pretty yellow flowers.

Arnica Cordifolia

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