Saturday, August 20, 2011

August's strange treasures

For the past few weeks I have been finding the sheddings of cicadas around the pine trees in the back yard of the rectory. At first, I just noticed that the holes in the ground - early in the spring the exit/entrances for burrowing bees - were more numerous and much larger. Then I started to see a few sheddings near the holes. Now the ground is littered with them! They lie about in piles of six to ten, and more. Here's a link to someone else's photos of cicadas - not my cicadas nor my yard, but easier than doing my own photos!

Miss Xena has had her own cicada incident. She took one on this afternoon. It was still in the grass, probably drying its wings. I rescued it and tossed it over the fence into the next yard. I have no idea if it will survive Xena's exploratory playing.

Meanwhile, yesterday late afternoon, I saw my first warbler in the city since I moved here five years ago, and certainly the first in the three summers we have been in the rectory. It was a black and white warbler (black and white is its name - here it is). Not to be confused with the blackpoll warbler.

Also, the tomatoes are bearing fruit, against all odds (planted in soil undercut by pine tree roots). The prize is an indeterminate heirloom, green zebra. It just wasn't setting fruit. Finally, Newlin restaked it and, voila! Fruit galore!

I'm also trying to sprout some Italian green beans and some Italian green summer squash seeds for a late planting. We shall see.

And the glory of it all - the zinnias are really taking off.

If I had gone away for vacation, as I was going to, I would have missed all this. It's not quite so relaxing, vacationing in the rectory, next to the church and its parking lot. Newlin and I have screened off much of the fence so I can have a little privacy.

Vacation bonus: I have been drawing something, anything, and often some things almost every day for three weeks. I am very proud of myself. And let's not forget, I am still on target for reading at least one complete murder mystery every day!

A good vacation. I will miss it. And I will still have zinnias, birds, tomatoes, and drawings to remember it by.

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