worth the wait

We missed our morning walk yesterday because of on and off thunderstorms throughout the day, and it’s amazing how much around the farm can change in just a couple of days. Moth mullein, for example, is just breaking out in blooms. This European import is common in our fields. Its delicate blooms are lovely and quite popular with pollinators.

Common milkweed (shown below), another flower popular with pollinators, is starting to form the seed pods that will dry this fall and expose layers of seeds with tufts of long silky hairs.

The berries on the autumn olive bushes are turning red. One of the blogs I follow suggests picking the berries for eating now or preserving when fully ripened (http://forageporage.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/grab-your-bucket-baby-its-autumnberry-time/). I’m definitely going to try some of their suggestions.

Swamp milkweed is finally blooming in the low area of the front field. We’ve been waiting for the flowers to open and they are gorgeous! This picture shows the flowers in various stages of bloom. The flowers don’t last long, but they are appreciated by all the bees, butterflies, wasps, and other pollinators that visit them.

On the way back, we stopped to see if we could find some ripe blackberries, which are usually scavenged by wildlife before we can pick them. I guess the storms kept the berry-lovers at bay because there were a few ripe berries here and there, and Autumn and I scrambled to see who could get them first! (I managed to get a few and we enjoyed them in our cereal for breakfast.)

The saying that ‘some things are worth waiting for’ couldn’t be truer. The gorgeous blooms of the swamp milkweed, the red berries of the autumn olive, and enjoying blackberries with our breakfast were definitely worth the wait!

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a deer, a new flower, and a hawkmoth

We put out a new salt block and it didn’t take the deer long to find it. They LOVE it! I happened to see this doe from the kitchen window while fixing dinner.

What a sweet face – She’s studying me while I’m studying her!

I check for new wildflowers in the fields everyday and just recently noticed this strange-looking one. I’ve never seen it before and have no idea what it is. I’ll research it when I get a chance, but if anyone knows what it is, please speak up.

This is a hawkmoth enjoying the wild bergamot that is very prolific right now. Hawkmoths are commonly mistaken for hummingbirds – they even hover over the flower while they suck up nectar through their long tongues. Some insert their forelegs first, to “taste” the flower with their feet. Like the hummingbird, hawkmoths can hover and fly frontwards and backwards.

I love it that I never know what I’m going to see from one day to the next. Nature is ever-changing and brings joy to anyone who takes the time to look.

very berry summer

I’m excited that the wild berries around the farm are almost ready to harvest. With all the rain, the blackberries are big and plentiful. We’ll be picking them in a few days for blackberry jam and a pie or two.

Autumn loves blackberries, too. She plays a little game where she watches me and if I make a move toward a big, fat ripe berry, she dives in and tries to get to it first! Callie, on the other hand, is much too interested in rousting rabbits, skinks, and voles from their hiding places to pay attention to berries.

The wineberries won’t be ready for a couple of weeks, but they promise to be very tasty. Of course, we’ll be in competition with the deer, snakes, birds, and other critters once they ripen – I know the animals have been keeping a watchful eye on their progress by all the little trails beneath the vines!

We’ve had a lot of thunder storms this summer and one is closing in as we make our way back to the house. We got high winds from the last one, so I’m hoping this one will be more benign.

Today, I spotted this tiny hummingbird egg at the edge of my rock garden in the front yard (that’s a quarter next to it). For the life of me, I can’t imagine how the mother bird feeds babies that are no bigger than the tip of my little finger!

One more interesting tidbit – the seeds of sweet woodruff from our old house must have been attached to the bottom of this goose when we moved. We had a bunch of it in our front yard and somehow it survived the move and sprouted from underneath the statue.

Here’s the mascot of AutumnSong watching over the farm.

“Discovering this idyllic place, we find ourselves filled with a yearning to linger here, where time stands still and beauty overwhelms.” — Unknown