Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Antidote for the Dog Days of Summer

After three hours of sawing, splitting and stacking firewood in the 96-degree heat, Willie and I couldn't stand it anymore. We headed for a dip in the Tennessee River.

Willie has been a river dog since he was six-months old when he took to the river like a duck to water. A clumsy duck for sure. What Willie lacks in style points, he certainly makes up in exuberance. Each dive from the bank lands him a little farther out in the river. He swims back to the bank, gags and coughs and then flings himself into the river for some more.

The locals on the bank always say they like my "pit bull." If they only knew. Willie is about as much a pit bull as I'm a spokesperson for the Hair Club for Men. The only danger around Willie is being licked to death. However, he does get a little testy if you take his spot on the couch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mama Coon prepares dinner for her little ones

In my post of July 8 I noted how we had seen Papa Coon and Mama Coon, so Baby Coons couldn't be too far behind.

They're here.

Every afternoon Mama Coon climbs down from her poplar tree with her two babies trailing behind here. Mama climbs up in the small maple tree and shakes the sunflower seeds out of the bird feeder. The babies nibble away as the black oil sunflower seeds shower down on them. Mama occasionally slips in a seed or two for herself.

We haven't seen Papa Coon lately. He's probably out playing golf while Mama Coon takes care of things.

Speaking of golf, I have to get back to ESPN's around-the-clock-coverage of The British Open.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Have I found my horticultural calling?

Readers of this blog know of my dubious exploits concerning my vegetable garden. I plan, dig, sweat, amend, sow and harvest with less than optimal results. It seems I get excited about the photos of luscious vegetables on the seed packets, and what sprouts forth in my garden always pales in comparison. I tend not to weed, spray and fertilize.

This spring I was trying to smooth out a rough hillside and decided I needed to plant something to keep down erosion. I bought a $5 bag of wildflower seed, broadcast it by hand over the tilled earth and immediately forgot about it.

We have been blessed this summer with all manner of wildflowers. Betty gathered these in the photo to take to a friend.

This may be the solution to my gardening needs. Till, sow and forget.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The great escape

We were careful not to disturb the small cocoon plastered on the window of our front door. Luckily, it was on the side of a double door that we did not have to open.

For almost a month we kept watch as the milky green caterpillar spun a tight capsule around itself. It did not succumb to the stormy winds that blew. It escaped the beaks of the numerous small birds that flit around Deerfield. Its tight body-wrap clearly displayed its antennae.

We wanted to see our butterfly-to-be friend spread its wings, but we woke this morning to find the cocoon empty.

Our butterfly bushes in our front yard are filled each day with the beautiful winged creatures. We trust that our former tenant is among them.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wearing out their welcome -- again

Our raccoon family in Deerfield is being bothersome once more. We don't mind them cleaning out the bird feeder so much. We don't even mind them making Willie bounce off the living room windows.

Last night, however, they broke the hummingbird feeder which is about the 6th one they have trashed over the years. We have a mama and papa coon (mama is pictured), so probably we'll see baby coons before too long.

We like to live and let live, but I also have a live trap. I don't like to break up a family, but if they get too aggressive they may find themselves taking a trip to a park about five miles away. Fair warning.

Willie is a winner

I was reading a recent issue of Garden & Gun magazine when I came across one of their photo contests with the subject of "dogs being dogs." I thought of the above photo of Willie I took a couple of years ago as he busted through the screen door on the back porch for the umpteenth time.

I sent the photo in and promptly forgot about it. Lo and behold, Willie was the winner. You can see him here in all his screen-busting glory.

Willie got a new Garden & Gun collar in the mail yesterday and I got a new cap as our prizes. I wish the magazine had just sent a new 50-foot roll of screen because he continues to go right through them.