We received bad news on Zoe this week. She initially rallied on steroids but then did not continue to improve. After further tests, it appears that she does have a fast-moving cancer. So, we are staying close to home to keep our sweet girl company, just as she has kept us company throughout her life. She remains happy, although she is getting weaker and less mobile. As we come to grips with the bad news, our whole property is pulsing with midsummer life. The bees were coming in so laden with deep yellow pollen last week that they looked as though they would miss their landings. I traced the bees to the staghorn sumac, which was in full bloom and bursting with pollen. We have several varieties of sumac on our hillside, but the bees were ignoring all but the male staghorn blossoms.
After the sumac flow slowed, the bees were driven to a frenzy by our Flemish Antique poppies. Each poppy only lasts a day and every morning they were mobbed with wild and honey bees frantically gathering nectar and stripping the pollen. I have never seen anything like it.Our borage, in comparison, was almost deserted. And the bees were much less interested in our small jelly bean poppies. All the pollinators have been on the wild milkweed, however, which has been spectacularly lush and sweetly fragrant this year.
Our yard has been alive with butterflies, moths, bumblebees, sweat bees, unidentified wild bees, wasps, and moths.
But, our baby swallows are gone. After entertaining us for days, we watched them leave the nest one by one. It was such a thrill to see their first flights. We still have swallows and bluebirds in the yard, so apparently they like it here.
Although the weather has been extremely dry, we have had enough rain to keep most of our vegetables coming along nicely. We are harvesting peas, lettuce, early potatoes, baby onions, collards, kale, carrots, and lots of herbs.
I had to pull out some cabbage being chewed by pesky cabbage worms. The cabbage moths continue to hover over all the brassicas, so I will harvest them soon and then put in a new, unmolested, bed for fall harvest and cover it with agribon fabric to keep the moths out.
Our goldfinches turned out to be unexpected garden marauders. They have been dining on the rainbow chard. They are not eating bugs or worms, but the chard itself. Goldfinches generally eat seeds, so I’m wondering if they sought moisture from the chard leaves in our recent dry spell.
Our wild apples are plumping up and looking less disease and pest-ridden than last year. We did some pruning in the spring to cull out branches and let in more light and air. It appears to have improved the apples.
And so, life goes on.