discoveries   22 comments

Posted at 10:13 am in Uncategorized

Hyalophora cecropia moth

The past few weeks have been fairly uneventful. After the hectic effort to add new perennials and several rhododendrons to the garden, the next rush was getting vegetables seeds and plants in place. Frequent rains complicated the process, but also helped to keep the transplants well-watered until they settled in. With the garden somewhat set for the season, I switched gears and began clearing trails through the property. I work on that most days – usually for 4 to 6 hours – using various saws, weed-trimmers and lopping shears. My usual modus operandi is to go out in the cool of the morning and work hard until the afternoon sun makes me so hot and weary that I come stumbling back to the house to rest before returning to drag all of the tools home after briefly admiring that day’s handiwork. Sometime soon, I’ll put up a post with some photos and and perhaps even a grand video tour of the property.

Actias luna moth

After resting up after each morning’s trail building foray, I turn my attention to gardening, clean-up, maintenance, cooking, and laundry. About once a week, I do a supply run to Annapolis Royal for groceries. On the same outing, I also make a side trip to fill about twenty 1-gallon plastic jugs with water from a spring that, rather conveniently, emerges from a hillside next to a quiet country road. Spring water is used for drinking, cooking and washing up. Rain water is used for laundry and watering the garden. As mentioned in the past, clothes are washed in a tub using a canoe paddle. Most cooking is done in an electric frying pan – everything from simple fare for the dogs and me, to more elaborate offerings for visitors – of which we have not had too many thus far.

Saturday mornings, I make an effort to go to the Annapolis Royal farmers’ market to splurge a few dollars on fresh baked bread or pastries, jam, early vegetables, and sometimes a piece by a local artisan. I will try to post a few photos of these items sometime soon.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant – 100cm (about 40 inches) tall.

By night, I turn on the moth lamp for awhile. Thus far, it has been a very quiet spring with only 2 or 3 memorable evenings. On one of those nights, I had both a Hyalophora cecropia and an Actias luna come to the light (see photos above – click on images to see larger views).

As I work around the property by day, I watch for flora and fauna that I might otherwise miss if too preoccupied. As mentioned not long ago, I am participating in the Maritimes Butterfly Atlassing project, so usually bring my camera and a butterfly net along to hang on a branch near whatever spot I am working. From time to time, I toss down my saw and grab for a net or the camera to “capture” a specimen for my records. I don’t collect insect specimens, so most are released after being photographed, unless I have been asked to collect for someone else doing research.

One of my nicest discoveries in recent days was the tallest Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant that I have ever seen. It measured slightly more than 100 cm tall – about 40 inches. The above photo shows the plant next to a measuring tape which I walked back to the house to get as I just had to make a record of such an astounding find. It was growing with some less robust neighbours, in a boggy seep which was revealed in the course of my trail-building activities. For those unfamiliar with the Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant, here is a fuzzy shot of the spathe, the shape of which gives the plant its name.

Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in kitchen

The most recent discovery has been the identity of the vandals who have been knocking things off the kitchen counter and table when I am outdoors or busy in some other part of the house. The intruders have been revealed to be Red Squirrels, of which there are many in this area. They have become so bold that the will enter the kitchen to grab food even when I am in the room. They are quite unafraid of the dogs to the point that, yesterday, One circled Sabrina while she lay sleeping on the kitchen floor. It sniffed at her toes and stopped to look at her face from mere inches away. Sage will rush up as they sit on the window sill, but is unsure of what action, if any, to take. They soon realized that they are in little danger from her and began exploring further into the house. Last night, I finally had enough after one ran in and out of my bedroom, so blocked off the kitchen windows with rabbit cage wire. This morning, they are glaring into the kitchen but have yet to try to get past the mesh. With any luck, they will give up and go elsewhere to search for food.

More photos and updates sometime soon.

Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) stealing pasta

Written by bev wigney on June 30th, 2011