Oh, my. No posts since February? That's unconscionable. Truth be told, I opened one too many Google accounts and the site wasn't accepting what I thought was my password.
What's new from the past three months?
A pair of bluebirds successfully fledged in one of of the nestboxest at Owl Hollow. This evening I had the pleasure of sitting on the front stoop with a bottle of Beck's, surveying my wild kingdom, while flashes of blue whizzed past me, left to right, then right to left. There were three or four of them, the babies, I'm convinced, practicing their insect-hunting skills.
I'm still seeing bluebirds spending a lot of time at the now cleaned out nest box. If they nested a second time, that would be the first time they would have done so in a single season. But I also saw a house wren there, and, a few weeks ago, the dreaded English sparrows.
In fact, I first saw English sparrows at the box a day after I cleaned out the old bluebird nest. I noted the date, and watched wtih grim determination as the sparrows set about nest-building. I had already decided I was going to addle their eggs and puncture them with a small needle, to be doubly sure the eggs didn't hatch. I wanted to make sure that all the eggs that were going to be laid were laid, and yet I didn't want to wait too long because I know I couldn't harm live baby birds, English sparrows or not.
I marked my calendar for the day and when I went to open the box, I was much surprised that the nest had been only half built inside, and no eggs. The sparrows seemed to have abandoned the project, for reasons unknown.
Fine by me.I hope they've moved on.
The vegetable garden is off to a good start. Well, mostly. The broccoli, cauliflower and collards are taking a beating from insects. I had gone to the trouble of draping a fine mesh fabric over the broccoli to see if I could save them from insects, but in truth it seems to have had little beneficial effect. Are the bugs coming from the ground? otherwise, I don't know how they got in there. I did pick off about 5 small worms on one plant, but that's all I could find.
The pea pods are doing really great and already are flowering, so the pods won't be far behind. I've begun picking lettuce. The yellow wax beans, green string beans and soybeans are coming along. I have 8 tomato plants this year, some cherry, some regular sized. There was also room for a single zucchini plant and a single yellow squash. Oh, yes, and of course, 3 cucumber plants, several bell peppers, an eggplant in a pot and lots of basil for my pesto sauce. (Can't live without it.)
The hummingbirds returned in early May and have me well-trained for refreshing their sugar water every 3 or 4 days. Any longer and it gets moldy. I was also still feeding black sunflower oil on the back patio, from a triple tube feeder hanging from the dying dogwood tree, but I let it go when the English sparrows became a regular sight. I'd like to start it up again. Rose-breasted grosbeaks were regulars there.