Sunday, August 1, 2010

Magic Two-Hundred

Photo of a Monarch butterfly taken yesterday on my Tiger Lilies

Referencing the Magic Two-Hundred: As our friend, Bud McKirgan, says in his Prairie Shopper editorials, "I'll get back to that in a moment."

Today is August 1st and it typically marks a turning point towards Fall in the Midwest. I really didn't want to turn that point this year. I wanted to hang on to my daylilies, the milder weather, and summer optimism.

Even the birds know it's "that time of the year": Purple martins, sora rail, osprey, shorebirds, hummingbirds and warblers will start their migrations this month. It's a good time to get hummingbird feeders in place for high energy snacks as they migrate.

It's a great time to sit on the porch (and I'm thankful for screenwire) and watch and listen to the sights and sounds of the fall days. Cicadas have started their calls, crickets are busy, birds are talking and getting their young ready for leaving the nest.

We have a pair of wrens nesting in the front porch fan housing. They started in a little decorative birdhouse I'd hung in the honeysuckle that drapes the front railing. When it became the major interest of our cat, they moved to higher ground. Needless to say we've missed using the fan this summer but it appears they are continuously feeding young so it should be soon vacant. Faithful husband will then dismantle the fan, clean it and bird proof the top.

Wrens are fun to watch. The male takes part in the feeding,is the watch alarm and directs the traffic flow. The female stabs an insect and takes it to the nest. The male has a particular song that says, "I have a bug and the coast is clear for mother to exit the nest." They keep up this swap all day long.

The wrens aren't bothered by humans on the porch swing or dogs napping on the floor. If the cat comes within twenty feet, the male starts a cackling noise which must be an alarm.

You may also notice stray feathers in your yard because it's time for many birds to molt. Robins have begun this process and I've noticed several blue jay feathers and some fluffy whites.

Always a rebel, the goldfinches are just now nesting. They will soon have eggs to hatch. Many don't realize goldfinches are year round residents of this area. Later in the year, the male molts to it's winter green color - loosing the beautiful gold feathers.

Back to the magic two-hundred. It's probably more "magical" to me than any other. This article is the two-hundredth of this "For the Love of Gardening" blog. Not read by the thousands as Julie in the "Julia (Childs) and Julie" fame but it's been fun for me to share and talk about garden things I enjoy.

I've often said a writer is a person who enjoys conversation, just not with people. That's a joke, mostly and sort of because I do enjoy some really good "in person" friends. Till next time. . . keep your stick on the ice (Oh no can't use that it belongs to Red Green). Keep your hand on a glass of lemonade and your head on the hammock.

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