Adventures with Lisa, Frank & Daisy Dewdrop


Backyard Visit
September 1, 2006, 4:10 pm
Filed under: My Weekly Column, Our Yard & Garden

A reader told me I should give updates on topics covered in this column in previous weeks. She was especially interested in my Aqua Blue Iris, and if they bloomed. Others have commented on the ducks on the lake, the geese, heron, and other critters I see daily. Well, the Iris bloomed, not quite as rich in color as I had hoped, but they got darker the longer they were in bloom. Each morning, I take my coffee to the porch and sit and watch the lake. So, as for the rest of the back yard and garden–come sit with me on the back porch and see.

This past spring, after a few days arguing over the number of goslings (“Six,” I said. “Five,” said Frank), we realized there were actually two sets – one set of six and one of five.

Gosling number six was odd. The “runt,” I suppose, he held up the crowd every time. By the third week, both parents ran their children together, from the pond to the lake, to the mud bog puddle–the runt always lagging behind. He didn’t want to go under things (fence) or over things (pipe) and often took the extra time to go around while four parents and 10 other goslings waited.

The situation was aggravated when a snapping turtle took a chunk out of the runt’s leg. The flock of 14 began to just leave him behind. Within a few days, we saw him no more. Assumption tells us coyote or bobcat brought his end. So, there are 15 geese–the parents and children–and Crip’s mate.

Crip was a goose born on the farm who couldn’t fly. His wings were deformed; the tips of them pointing down into the water instead of tucking neatly at his side. I suppose his name is not politically correct, but it stuck nevertheless, and in the afternoons I would feed him croutons. Eventually, he ate from my hand.

Each year we watched him call to the other geese as they flew off for the winter; Crip flapping and flapping his wings, but getting no lift. When the lake froze over, he would disappear–only to return when an opening in the ice appeared. In his third summer, he found a mate, and twice he watched her fly off with the others in the fall as he again faced winter alone. In his fifth winter, he did not return (coyote or bobcat again). His mate still returns each summer though, and that’s her, alone, over there.

Our surprise this year was baby wood ducks. Our first spring here, I watched in shock as baby ducks simply vanished from the water. The snappers would come up from below, and in the blink of an eye, take them down. There would be no fuss, no ripples, no squawking, no feathers. The duckling was simply there–then gone. All baby ducks came to the same fate that year, and for three years since, we’ve had no ducklings.

This year, the ducks tried again, and so far, so good. They’re very skittish, and keep to the shallows. Frank and I need only to step out on the porch, and off they paddle to the far end of the lake or under the willow tree to hide. See them go? Quickly look, or you’ll miss them.

The herons had a young one this year as well, and all three strut back and forth in the shallows across the water. They never come close, and Frank often claps his hands hard and loud to spook them away. “They can eat gallons of fish in a day,” he said, as they fly, slow and smooth, to another location. Clap your hands too, and you’ll see them fly. Don’t worry, they’ll come back.

Kingfishers seem to love us this year, as we have gone from the usual two to five. I don’t know if some are youngins–they all look the same to me–but their high-pitched squawk and fishing antics are entertaining. See them there on the edge of the bank?

Yes, in the morning I first watch the show, then I take a look at the plants that grow.

The back porch flower bed has established day lilies, gladiola, columbine and comfrey. The weed I didn’t pull for two years turned out to be foxglove. I swear, they are ugly until they bloom. The new perennial I planted this spring is doing well, but now I’ve forgotten the name or what it is supposed to look like when blooming. I let the Queen Ann’s Lace grow this year, and added two tomato plants and two pepper plants. One tomato plant is doing well. The others? Well, I think there is a little too much shade.

Around the east corner of the porch is the side garden which gets all the morning sun. Potted plants on the edge of the porch include two tomato plants, and another green pepper plant, which are doing well. Among the florals in the garden below, I have added a bush bean and a short-vined pumpkin. Both are now blooming. There are columbine (in three colors), day lilies, surprise lilies, perennial aster, forsythia, two Rose of Sharon, and bee’s balm. I managed to not pull some foxglove in this garden too, but they are weak, and short.

The pride of this side garden is my balloon flower. Buds look like little hot-air balloons before they pop open with a star-shaped flower. When I bought it, and for two summers since then, it bloomed in deep purple. This year, I added horse manure to the flower bed in the spring, and now my balloons bloom only in white. Oops.

These are my morning gardens, which I check barefoot in my PJ’s with coffee in hand. There are two more flower beds out front, and a veggie garden across the field–but I take pleasure in these in the evenings when I get home from work.

So, now you have shared my morning with me, and perhaps, some other time, I will bring you home for an evening visit.

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