Saturday, August 13, 2016


Two of my early childhood memories had tiger lilies in them.  In one, we were visiting my Dad's family in West Virginia.  I was outside with my sister and I remember a wall or fence flanked by tiger lilies.  I was sunny and the bright orange was so vivid and just stuck in my mind.

I another memory, I was about 5 and we were living on Pine Grove street.  There was an empty field by the house and it was full of tiger lilies.  They seemed as tall as me, and the field was so full I was sure you couldn't walk through them.

The field, like the house is long-gone.  There is now a little shopping center and muffler-repair place where we lived.

Still, I cherish tiger lilies.  As they bloom in early summer, it takes me back to a time long gone, to places that do not exist anymore.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Nature Hates Me, Well Maybe...

I sometimes think Nature has it in for me.  I don't mean that Nature is waiting to drop a tree on my or summon up a tsunami.  Rather, Nature seems to throw me a bunch on unwanted and unneeded challenges,

Case in point - wayward robins.  Yep, this past stream we had an overly lonely robin that kept flying into our bedroom window or sitting on my gas grill and looking at its own reflection.  The incessant banging and the pile of dropping on my grill was a real pain.  I had to convince the robin to keep away from the windows.  How?  I pasted a picture of a fox on the bedroom window.  I guess the eyes looking back at the robin was enough to unnerve him.

As to the grill - I put one of those owl decoys on the grill.  No more robin issues.

Of course the Canadian geese have decided to use our yard as a diner and bathroom.  We were getting 30 to 60 geese wandering around.  At first it was a thrill to watch the young geese with their parents, but a quick walk into the yard (and the droppings) meant I would have to take more action.  We put a small plastic fence along the property line and a small wire fencing along the river bank to stop the geese from wandering onto the property.  So far, so good.

I still battle the knotweed at both the farmhouse and the river house.  We don't have a lot at the river house, but I have to stay on top of it.  At the farmhouse we have reached a stalemate.  It hasn't spread, but I just take out my trusty scythe and keep it in check.

That being said, nature decided to fight back.  I was weeding the plants by the river bank.  One week later I developed a severe rash on my arms and legs.

Poison ivy maybe?

Nope - we think it was wild parsnip.  It has been over a month since I was weeding.  The swelling and rash is gone, but I still get itchy when I get too hot.  A real bummer as I like to be out in the sun.

I still keep weeding, cutting, pulling and scaring off the weeds and annoying varmints.  The battle continues.

I still like Nature a lot.  I just wish Nature would cut me a little slack...

Sunday, May 15, 2016


There are those plants whose coming I really look forward to.  We have a dogwood tree at the river house.  The previous two winters have been so cold that the flower blossoms did not make it.  This past winter was quite mild, and the dogwood blossoms made it through the winter.

Why do I like them?  We had dogwoods trees in the yard when I was growing up.  The blossoms always seems so fragile.  In the fall we would have red berries to add color to the other autumn colors.  After college I lived in the mid-Atlantic states and the dogwood and red bud trees would grow native as under-story trees, adding the first hints of color in the Spring.

My other favorites are trillium.  I would find them on sunny riverbanks on Otter Creek in Vermont and in the woods along quiet country roads.  I see them about here in the Finger Lakes.  Our river house has a few of them in one of the flower beds.

I look forward to seeing these old friends year after year.