Thursday, August 1, 2019

08/01/19 Gardening with special interests

Where has the time gone this summer? Before I knew it, it is August and I have not done many posts for my friends. It has been a busy summer. We were very fortunate to have a visit from Heidi and Amos and their children, have been sailing a bit and doing a lot of gardening.


A few years ago I decided to plant flowers that would attract butterflies and bees because their numbers are decreasing and also for hummingbirds because, well, they are cute! I also decided to plant oriental lily bulbs in pots to protect them from the gophers that ate the bulbs in the ground. Well, it worked this summer. Well, today I saw three hummingbirds drinking the nectar of the honeysuckle, and a few butterflies and quite a few bees. The hummingbirds have nested in the garden and I have had at least one pair every year for a few years now. They make such a distinguishing buzzing sound when they fly from flower to flower - noisy little birds. This morning we had the resident cardinal pair at the feeder as well as several gold finches and the usual chickadees and titmouse. We also have lots of dragonflies and damsels for our garden entertainment.

There are flowers in bloom from the snow melt and we will have flowers until the heavy frost. With all of the rains and hot weather, everything is growing with abandon! I can barely keep up with the weeding and keeping a clear pathway to the house! The sweet fragrance from the lilies above fills the kitchen end atrium - a nice welcome to the morning or coming home. 

This is one of my favorites greets all visitors to the house. It is located on the corner of the driveway and sidewalk and is very showy with its deep purple color and bright yellow throat. To make up for the short duration of the bloom (one day hence the name day lily) there are many buds per branch.



We have lilies of all different colors, sizes and bloom times along the driveway and in multiple gardens around the house. For the most part, the deer do not eat them, hence my interest in planting them. However, I have had a few years where the deer walked up the driveway and had a colorful feast, much to my dismay.










Also keep wild flowers protected from weeding. These are my favorites - black-eyed Susan.






This is one of the most fragrant day lilies I have. It is absolutely beautiful and has a very pleasant sweet fragrance.

 



See the dragonfly on the lily?














It is time to end this show of flowers as I need to get to work. Hope you enjoyed this brief show of the lilies.

Fionnegan and Shorty watch me garden from afar! Somehow I am going to have to teach them how to help! Since Fionn is a digger, maybe he can help with the weeds! Unlikely I know.

 

My constant companion and buddy, this is Gunnarr who is never far from my side, or watching me intently from behind the fence!



May the road take you where you need to go.






Sunday, July 21, 2019

07.21.19 Visit from Yap friends

This week I had a very nice visit from my friends that live in Yap, Heidi and Amos and their four beautiful children Tommy, Raina, Honora and Theo. It was great to see them again. The visit was all too short. They are on their vacation - one every three years from the mission in Yap. They drove over 3000 miles in three weeks visiting friends and colleagues and supporters. I was thrilled they made the time to stop here and see me.

They were interested in the Revolutionary War and were definitely in the right place. After lunch we first started at Bates farm for Kimball's ice cream then we were off for our road trip. The kids were great. They are fun and well behaved and very adventuresome.

Our first stop was the North Bridge in Concord - "the shot heard around the world" for American freedom. They spent some time talking to the park rangers and soaking up the history and the kids enjoyed the wide open space to run and play. From there we stopped at the Minute Man National Park and walked along Battle Road. The next stop was the Lexington Green and the old cemetery behind First Church. By this time we were hungry again and had a tasty dinner at Mario's in Lexington.  It was so very nice to see them all again and reestablish connections with all six of them  Theo was just a baby when I left so he would not remember me, but Tommy, Raina and Honora did. That made it special for me. And they all remembered Shorty, who was happy to see them again. They were very helpful in getting Shorty organized for his travels to Boston and they filled me in on some of the back stories of getting Shorty into his kennel.

Here is Amos, Heidi and Theo, Raina, Honora and Tommy (kids l to r).



North Bridge.




Monument - Minute Man and plough.




Theo                                                                        Theo and Honora

                     


Honora                                                                        Raina with a dragonfly


            

Raina                                                                   Tommy and Theo

             


Tommy                                                                   Raina and Honora

              




Climbing trees. Look closely. Honora is giving Theo a boost.



 

Minute Man National Park.               We found a turkey and the kids were watching three in the field.

  

Climbing trees was a frequent activity. They all were comfortable climbing! And Raina was wearing a skirt!



    

Theo and Amos were far ahead of us as we wandered through the old historic cemetery looking at gravestones. The oldest was from 1691.



It was sad to see them leave and I do hope we will all meet again sometime soon!  Amos is a pilot for PMA, a mission organization with headquarters in Guam. They provide a great service for the people of Yap. Heidi teaches Bible classes and home schools her children as well as several local children. They work hard, make do with little, and are a warm and loving family. May God always keep them safe in their travels and work.














Monday, July 15, 2019

07/15/19 Birding in Ghana. Kakum National Park canopies


The trip to Ghana was capped with a birding trip to Kakum National Park and surrounding areas.  The park has a treetop canopy - seven actually, where we did our bird watching for most of the morning. Overall, we identified 70 different species.

African pied hornbill sitting in the picturesque setting of the canopy. This is probably the best of the photographs showing the rainforest and the bird. It was beautiful up there, if not a little bumpy with the swinging of the walkway and vibrations on the center platforms.

 

This was a very popular place with at least two hundred school children crossing the seven canopy walks while I was there and perhaps a thousand people arriving in buses and private cars and Uber!



View of the forest canopy from the walk.






The canopy walkway. Yes, I stopped briefly to look down a time or two. Far drop down!


Stephen, the park guide.





James, the birding guide, calling a few friends of the feather wearing type. He was a very professional and nice guide.



School kids of all ages with their teachers crossing the canopies. Without fear there can be no courage. Many courageous kids.











She made it!





Wasn't the only taking pictures. He made it across and photographed his friends.




Pretty flowering tree.



An iguana.



Many different hornbills identified flying through the canopy.



Splendid sunbird. Beautiful colors.



Lowe's monkey, albeit a little blurred. He was not holding still for the camera! Fun to watch him from above the canopy.



Black and white flycatcher.



Palm nut vulture in flight.



African pied hornbill.




Shrikes.




Black winged Bishop.

More school kids and school teachers.
















Another four legged critter climbing up a tree.



We birded along a side road and saw a few locals at work, some pretty flowers and a butterfly.




















A falcon far, far away!









Hope  you enjoyed this small adventure in Ghana.