Monthly Archives: May 2009

One hail of a storm

On May 13th we had our very first tornado warning around 10:30 PM. We made our precautionary preparations, making sure the dogs had collars on, getting dressed, and gathering up hard hats. Hard hats sound strange, I know, but most tornado deaths are caused by trauma to the head from flying debris. The storm thundered continuously for 2 hours as two front merged nearly on top of us. Peter observed a wall cloud just North of us over the lake. That was the closest it came to forming a tornado. However, the wind and hail accompanying the storm were tremendous. I noticed my poor hosta out front took the brunt of the hail when the scar tissue showed up a few days later. Besides the hosta, we had a few broken limbs on the peach tree, and had to recover one of the Conestoga gardens. Perhaps we truly do live in a wind haven.

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Guerrilla plant rescue

I’ve been admiring this beautiful Western Blue Flax every Spring since we moved to Windhaven. It was growing in the ditch on the border between two of our neighbors’ properties. Every year I hoped to gather some seeds off this lovely plant, and every year it got mowed down to nothing. I have yet to find another example of this lovely perennial anywhere else on the block. This year there were two plants, a smaller one a little higher up slope. A few days ago, I noticed the smaller plant had been mowed down, as usual, and the larger plant, undercut by the recent heavy rain, was barely holding onto the rock with exposed roots. I couldn’t take it anymore. I nipped across the street and pulled plant out of the ground. I know from experience that it’s difficult to transplant wildflowers, but I figured it was better than the abuse this poor plant has endured for years. I made my way home quickly and set the plant in a bucket of water for a few minutes while I gathered my tools. The soil is still quite saturated along the driveway, so the plant needed no watering when I set it in the ground. I admit it didn’t look very good at first, the flowers wilted, but within an hour the plant perked up, and put out a new set of flowers the next day. I try not to make a habit of this kind of guerrilla rescue, but the Blue Flax appears to be much happier in it’s new home.

Odo

Our sweet Odo will soon be turning 13 years old. While still active, he has slowed down a great deal. We still walk a mile or so in the morning, but evening walks are quite a bit shorter.

Odo recently had an ear infection, related to his allergies and during treatment, completely lost his hearing. One morning while walking the dogs the leash attached to D’Argo’s collar fell apart. Because Odo walks more sedately, I decided to switch their leashes. Odo has a reel leash so it’s easy to signal him by locking and releasing the leash a couple of times. I reeled Odo in and told him to wait (hand signal) while I released the leash. As I was attaching Odo’s leash to D’Argo’s collar, Odo turned and trotted off for home. He couldn’t hear me call his name of course, so there I was running down the road with D’Argo in tow trying to catch Odo’s tail.

We’re adapting to his special needs though, and I’m trying to teach him more hand signals. The problem is getting his attention first and I haven’t managed to teach D’Argo to retrieve him. We’ll see. Food is a powerful motivator. When I’m picking strawberries Odo never leaves my side.

Move it!

One of my new acquisitions, a variety of Gaillardia, is very popular among the pollinators. This Skipper, a Sachem, is only about half an inch long. That gives some perspective when you consider the tiny bee busy working the flowers in front of the butterfly. As I watched, the bee blissfully went about it’s business, but the butterfly seemed annoyed by the bee’s interference. The butterfly eventually tried to shove the bee out of the way. As you can imagine, the butterfly’s efforts were ineffective on a determined little bee, and was completely ignored.