Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Summer Solstice

For anyone living north of the equator, today is our longest day of the year. My patch will receive sixteen hours of daylight. Perhaps that explains why I wasn't sleepy last night. My internal clock is in summer mode.

And, of course, the summer solstice brings summer delights. A large and modern new grocery store has opened in the nearby village of Winchester, Ontario. It's parking lot not only has a fresh and smooth paved surface but an eye-catching new landscape feature. Beautiful roses are planted throughout. I was smitten by the gorgeous purplish-pink double blooms and simply had to stroll over and take a sniff. Their fragrance was wonderful! Amid the thorny stems, a single metal tag had escaped the landscapers. It read, Rosa rugosa 'Hansa'. Lickity split, on my next foray into Ottawa, I bought three pots of it from a garden centre. And even before I planted the roses, my honey bees had found the pots and were checking out the yellow stamens amid the magenta blooms.

Front and back views of a tag on my new rose acquisition.

Speaking of honey bees, last week I opened the hive split that did not receive a queen and was happy to see that it had made one of it's own. I did not actually eyeball a queen, but there was solid evidence that one was in residence. The hive workers were relaxed and hummed contentedly. The sight of eggs in new comb was conclusive queen-right proof. A single egg had been placed precisely in the bottom and centre of each new brood cell. Only the long abdomen of a queen could perform this technical feat. All is well in my little apiary.

Also among the pleasures of summer are lovely, fresh bouquets. Presently, these are provided by peonies, planted by my mother many decades ago. Not only outrageously showy, they produce an exquisite rose-like fragrance.

I can picture this magenta beauty decorating a girl's summer party hairdo.

The wonderful fragrance of this pink peony would rival any rose.

Fresh bouquets of peonies grace my kitchen window sill. Thank you, Mom.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

A New Customer

Wild elderberry shrubs have sprung up in several places around my grounds. They have pretty white blossoms that develop into sweet little berries. Gray Catbirds love these berries and quite likely have deposited the seeds that formed the shrubs in the first place. So it was no real surprise when I noticed the fruit loving catbirds checking out my grape jelly feeder. They feed from each little pot in turn and then head off somewhere, presumably to share with a nesting female. My orioles and catbirds have already polished off one 500 ml bottle of Welch's Concord Grape Jelly and are well into a second one. Word has spread among my feathered customers and business is brisk!

A Gray Catbird arrives to check out the grape jelly feeder.

You can almost see a smile on it's beak!

Yum-m-m! Even sweeter than the elderberries!

A female Baltimore Oriole wolfs down her share.

Good stuff, eh? I like a little on a cracker and cheese, myself!

Friday, 2 June 2017

June Treasures

I try to limit the number of pictures for each post to five or seven. But this time, I couldn't pare down those of my treasures to less than ten. Note to self -- post more often!

Another showery morning and Ellie Mae ponders how to spend the day.

On a nest hidden by virginia creeper vines, a Mourning Dove eyes my passing.

When she flew off, her treasure was revealed.

Nearby and hidden in the grass, a pair of Tree Sparrows tend three tiny speckled eggs.

A kind gift from my sister, this little hanging bird house harbours a House Wren nest.

It looks like bluebird feathers were used to cushion the cinnamon-brown eggs.

On a St. Lawrence River inlet, Canada Geese parents chaperone 21 fluffy babies.

Stretches of my grounds contain wild strawberries. I can almost taste them now!

My honey bees vary in colour as seen on these two workers using Mountain Ash blossoms.

At least a half dozen Baltimore Orioles frequent my grape jelly feeder. What dazzling colour!!