Saturday, October 10, 2009

Acorn bombardment, fall gardening


The past few days and nights we have been bombarded with showers of acorns. It now takes about 2-3 days before the deck is covered in acorns.

Above is two days worth of acorns on the deck, pretty noisy when they hit the roof then bounce onto the deck.

A pile Meg swept up that we'll be piling in the woods for the deer.

Today Meg and I went to the local farmers market and stocked up on fresh veggies and greens, our CSA on Wednesday has now ended and they closed the Wednesday market too.

Down by the pond this morning I spied our local 3 point buck resting hidden in the willows by himself. Until a few weeks ago he was in the company of several does and two fawns, this was the third time I'd found him by himself down by the pond in the morning.

We cleaned up the garden and planted garlic, greens, swiss chard, spinach and kale. Before planting we filled a wheelbarrow with our homemade compost and added it to the soil. Someday that soil will be prime but it has years to get "fixed".

Dot the Wonder Dog in deep thought. She is enjoying the freshly swept deck, a hard hat is needed out there!

Meg was digging in the garden and found this Red Eft, Notophthalmus viridescens. This was the second terrestrial version of the Eastern Red-spotted Newt we have found here in paradise. Our pond has a lot of aquatic Red-spotted Newts every year.

Other creatures seen in the garden today were a Common Ground Skink, 2 Worm Snakes (they eat slugs BTW) and a Eastern Fence Lizard.

I was lucky enough to find this Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus down by the pond this afternoon. They are my favorite spiders and I had the pleasure of watching it build its perfect web. Finally I can see the web and ID the spider before I look for it hidden in the leaves next to the web.

Above is an update on our Swamp Sunflowers, even in more bloom than the last posting. We have seen several Monarchs, Cloudless Sulphurs and an American lady visit it for nectar.

Here is our 10 foot tall Sparkleberry with lots of berries. It is I believe actually a holly. I canoed the Sparkleberry Swamp in South Carolina once many years ago and the sea of red berries really got my attention. So I bought this one at Durham Hardware many years ago, it has been closed down for a long time now. Last year Meg and I watched from 10 foot away in the screened in porch Cedar Waxwings, American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds eat all the berries in two days.

Our Cosmos is still doing well!

These tiny peppers are called Del Monacos I think. I searched the web for them and came up blank. Meg bought two plants this summer and both plants are 2 foot tall and wide completely covered in these pea sized "HOT" peppers. I added three of them to some salsa for heat a few times this summer. These are too hot for our liking.


flowrgirl1 said...

Lots of great creatures at your place!

I always hate acorn season. I pick them all out of the iris beds by hand. I filled 3 five gallon buckets each season. I only have two oaks in my yard.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

We have similar acorn issues! We have huge oaks that have been dropping them for several weeks...the loud noise can be heard inside. I've stood out there with my coffee and had them dropping all around me...just waiting until one lands on my head or in my coffee cup! That spider is so cool! I can't believe how colorful it is! Love your looks like mine;-) How nice that the Waxwings and other beautiful creatures love your Sparkleberry...and that you can sit 10 feet away and watch them feast!!

sweet bay said...

How did your dog get such perfect tulip ears?! lol Our JRT ended up with the Dumbo ears.

Your Sparkleberry is Ilex verticillata. Those grow wild on the farm here. They are something to behold when in full fruit. In fact I often think some of the cultivars/ hybrids pale in comparison.

Your Swamp Sunflowers are glorious.

You're right about those cats being Sulfurs. They were eating Cassia alata.

Janet said...

Hi Randy, Great photos as always. Many of the Ilex were profiled in this month's Fine Gardening. Sparkleberry is a great one.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

You sure have a lot of interesting happenings going on in your yard. It must be great to enjoy such a variety of wildlife. You dog is so cute, she looks like she's keeping a lookout for falling acorns.

Town Mouse said...

Looks like paradise, indeed. Never thought about the acorn bombardment as a side effect of oak trees. Mmmmm.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Randy! I love acorns (not SO much and so close to my house). I used to make little people from them using matches to hold parts together. The yellow spider is a masterpiece, I like him! But the dog is even better!

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

The tiny peppers are cute and beautiful, and it is hard to imagine they are HOT! ~bangchik

Ginger said...

Our indoor pets are constantly riled up this time of year by the sound of acorns falling outside. I was hit on the head by two just yesterday!

Great pictures. I'm very interested in this sparkleberry! Will be looking it up.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

First, thanks for the tip about the pansies.

Last year, I had that problem with acorns. This year, maybe the wind was blowing the right way during the spring, but I've hardly seen any acorns on the ground so far. The few that are falling are being gathered quickly by the squirrels in the woods. The owls are back the past two nights so they don't venture out beyond the treeline much.

I love the helianthus. I got some from a friend in Charlotte. It's very bright on these dreary days.

Lottie (Life in a Day) said...

Only just found you - great blog! Will look forward to following you.

Shady Gardener said...

So, we must have similar surroundings. We also have a lot of oaks... and acorns. :-) I enjoy the diversity of your posts!

Ali Iyoob said...

Nice shot of the newt! I am seeing the adults in the pond all the time now!

Nutty Gnome said...

Our acorns fall onto the lawn and the squirrels and foxes make short work of removing them for us!
Great photos and a really nice blog. Thank you :)

Q said...

I am really enjoying catching up with you this morning.
I too love the bugs....the spider is a marvelous creature...

Heather said...

Your corner of the universe is loaded with wildlife! I am going to look into that sparkleberry. I love to attract birds to my yard and that looks to very nice! Hope your fall continues to be a good one!

Jama said...

Those tiny peppers are called chilli padi here in Singapore or bird eye chilli,they are super hot! I love adding them to my cooking , I think my tongue is all numb with all the hot stuff I've eaten over the years!
I enjoyed looking at your photos here , especially of your garden, the flowers are lovely too. Thank for visiting me and leave a comment.