I was looking for nighthawks, as the evening before I had seen a whole procession of them, minutes apart, flying from west to east towards the moon, high up, with their erratic flight carrying them swiftly out of sight. But tonight I did not see a single one, and wondered if perhaps they had been on some sort of migration. While waiting fruitlessly to see one, a blue heron flew across the pasture, heading north for some nocturnal resting spot.
The moon was pale and rising quite rapidly, and very soon was above the first telephone line. The fireflies seem to have said goodbye, for I didn’t see any of them gleaming over our lawn as they had done just a few weeks earlier. They have been replaced by a loud chorus of some kind of cricket or katydid in the woods. Cicadas called now and then. My peaceful reverie was suddenly interrupted by a stinging sensation on my ankle, and there was a mosquito biting me right through my heavy sock! She flew away before I could inflict a fatal blow.Growing in their pots on the small table beside me were my houseplants getting their summer growth before winter arrived. An unusual variety was Stapelia gigantea, an African plant related to milkweed. It has huge blossoms, five-petalled, 6 to 8 inches across and colorful, that only last a couple of days before closing up and falling off the stem.
What is outstanding about this flower is its “fragrance”. For several hours it gives off a rancid odor of something decaying, that attracts the blue and green garbage flies. They swarm around the flower, laying little white clusters of eggs that soon hatch into little maggots. Alas for them, the smell is deceiving for there is nothing edible there and shortly the maggots starve to death, but the flower has been pollinated by the flies. In nature a long pod forms that contains a lot of seeds that will fly on the wind, but my plants do not form pods as they are all related and need two unrelated plants to make those pods.Growing just below them are potted cabbage plants that need to go out to the garden as soon as I can get it tilled up, and hopefully will make tasty heads before freezing weather. I see that some insect pest has shredded the leaves of one of them. All that we have now in the garden are cucumber plants that are contemplating death from old age, and tomato plants doing likewise. A row of calico lima beans is about all we have to look forward to now, with their many hanging pods waiting to have their contents fill out. I do love lima beans, my favorite bean probably, and Chris has cooked a big batch of them and hopefully will serve a generous portion for supper.
Grandson Kevin was here briefly on Sunday, stopping to say goodbye on his way back to college in Lincoln, Nebraska. He will graduate as a nurse in December. Before he left, we had another vehicle in our driveway, this time Wayne Hankins with our repaired Cub Cadet mower. It had some dirt in the fuel line. Now Chris can do some mowing again!
I need to do some wood cutting, and will do it if and when I can get our new chainsaw to run. I have pulled that starter rope a lot but never a sound of an engine. Both grandsons and Wayne Hankins and Chris have all got it to run, but not Dale!One thing we did today was trim our row of orange trumpet flower vines. They had grown out so far that it was hard to get the mower past them, so we got our clippers and chopped off two garden-cart loads. The vines have about stopped blooming for the year, and so has the albizzia tree above them. Now it is loaded with seed pods, that will drop their seeds abundantly and get a number of little trees growing among the stems of the trumpet vines. Several are growing there now, and I dug up three and have them potted and maybe they will survive the winter in our house and be ready to plant out in the spring. The albizzia tree has many beautiful flowers, fuzzy white and pink, that just keep blooming for weeks and weeks. Chris was busy below, digging out weeds besides cutting surplus vines.
Hurricane Irma is crossing the Atlantic and by the end of the week we will see what damage she can inflict. Harvey was way too destructive and it is to be hoped that Irma will behave better.
Goodbye to everyone, have a good week. – DALE