Sunday, July 10, 2011

Random shots from around the Homestead

This morning, before it got so wicked hot that I decided to hole up in the house and spend most of the day with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, I took in some of the scenery and serenity the Homestead has to offer on a Sunday morning.  While most of the neighborhood still seemed to be in bed, Chris, Oscar, and I were outside enjoying the cool morning shade on the deck and the calming trickle of the waterfall in our pond.  We weren't the only ones enjoying the pond this morning - one of the frogs was hanging out in the water at the pond's edge.

Stretching a leg and enjoying the early morning shade.

On the deck, my Portulaca - or Moss Roses - are one again flowering.  Interesting tidbit about these flowers...they are an annual.  But I have had them come back in the same shallow dish for the four years now!  I planted market packs in the shallow dish when we moved into the house in 2007.  I don't deadhead the flowers; instead, I allow them to shrivel up and drop seeds right back into the dish.  I do nothing to the dish over the stays right on the deck - freezing and thawing, filling with rain and snow, and each year, the Portulaca comes back!  

Only white flowers had bloomed Sunday morning. 
By Sunday evening, pink and orange ones bloomed, too!

You may notice another potted plant behind the Portulaca.  That's our newly-acquired Concord Grape plant sent to us by our friend Clay in Michigan.  Chris potted the plant while we contemplate where to put it.  Clay told us that he planted a plant similar in size to the one he sent us last year and that this year he has grapes.  We are super excited to hear that!!!

Homestead Vineyards coming Summer 2012?!?

A quick peak at my hearty hibiscus plant reveals something is still ravaging it.  The leaves look like Swiss cheese.  Chris said we have some Sevin; I need to get out there and treat the poor plant.  Thankfully, whatever is munching on the leaves doesn't seem to be affecting the plant's ability to flower.  There are TONS of buds on it.  In fact, there were two blooms on it yesterday, albeit very low and "inside" on the plant.  There are a lot of buds up top and out in the open that should be blowing up any day this week!  Stay tuned!!!

Hibiscus flowers should be blooming any day now!

The bee balm in the hummingbird/butterfly garden has been doing its job lately.  Last Sunday night when we had friends over for a cookout, a male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird made repeated visits to the bee balm.  He was always way too quick for any of us reaching for the camera.  He zips in, sips nectar, and zips back out!  This morning, there was plenty of bee activity on the bee balm (no surprise there), including what looked like a juvenile bumble bee (it seemed smaller than a normal bumble bee).  

A bee on bee balm...surely you jest.  :)

Finally, a shot from last night.  Chris walked up to the "far" bird box to check in on our Eastern Bluebird nest and found Momma Bluebird sitting on the nest.  Not wanting to disturb her so late in the evening, he snapped a quick picture of her and closed the lid.  We'll have to check the box a little earlier in the evening, before she returns for the night, to see if the eggs have hatched yet.  They've been up there for well over a week now, so hatching should be happening soon.  Our friend Tara has asked that we let her know when it happens so she can bring her daughters by to see the baby birds.  I think the girls will be amazed; I'm still amazed by baby birds each time we have some hatch in our bird boxes and I've been keeping bird boxes for over six years now (prior to boxes at the house, we used to be the Bluebird trail keepers/monitors at Bald Eagle State Park in Howard, PA).  

Momma Bluebird, presumably still sitting atop four eggs...
although there *might* be babies under there!

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