Hot Day, Cool Birding

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It was another hot day. Usually by now, the weather has moderated, but we’ve been in the middle of an unseasonable heat wave and I was completely wilted. I was yearning to go birding—my new job had kept me indoors far too much lately—but the only time available was from mid-morning through early afternoon—the hottest time of the day. As much as I wanted to get outside, I had to ask myself, why bother?

Often, I think the birds are smarter than the birders. When the heat gets oppressive, they don’t stand out in the sun with binoculars. No, they adapt. Most migrating birds fly at night, feed in the early morning hours and just before dark, and rest during the heat of the day. Birders know this, which is why most field trips start early. But sometimes, our schedule just doesn’t allow us to do what we know is optimal. We have to take what we can get and make the best of it.

Still, I thought, maybe I could emulate the birds, and manage to both enjoy nature and stay cool at the same time.

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Morning Glory Mix-up

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You’re growing morning glories? On purpose? Are you crazy? Those things will take over your garden! Our friends, who live in wet western Washington, were appalled. They couldn’t understand why I’d plant something so invasive.

Yet, I’ve grown morning glories for years, first in California’s benign climate, then here in Colorado. I’ve never found them to be at all invasive. True blue flowers are hard to find. I couldn’t understand why our friends, avid gardeners, wouldn’t want to grow something so lovely.

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You (probably) Don’t Need an Exterminator

Monarch Butterfly_DBG-CO_LAH_9197The neighborhood where I live seems to be a magnet for door-to-door salespeople selling services. One company in particular has been particularly persistent in their marketing attempts—an exterminator.

The first time they rang the doorbell, I politely but firmly told the guy I did not want my yard sprayed. I consider a diverse arthropod population to be a sign of a healthy landscape. I particularly want insects around to feed the birds I feed. Moreover, I had just planted a pollinator garden, designed to attract bees, butterflies, moths, and other fascinating creatures;. The last thing I wanted was to kill my invited guests.

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September Bird Quiz: Uncropped Photo

If you were stymied on Monday, now can you name this bird? The photo was taken in Colorado in April. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.

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Yellow Green Beans

Some gardeners plant the same varieties year after year, depending on past performance to guarantee future success. Why mess with something that works? Others, myself included, like to try the latest cultivars. We’re always searching for that new and improved flower or vegetable that will make this year’s garden the best ever.

When several of my seed catalogs proudly featured a new pole bean, Monte Gusto, I was eager to try it out. How would it compare to my usual choice, Emerite? (Emerite is an awesome bean—long, straight, early, prolific, and delicious!)

Then I discovered that my favorite catalog had discontinued Emerite. How could they? Not wanting to order elsewhere (I’d have to pay shipping for a single seed packet), I ordered Fortex, a variety that has received rave reviews in past years.

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September Bird Quiz

Can you name this bird? The photo was taken in Colorado in April. I will post the uncropped photo on Saturday, giving you one more chance to identify this bird. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.

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Good Guys Flies

EmeraldValley-EPC-CO_LAH_0773fSomeone left the screen door open, and suddenly our house is full of annoying, buzzing, flies. They circle the kitchen while I’m cooking, tangle with my hair while I’m sitting at my computer, and zoom past my Kindle when I’m reading in the evening. I have to ask, did we really have to have flies, God?

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