The black raspberries (they grow wild here) have been coming in bigger and juicier than last year. The birds are getting most of them, but I snag a few whenever I go out to see the buffs or when I'm mowing the driveway.
House wrens, not known for their stellar site selection, have built a mossy nest behind the old plow head in the right-hand cubbyhole of this storage unit on our porch. You may need to click on the pic to enlarge it.
Speaking of critters, we found a very recently dead snapping turtle down by the creek. After a few days, nature's clean-up crew had taken it down to the bone/shell. We've got everything but 3 of the legs. Gory? Maybe, but this stuff fascinates me.
Dinnertime? No! This is a very large mushroom that was growing near our hollyhocks. The cap came off the stem before I could get a shot, so I went ahead and laid it out to make a spore print. Spoon for scale not for sampling.
I don't know if the color comes through, but the gills are a nifty shade of green. As you will be if you eat it. Also, you might be dead. If I've identified it correctly, this magnificently monstrous mushroom is none other than Chlorophyllum molybdites (green-spored parasol or green-gilled parasol). Quite impressive to look at but also quite toxic. A good reminder to do a spore print since the gills may not look green especially when it's young.
There were a few glorious days where it wasn't too hot and the sky was a beautiful shade of Carolina blue. The above shot is of the property just down the road from us.
The buffs were thrilled to get up to the main barn again. While I'm not thrilled about having to muck out the barn in hot weather, I did need to let them into this pasture to eat the fast-growing weeds.
Effie trying to keep Eschol from the good stuff. The good stuff being whatever's in front of her at any given moment.
Enjoy it, Effie, you won't be allowed in there much longer.
And stop eating the leaves off the apple tree. That does it! Back to the lower pasture with the lot of you....
Old Creaky has a lot of apples this year. Some came down in the annual June fruit drop but the remaining ones are starting to show a hint of blush as they get bigger.
See anything unusual with this picture? Try enlarging it. I was transplanting some herbs this morning when I heard the unmistakable sound of a large number of bees buzzing. I followed the sound to this black walnut tree.
A huge cloud of bees was flying around and I knew that I was seeing a swarm. Sure enough, over the next hour, a cluster formed on the tree branch. At one point, there were two "beards" of bees side-by-side.
But soon they coalesced into one large swarm. I was worried that my bees had swarmed but it seemed unlikely since they weren't hurting for space and I hadn't seen any indications of swarm preparations when I added the supers last week. Ideally, I'd like to capture this swarm but it's 35 feet or so up a tree and the branch is hanging over the creek, so I can't use traditional methods. Instead, I hastily assembled a bait hive within sight of the cluster and am hoping against hope that the scouts will find it and deem it worthy. Unlikely, but worth a shot. I can see the swarm from the windowseat in our house which is both fascinating and maddening. And distracting. I keep checking to see if they've left or if there's any sign of bees checking out the bait hive.
The garden is chugging along. The tomatoes (Roma, above, plus Mortgage Lifters and Mountain Fresh) were going great guns until the rains came. Blight appeared in a flash. I've been spraying religiously and clipping low-hanging leaves so we'll see if they can be salvaged. So far, the Mountain Fresh which is a resistant variety has been doing best though it's got the least fruit.
Greens have done very well. We're still eating tons of lettuce and now the kale (Red Russian, above) is coming along well.
The chard is nearly ready to harvest and I've got several recipes waiting.
Phew! Well, that's a bit of a peek into what we've been up to. The stanchion update will require a whole 'nother post.