Summer 2022

I sat out on the back steps this morning in the shade before 8, before the sun got high and hot. Just watching the goings-on in the back yard. I have missed the yard this week as I’ve had to go to the office to work. Our internet has been down since last Friday (today I am using hotspot on my phone to connect, but it is insufficient for work). This morning Mr. Boots came for breakfast about 6 and as I sat on the steps the little grey-white cat, who is likely one of Boots’ progeny, came through to drink from the bird bath. The hummingbird who has adopted our yard as his territory was busy chasing away interlopers from the nectar in the feeder, the cardinal flowers that are now blooming, and the physotegia. He seemed to tolerate several smaller hummers, who must be his progeny. Perhaps they built their nest in the neighbor’s elm that borders our yard, though the nest would be too small for us to see from the ground.

We removed the big sycamore tree last winter and were wondering how many of the plants would be lost in the process of machinery and dropping limbs. Not many as it turns out. We planted a blackgum tree towards the front of the back yard and a sweet bay magnolia towards the back, both of which the birds seem to like just fine. The hummer has a particular branch in the blackgum that he sits on to survey his kingdom. We have lots of interesting bees and wasps and even a few butterflies that made it past the wrens and the wasps. Our neighbors across the street have a bee hive and their bees come over here for the water and flowers. Butterflies: Tiger swallowtail and Black swallowtail are the ones I’ve seen most. We did see a single monarch a few weeks ago.

View from the back steps
Cardinal flower in the rain garden, a favorite of the hummingbird

Dennis cucumber plants have yielded about 50-60 pounds of cucumbers and he has been busy making pickles. Also hoe-ing acre after acre of tomato, eggplant, melon and other plants for a friend who has a place in the Missouri bottoms, near the river.

Dennis making pickles- the oak leaves go on top to make the pickles crisp.

Been a hot summer but I don’t guess I need to tell anyone that. It’s disheartening to dread going outside during the summer, but often these days I do. Supposed to get 105 today. I won’t mention my thoughts on the news- also disheartening and frightening. When we do have internet I work mostly from home with my good friend Kitten Britches. She is getting old, 18 now, but still enjoys life. She goes outside less often but will spend the occasional night outside. Thankfully she seems not to hunt as much as she once did.

Kitten Britches in her now-accustomed spot

I hear the cicadas through the day and in the evenings, katydids in the early morning. Those lazy summer sounds that always make me want to take a nap.

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Full moon, February 16, 2022

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Okra on Missouri Bottom Road, Storms Threatening

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Full Moon, October 20, 2021

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1993 Flashback

These were taken in 1993 when we had a tree care business and lived above the office. We had a family of alley cats back then. We fed them every morning at 5 and every evening at 6. They would eat with the possums. Eventually MomCat moved into the apartment with us and the rest followed. Kitten Britches is the last remaining member of that family. She is now 18 and still spry and lively. Our neighbor who lives across the alley misses Kitten Britches and the others because they kept the rabbit population in check. MomCat and Kitten Britches were a great team, and viewed us as part of the pack. To show their affection they would bring live mice into the house in the middle of the night and drop them on the bed so we could play with them. (Dennis became very adept at catch and release in thoes years).

MomCat in front, Sis Cat in back. Sitting on the crane truck in the yard.
And here is MomCat on top, high on catnip. She was the only one who really got into catnip. TomTugger and Tom Notch below with Dennis.

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Snow, April 20, Full moon, April 26, 2021

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Arboretum, April 9, 2021

We finally made it out to the arboretum yesterday to get a take on what wildflowers are up. We missed all of last year due to pandemic, and even now are leery of going. We used to go early in the mornings- 6 or so, before anyone else was there, with a few exceptions. But now there are restrictions and they don’t open until 8 AM, by which time we feel like half the day is gone already. But I am glad we went- we saw many of our old friends, still in the same places they were in 2019. Here is a sampling.

Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Glade

Then home, to begin spread a truckload of leaf mold on the garden. More on that later-

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Forest Park, April 7, 2021

Sunrise
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Full moon, March 26, 2021

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Eagles and turtle soup

On Sunday last we drove up the River Road, above Alton in Illinois. Crossed over the Illinois River on the Brussels Ferry at Grafton, over into Calhoun County, where we saw a few eagles, a few pelicans, and thousands of snow geese massing up on the river and Canada geese flying overhead in chevron after chevron. We also went to Meppen, where Dennis used to go every August on his motorcycle to eat turtle soup and drink beer at the annual festival at the Catholic church, where he visited the many Droeges in the graveyard there.

Brussels Ferry
Mature bald eagle in a pecan tree by the Illinois River, Calhoun County, IL
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