Monday, June 23, 2014


John removed a bunch of brambles from one end of the shrub border a summer or two ago by scraping them off the face of the earth with the bucket of the tractor. Now a great clump of foxgloves has volunteered on the spot! There are a lot of foxgloves sprinkled around the hill, but I didn't realize they would lie dormant in the soil, awaiting their chance at conquest. This makes me want to go around experimentally scraping places here and there to see what happens. Sure, you might get yellow dock and pig-ear plantain, or you might get extravagant columns of pink and white bells!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Return of the Native

Almost ten years ago, the viburnum leaf beetle arrived in our orchard and ran through the highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulum var. americanum) like forest fire. For years we saw scarcely a leaf of it anywhere. But last year or the one before, little short bushes began to appear in our brush islands, and now look! The cranberries are flowering again! Planting for wildlife is one of my guiding principals in developing our place, so I am overjoyed.

In other red news, we learned this week that the chicken and duck flock on the next hill to the north was wiped out in its entirety by a bobcat, who was caught red-mustached on the neighbor’s gamecam. I suspect this is the individual who killed Enterprise.

And the latest tooth-and-claw update—the ducks went way too far from the house and were attacked in broad daylight by a very large raccoon, who was then killed on the road that night, no doubt leaving behind a litter of orphans. Brutish, nasty and short—an excellent summation. The ducks are confined to quarters, where they are nursing neck wounds and testing the new fencing for weaknesses.