Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

My Photo
Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pick-up sticks

Right after I got home, a little after 3:30, I could hear a thunderstorm rumbling in the distance. Once it hit, it was amazing. The thunder was almost constant for almost 30 minutes, and lightning was crackling all around, making you jump and almost stinging your eyes and nose with its sharpness. There was a little bit of wind, and a lot of rain. I actually had to close the back door and the back kitchen window because rain was splashing halfway across the rooms.

Then, the sun came out. After the dogs ate, we went outside to check the yard, since there are always branches down from my "mature shade."

As we came around one of the beds of bushes, this is what the dogs and I found. It's stuck in the ground about four inches. I'm glad none of us was out there when it came down. (Note that NJ humidity is so thick you can see it - that steaminess in the background is what we're expected to breathe, and to try to sleep in.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Visitors in the garden

Yesterday, I saw a hummingbird moth,(scroll down in the photo - the top bug, whatever it is, isn't the moth!) a most magical little creature who, even a few inches from my face, managed to keep me guessing as to her nature. She was no bigger than the carpenter bees, and though my first impression was "moth," she was so birdlike in her appearance, and so hummingbird like in her habits, that she made me guess. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera on me, and by the time I went back, she'd left.
The phlox is gorgeous, and seems to be less prone to being beaten up by the rain than the other flowers. I spotted the hummingbird moth from way up on the front porch, looking down all this way. There was something so different about the way she looked, even from that distance, that I went around to get a closer look. She was the most unusual little thing, and I spent a good 15 minutes just talking to her, so close to her that I could have put my hand out and caught her. She was one of the loveliest little moths I've ever seen, with a beak just like a hummingbird, and wings beating to a blur, and even little stenciled lines around her eyes that mimicked a hummingbird to perfection. Her antennae, her tail, and verifying the number of her tiny little legs were the only signs that she was not simply the most exquisitely tiny bird in all creation.

The more normal visitors are yellow and black swallowtails, dragonflies, and carpenter bees. The butterflies prefer the cone flowers; the carpenter bees are partial to the purple phlox. All of them are enchanting company and make me wish this garden was in the back, where I could sit more quietly in it, and enjoy its magic with more of an illusion of seclusion.
Still, even with nowhere to sit, I find the flowers themselves invite me out there to weed and maintain them, and make sure that their needs are met. I'm spending a surprising amount of time out there, happily among them.

It takes nothing to amuse me, I guess, because on a day like today, when I'm trying to handle a difficult disappointment, when I'm worried about a friend and his sick father, and missing my love, when it's too hot and humid to want to move, I find it takes no great effort on my part to spend an hour watching the butterflies feed, and listening to the hum of bees as I pull up the persistent weeds. One can easily take 15 minutes just trying to see the differences in the patterns on the wings of each of the swallowtails.

A garden is a good place. And they're good company, the visitors in my garden.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Some of the colors of the lilies

Some of the colors of the lilies in my yard have really amazed me. Some of them have already died off - there was a pale shrimp colored one with a yellow throat that died back really quickly.

There are, of course, the chrome yellow ones.

And there's the blood-orange one in the backyard with the deep yellow throat.

There's also one that would have been the yellow/orange, orange/yellow crayon in the old Crayola box.

After all is said and done, I can't pick a favorite, but I do love the scent of this pretty, impossibly pale lavendar phlox. It has a light, powdery fragrance, and as my bedroom window sits right above it, it puts me to sleep and wakes me up with its perfume.

All in all, it is how it all comes together that pleases me most.

Friday, July 07, 2006


This is what I missed moving in last August. This is what I've been waiting for. I was away for 6 days and came home to everything in bloom - also to some serious weeds along the front path, so these pictures also show off my remarkably thorough weeding job.

A dainty diner stopped by for a visit.

Hudson dropped by to admire the lilies, too.

Turns out, he was just another diner, though hardly as dainty as the other visitor.