7-31-15 Crooked Acres Friday

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I’m on vacation – okay, actually, I should be home by now (but I wrote this two weeks ago, so I have no idea what’s going on, but I am PLANNING to be home by now, how’s that?) – and I pre wrote and scheduled this post to give myself a few days of breathing room to recover from my vacation and get the house back into shape. See you Monday!


Crooked Acres Friday.

We have so many squirrels out in the side yard these days. It’s a good thing they’re amusing, because they keep chewing up the bird feeders and dumping the seed all over the ground. Grrr! (Yes, I need squirrel-free feeders!)

Every Memorial Day, the hot air balloons from the… Jubilee? Jamboree? take off, and we see them go by. Some of them go over our property, and George and Gracie bark and bark and then are pleased that they scared them away.

My blueberry bush – located in the back yard – was very happy this Spring. Then the birds got all my blueberries. What, I ask you, is the point of putting the blueberry bush in the back yard if the cats aren’t going to do their job and scare the birds away?

Brandywine tomato. This thing took FOREVER to ripen, and finally I brought it inside and let it finish ripening on the counter so we wouldn’t lose it to birds or bugs. It was SO GOOD on a BLT.

Hydrangea in the front flower bed. SO pretty.

This crane (heron?) has taken to visiting our pond. Fred named him “Herbert”, which is utterly ridiculous, as clearly his name is Dave.

I got too close, and he took flight.

He looks like something you’d see in “Jurassic World,” doesn’t he?

Yes, well, why WOULD they go paddle around in the pond? There’s standing water near the water dishes to cool their feet in.

I apparently didn’t take a picture of this whole tomato plant, which is unfortunate because it’s HUGE. It’s a volunteer that popped up in a pot of soil. We usually let volunteer tomatoes do their thing, unless they’re in an inconvenient location. This plant is not only big, it has the thickest branches I’ve ever seen. It’s covered in cherry tomatoes that are taking forever to ripen. I hope they’re good!

Mayfly. I think these things are so cool.

Stefan stands guard (or snoozes) while the raccoon eats at the feeding station. We see this guy during the day a LOT. He seems to have figured out that the bowl is filled first thing in the morning.

Fred went out and left him a cookie (what?), which he appeared to appreciate.

Tomato plant on the compost heap. It’s covered in blooms and tiny tomatoes. I thought there would be too much nitrogen (there’s a lot of chicken poop on that compost heap), but it looks like it’s going to bear a lot of fruit.

Butternut squash.

Every blossom on the squash plants is always covered in bees.

Fred planted a row of sunflowers, which are one of my favorite flowers. The birds got most of the sunflower seeds he planted, but some of them were left behind, and so I’ve got a handful of sunflowers growing.

Cucumber blossom. We planted the cucumbers on the other side of the garden this year, and apparently they prefer that side of the garden, because we’re getting tons of perfect cucumbers. Fred keeps saying “They look like grocery store cucumbers.” Only tastier!

Wee cantaloupe.

Guess what? Bee butt!

Cucumber bug.

Squash bug. Grrr.

Garden on the squash side. Squash, peppers, tomatoes and corn.

Garden on the cantaloupe/watermelon side. This year, we bought a huge roll of kraft paper (no dyes), rolled it along the row, inserted landscaping pins, and now Fred is slowly covering the paper with grass clippings. It works really well to keep the weeds down, but it’s a LOT of work.

Squash side of the garden, from the other end. Sunflowers to the right, cucumbers straight ahead, and tomatoes to the left (and corn to the far left).

Chickens hoping for some gifts from the garden.

Dirt Mountain is turning into Weed Mountain.

Happy George.

Meredith Grey, who escapes the chicken yard every morning, wanders the property, and goes happily back into the chicken yard when we open the gate for her.

Our one remaining rooster.

Happy Gracie.

A Robin built this nest in the wood shed last year and raised a family there. I haven’t seen any baby birds in it this year, though.


Stefan, looking emo.


2013: Puff does not appreciate it, but she’s just doin’ her job, man!
2012: “Am busy ripping paper! You go ‘way!”
2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: The kittens are 15 weeks old today
2007: Maxi, guardian of the garden.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



7-31-15 Crooked Acres Friday — 34 Comments

  1. Oh, the look on Stefan’s face, with his paws tucked in, while the raccoon eats at the food dish, is priceless! I love that boy.

  2. – Stefan is certainly looking emo in these shots, love that boy!
    – Sir Dave Herbert Heron-Crane is beautiful
    – Ducks are dumb (but awfully cute, except for the boys GRRR, I’ll never forget what I learned about them)
    – Are mayflies harmless?
    – I like that Mr Raccoon’s tail has some red in it
    – Dirt/Weed Mountain is starting to look kinda nice
    – LOL @ “Bee Butt”! I love that (I have a fondness for fuzzy bumbles)
    – I had no idea there were Cucumber Bugs (cute) or Squash Bugs (less cute). This fascinates me! I think we need a dedicated ‘Bugs of Crooked Acres’ post (without spiders please). Is the striped bug also a Cucumber Bug and are they really called that?

      • Ok, to be fair, I offer this compromise: The spider post will be on a separate day. And I shall need fair warning of that date so that I can NOT visit the blog that day!

        • Now you know Robyn always gives fair warning before the spider pictures so you can scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll some more, scroll and scroll past them! 🙂

          I’ve missed the Crooked Acre posts! I’m glad to see the garden is back. And hope you make your last 3 hour drive back safely!!

    • No, mayflies are NOT harmless when they make it like pea soup.

      http://abcnews.go.com/US/blizzard-mayflies-closes-bridge-pennsylvania-motorcycle-accidents/story?id=31773970. they talk about swarms so big and thick you can see them on the doppler radar.

      While Mr Racoon is smart and cute, I am wary of them and what they could be carrying. One of these days someone’s going to try to follow one of the permanent residents inside.

      I’m sure that everybody’s safe and not standing in each others basket but those balloons look really close together. Like mayflies.

      I’m just a debbie downer today.

      • I live close to that area. The swarming mayflies caused a big mess. I believe they had to close the bridge for 3 nights in a row because of them.

    • Mayflies are harmless in small groups (or as singles, I would say), but apparently not in swarms!

      The striped bug is also a Cucumber Beetle – and they did some serious damage to my cucumbers while I was gone! GRRR.

  3. Welcome home, Robyn, hope you enjoyed your vacay! Loved the round up photos, especially the last batch of kitten cuteness :). BTW, that was a great blue heron in your photos – cool to see him in your garden, I only see them by the water.

    • He was actually by the pond – he visits from time to time, and we’re always happy to see him (I always say “Eat some catfish while you’re out there!”)

      • I bet he appreciates the courteous hospitality! Are there any illustrators in the readership? Someone needs to make Crooked Acres into a lovely picture book. I mean you have so many great characters at your place anyway (including Fred and you obviously), but now you have all kind of wild life dropping by in supporting roles. Shiny coated possums, feral cats turned couch potatoes, cookie eating raccoons, dinosaur like blue herons called Dave and never forget Dolores the spider (in many generations).

  4. Welcome home! You were missed. Loved today’s post! “Brandywine tomato” made me think of Brandywine the kitty….and I smiled.

  5. *well it is good that George and Gracie are doing their thing keeping your land free from those pesky balloons
    *Your both wrong, he is neither Herbert nor Dave, he is obviously George.
    *I wonder how much that Raccoon paid Stefan to be his muscle
    *That bee butt photo is stunning.. award winning probably.
    *that squash bug does seem to be saying Grr.. (I am assuming you are grring because you don’t like squash bugs, but he looks like he is a tough guy)
    *I kinda like weed mountain

  6. Weed Mountain my foot. It’s more like dirt MOUND after a couple of years of settling. Lor knows what’s bedding down in that every night.

    Stupid question, where do you get your compost if the designated spot is covered over with volunteer vegetables, fruit plants, flowers and other plants?

    • We usually only need compost at the beginning of the growing season. The stuff that grows on the compost heap seems to get a late start. But even if the heap was covered over in tomato volunteers and we needed compost, we’d probably dig in from the side. The volunteers are always super-hardly, and bounce back from any insult, so we don’t worry about them too much.

  7. Stefan is a buff cat like the two kittens. I knew someone who had two kittens, one orange an d one buff. She named them Henna and Clorox.

  8. Great blue herons are beeeeeea-u-tiful! They’re a favorite of many people up here in the northern marshland and lake country, including little me. Mind you I’m just going by descriptions, but still. The day one of them visited the lake while two cabins’ worth of summer campers were out rowing… Ever heard a rowboat full of squirrely, rowdy ten-year-olds go quiet with reverence and the desire to not scare off the bird? I hadn’t either, and haven’t since.

    Bee butt! Heh. Let’s avoid the stinger. Brrrrr. Spiders I’m utterly fine with, but bees still scare me, even if many of them are peaceable little beasts who’d sooner not bother you. I’ll leave them alone too – they’ve got a job to do, and I’m utterly happy with that. But if you’re circling my head and I can’t tell what you are by sound? I’m going to get nervous!

    Welcome back!

  9. Yep, Great Blue Heron. We have one who visits our pond from time to time and just takes a slow walk around looking at the fish. The young ones are white and will startle you when you first see one. I saw one earlier this summer and had to search with Mr. Google to figure out what it was. I thought it was some kind of tropical bird that got lost. Pretty cool. The garden looks great and i am jealous. We have too much shade for a garden but apparently we are producing a commercial size crop of mosquitos.
    Hope you had a grand vacation and glad you are back safely.
    Be cautious of a raccoon you see during the day. They can be sick. You really should only see them dusk to dawn if they are healthy.

  10. I love George and Gracie. Great Pyrenees are such awesome dogs, although my husband says we will never again have dogs that shed so copiously.

  11. Gardens, blue herons, and bee butts are lovely! Glad you are back Ms. Robyn because I am back too! We can all get back to “normal” now and resume the kitten posting and watching. 🙂

  12. love the sunflowers!! hate bugs! (but am ok with photos)\

    but what happened to all your roosters?