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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Deer plus Continuing Bloom Plus Critters September 6, 2014B

Oops, the deer will be next week.  Today I am linking with-

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman and Magical Mystical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

This week I had a few exciting glimpses of the Pileated Woodpecker, inspiration for the cartoon Woodie the Woodpecker, he is a very large woodpecker at 15" / 38cm, and therefore does not have a diet of only insects but also likes fruit.  I've seen him eat elderberries, but presently I've seen him on my apple trees, he likes to peck holes in them.   His loud jungle call echoes through the trees.  My grandkids were very excited to see him when they visited.   I was able to zoom in on him when I could barely see him in the tree, so the picture quality is poor, but you can get an idea of his size and splendor.

And a video from You Tube if you want to see him in action-

Another exciting thing for me is to grow Delicata squash for the first time.   The vines are very attractive, and they are setting on fruit well.   A couple of small ones broke off the stem when touched so I suppose they are mature.  I hadn't actually eaten them until last year, and was surprised how tasty they were, they also have the distinction of having very thin peels that can actually be eaten.   They are heavenly roasted cut side down with butter until they start to brown.

Another thing happening this week is the start of the dried bean pod harvest, so I've been doing lots of shelling.   The runner beans are magnificent large beans which have rather fibrous pods which are best eaten when the seeds have not developed much, but for a real treat I let a lot of pods fill up with fat seeds, and eat some as shellies and some I dry.  The shellies swell up to over an inch in length and have a wonderful potato-y texture.  I have been growing the red-flowering purple runner beans for a while, beloved of hummingbirds, mostly Insuk's Wang Kong variety, see the Gardenweb legume forum if you want to learn something about them.   I have bought a couple more varieties, one has very long pods.   But last year I also started growing one with white seeds, which I think are even larger and tastier than the purple beans as shellies.  Aren't they pretty-

Here is some progress on the sprouting of the Broccoli Raab and Radish seeds in my new cool season bed.   

I had to use my castor oil formula a number of times on the beds but am still having some mole damage, which I hope will lessen as the plants get larger.   My son came and helped pound in some T-stakes so I got a better fence done and added some bamboo poles, and welded wire fencing.   As an improvement on my usual deer fence which is just running several horizontal lines of wire up to 8', I am hanging plastic mesh trellis webbing with multi-filament plastic-coated clothesline wire at 8-9' which would be impossible to jump through.  I haven't had much trouble with deer jumping into this bed, just once I forgot to close the gate and a deer came in, when he saw me coming he managed after 2 tries to jump through between the lower wires and the fence, after crashing into the fence and bending it.

My Cardoon plant is blooming for the 3rd year, it is in the thistle family and the stalks are eaten, tasting rather like artichokes.  It was covered with bees, apparently a good nectar source.  


Here is a Canadian thistle for comparison, a bad weed that I'm perpetually fighting and I try to keep it from blooming and pull them up as much as I can.  I found that the flowers actually have a delightful scent.  To see my post on the biological control insect Thistle Tortoise Beetles, click here.

Here is a garden spider from the underside, somehow his posture reminds me of a person in a costume.  They get rather annoying with their webs everywhere in the fall, especially when I walk into one with my face.  I'm hopeful they are clearing out all the pesky insects and not the bees.

My Browallia americana, a favorite annual last year, managed to self-sow and is blooming now on short plants.  



This year I am also growing the shorter and larger-flowered Browallia speciosa, which does wonderfully in a container.

Another square of the big quilt someone made for the local fair, Happy Blue Monday!

Have you seen any interesting birds this week?          -Hannah

                                                                                       or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy visiting and commenting on your blog, but if the only comments are through google+ I am not signed up for that so will comment here unless you provide an email link.

60 comments:

  1. Such a variety on your post today...I don't know where to start. I'm fascinated with the thistle and the quilt block, the woodpecker is lovely, and the squash and beans look very yummy, Hannah. Thanks for sharing this Saturday variety show.

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    1. Thanks, Linda, thistles can be useful and delicious or painful weeds, such variety. The Pileated Woodpecker is a fascinating bird, beautiful but kind of pesky when pecking up the apples. Fortunately this year all the trees have bumper crops because of all the snow last winter.

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  2. I love the woodie and the thistles. Have a wonderful weekend, Hannah!

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    1. Thanks, Gunilla. Woodpeckers are a favorite bird family of mine. I just wish they were easier to see.

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  3. Great series of nature shots and all her beauties ~ Love the woodpecker!

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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    1. Thanks, Carol, I enjoy the woods and I can also look at your harbor photos.

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    1. Thanks, Adam, your bird photos are amazing, especially the Kingfisher.

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  5. Incredible garden you have! Love learning about that squash! And, the woodpeckers are so great!

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  6. I meant to tell you--glad to know you've been to Mt. Evans and enjoyed it with your family. We didn't see any pika...that would have been really great! It may take a few more weeks, but I'm sure I will finally get to the end of my vacation pictures! :-) It was a great trip, though.

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  7. It's been 42 years, so I'm not sure I remember which mountain it was, possibly Long's Peak, I hiked up switchback trails to above treeline and saw a lot of cute Pikas. They inspired me, so at one point I had pet Chinchillas, which live in similar conditions in the Andes but unfortunately are endangered in the wild. I enjoyed your Pike's Peak photos, though I remembered it a little greener. The high altitude alpine wildflowers were a botanist's dream.

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  8. Love Woodie the Woodpecker!
    Nice crops you have, too.

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    1. Thanks, Villrose. We are eating lots of squash, cucumbers, beans, and tomatoes now, as well as grapes, apples and pears.

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  9. Lovely mix of garden and bird shots and I like the quilt square.

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    1. Thanks, Carver, I envy you being able to watch Cardinals having babies and growing up.

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  10. A delicious post, through and through. Thank you!

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  11. Splendid pictures - I really like the woodpecker. I've been lucky enough to see them on a couple of trips to the USA - always got very excited when I did!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks, Stewart, I don't have many exciting birds in my yard.

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  12. Definitely a nice Pileated Woodpecker. lovely photos.

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  13. I loved seeing that video. I've always loved woodpeckers and am surprised I've only seen one since I moved here. (And we have LOTS of birds around here). I wonder if I can lure them here somehow?

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    1. Texas is a wonderful place to see birds, second only to Hawaii for kinds. If you have any big trees you might have woodpeckers. I have some small woodpeckers here as well but haven't seen them for a long time, and also a Flicker visited recently, they eat insects on the ground instead of in trees. Can you see Cardinals there, they are a favorite Texas bird of mine.

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  14. Lovely as ever. My Mom always did blackeyed peas as fresh snaps with some young shells. So good!

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    1. Thanks, Janice, you are one of the google+ exclusives, thanks for commenting here, my Southern mom always had blackeyed peas for New Years Day. I never had them fresh, that sounds yummy! I liked your haiku about Dusk, that is my favorite time of the day out in the garden. I have seen bats but not for quite a while.:-(

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  15. Thanks, Bruce, I enjoy your bug safaris.

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  16. You have a wonderful bird visitor :)
    Admire your garden.
    Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. Thanks, Lina, my garden is very fruitful at present but I'm a little tired of all the heat this year.

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  17. Hi Hannah,

    I had a woodpecker--just like this one--pecking on my house! Eventually, he gave up (thank goodness!). Thanks for making Blue Monday special.

    Have a Beautiful Blue Monday!

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    1. That would not be so wonderful. They are very loud! The latest heat wave should be over today, which is nice, but another one is due next weekend. Thanks for hosting.

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  18. EEEK! :-)

    Great photos! Love the woodpecker. We only have Downy Woodpeckers where I live so the one you showed is new to my eyes. Thanks!

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    1. The Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers can live here, I haven't seen one for a long time though. The Pileated Woodpecker is actually kind of pesky when it is pecking up my apples, but this year is a bumper crop year so no problem.

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  19. Hi Hannah!

    I enjoyed watching the video of the Pileated woodpecker--I don't think I've ever heard their cal before! He does look like Woody Woodpecker--that was a favorite cartoon of my son when he was a little boy :)

    We recently had some new landscaping put in our yards and already the mule deer have begun to eat it. Have any suggestions on keeping them away besides covering everything with chicken wire? I don't mind when they come into my yards, as I think they are beautiful creatures and we do live near their homes in the open spaces, but I hate to see all my shrubs die right away. Someone told me raw eggs will deter them --did you ever hear of that?

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    1. It's possible to put repellants on plants, you could google for good ones. Blood meal works, I have made a homemade one blending egg, a little detergent, and cayenne pepper. It will work for a while, but for long-term success I personally believe in fencing, I get welded wire fencing 5' high, I either fence in a whole garden area or put a ring of fencing around individual plants. I'm sorry I don't know a better way, I don't care that much about the fences, at least I get to keep my plants. Or grow things they don't like to eat.

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  20. I like woodpeckers a lot - they are so cute! Your vegetable garden is looking great!

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  21. Thanks, Katarina. Woodpeckers are favorites of mine in the birds.

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  22. Great photos Hannah, I enjoyed each and every one. The close up of the spider was amazing, though I maybe wouldn't want to get as close as walking into its web ;) I also want to thank you for linking with Today's Flowers.

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    1. Thanks, Denise, the spider didn't want to stay still so it wasn't easy. It seems like every day I walk into one, and have to hope the spider jumped ship. If you want to see my sweat bees, they are at

      http://weedingonthewildside.blogspot.com/2014/06/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-june-15-2014.html

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  23. Nice finds! The Pileated Woodpeckers are a sight to see! I've only seen them a few times. We've had a lot of crazy, big spiders here lately, too. Congrats on the squash!

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  24. Thanks, Beth, they were exciting if I can just overlook the damage to the apples. Spiders always get very dominant in the fall, webs everywhere. I am going to try baking some of the squash soon.

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  25. The cardoon really does look a lot like the Canada thistle. It's actually pretty as well as (I assume) tasty. I'd really like to see and photograph a Pileated Woodpecker!

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    1. I didn't do the full treatment on the Cardoon, blanching the stalks before harvest, so I perhaps can't really appreciate it. It does have a flavor much like Artichokes. The Pileated Woodpecker makes me feel like I'm living in a jungle when I hear it.

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  26. The spider webs may be annoying, but the spiders are good for your garden. Nice pic.

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    1. Thanks, Jen, I appreciate spiders if they eat pesky bugs, but I don't like it if they eat honeybees since they have enough problems. Your Texas bird photos are fun to see.

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  27. The Pileated woodpecker is great woodie! I love the bloom and the spider is cool. Thank you for linking up, enjoy your week!

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    1. Thanks, Eileen, I hear them more than I see them. I'm enjoying what is left of summer. Thanks for hosting.

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  28. So many beautiful late summer impressions, Hannah!

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    1. Thanks, you-wee, I hope we continue to have a long fall before frosts here. I liked your artistic textures of the Bouganvillea.

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  29. Beautiful pictures ! Even that ugly spider, but I didn't look at it for a long time, lol !

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    1. Thanks, Gattina. The spider is kind of ugly, but it is really much smaller so the prickles are not as noticeable.

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  30. I am also growing Delicata squash this year after eating some at our local organic restaurant last year....I can't wait for mine to finally mature...a small harvest but even one is a treat.

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    1. Yes, I was surprised when one broke off the vine. I baked it and it was very delicious, so it was indeed ripe. I hope to get quite a few, they have been setting on well. I haven't grown many winter squash here. Usually the vines have been eaten by voles. I'm guessing the lava rock in the planting holes may be helping.

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  31. Thanks for showing the video Hannah.....a really special glimpse into his activities - he looks like an engineer!

    Ruby

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  32. Thanks, Ruby, I can see him better in the video than in my yard. I mostly just hear him in the distance.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer, I can't wait until fall rains start, the flowers are beautiful that I can water but all the dry baked soil and grass is not.

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  34. Beautiful series Hannah! We had a juvenile pileated hanging around for awhile earlier this summer. I so enjoy when they visit… usually it is a large male who comes to call. Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro:-)

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    1. It's strange, I don't think I've seen any but the male, the others must be around somewhere. I did see a different woodpecker the other day, it was hard to get a close look.

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  35. You have an amazing garden -- I even like the gorgeous spider! Beautiful pictures . The cardoon plant amazed me -- definitely my new thing to learn today; had never before heard of it. I've known a lot of good gardeners over the years (and used to be a not-so-good one myself) but I have never known anyone before who grew dried beans (in a home garden) . Impressed by your many talents!!

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