Beaver Dam

Today I walked down to see the dams the beavers constructed during the past ten to fifteen years. Beaver dams are a natural disturbance that create a new wetland community and in certain areas are welcomed for the diversity of plants and wildlife that accompany the changes they bring.  The snags, hummocks, partly submerged logs and water create a wonderful diverse habitat for many creatures.

I walk slowly and quietly through some spruce and balsam trees and emerge in a secluded spot beside the dam. I am surprised to see a group of eight or nine Canadian Geese swimming in the shimmering green water apparently not noticing my presence.


 In the distance, I hear another group of geese honking. Still moving slowly and quietly, I sit down on a flat rock. I am surprised again to see an olive-green turtle as he basks on a partly submerged log. It’s the first turtle that I have seen here and remaining seated, I surreptitiously snap a photo. 

A Red-winged Blackbird, remarkable for their ability to defy gravity, lands on a slender reed and calls out what sounds to me like “Booker T.” 

The geese that were in the distance now plow their way into the water;  the peaceful scene is disturbed by great flapping wings, snapping bills, hissing and honking.  Waves begin to slap the shore but the turtle ignores them and  remains basking on his log.

The confrontation ends with the original group flying away.  Meanwhile, the new group has noticed me and toured to the other side of the pond so that all I can see now  is the occasional goose or gander head passing behind some bushes.  For a while, I too  just bask and enjoy the beautiful morning but I want to get a better look at that turtle. 

Ever so slowly I rise and bring binoculars up to my eyes but—whoops—the turtle slips into the water and disappears. 


June 29     The male Northern Oriole  is showing a fledgling  his favorite spots;   the apple tree, the hydrangea and the spruce. 

Bluebird Babies

June 23     Five baby bluebirds are  nestled  in the box with the oval entrance.  Male and female bobolinks scold me as I walk past the unmowed hayfield.  Sally has Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at her feeders and the Barn Swallows are making many trips to feed their young in the nest on the porch. 

Milk Snake

June 15     I was having breakfast in the picnic area and enjoying the warm June sunshine when I noticed that I was not alone.  There was a Milk Snake  (Lampropeltis trianbulum) also enjoying the warmth of the sun on the rocks.  

Who Lives in your Garden?

Memories of loved ones live on in the plants that they cherished and shared.  One hardy, sweet-smelling rose will always evoke memories of ma belle mere--Marie Louise Yvonne Juliette Perron--a long name but that is how she signed her papers when she arrived in this country from Quebec.  Louise loved flowers and when my husband and I bought her farmhouse from the estate, we also gained her flower gardens. 

Before she died, Louise told some of her gardening friends to take what they wanted.  Other than the rose bush, a Johnson Blue Geranium and a bright pink peony, there was not much left except for a highly invasive plant that we call Mallow.  I will never know how she controlled it but she did and I didn't.  When the entire bed was infested, the only solution was to weed and dig.  It's been 14 years and this morning, I can still go out and pull a few of the long-rooted pests out of the bed.  Oh well,even though you love them, sometimes a mother-in-law can be annoying. 

Last year, when Aunt Alice died at 103 ( you may know her--she operated Alice's Garden in Manchester Center for many years)  it was while sitting by her bedside where she was surrounded by peonies from her own garden that I recognized the giant blossom and the scent of roses of the same bright pink peony in my own garden.  Cousin Angie explained that Alice called it "Gram's Pink" because she got it from her mother, Kate Chaffee Lunna from  Newport Center.  I like the name so much better than Latin and knowing that it came from my husband's grandmother's garden makes it a special way to know her--even though I never did.  

Fortunately, you don't have to die to have a plant in my garden.  A friend and neighbor moved away several years ago.  While she lived here, she gave me several plants that I especially love.  That was no coincidence.  Leah listens;  she hears what I say and she understands what I mean.  Therefore, she knows that I like plants that spread slowly, are not invasive, are hardy and have a distinctive shape.  She does  know all the Latin names and she probably knows a lot more about me than I do about her.  When I see the plants that she gave me, I wonder about the garden that she left and how her new one is growing.  I resolve to be a better listener;  a better friend. 

Today my friend Alysoun visited and brought a friend for me to meet and a new plant for my perennial bed.  We walked around the gardens, then sat on the porch  and talked and laughed the morning away until it was time for them to go.  Now I am going out with my shovel and plant the phlox that she delivered.  And when  I start looking, I am sure that I will find many more friends in my garden.  So--who lIves in your garden?  

Summer Sketches

Dino, dining on The Ridge, our favorite picnic spot looking East.  Good wine, fruit, cheese and home bread.
A Feast!

 Sitting at the old picnic table with Linda planning the day.
Beautiful wet birch tree collecting the sprinkles.

 Sally painting the birch by the pond

Snapping Turtle

Jun. 12     A Snapping Turtle was spotted crossing the road and digging holes--presumably for a place for depositing her eggs.  Our next nearest neighbor sent this facebook message to me this morning:  "Saw the biggest turtle crossing the road heading to your ponds by your house this morning -  

Migrating Songbirds

Red-Winged Black Bird in Beaver Bog

 Make Way for Mallards
Eastern Bluebird with Nest Eggs

Watercolors by Sally Wickham
see FIne Art America

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers

Jun. 5     Two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are drumming on the barn’s metal roof-- one on one side, and one on the other. I watched one drum and then he appeared to listen for the response. They tapped back and forth several times and then flew off into the woods.