Artichoke Feast

Summer is coming to a soft ending. The days are already a mix of fall and summer. Some dahlias are putting out their last buds. Each day, more mimosa flowers fall to the ground.

As much as I enjoy eating a plump artichoke, bees go bonkers when they find an artichoke in bloom. Such big flowers can feed many bees at once. In the deep, thick artichoke blossoms, the bees burrow in to feast. Some are in so deep, you have to look hard to see them. They look like little pigs with wings.

I suppose when bees get back to a hive late, “I came across an artichoke flower,” excuses any tardiness. If you grow artichokes, let some bloom for the bees.

But not everything that blooms is happy time for a bee. A big spider lurks in this Shasta Daisy. How many bees are in its belly? Or will a bumblebee sting terminate this sneaky spider?

The Sun is not Like a Friend

Our smokey skies did not linger long. For three days smoke choked the skies until fresh air from the Pacific pushed it away. We are back to August blue skies and filling our lungs with sweet air.

The sun is not like a friend who drops by and lingers, laughing and conversing without any regard for time. The sun is madly punctually, down to the nano second. Though, really, it’s the spinning earth that is refusing to give us any additional summer. It is going to stay on time, spinning around the sun, no matter what.

Summer is slipping away, bit by bit. Already the mornings feel more fall like that summery. This morning it is 47ºF – 8ºC. We’ve had a few very autumny rains, cool and refreshing. It’s no longer light at four in the morning. Dusk falls earlier each day.

It’s time to savor summer’s sweet fruits. Blackberries are coming on strong. Soon the grapes will be ripe, followed by the apples. Then summer will be gone for good.

The one thing good about the sun being so punctual is that we know when the sun will rise and set a thousand years from now. You can’t say that about any friend.

Under a Martian Sky

Smoke flowed over the Cascades and into our lovely valley yesterday. This morning we woke up to dreaded Martian skies. Orange skies in August and September are becoming an unwelcome pattern. The forecast is for winds from the west to move the smoke back over the mountains again by the end of the weekend.

Pumpkin and squash flowers have plenty of room for multiple bees. Every flower has their own strategy to attract pollinators. Pumpkins must provide an all-you-can-eat buffet, as the bees spend a long time in each flower.

Like an alien spaceship, vine maple seeds appear to be poised, ready for takeoff. The right amount of air will provide the lift needed for their propellors to spin and take flight. Somewhere in the woods, there must be a little spider that knows when to climb onto these vine maple seeds to experience an exhilarating ride.

Cool August Break

Cool, drizzly weather rolled through on Friday and Saturday. For a few days, summer turned to fall. Spiderwebs caught raindrops. The air was sweet with the smell of moist earth.

The kabocha vine wants to grow over the entire garden. Perhaps it’s time to pick one.

The two baby ducks are almost as large as their mothers. It takes no time for a duck to grow up. Another week and they will be all feathered out and nearly indistinguishable from the grownups.

Peak Summer

The first red tomato ushers in peak summer. It’s been so long since I’ve had a warm, red tomato off the vine that I’ve forgotten how good they taste.

The bees are back in abundance. After the heat wave in July, the bees vanished for a week to ten days. But they swarm the blooming mint and other flowers again.

And this interesting shape is a developing hazelnut. Hazelnut’s swaddle their developing nuts in layers of protective leaves.

And it’s not peak summer with wonderful potatoes fresh out of the garden. They are so much better than store bought potatoes, I wonder how I endure the off season when I can’t eat potatoes fresh out of the warm earth.