Friday, July 13, 2012

The view from my desk

I've been busy the last little while, getting ready for company, a wedding, and a week in Campbell River afterwards. I've been carrying my camera everywhere and never taking photos. Traffic isn't all that inspiring, nor are offices and malls.

But in between times, I keep the camera on my desk. And every so often, I look up from the phone or the mail, and see a squirrel hanging by her toes to get at the suet, or a ray of sunlight pointing out a just-opened flower. And sometimes, I take a breather and wander out to the lawn. With the camera in hand, of course.

This evening, just after dark, I looked out, and there was a baby raccoon. A really small baby; I'd never seen one that young before. Such little stubby legs! And the wide-eyed, amazed stare of a baby discovering the world for the first time; so cute!

Then the mother came down the path to take a drink from my bird bath, and four more kits followed her. I rushed out with the camera, but by the time I had it on and focused in the dim light, they were halfway down the lawn, the kits all lined up watching me, the mother trying to lead them away. As the camera finally clicked, they all turned as one and ran off. The photo shows two black blobs. I'm not posting it; you can imagine it; green lawn, black fuzzy blobs.

Laurie came out and we followed them to his hosta and fern garden. There, the kits hid behind a big evergreen trunk and peeped out at us. We stepped closer, cautiously, and the kits started to climb the tree. But they were too young; a few scrabbled at the bottom; a couple managed to get three feet or so above ground, and clung there, uncertain as to what to do next. Finally, they crawled back down, more awkwardly than they had climbed.

The mother left, and the kits, left alone, dashed across the path  one by one, and into the bushes after her.

Some photos do turn out, though. Here are a few backyard sights:

Astilbe. This was a couple of days ago; this afternoon, several red ones had opened up, too.

The underside of a begonia leaf, in sunlight. I saw it glowing from my desk, and had to drop my work and go out to get a better look.

Crow on the lawn

The lawn will never feature in a landscaper's manual; it's a mix of grass, moss, white clover, self-heal, black medic, and creeping buttercups. And hawkweed, but I weed that out conscientiously. And it gets mowed only when the guy who does it is in the mood. We like it. So do the birds.

The flickers are shy and rarely step out of the undergrowth. This one stayed close to safety. I took the photo from my desk; when I finally stood up to go closer, he left.

We pruned a dragging branch off the plane tree, and found several clusters of yellow eggs. And this busy couple of prospective parents.

I brought in a leaf with eggs on it. They were little yellow ovals, standing on end side by side. The next morning, I looked at them again; now they were black.

I didn't have time to check them again until after supper. And the eggs were white, and surrounded by tiny, just-hatched ladybug larvae.

Empty egg cases. Some of the larvae are eating them; two or three are starting to wander about. 

That was last night. This morning, I went back to the tree and harvested a few leaves loaded with aphids for larvae food. I checked the container just now; there are still live aphids, but quite a few dead ones; the larvae are feeding. Some look quite a bit bigger than they were yesterday, already.

Laurie's pansies. I love these angry faces. They remind me of a crowd of protesters, but where are the signs?

A red, red rose.

And now, I'm off to bed. I've got another busy day tomorrow.

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