Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feast or Famine

   This year, like many before it and surely those to follow, has been a textbook "feast or famine" year. Meaning we either have too little or too much of something. As gardeners, we've become more sensitive to what the weather is doing than the typical person. So many times we'll be out in a restaurant, for example, the weather will be sunny with a bluebird sky and a warm, gentle breeze and the waitress will say "Oh, isn't this weather just perfect!". They're always shocked to hear us exclaim that NO, it's not perfect, it's too dry and we need rain. Which is usually followed with "Oh no, rain is too depressing". I guess we just see the world a little differently.
   Earlier this year we had record rainfalls, followed promptly by record drought, now record rainfalls again. Feast, famine, feast. Last Saturday the heat index was 103 degrees, now it's a wet, chilly 65 degrees. Typical Virginia. 
   The only thing preventing me from truly enjoying this rain we're having now is guilt. I feel so bad for everyone in Texas right now. I've officially revoked my priveledge to complain about anything, no matter how bad it gets here, Texas has it worse. All that rain falling in Louisiana, so close, yet all they get is wind which just starts more fires.

   I wish I could send some of this down to Texas. I realize you guys don't have a reference point for this place, but I assure you, it's a lot higher than usual. This is a spot along the Roanoke river over in Salem that's popular with birders. Usually it's a shallow stony flats kinda area that's pretty good for spotting migrating waders and water fowl.
   Need less to say after two days of thunderstorms followed by two days of nonstop rain from TS Lee, the Crownbeard and Wingstem that I posted a picture of last Friday has perked back up. Our water storage systems are full, the creeks and rivers are over their banks, and I've had a lot more free time since I'm not having to water everything. I haven't been out in the yard lately, there doesn't seem like there's much to see anyway. The birds, however, have been feeding quite heavily, especially the goldfinches and hummers.

   Autumn is definitely right around the corner, our chipmunks have been more visible lately, busily collecting and storing nuts for winter. Every morning I throw out a handful of peanuts for the Bluejays, squirrels, chippies. Sometimes Cardinals and Thrashers show up. As you can see, my cats love the show. (They are indoor only cats, I would never feed the critters and then release a predator into the mix) The deer are also beginning to shed their velvet, or at least, Trusty Rusty has. Yes, some of the deer have names, but only because it helps us keep track of them as we study their behavior. ;)


  1. Is it true that some artists harvest the shed velvet from deer antlers, piece them together into a canvas and paint pictures of Jesus, Elvis and card playing dogs?

  2. Well, he was Rusty back in the spring! Now he's more of a weary grey. Also, it looks like he is only a few feet away, but it was more like 40-50'. Cropping the photo makes him appear closer.