Earlier today, I saw Sandy having some critter food from the plate I sat out for her and her squirrel friends. A few minutes later, Sara looked outside the patio door window, and yelled: “OMG, MOM! YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS! IT LOOKS HILARIOUS!” I had to see it for myself. While Sandy tried to get a piece of corn, she tangled from the bird feeder. Not sure, if she was stuck, I walked outside and approached her slowly. Mrs. Rabbit saw me, and ran toward her rabbit escape hole in the fence. Sandy got startled, made a big leap from the feeder to the ground and climbed on top of the fence. There she felt saver and ate her trophy: a piece of corn, before she balanced along the fence top to jump into the neighbor’s tree.
It didn’t take long, after I refilled the bird feeders and bird baths, when Mrs. Cardinal flew to the feeder to have some lunch in my yard. This woke the interest in Mrs. Blue Jay to check out my backyard. She noticed, I have a couple of bird baths filled with fresh water. Soon, Mrs. Blue Jay swooped down to the bath and drank some water. It was a warm Texas Summer day. The food and water was a welcome sight for the birds.
At this time of the year, the basil plants are at their peaks. The basil blooms are all over my yard. I have some plants, I let bloom out and go to seed. Other basil plants I snip the blossom off for better leaf growth. The plant can concentrate on the leaves; they turn dark green and thicker. I use lots of basil for spaghetti sauces, meat and egg dishes. And just rubbing the fingers on a basil leaf is so refreshing, when I work in the garden.
Last year I planted some zinnia seeds, and we had beautiful blooms all Summer long. Some must have dropped their seeds, because more zinnias are blooming behind by greenhouse this year. They are very drought resistent and perfect for the Texas Summer.
It is almost the end of July. At this time of the year, we usually have three or four dragonflies flying around in our backyard. They find themselves a nice narrow surface to rest on it. Usually they’ll sit on wilted grass, tomato cage frames, branches, small sticks, etc. Our pool seems to attract them as well. And sometimes, I see them diving right onto the water surface. This Widow Skimmer rests on a green onion, and keeps an eye out for those mockingbirds. Dragonflies are on the mockingbird’s menu. It’s the circle of life. But the very next day, I have another four dragonflies visiting my backyard. So it is all good.
In one of my pots is a plant growing, which I couldn’t figure out what it is. After some research and asking someone online, I finally got my answer: It is a Velvet Leaf. I have seen these plants sitting in corn fields before. So I wonder if the wind or a critter had a part in it, that a seed ended up in my pot. I probably will never know.
Velvet Leaf is native to South Asia. In China, it is grown for is jute-like fiber. The leaves are used for cooking. And the seeds can be consumed as well. In the 18th century, it was introduced to North America. Since Velvet Leaf likes rich soils, it can be mostly found in crop fields. The Velvet Leaf became very invasive, and is one of the most detrimental weeds to corn causing decreases. So, what’s good on one continent might be not so great on another. I guess, I have to take care of the seed pods, before the seeds will drop and causing a stink in the long run. 😉
In January 2016, I’ve picked up a peach tree from the nursery. I grew up with fruit trees in my grandparents’ yard. And I wanted a fruit tree in my yard. It was a decision between apple and peach. But since apple trees, need a buddy for cross pollination, I need to wait until my Bradford Pear trees are done for it. But this might take another five to ten years. In the meantime, I can grow some peaches.
When I came home with the tree. Kevin helped me digging a hole for the roots, before I sat the tree on its permanent spot. The first year we had five peaches growing. Mr. Squirrel seemed to like peaches as well. He shared with us. But it wasn’t really in proportion as we hoped for. He got four peaches. We got one peach, which we had to split in four. 😀
So, this year we were smarter. Once we caught Mr. Squirrel picking a peach, we went out there and took five of the seven peaches. We left him one more peach. In the house, I sat the peaches on the counter to let them finish ripen. And today, I finally cut the peaches open. Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I enjoyed them as they were desserts. There is nothing better, than fresh grown fruit out of the own garden.