Saturday, June 21, 2014

Birds And Flowers, Flowers And Birds

The old fashioned roses in the side yard began blooming in June, and especially this brightly colored gem. This rose was almost killed by a large maple tree and then, when the maple was cut down, mowed over for many years. One day I discovered a 6" shoot sticking up out of the ground with a small, red rosebud on it. I mowed around it for several years and now it is at least 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, growing more beautiful every year - and hardy to below -30 degrees:

This year it had an abundance of buds. I'll surely be posting photos of the whole plant in bloom soon:

Likewise, I discovered Peonies which had been mowed over for many years and allowed them to spring up. Only one has bloomed before, so I don't even know what color the flowers will be on the newly revived plants. But as a bonus, this yellow Day-Lily sprang up from inside a clump of Peony:

One day I couldn't find the cows, so I set out walking across the north field to be sure they were OK. A Meadowlark flew up at my feet, startling me. I realized that there must be a nest near my feet. I checked down in the grass and found this "cave" of woven grasses, much like a Robin's nest turned on its side - with newly hatched, baby Meadowlarks inside:

Here's a close-up. You can most plainly see the bottom center baby, upside down with its beak pointing toward the upper right and its feet curled up at the bottom left:

The yellow and purple Iris bloomed profusely, perhaps because I top-dressed them with composted manure. Alas, a downpour ruined the yellow Iris, but the purple ones must have been made of sturdier stuff:

I drove the tractor out to the far end of the south field to close some gates to keep the cattle out. I noticed what I thought were Snowball Bushes blooming in the hedgerows and went over for a closer look:

I knew enough botany to notice the opposite leaves, parallel veins and four petaled flowers. I decided this must be in the Dogwood family, so I came back into the house and Googled it. I concluded that these huge, profusely blooming bushes were Cornus drummondii, or Roughleaf Dogwood. It was originally from the Midwest but has spread, via hedgerows, into New York state:

Here's a close-up. You can see the Dogwood resemblance in the tiny, individual flowers. In the familiar, large flowered Dogwood trees, the "petals" are actually bracts, a specialized leaf - but these are really petals:

And large patches of Ragged Robin in bloom, mixed with Buttercups. I especially liked this photo because it also shows the dirt road, the fence line and more of the hay field:

A close-up of the Ragged Robin. This photo also has a meaningful background, showing my house and barn as well as the neighbors' barn:

And now that I've mentioned birds, lets include the chickens. They invade the barn every time a door is left open, however briefly. I shoo them back out when I can, but they love to scratch in the hay for seeds and eat spilled grain from the cattle stalls:

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