Monday, October 31, 2011

Between harvest and compost

Where do cornstalks go after the sweet corn is harvested and before they're tossed into the compost pile?

To Bill and Phil's house as part of their annual Halloween extravaganza.

The display also includes giant inflatable pumpkins, a pirate ship, a train and a black cat. Oh, and a simple maze constructed of hay bales.

They'll break down the Halloween decorations as soon as the last trick-or-treaters have visited. Christmas is calling.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dinner, together

 A grouse is almost too heavy to balance on a stem of this viburnum while a chipmunk hangs upside down to grab his share of berries. Below: The berries.

The viburnum at the end of the driveway became a popular dining destination earlier this week. The shrub, Viburnum dentatum Red Feather, was loaded with blue-black berries -- until they were discovered by the birds, including this grouse, and the chipmunks.

The shrub is a good choice for our garden. It doesn't need a lot of coddling, always a happy attribute around here. In spring, the emerging foliage is maroon and because of some prominent veining, the young leaves themselves look something like feathers. White flat-top flowers follow. The berries arrive in fall as the foliage begins to turn purple.
These days, we're seeing lots of bird activity as the fruit on the crab apple, viburnums, roses and other shrubs ripen. The blue jays already have stripped a frontyard oak of its acorns. Sparrows scoot through the perennials searching out whatever seeds and other food they can find on the ground. And the Silly Dog has to keep track of the resident chipmunks as they run through the garden caching whatever they don't immediately devour.