I have been yardening (more below), and entertaining and feeding the wild life in my back yard (birds and squirrels.) My yard has been inundated with a variety of birds (I set a good table) most of which I can identify, but I need to get a bird book to be certain of others. I have several pairs/families of Cardinals; a flock of Blue Jays; too many Grackles and Starlings; cute Sparrows of various sorts; lots of Finches, plain and colored; at least one Tufted Titmouse; a Nuthatch; Brown Thrushes; Mourning and Collared Doves; Robins; and at least three individually identifiable hummingbirds.
And Squirrels!!! Too many to count! They are greedy pigs, and cause me to have to refill the feeders at least twice a day. One small individual I have named "BOB" because his tail is only about 3" long; no curl to it at all. He's really cute, but not having a balancing tail must be a real handicap. I have noticed that he is a ground feeder, and doesn't try to climb the shepherd's crooks to reach the feeders. I make sure to leave him something he can easily reach.
By the way... the raccoons that I wrote about last year are evidently still in the neighborhood, as I found some little foot prints in a newly raked flower bed a few days ago.
Now, as to the yardening: While not actually performing any work beyond weed-eating and mowing, picking up and bagging the not-wanted-bits from these efforts, (which is quite enough in this heat, even if one starts at dawn), I have been watching, managing and supervising those with stronger backs and constitutions, "those" being my gardening daughter and her 18 year old son. Progress has been spotty due to the overwhelming heat and humidity, but we (editorial, of course) eventually will get to the place we had in mind when all this started.
The first project was working at the northwest corner of my carport.
A tatty mess consisting of an old forsythia bush (which has found a new home in someone else's garden), several volunteer oak trees that were not snatched out when they were of snatching size, tangled variegated vinca vines, a badly deteriorated "whiskey barrel" that used to contain more than grass and vinca, huge clumps of violets and other various and assorted volunteer weedy things. Some curb appeal, huh? Not!
A beautiful (I think) small bed containing purple fountain grass, Chocolate Joe Pye Weed (hiding in the far back left behind a tall basil), three varieties of basil, thyme, and four salvia plants, moved from a previous planting spot, plus assorted interesting stones.
The next, and more major project, was the brain-child of my daughter who was convinced that I needed a pathway from my driveway to the front door, with plantings on either side. It's a work still in progress. I don't have a purely "before" photo, but just imagine, if you will, solid grass. The photo below was taken during the initial removal of the grass.
A lot of work was involved between First and Second Stages. After the grass was removed, daughter and grandson dug a shallow trench in which to lay the stones. Lots of trial and error in placing the stones, along with some chiseling of stones to make them fit "just so." I actually did participate in the spreading and tamping of the small stones to hold the blocks in place. I have to have some ownership in the process. :)
More soil will be removed on the sides of the walk so that when the planting is done, a heavy layer of mulch can be applied without running over the boundaries. The now dirt area will contain some evergreens, some day lilies just inside the border furthest from the house, and various other perennials. It's too late in the season to get any decent annuals, but I may be able to find some pots of flowers to add a bit of color until fall.
It will be a while before I have another progress report, since my labor force is going on vacation for a week. I'll try not to mess up their work while they are gone.
Hope everyone is staying cool and having a great summer.
Happy, Arkansas Sister?