Taste of Fall

August 27, 2010

Drinking and sunning at the same time

The Coreopsis/Butterfly Bush/Sunflower Extravaganza has really borne fruit (or flowers and seeds, to get technical).  Our solitary Buckeye gained friends, and as of yesterday we still have three buzzing around, distiguishable (apart from being in different places at the same time) by the differing amounts and placements of the wing damage.  They’re very entertaining butterflies – a lot less skittish than the skippers , whites and big Swallowtails that occasionally turn up.  Well, two of them are, anyway – a few moments’ work with our little digital camera got some acceptable “close-your-eyes-and-stick-the-camera-as-close-as-possible” shots on those two.  Even when they were just sunning on some convenient bush or sidewalk, they were pretty relaxed about personal space.  The third must have had some bad experiences, though – I couldn’t get near it.  In addition to the Buckeyes, the Skippers of various kinds, and a single Variegated Fritillary, we’ve had the sunflowers crawling with small bees, including the mini-Bumblebees which have come back since the demise of the Honeybees.  Also, a couple of Goldfinches, which brightens up the mornings for me considerably, but perhaps not so much for the small insects that I presume they’re eating.

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Whoah! Instant karma indeed.

August 12, 2010

Yesterday, driving in, had an ‘instant karma’ moment when a young woman zipped up in the right lane, crammed her minivan into the minivan-sized gap between me and the car in front (disregarding the big empty space behind me, of course) and less than two blocks later found out why tailgating is a bad idea.  Luckily the ensuing backup wasn’t too bad for those of us behind the accident; we were able to get around without too much excitement.  Anyway, I meant to jot this down as a rare glimpse of how things ought to work, but got caught up in the rush of work and forgot.  This morning, a minor bit of road stupidity reminded me, and I remembered I had to take care of the instant karma post.  Not more than a minute later, the dulcet tones of John Lennon helped pound it into my memory with his classic recording.  So, today I didn’t forget.  The universe is a funny place.


Summery

August 9, 2010

Let’s see:  3 more summertime snowshowers at the start of vigorous thunderstorms since June.  I figure they’re more common than I would have expected, now that I’m looking for them.  Some interesting city wildlife sightings – dragonflies at urban-blight intersections, Kingbirds anywhere there’s a few trees to nest in, some nifty tree crickets this year, the first Buckeye on the butterfly bushes and sunning on the front walk.  I need to do a butterfly yard list to go with the bird list.  A very hot, very dry summer so far, with just enough patches of heavy rain to keep things from drying out entirely.  Thanks to lots teenage wooden-sword play, the backyard has largely become a dusty arena with a rim of sparse grass and neatly-trimmed weeds.  The rabbits have mostly abandoned it, and now spend most of their time in front, where they can eye me reproachfully as I head out in the morning.  The hawks seem to have largely stopped working the area, although I did get a glimpse of the female Sharp-shin the other day a few blocks away.  I haven’t seen the Peregrines at work since late last year, I think, and only the occasional glimpse of a Kestrel and vulture around the hospital.  Lots of pigeons and starlings, of course, so there’s plenty of food.  I’m not sure what the problem is.  Maybe it’s just observor error or lack of luck.

Up to Musikfest in Bethlehem next weekend; had to miss the first week, and also miss the Philly Folk Festival, but there it is; time and money constraints are a pain.  Should be nice, though – Bethlehem is a great town, even all dressed up and touristy for the money; Musikfest is a blast, and it’s nice to see some of the same people there from year to year.  There’s a thought – I’ll have to see about putting in Hayseed Dixie as a request, assuming they’d want to come up.  I’d pay to see them.  Driving up to Philly a fair bit this summer, it struck me the other day that there are a lot of small bus lines and coach operations.  Guess they’re filling the gap left by the incredibly bad performance of Greyhound these past decades.  There’s one that we see occasionally – I’ve taken to calling it “Death Pig Buses” because every bus has a horrifying, giant pink pig-like man painted on it.  We got stuck behind one once, and it took me 5 minutes of sheer terror before I could get away from that God-awful pink leer.  I almost had to cause an accident finally to get out from behind it.  Last trip, I made some joke about seeing one, and less than 5 minutes later, the first of 3 rumbled past.  The second one was going in the opposite direction, but the third one was broken down just before the Susquehanna bridge, and caused a long backup into Delaware, probably because people were afraid to approach the Death Pig figure to go past it.  No more jokes about the Death Pig for me – he obviously takes it personally..