The Sieges of Summer

It all started late Spring when our neighbor’s maple tree began dropping thousands of samaras or in our vernacular “helicopters” or “whirligigs”. These little seed pods were everywhere; edging the lawn, embedded in every flower bed or landscaped area and invading the garage and house at every puff of wind. I could not sweep or run the leaf blower fast enough to get ahead of those things. Given an uptick in spring temps and a rain shower or two the little “helicopters” turned into small seedlings sprouting up throughout the yard and gardens and most noticeably in our second floor roof line guttering… tiny trees waving down at us, untouchable. Their demise would not happen until summer’s withering heat hit.

Just as the invasion of the maple seedlings abated the cottonwood fuzz appeared and covered everything with a thick layer of fluffy cottonwood seedlings. The yard and pond looked like we’d had a summer snow storm. The cottonwood fuzz was to last for weeks and nearly suffocate every growing thing. I’m thinking the abundance of both the maple and the cottonwood tree seedlings may have been brought about by the extreme cold of last February. Stress due to the hard winter would be a cause for more seed pods to be produced. I wish this abundant effect could have happened for some of my perennials and shrubs which due to the cold decided to just give it up or maybe it was the bag worms that came next that clenched it for them.

I spent many hours doing yard clean-up and was just beginning to enjoy being outside again when snakes began to frequent the yard. One wounded snake took up residence on the dock walkway until it recuperated… obviously I wished it well but offered no assistance. After a few days healed up, it slithered off and I did not miss seeing it…not until watering hostas close to the house- there it lay in the cool shade of the large hosta leaves… Dan finished watering for me and I began to look out the door both ways whenever I had to go out the side door by that area. Gaining confidence a few days later I ventured out the side door only to find a 5 foot long snakeskin next to the hostas… how do I know it was 5 feet long? Dan measured it for me!

It has been the summer of the “siege of the seedlings” and the “siege of the snakes”… neither appeals to me and I have to say I am so looking forward to fall and cooler weather. Life on Green Heron Pond…never dull…just look both ways…

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