Sunday, October 28, 2007

Strengths & Weaknesses, or, Birds, Bugs and Canarsie Harvest

Nah, not getting all philosophical-like tonight - actually I'm feeling a bit under the weather & want to put the cabrito curry...did I mention I live in a fabulously Caribbean neighborhood?)I cooked up this afternoon in the fridge & turn in.

Nope, just talking about the Optio while I let the curry stew just a skoshie bit longer.

I've mentioned from time to time that I've been toying with the idea of getting a zoomier camera than the Optio, since I'm now paddling in a wildlife refuge and a major stop on the North Atlantic Flyway. I've now been at Sebago for just over a year; I've watched the birds go through a whole turn of the seasons, and yet when I want to write about seeing the first brants of fall, I can't get close enough to even think about taking their picture. These guys* are about the best I'm going to do as far as bird pictures:

But I was once again really appreciative of the extreme close-up ability that the camera DOES have -

yes, there were my favorite bees on flowers, if I had a dime for every bee-on-flower picture I've taken...

But then today, there was THIS beauty hanging out on the dinghy racks -

Of course the problem with a mantis on the dinghy rack is that it's a dinghy rack, not a mantis rack - the dinghies had been moved to allow for a little machete-and-clipper work to fight back the knotweed jungle - that stuff would eat all of Canarsie if left alone - so the Laser sailor who found her engineered a gentle transfer -

To a friendlier spot. She'll probably not be around much longer - she was quite torpid, and with temperatures dipping into the 30's tonight that will probably be the end of her. I hope she left lots of eggs, and I'm glad I was able to get that nifty close-up.

Been trying to post a couple more but keep getting errors. Just as well, I really do need to turn in. One last one though. The pictures I was trying to post were of my garden the day I went to Plattsburgh (when the cosmos that had spent all summer growing to something like 9 feet tall had suddenly exploded in blossoms in a way that totally startled me, in a fun way) and today. I hadn't been to the club since then - I'd collected my full kit that day, and I needed most of that for Rhode Island, so it all just stayed at home, and since I came back to pouring rain (no need for watering) and 5 consecutive 12 hour work days (I got SO much done, but think that might be part of why I'm feeling run down), today was the first time I'd seen the garden in a couple of weeks. Didn't have any idea what to expect. Well, everything was alive & well that had been when I left - but the 9-foot cosmos had lost the battle to the prevailing winds & had simply given up & laid down. As had the insufficiently anchored late-season pea trellis. Next year maybe my trellises will be less haphazard - and I definitely have some better ideas about what works, what doesn't work & what needs to go where.

But I did have fun with this this year - and it's still producing! In fact I had a rather nice harvest today - with the season end near, I'm not so worried about picking in a way that the plants can sustain (that was my strategy, works well for a single person who can only eat so much at once anyways).

And I just can't resist taking a page from Claire & showing off one of my last harvests - cherry tomatoes, just enough little beets for one meal, a few peas (eaten raw as soon as the photography was done), onions, basil, thyme, and some of the mystery greens from the mesclun mix (one variety happened to handle the hot weather better than the rest, so I left that in) - plus the ONE pumpkin that my poor kabocha managed to produce that I've had mellowing in a cupboard, as I've heard you're supposed to do.

Nice little end of season crop, isn't it?

*Note on our Paerdegat Parakeets - I think our nest has officially become A Colony. One pair started it last January (I watched 'em starting it on a very windy day - they made no progress that day but they stuck with it!) - another pair joined them sometime over the summer & apparently they both raised broods because I was at the club for work day today (just went in the afternoon owing to feeling a little yuck) and at one point, there was a great squawking heard in the Paerdegat and a whole flight of little green birds came swooping in to perch on the wires. Must've been nine or ten. These 3 stuck around - judging by the flapping & begging it was a parent & two youngsters.

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