Days of Rodent Death

June 29, 2010

She sat on the top of the brick mailbox at the end of my cul-de-sac, dun-colored, majestic and yellow-eyed. In her talons, she held a still-struggling mouse and I could almost hear it squeal. She was slightly ruffled when I stopped the car to watch her, bobbing her head, giving me a piercing stare. Her beak was sharp and lethal as she tore into the mouse.

Damn. It was the coolest thing! It made my whole day! It was like Wild Kingdom, three doors down! I LOVE this stuff!

I looked it up when I got home because I really don’t think it was a red-tailed hawk, what we usually see in this area. It was a grey color, like a ashy charcoal. Peregrine Falcon? How amazing would that be?! Nope, this big was a lot bigger. Northern Farrier? Could be, could be! Now I wish I’d taken a photo with my phone because, even given the not-so-great resolution, it would have been better than trying to remember every little detail in feathers and coloring. I was too overcome by the experience.

Speaking of dead things, I had a dead vole in the garden yesterday, right at the base of the tree where the hammock hangs. Ick. The circle of life doesn’t have to be so terribly in-your-face, does it? I scooped it up in a shovel (long handle!) and tossed it in the Neither Here Nor There bed under the hostas. I’m sure something finished it off (oh, yum) over night.

The purple beans are blooming – purpley, magenta-ish curls popping off the vine in great profusion. The green beans are forming, slender, wispy pods, tiny and charming. And WHERE did this 6″ long zucchini come from? Do these things hide under leaves and then suddenly, are big enough to be seen? Or do they truly grow this fast – within days going from bloom to squash? I am at a loss to understand exactly how they’re forming too, so watching them will be interesting over the next few weeks. It seems like they come straight from the main cluster, but that doesn’t explain how the flowers seem to be on stalks. The brussel sprouts are starting to well, sprout. The stem grows taller and I can see buds nestled between the leaves. Oh, so very cool.

The Annabelle hydrangea blooms away in the dappled shade and the bellflowers have chimed their last. I cut them all down last night and threw them in the compost bin. Now it’s time for the lilac trumpets of the hostas, bringing bees and butterflies into the horn. The gaillardia continues to bloom, tousled petals and radiant gold. The person I picture in this flower is disorganized, hair never combed properly, lipstick smeared, someone who has danced all night and still is pop-eyed for breakfast at Denny’s.

The balloon flowers, those wonderful contradictions, are popping, the petals forming that hot air balloon, a puff, and then opening in a trumpet, like a morning glory. The pink is almost white, they are delicate and angelic. Then we get a ballet dancer on pointe, elegant and graceful.

Hibiscus are setting buds, the pampas grass is forming that fountain of green blades, and I may have made the penultimate bee photograph.

Or maybe not.

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