Wednesday 31 May 2023

Bugs and blooms: yay SPRING!

We've a situation under the lower deck. It is a great place to relax. 😉😜  Aside from bugs and bees! Fred has dug a hole under it, but seems to have moved out. Here is JB relaxing there. I went down to sit with him and a big bumble bee came at us. Then there were three. I am sure they have chased out dear Fred the groundhog. He's been absent a couple of days.

Both of us now have blackfly bites. They are horrid. At least they don't come in the house. This heat will hopefully dry up the running water they rely on in order to reproduce. I thought of this time of year while in the depths of winter!

Fred has redug a hole he made here↓ under the woodpile in 2022. (I'd filled it in.) I still have to stack my wood from our tree branch clean up. I'll have to avoid 'fencing him in!' I worry that the wood will fall on him!

I woke at dawn on Tuesday, and decided to go for it. Donning hat with bug spray on the top, pants and gloves, I dug some dirt, and dumped it into the holes. I caught myself on the camera! 

It's best to work on them in the dark, when the bees are in bed, and it was cold, only 10˚ C., having had a high of 32˚ C. the day before. 

I'll leave this here and see what happens. I have plans B, and C ready in my head. 

So far, no sign of the bees. I think I won! 

I've been having fun on the upper back deck. Most of my house plants are out there. I repotted the orchid, as it was falling over, and was pot bound. Dear JB bought me a new pot and cactus soil. I rearranged my display, as the direct sun is a bad thing. Tying the orchid to the metal tree ornament (it was a gift!), it'll prevent it from falling over in a wind. I've been rearranging. The trick is to avoid having the sun on them, as they are likely to get burned.

They have the most beautiful faces. I'd bet other bloggers could take exquisite photos of them, mine are adequate.

This wasn't a too bad photo, at 5 a.m., as the sun rises. You can see the mosquito hawk on the blossom.

The petunias are delightful.

BTW, we need rain. I watered the front garden Monday night. It is very dry this month. Our average is 78 mm in May, although 2017 was an outlier. 

My serviceberry shrub, bought as a teeny plant, is thriving. I'd bought about a dozen from our Civitan Club, selling them as a fundraiser. They are blossoming! Soon we will have bright red berries, when the serviceberries and huckleberries bear fruit.

The hops vine is up to the upper deck! The white bleeding hearts look lovely.

Visiting cat Pepper has been here. I caught him on Fred's trailcam!


Pepper May 27 from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

I call him Silverback Coyote. He has a lighter mark which reflects the camera light.


Silverback coyote from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

The deer have been scarce. They should be having fawns anytime. They tend to disappear in May, returning to feast on my hostas. I am ready! The only deer I've seen has been on the frogpond trailcam. He is growing his new antlers! 


young buck from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Have a wonderful day. Yes, the news is awful. We have to find joy where we can. Bear witness, if you can, protect yourself if you need some self-care.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Black flies, Butch, Fred, Maggie, and other tails

I've been pacing myself with my tenosynovitis in my foot. It is a repetitive strain injury on my upper foot, first done in 2011. Ice, rest, and a foot brace help manage it. Plus, TLC from hubby! Sitting on the back deck has been lovely. Finally, the mosquitos aren't active there on the deck. The blackflies are another story. I've oozing welts on my arms. You don't feel them land, and they are horribly itchy. You don't even realize they are there. 

🐻 Hunting Seasons  🦃 

I did go to the back 40, to the duck nesting box Saturday morning, wrapped up with bug spray on. While there, I heard the neighbour hunting. Apparently, it is bear (May 1 - June 15) and turkey (Apr. 25 - May 31) season. I like to know, as it prepares me. There are turkey hunting requirements in Ontario: you can't bait them, or call them. They are required to have a licence, and report their kills. Our new neighbour was out hunting Saturday morning and I heard 3 shots. He proudly posted the photo, offering his outfitting services. I worry about Black bear hunting season, as I enjoyed seeing our black bear on the camera. 

The lilac bush is amazing for action. As I sat on the deck, the robins landed in the bush, as well as the phoebes and the hummingbirds.  Lately, I've noticed two female cardinals in the tree. One chased the robin awa. The robins are busy shoving food into hungry mouths. A female cardinal came by and chased them away.

I've done some work on the front garden. Funny story, I spray painted my garden fencing. It is a barrier to keep my lilies in the garden, as they fall over. I spray paint them just for fun. I leaned them up on the fence. Thing is, I had a brain fade and reached to move them, and sort of forgot that they were wet. I scrubbed with the brush, and had trouble getting it out. I had to throw the brush out! Baby oil worked to get it off me, and time! 

There is Fred, watching me. You can see the remaining bed frames leaning up on the fence, this is my repurposed fence strategy. Placing the two rails I'll put up some string later. 

May 18th, I realized the wood ducks have taken up a nest into the box we'd moved. I accidentally flushed her, thinking it still empty, and she took off into the wetland, landing and taking off to safety.


Wood ducking from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Having set up the trailcam, I realized she is too fast for this camera. I may just monitor the action. 


That said, I wonder if Bear will find it. Butch raccoon certainly did. May 25-26, The wood duck is sitting on eggs in here. Butch raccoon knows it, I'll bet. I realized I'd have to tip the camera up a tad. Hit and miss! The baffles baffled Butch. 

Butch is busy from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Finally, Maggie magnolia has bloomed. The chicken wire protects the blossoms, sometimes. This one I'll leave alone, as it will break if I touch it. (I learned that last week!)

We think we've bumble bees who have moved into Fred's burrow under the deck. More on THAT action later! Have a wonderful day.

Monday 29 May 2023

Fred is a selfie star!

Here is Fred. He has stopped gnawing on the deck, and has made a tunnel under the shed. When Caitlin was here she heard him gnawing and stomped on the deck. I told Josephine, in a text, that he seems to have listened to her! 😏 

I am inclined to leave him all alone, now. This is a good place for him. I don't think we're getting any wood in, as we've enough with our downed trees, thousands of dollars later. Who needs to buy wood? I will stack my pile after the birdies fledge under the deck. 

In the shed, he began a hole, which he made into a tunnel. He cannot hurt anything. The shed itself has a cement floor, and this is just in the side of the building.

Here he is. I think he is a he, not a Frederika, but we always call our groundhogs Fred! 

Anyway, I've been watching him, and he's been all over the yard, especially at the back of the yard. I set the trailcam on the deck, just for fun. First he was lying down on the job. Then he has itchies!

Fred grooming from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

You can see his strong claws. They can climb trees, I've read. He dug a hole under the deck, which our cottontail rabbit used in the depths of winter.

Fred's Selfie from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

I saw him do this a couple of days ago, He did it on camera for me! You can see how bad the bugs are.

Fred's 8th inning stretch from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

I hope that made you giggle! 

Sunday 28 May 2023

Happy anniversary!

I was given a lovely Mother's Day present from Caitlin. A beautiful spot of spring, colourful wooden tulips from the Dutch shop in Ottawa. 

We don't really celebrate extended family anniversaries per se, but the flowers fit perfectly in one of the vases from Caitlin and JL's wedding! I'd saved two of them.

JB and I drove past the hall on our marathon trip to Ottawa for his cancer treatment. It brought up a fun memory.

May 28, 2005, 18 years ago!

The wedding took place in Nepean, and we all drove to the reception hall in Fallowfield. We lost the bride and groom for a half hour. The bridesmaid were coming to me to ask where the couple was. They couldn't have eloped, they'd been married! It turns out, the priest whose church was attached to the hall, took them out for a beer! 

Jesse, JB, myself, Caitlin, JL, son Terry, my late mother, my brother

My brother picked up my mother in Bala, and drove her to Ottawa. She died the year after, and wasn't well at the time, but she was thrilled to have made it to the wedding. 

Isabelle (13) did this painting for her mother for Mother's Day! She was secretly working on it in the basement here. Caitlin took a photo as Izzy has to smuggle it out of our house and into their car for the surprise at home.

Josephine (15) was supposed to have her braces off last Wednesday. She managed to qualify for the semi-final for javelin in high school championships, and they had to postpone the removal of braces. They gave her an appointment in June, then phoned back and had a cancellation Thursday morning. Finally, after two years, TA DA! 

I leave you with the robins under the deck, who are getting bigger, and will soon fledge. They don't quite fit and are growing like mad.

When the babies leave the nest, they still get fed. On July 19, 2021, I was working in the yard and I could hear a juvenile robin begging for food. If you watch to the end, you'll see its parent shove food in its mouth. It was a serviceberry, and it spit it out. No veggies and fruit for the teenager! baby robin  

Saturday 27 May 2023

Saturday's Critters

 The cats have been having some fun indoors. With the nice weather they can go out in the Muskoka Room. Nutmeg, the smaller cat, was in the smaller upper deck. Cinnamon gave up and slept in the middle deck. 


They miss watching bird TV, i.e., the bird feeders, but Bear has been on the move. 

Phoebe has 3 eggs in the blue bird nest box.

Spider set off the motion detector! Turn the sound down...

Spider man from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

🐣 Under the Deck

 The 🐣ROBINS are doing well.


Robin nest from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

May 23 in the 🐣PHOEBE nest. Cowbird hatched: 

Cowbird in phoebe nest from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

The cowbird lays in other bird nests. It is against the Federal Migratory Birds Act to interfere in this situation. It is a treaty between the US and Canada in 1916. This gave us the Migratory Birds Act Convention. 

Birds protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act

 I'll let nature take its course. The phoebes finally hatched. There were 4 phoebe eggs.

phoebe nest from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

🦆Wood ducks

It is my first year to not have any ducks nesting on the frogpond. The water went down enough that I could peek in. I was surprised. I'd had the trailcam focussed on it for a month. It just doesn't pick up the birds. Reaching in, I felt a smushed something. Then, a cold egg. There were about 9 of them. I'll need to grab my ladder and clean it all out. So sad. The one on the left, (box #3) has been empty. This is a spring photo, the plants have been growing, trees leafing out.
boxes #2 and #3

May 26, cold eggs at the pond, with one smushed. I don't know what happened.

wood duck box #2 from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Flickers: They like the arbor, the dead elm a few metres away holds their nest. She likes to peek out at me!

Flicker from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Thanks to Eileen for hosting. Saturday's Critters # 493