Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sights Along the Way to the Spring

(See previous posts.) Just a few shots of things we see on the way to and from our spring. We have numerous caves on our property and most are unable to be explored because of their location - up HIGH! We are certain that the coyotes and bobcats occupy them and they are probably thankful that humans can't access them. I'll put more pics of more caves on next time I get up that way where I can get a good shot of them.

Cave Spring (continued)

Here's how the spring works: The water comes from the spring in the cave and flows out into a small reservoir at the mouth of the cave. The black pipe is attached to the reservoir and at the top end of that pipe we have a valve that we can adjust as needed. The black pipe meanders through the woods down the side of the ridge about 300 feet, into a 1,000-gallon holding tank that is on the hill near our house. From the holding tank the water goes, as needed, into underground pipe to the house, where there is a small pump to give it a little bit more pressure for when we draw it. Also, attached to the 1,000-gallon holding tank is an overflow pipe for when the tank is full. The overflow pipe goes into another, smaller, tank that we use as a reservoir for watering our garden. We have a garden hose from that tank down to the garden. That tank has an overflow pipe for when IT is full, and the birds love to drink from that water flow.

Our spring has no filters other than a screen over the end of the pipe. It is good, clean water - no chemicals, no pollutants, and it tastes great!

The last picture above is a view looking up when standing at the edge of the "cliff" where the spring reservoir is located.

Cave Spring

We get our water from a spring that is 300 feet above us on a ridge on our property. Occasionally we have to check it to make sure nothing (leaves, usually) has blocked the pipe. We did the check today.
It is a steep and treacherous climb to get up to the spring. The trees along the path are marked with blue paint. Once we arrive at the cave, which has a narrow entrance that is basically inside a cliff, my husband has to lift himself up the steep rock ledge in order to access the reservoir from which the water flows down to our house. Thank goodness he has long legs! I can't get up there without help, but he does it with the use of his walking stick.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Baltimore Oriole

A female Baltimore Oriole has been coming to our hummingbird feeders! We took the lid off of one feeder to provide her with easier access. She's been here for three days.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Garden Clean-up

Well, summer has passed and today is the first day of Fall. I LOVE fall. It is my favorite time of the year. This morning we did some clean-up of the garden -- took out the black cloth we had used as mulch, etc. We plan to plant winter rye grass. After winter, you till it in. Hope it isn't too late to plant it, but I don't think so. Our winter doesn't really start until December here, and then it only lasts until mid-March.

The asparagus and strawberries did great for us. Next year we will be able to harvest the strawberries, and perhaps the asparagus. The asparagus we planted was "two year" asparagus, meaning you can pick it the second year. We'll see. The leeks are still growing. They'll stay in until right at frost. The tomato plants have about had it. There are mammoth sunflower plants still in the garden, the heads drying, and miniature sized birdhouse gourds.

Farewell, garden 2008!

Yellow Jacket Hover Fly

This morning when my husband and I were cleaning up the garden, this big guy kept buzzing me and landing on my leg. He looked like a hornet, sounded like a hornet, so of course I thought, "Hornet!" and ran to my husband's side for protection. Later, when I was walking up to the gazebo, here it came again (well, not the same ONE), and this time I had my camera. After it chased me away, it landed on a plant so I snuck back and took a picture, then looked it up on the internet. It is NOT a hornet! It is a Yellow Jacket Hover Fly, and if you can get one to land on your finger, it is considered good luck. (Does a LEG work???) It is also called the Virginia Flower Fly or the "news bee" because when one hovers in front of your face, folklore says it is bringing you good news. Hmmmm. . . wonder what good news I can be expecting?

Pennsylvania Leather-wing

I finally took the time to find out what this insect is. It is a Pennsylvania Leather-wing. I see them all over the place lately and they seem particularly attracted to the Crown Beard and Goldenrod plants. This is a GOOD BUG! Do not kill! According to what I read on the internet, it may control the corn ear worm, and it eats cucumber beetles, caterpillar eggs and other things you don't want around if you have a garden. These guys are mating and making more good bugs! :)

Flying Squirrel

I spend a lot of time at our gazebo, reading and writing. We have a gourd hanging on the gazebo that we hoped a bird would nest in. Something chewed the hole open larger and when I was up there during the day, I'd notice the gourd bobbing and moving and would hear a scratching sound coming from it. There was matted nesting material inside, but we couldn't see whatever was in there. Since it never seemed to emerge during the day, we figured it was something nocturnal. My husband and I sat up there for two hours before dark the other night to see what came out. As it got darker and darker, the thing would be moving around more. (My husband said it has as much trouble as I do getting out of bed!) Anyway, finally it emerged when it was so dark we could only see its silhouette. It was a flying squirrel. It hung its head out and looked right down at us. About then my husband sneezed and it went back inside. We had hoped to see it fly, but that will have to wait for another night. At least now my curiosity is satisfied and I know what's in that gourd.