Other Side of the Stream

A ribbon of water only inches deep separates a quaffed garden from Gaia’s wild unkempt landscape.  Hidden amongst logs, within towering trees and in secluded glens her children live out their lives often unseen by human eyes.  But today the veil was lifted and for a moment in time I was invited in… Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Gray Squirrel

Gray Squirrel

Gray Squirrel

Red fox

Red fox

Red fox

Red fox

 

 

 

 

 

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One Winter’s Day

I stood alone amongst swaying trees

Reminents of Bamboo grass in the winter garden

Groaning,  creaking bark rubbing against bark, branches entwined cracking

Winter tress in the lower gardens

A cold, damp wind permeated my soul

Aging Bowling ball pyramid in the lower gardens

I sought refuge with the Dreamer…

The Dreamer in the labyrinth

and realized I had not been the only one

Deer track in the snow lower gardens

I pulled my scarf tighter around my neck and clutched my coat hoping to keep the cold at bay

The labyrinth under ice and snow

Even on frozen days the garden’s beauty shines through

Bronze sculpture sitting in the snow

The garden is a refuge,  not only for me but also for those who prowl its paths after dark

Cat print in the ice

Frozen

What was once a liquid is now a solid

Ice on evergreen

It wraps itself around all it touches

Ine encrusted honeysuckle berries

Ine encrusted honeysuckle bushes

Freezing as it follows paths dictated by gravity

Ice encrusted apple leaves

Ice encrusted apple leafAlmost invisible to human sight small imperfections glisten like encrusted crystals

Ine encrusted pear bud

As warmth creeps back into the valleys what is first an almost imperceptible sound becomes louder as the melting ice releases itself from branches and berries and crashes to the forest floor

Ice on forest trees

Ice on berries

 

Halloween Surprise – Milbert’s Tortoise Shell Butterfly

Temperature fluctuations have encouraged creatures not normally seen in the gardens of Valley View to stop and  share the garden’s mid-autumn bounty.

One such creature  new to the gardens is the Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti
Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

This butterfly lives in wet meadows and swampy edges of deciduous forests.  It can be found coast to coast in Canada and the northern United States, in mountains south to West Virginia.  It can be spotted on warm winter days, spring and summer. *

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti

October 31st was a relatively warm day.  We’ve had a few killing frosts so the only flowers still in bloom are mums and Alyssum. Nectar feeding insects frequent these flowers. Also the gardens are at the edge of an Eastern Broadleaf forest, with a spring seep directly across from the gardens. A perfect day and perfect habitat for this butterfly to appear!

Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle on yellow daisy mum

*from National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders

 

Feed the Birds

Allowing native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to  proliferate not only strengthens the web of life it is partnering with Gaia.

Blue Jay bird on sumac

Adding additional food sources to the gardens helps to feed the creatures who share our space.

Chipmunk on sunflower

In eastern Pennsylvania October is the time to help gardens ready for the coming winter.

The potting shed in autumn

It is also a time to help the wildlife around us get ready for darker, colder days.

Downy Woodpecker on sunflower (bird)

Due to their high metabolic rate birds in particular need high-energy foods, those high in calorie and fat content.

Eastern Towhee (bird)

Juniper berries provide this important source of energy, containing 46% carbohydrate and 16% fat.

American robin bird on Eastern Red Cedar

Sunflower seeds contain almost 30 percent fat as well as fiber, protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron potassium and vitamin E.

Tuffed Titmouse on sunflower (bird)

Sharing a space means becoming a caretaker. We are an important part of the web of life. At this moment in time we are the only ones who can completely destroy it or strengthen each strand.

Black-capped Chickadee on sunflower (bird)