After many prayers and much intending, we finally got some deeply needed rain last Thursday and Friday. With so many local trees obviously struggling and very dry, hard ground, I had hoped for a long, gentle rain, and that’s exactly what we received! It rained just enough on Thursday to prepare the ground, and then on Friday, we got a full day into the evening of very slow, misty rain, kind of like nature’s version of a soaker hose. I could feel a collective sigh of relief from all the nearby plants and trees, especially our weeping birch:
On Thursday evening, I went on a walk around the neighborhood. Upon my return, I spent some time with the birch and asked it to give me a sign if the nearly dead branches (from before we moved in) had any life left in them or if I should have David trim them. By Friday afternoon, the hanging branches of dried, yellowed leaves showed bright green, new leaves on the tips! I took that as confirmation that this tree really does want to stay with us and would like even more water than I’ve been providing it. Part of me had worried that maybe I was watering it too much with the run-off from the new garden that surrounds it. I had noticed some signs of new growth on other branches but I wasn’t sure if it would have been more or less without the garden.
Now I know that this tree loves attention. Research tells me it never should have been planted so close to the driveway and walkway, because the shallow roots have nowhere to spread. The return of green to its deadened branches tells me that if I add more compost above the root zone and keep it moist, then we will likely be able to regenerate this beautiful focal point of the yard. David even bought the tree a special mini-sprinkler that we can set just over its root zone if the dry weather returns. We love our birch!
I spent most of Friday inside, just loving the greening rain. Even the indoor plants seemed extra happy:
Reading on the couch of the living room that faces our backyard brought me hours of smiles, as I glanced outside to stretch my eyes:
Saturday brought sunshine once again, and the groundhog patrol kitty arrived to bask in the morning warmth by our shed. Literally JUST as I typed that, the cat appeared again by the shed, almost as if on cue. He’s back in the evergreen tree line again, or I’d snap a photo. I should note that I have not seen any groundhogs in over a week now. I knew the cat had been here again, though, because peeeee-ewwwww, the perimeters of the front and back gardens — and only there had that “this is my territory, don’t mess with me” scent. It’s a small price to pay for garden guarding — well, free, actually, since it’s not even my cat and it only scents the area right after I notice a few too many nibbles in my veggies. I don’t mind sharing some, but when things get imbalanced, I call for help.
Speaking of nibbles, one thing you can count on rain to bring, is slugs. We have some slugs anyway, but after the rain, I saw clear signs of their increased presence. Just last night, as I was harvesting a cucumber and some fresh greens, tomato and herbs for our Greek salad, I looked at my kale and thought, “OK, enough is enough with the slugs!” Look who appeared today, “reporting for slug duty” — a toad!
You have no idea how much I’ve wanted a toad. Over the years, I’ve made, purchased and received as gifts various toad houses, but I have never actually seen one on any of our properties until today. This one just hopped and crawled around our porch, making sure I saw it. I actually needed to check if it was a frog or a toad, but after reading this post on how to tell the difference, I’m confident it is, indeed, a toad.
I put out some filtered water, and I’ll need to remember where I put the toad house I recently unpacked. I’m sure we’ve got enough big rocks around, though. Hopefully, the snake who showed itself right before I ordered a fake snake won’t find the toad. Focus on slugs, guys! And mosquitoes. Feel free to eat no see um’s, too.
In any case, that’s the update from the wild kingdom literally right outside our door. I can’t believe I can walk to so many amenities yet have this much animal life right here. I didn’t post about it because it happened the night before I got the last load of soil dumped in the driveway, but I got a flash that deer were in the vicinity and didn’t want them finding the front yard garden bounty. As if on cue, a skunk sprayed right in front of the garden. Thank goodness for air purifiers, because that scent was strong even inside! My lungs did not love it while spending so much time out front the next day, but it sure kept away the deer.
(On today’s walk, I saw definite signs of deer mowing people’s mailbox gardens to the ground. Wow, no mistaking that complete destruction, chomp marks and all! Thanks for reeking up our yard, skunk friend. I just sprayed peppermint and rosemary around the perimeter, so I got it covered this time.)
I do not yet know if I’ve managed to attract a fox to the former groundhog den. Sometimes they move in, and I’m not sure how that would go down with the kitty, so I’m not even sure I want a fox. No one nearby has chickens, as this part of our town doesn’t allow them. I do love foxes, though, and after dreaming of a fox last Thursday morning, I asked for three signs in two days (or a physical sighting) to confirm if I should fill in the groundhog den or leave it open for the fox. I did receive three in-my-face fox synchronicities in two days, plus another big one for good measure on Saturday. No sighting, though, and no signs of a fox. No signs of a groundhog, either, so the Mystery remains.