Saturday, May 26, 2012

Subtle and Not So Subtle Changes

Sometimes when I close the office at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace something catches my eye and instead of leaving right away I linger, my attention captured by something that is going on on the grounds.  Our groundhog guests have moved from under the porch of the Stulting House to under the Carpenter Shack.  That's good because they're no longer undermining the porch of a National Historic Structure, not so good because it's awfully close to the garden!  But they're as cute as ever, darn those things! 

This would be the Good Earth Garden
After locking up I walked around outside to see if things were growing in the garden yet, and if they had done any damage.  Whenever I seem them out of their borrow they are nibbling on wild flowers, in other words, the weeds in the yard.  But that may well be because that is all that is available so far this year.  Once that garden is producing delicious vegetables, it may be too much to pass up.

What strikes me almost every day I walk around the property is that things change really fast this time of year, almost day to day, hour by hour!  It was only a few weeks ago that I used the arch in the top image to the right to frame an image of the Stulting House for what I thought was an interesting angle on side view of the house.  Now the leaves are so thick on the grape vine they practically block the house from view.
First Signs of Leafy Vegetables Planted by HE students

At that time the plot where we plant The Good Earth Garden had been so overtaken by grass, you could hardly tell there had ever been a garden.  Then one day I walked behind the house and it was plowed.  Shortly thereafter people began planting.  Even the seeds planted by the Hillsboro Elementary Schools Students during our opening week are popping up above ground!

Perhaps more strangely, one of the trees in the orchard by that parking lot to the back of the Stulting House is bearing fruit!  It's not an apple or pear tree, though.  I had thought all those trees were varieties of apple, excepting one pear tree. 

The fruit of this large tree is already falling

I realized this was not the case for the first time today when it starting dropping, reddish, blackberry sized fruits on the ground and on my car.  My 1997 Mercury Sable Wagon has seen worse, so no harm was don to the car, but it did make me notice the tree.  I haven't had a chance to to find out what it is, but I must know, so if you want to save me the trouble, I'd be appreciative.

I'd also appreciate help with these pictures of the herbs in the herb garden.  I'm pretty sure I recognize the onion and the chives, but my knowledge stops there.  Of course our gardeners will know, but we're all volunteers around here, it's a holiday weekend, and I'm impatient, so I'm going to go ahead and post them, and identify them as I catch up to people or find them in my guidebooks.  In the meantime, if anyone reading this entry cares to provide some labels, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.  I'd appreciate any help I get.

The Orchard

If you sit under the trees in the afternoon and are quiet, it sometimes feel like your in the enchanted world of a Disney movie in which the natural world behaves as if it were created exclusively to make you happy.  I was lured out by the groundhogs today, but I ended up sitting there for about an hour watching birds, rodents and butterflies, all running and flying around as if they were performing for me.  The robins in particular were involved in an intricate choreography, flying from tree to tree, one leaving when another arrived.

My animated film illusion of all this activity revolving around me got a real reality check when I started to get hungry, and realized I couldn't command the creatures to go to my home, clean the kitchen and start dinner; not even to gather food and bring it too me.  Real-life woodland creatures seem oblivious to human demands, not at all like they are in the Disney movies! That's okay though.  That's what keeps them interesting.


  1. Mulberry tree, then may apples (umbrella like leaves), the purple globes are allium (onion)

    Nice observations, Michael. It is a lovely corner of the universe over there.