Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fighting For Food

There are now at least two tiny gladiators challenging each other and the insects, so I decided to refill the hummingbird feeder. I had to beat down the bees to get at it. These birds and bees give a whole new meaning to the term "food fight." We also hung another feeder in the dogwood tree outside our kitchen window. I like their movement, but not their meanness. Hummingbirds must have some serious ADHD; maybe that's why I like them -- they remind me of so many people I know and love. I wonder if I added a little Ritalin to the sugar water, they'd be nicer to their fellow feasters.

Judy posted on her Facebook that she was getting buckets of grapes from her vines, so I figured I'd better check our "vineyard" (which means the vines growing wild on several areas of our property) before the birds and bears did. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we're going to have many grapes for our jam, and the ones we do have are a long way from ripe.

The walk around our property was still fruitful. I found a flowering vine that I'd never seen before, and it was growing on the foliage of a hazelnut plant that I didn't know was a hazelnut (aka, filbert). The irony is that Jack gave us a hazelnut plant from his yard two years ago, and I've been waiting for signs of flowering. The stem of it has been broken, apparently by the lawnmower, but not to worry; we'll still be picking filberts this fall.

When we lived in Louisiana, a hobby we enjoyed was catching crabs outside our back door; we now pick fruit and nuts from our land. Richard likes to collect and crack black walnuts, so I'm assuming that he'll equally enjoy harvesting hazelnuts. The black walnuts are divine in zucchini muffins; too bad all our zucchini plants have, literally, bitten the dust.

We went to the garden last night and found quite a mess. Mamie's chickens have decided that the cucumbers were planted for their eating pleasure, as were the cantaloupes. Our sunflowers have toppled over from the weight of their huge heads, and the cabbage bugs have finished making lace out of every cabbage leaf. The weeds are so thick that we can barely find the onions, and our carrots are splitting their sides because of drought followed by rain.

We try to get to the garden every other evening, but sometimes other pastimes take precedence; it's hard to get motivated to work in ninety-degree, damp heat. Thank goodness there are grocery stores because we'd be hard pressed to feed a family with our laissez faire attitudes about getting up and going to the garden.

For today, there are cucumbers to cut for pickles and beans to string for First Friday. We'll go to the garden and weed-whack; maybe we'll find more food under these wild, wanton weeds.


  1. Man I love black walnuts. I remember when all sundaes were made with black walnuts, now I think it is all English walnuts.

    Sorry to hear about the Garden, and especially the grapes in the woods. I love the grapes and hate it when they don't produce. We won't be around for ours again this year, probably some where in Nebraska.
    Take care, good entry.

  2. just saw a documentary about hummingbirds. Seems their hearts beat about 620 beats a minute while resting and about 1200+ beats a minute while flying. Metabolism is so high that they will starve unless they feed on 1000 flowers an hour. At night, they must "hibernate" to cool their bodies down so they won't starve during the night. That is why they chase other birds away from nectar source--they see it as survival, not knowing there is enough for everyone.