Hummer in bee balm

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 218

The heat from Arizona to the east coast hasn’t let up a bit with many major cities in the hundreds every day for some over a month now. We are on the cool side with more rain and thunderstorms passing through. Last Friday as we were getting ready to go to the opening of the National Watercolor Show at View one of those storms had quite a bit of hail in the mix. I did hear of some places across the state that got quart size and bigger hail in that same storm as it crossed the state. The night before as we were going to bed there was a lot of thunder to the west of us so I had to look at the radar to see how we might fair. It showed most of the reds and yellows to the south of us, but I think things changed as it came east. There was quite a light show outside the bedroom window and then at about ten thirty the flash and the boom were at the same time and the TV went off and the lights went out instantly. I got a couple flashlights and checked the breaker downstairs, and it was still on. Time to go to sleep and it will be on in the morning. Phone worked, I checked that. Got up at daylight and called National Grid and it seems we were the only ones on the road that were out of power. Others had lost their phone service and internet, but we had ours. Seems that one bolt of lightning hit the power pole just below our driveway and blew the breaker that goes to our 950- foot underground line.  National Grid came up and in no time had a bucket truck come up and replace the breaker and we had power. Seems there were several others in the area with similar problems after that storm system passed through. 

Well, that wasn’t the end of it. After the pouring rain of over an inch on Friday night the fix didn’t work, and our power was again off early Sunday morning. We called right away this time, and a lady told us it would be fixed by eight. Then a gentleman called, and he said maybe not. Someone drove in about daylight and tested to see if we were out and we were still out. A line crew came with another bucket truck, and they changed all the wiring and parts near our transformer by a little after eleven, and so far, it is still working. Many of our neighbors still don’t have phone or internet service and we lost no appliances, so the breaker saved us from that problem. 

When the sun was out there were lots of butterflies in the air and on my flowers. I hadn’t seen too many monarch butterfly caterpillars on my milkweeds or on the butterfly weed that has gone by now. With all the rain it may have kept the flowers from being pollinated as I haven’t seen many pods growing from all the flowers that were out. 

The Joe-Pye-Weed seems to be doing great and feeding many of the butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. That flower even after it goes by seems to still have energy that the monarchs love later in the season when the milkweeds are gone. My bee balm is going gangbusters with five or six hummers in there all the time fighting over the flowers. My other two colors just came out so that should take some of the pressure off my big red patch. I love that plant as the flowers last the longest of any flower that I have in the yard. The deer nibble on them a little but look for the touch- me- nots that grow among them for better tasting greenery eating. 

I was up by Carter Station a week ago on a hot sunny day cutting the wild parsnip to keep the seeds from ripening as they can last up to four years before growing a plant. I cut over a thousand stems around the old station right where they had piled all the new ties that they were putting under the tracks. The seeds came off the ties, hundreds of them by all the plants that have come up in the last two years. I cut a few hundred on the way up there along the Rondaxe Road and the road to Carter Station which came from fill used along those roads. 

The milkweed was going great along the track there and there were all kinds of butterflies enjoying the flowers. Eight different kinds of butterflies, some skippers, a couple clear wing moths and a couple hummingbirds came buzzing by also. 

I did shoot the full moon Tuesday night off the Seventh Lake Bridge, but I was under an umbrella, and it didn’t last very long before the clouds rolled in and covered it up. On the 30th there is going to be a second full moon during this month, sometimes called a supermoon, so be looking for that.

Loons getting hit by boats or wave runners are growing in numbers, but that’s another story. See ya.