more of last years sunflowers

fairy_toadmotherMay 11, 2006

i finally got the pics finished!

oh, that is my beefsteak tomato infront of the suns. don't let it make you think the sun is smaller. the vine being an indeterminate, grew into my sun (almost literally). the fence is 6 or 7 feet tall, so compare that to the one still erect.

yes, i am proud!

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youreit

Wow!! That would be a little disconcerting, looking up into those sunny faces. Well, hello! :D

You know what you're doing when it comes to growing stuff, FTM! I've never been very good at getting seeds (of any kind) to germinate, so I admire you immensely.

Brenda

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 12:16PM
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fairy_toadmother

thanks, brenda! believe me, it was well deserved due to the challenges i faced! (and those i bring on myself). i was afraid they wouldn't have enough season left to bloom- these were the third time reseeding b/c earwigs kept eating off my seedlings. also, after 6 years of trying to grow a giant greystripe, i finally grew a true sized one! yaaaaaay!. pinetree garden seeds for me from now on.

i really don't know what i am doing...trial and error says dr. bunsen honeydew..... the largest ones i top dressed with compost manure out of curiosity. i think i will do that from now on.
it was quite hilarious watching the squirrels hang from them like monkeys, even though i was trying to dry them from crafts. i got one! the one with the pic and half my face showing. i would have had three but i didn't think they were mature enough. the squirrels were a good indicator, leaning on me for not filling the feedeer with seeds. btw, cheescloth covers do not deter. i also worried every day that the "trunk" would break, but they were very thick.

really all i did was seed, top dress, and water. nature did the rest and even took up residence- ants were farming treehoppers on them. this year i want to try some little dorrit sunflower the plant reminds me of the little shop of horrors plant. what is funny, i really don't care much for the look of sunflowers then i see that big giant head! step back william shatner!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 7:07PM
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youreit

Oh, I know what you mean about earwigs! They are just starting to get destructive in my yard this year, and I still have a few hold-out slugs under some pots. Scissors are my friend. :D

I think I just over love the seeds. Water too much, then I panic and under water. LOL I'll never give up trying, though. And if it lures one squirrel into the yard, it would be worth it! (Sorry to those who are "terrorized" by squirrels.) Would love to see one of them hanging on for dear life! LOL

Brenda

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 12:03PM
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fairy_toadmother

i haven't seen earwigs yet...i think here they will just be starting to emerge. i also haven't put anything in yet!

i finally filled my squirrel feeder for the first time in months today. a poor little forlorn thing was sitting on it. the first half of its tail was hairless-or without the long hairs it looks hairless- and the end had normal hair. and it sat there while i walked out, watched me with those big black eyes. it didn't move off the feeder until i reached up. then it only went a few feet up the pole until i went back in.

usually they hightail it up adn don't even come back for a few hours. this poor baby was there for ages eating the seeds. usually, they ignore the feeder this time of year for maple copters (like the other one was doing). i also think it may have been young, even though i thought it was a bit early. it took a bit to figure out the feeder and usually they are pros at it. it wasn't afraid of me- young can be that way. OR, and most likely, it was very unhealthy. poor baby kept scratching like crazy, more than i usually see them scratch.

from dogs to squirrels :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 6:52PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Those sunflowers are on steroids! I didn't know that got that tall. There was a farmer here that used to grow sunflowers and sell them for bird seed, I used to love to ride by the field in the summer and see all the heads pointing in one direction.

I watched the squirrels devouring the blooms off the buckeye tree, I had no idea that they would eat the blooms! But I'm thinking they would be much happier if they would let them mature and eat the nuts instead. No wonder I can never find any buckeyes ....

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 10:09PM
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youreit

Awww, poor squirrel! He's so lucky to have a nice lady like you looking out for him, FTM! I'm going to (optimistically) refer to him as Harry. :)

Hey, maybe when my buckeye finally matures enough to bloom, it will attract a squirrel or 2! I didn't know that they went for that sort of thing, either, Jean.

Brenda

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 12:03PM
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fairy_toadmother

i hope i see harry today :)
my first sunflower year, i didn't get any. i had squirrels with sweet tooths. the flowers couldn't mature b/c they kept taking them off and eating the fleshy parts.

iam losing it. when i typed from dogs to squirrels, i thought i was on the dog show thread!

jeanner, these are giant greystripes. live up to their name, eh? sunflower fields are planted at work. that is the first time i ever said, wow, about sunflowers. something about all those big yellow smiling faces.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 2:10PM
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fairy_toadmother

well i finally saw Harry again today. the end of his tail is a bit worse for wear but nothing else is! and, i think harry is feeling better. s/he was a bit more bossy as i approached with nuts, tail thumping against the fence post, and didn't stay put until i was ready to reach for the feeder. up the pole and watching VERY closely. but, didn't go as high up the pole today. harry was even scratching less.

the other day, dh said he saw a lump at the base of harry's tail. if so, that could explain the hair loss. i didn't see a lump today, though. and, it isn't bare just short haired, so maybe it isn't an explanation! that is also the reason i don't think it is mange. if i did, i would need to take down the feeder.

i wondered if it was a female that lined her nest. but one sight says hair should be missing from the back and shoulders. my gram had once told me that they use the tail hair.

hmmmm, from http://www.wildbunchrehab.org/true.html: "Even after juvenile squirrels are fully-grown, they are easy identified by a less luxurious tail." maybe waaaay less luxurious. that also goes back to the difficulty figuring out the feeder box and growing shyness.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 3:43AM
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youreit

You're so observant and caring toward Harry (or Harriette!), FTM! I would love to see that tail thumping in action!

My folks have some big ol' squirrels at their house, and I'm going there this weekend. I'll have to keep an eye out for that thumping. :D

I hope Harry doesn't have the creepin' cruds!

Brenda

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 10:26AM
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fairy_toadmother

ihope not either... i would think harry would have bald spots if that were the case. the tail looked bald at first. then i realized from the base of the tail to 1/4 from the tip is all short hair. then, it is long hair, but scraggly.

the thumping was a bit amusing! not quite into it. harry was just thumping for posterity. wouldn't want the other squirrels to think s/he is soft! kind of a sideways thump. the squirrel i rehabbed from a head injury did that, so i wonder sometimes....but that one was never so nice! oh the cussings i heard. glad i don't speak squirrel or my ego would be traumatized.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 3:10AM
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fairy_toadmother

well, harry has lost what long hairs were left in said tail. BUT, the fur on the base of the tail seems to be thickening. harrry is pretty lively and has a healthy appetite. although, harry and blonde tail back off when boss squirrel is around. i just love how that one struts along the fence!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 3:17AM
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youreit

Well, they do say that your hair is the 2nd thing to go...or is that the mind? Hmmm...anyway, Harry's kind of young yet for that. :D

It sounds like he's been using The Hair Club for Squirrels! I bet he's handsome even without hair, though. LOL

Wish I could see your whole (insert name for a group of squirrels here...herd? gaggle? LOL), FTM!

Brenda

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 12:35PM
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fairy_toadmother

its funny, brenda. i usually would only hve one at a time, or maybe a second one following. not this year. so, that makes me think the other two are "young." i, especially, believe this due to my first encounter with harry. he had little to no fear. i haven't been out there since while h/she was on the box. dh also mentioned that harry looked smaller.

also, they are going through my 4 pounds of squirrel nibbles in less than a week. i can't keep up (with starling help).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 4:16AM
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youreit

Those danged teenagers! They eat like it's their last meal (every meal), I swear! And I bet they're blaming it on the starlings, too. :D

I would love to have squirrels, but the one who made a cameo appearance last year hasn't been back. I wonder if he was scared off by the birds, since the jays and maggies have really become aggressive this year, it seems.

Actually, I'm not sure I could afford to feed them if they did show up. LOL

Brenda

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 10:23AM
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fairy_toadmother

harry is dead. well, at least i am pretty sure it is harry. i haven't been past my car for weeks. i go to my car, i drive out. today, i walked to the mailbox and smelled something. i found harry in the neighbors yard. maybe fell out of the tree. i really don't know! the tail looked like harry, but it has been a few days. :(((((

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 4:09AM
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youreit

Awww, poor Harry!!! I'm so sorry, FTM. Do you know if West Nile virus affects squirrels? I know they always talk about birds, but I was just curious, since it sounds like little Harry was "intact". :(

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 12:06PM
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fairy_toadmother

i am not sure, brenda. we do seem to get a falling squirrel about every other year. at least, i think that is why harry died. sometimes they don't survive it. one year we found a poor thing seeking shelter from the rain under dh's car. it dragged its hind end, paralyzed from midback down. then, there is the one that had head trauma just about 4 houses down from me that i released later. now harry. :(

also, found a squirrel at the park with the same symptoms as the released one. it was knocked out cold on the trail adn when came too couldn't run without falling over. dh had one fall out of a tree at the park this year as he was walking by. critters just seem to fall for him, first hummingbirds and now squirrels.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 1:44AM
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youreit

Oh, geez! I can't imagine how sad that must be to find a poor little paralyzed squirrel, or any animal, for that matter! Head trauma or spinal injury, it just breaks my heart.

You took good care of Harry, though, FTM. You were his Fairy Mother. :)

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 2:30PM
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fairy_toadmother

aw, thank you, brenda. the head trauma one was a fighter, and as far as i know is still out there (once leaving my garage cussing my ears). the one at the park probably isnt' though. we let nature be nature on that one.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 2:33AM
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youreit

I just HAD to post a picture of this local field of sunflowers, FTM! As we drive into town, and just after we go up over this little rise in the road which takes us over Cache Creek, this is what we see on the other side. The first day they were in bloom, my breath was literally taken away! I didn't even notice them until then! And this isn't even a shot of the entire field. That would be impossible unless I could fly over. :)

This field is HUGE, and I thought of this thread immediately. :)

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 3:42PM
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fairy_toadmother

holy sunshine, batbrenda! thanks for taking the pic and posting.

my POOR sunflower, i have but one this year but a second one finally sprouted. hmph. anyway, it was a week one at the beginning then got very large and strong. now? it is flopping and there isn't even a head on there...i am wondering about the coon squad's activities. what amazes me is even without a head (hmmm, that doesn't sound good, eh?) it still follows the sun.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 1:00AM
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youreit

LOL!! That is so scary, how it follows the sun without a HEAD! Sounds like a great horror flick. The Linda Blair sunflower.

And I'm sorry about your sunflower! I'll send sunshiny thoughts to your struggler. :)

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 10:52AM
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fairy_toadmother

ok, it leaves a whole lot to be desired! only one of two that germinated for me this year. i dont' get it. AND, this is from seed that fell last year. as a matter of fact, my cypress vines from overwintered seed JUST germinated this month! how strange is that.

and now for something completely different. this is a giant greystripe of which i was referring to above. it is only supposed to have one head. i noticed this morning, that there is a second one developing. how weird is that?

this photo doesn't show how bad it leans. it only looked good for a couple months. i almost pulled it b/c it wasn't straight and looked weak. then, it looked good. then, it decided to lean at a 45* angle. ok, maybe a 30*. at least it has a "trunk" just like last year's.

the head isn't nearly as big either. no sunflower baskets this year, much to a friend's dismay whom i have yet to tell. i dread the thought!

gotta brag a little: oh, all the same one. i was just playing with background color on photo editing. amazing what difference it makes, as well as adjusting sharpness. however, the white and green are in the actual photo.

it's a little lopsided, but hey, that's nature!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 10:06AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I love Sunflowers. That basket is so neat and so clever! PJ

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 8:38PM
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fairy_toadmother

thanks pj! i saw the project in a magazine and had to do it. i did use things the critters would feed on instead of dried flowers, or silk.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 10:21PM
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fairy_toadmother

a bumble "catching some rays" or catching some sun" :)

as far away as i was, it is still blurred! hope you can find the bumble!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 12:22PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

He's pretty clear on the right there. PJ

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 11:55PM
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youreit

Those are awesome baskets, FTM!! That's the actual head of the sunflower?? Amazing. I love the idea that the birds, etc., can feed on it, too!

That 2-header is crazy! I can see the lean by following the huge stem down.

I love bumble bees. Do they ever come in shiny black without the yellow? I had one of those visit the other day, and it kinda scared me. LOL

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 7:56PM
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fairy_toadmother

yes it is, brenda! itis the one i was holding up in front of my face in another thread (prides and joys). amazing how much they shrink while drying.

i have the book, humble, bumble bee....i need to look that one up. we don't have those here.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 8:24PM
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fairy_toadmother

ok, brenda. i didn't find shiny black without the yellow. i take it the bee is shiny b/c there is no fuzz?

i did find a fuzzy one, with very little yellow- a spot on the thorax and one yellow band: Bombus californicus: "large bee almost identical to B. vosnesenske except the head is black. Heavy black pile covers the bee with the exception of a bright yellow cape at front of thorax and the yellow abdominal stripe. late april to august."

no wonder there was a gold rush. california is thick and rich in gold and black bumblebees (and some with terracota orange)! you also have Psithyrus suckleyi, P. insularis, Bombus sitkensis, B. vosnesenske, B. van dykei, (maybe B. vagans vagans), B. terricola terricola ("nasty disposition when nest is bothered"), B. terricola occidentalis (n. california), B. sylvicola,B. pennsylvanicus sonorus, B. occidentalis (rear ab segments are white), B. nevadensis nevadensis, B. morrisoni, B. mixtus (ahhh, the names are getting easier), B. melanopygus (in the north and i spoke too soon), B. huntii (southern cal), B. griseocollis, B. flavifrons flavifrons, B. flavifrons dimidiatus, B. fervidus fervidus, B. edwardsii, B. crotchii crotchii, B. centralis, B bifarius nearcticus, B. bifarius bifarius, B. balteaus (sierra nevadas), B. appositus (sierra nevadas and cascades)

what a list! it is harder to interpret who lands in illinois. maybe 3 or 4.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 10:03AM
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fairy_toadmother

my insect field guide list california carpenter bee. solid black and 3/4 to 1" "black with greenish or bluish reflections. Male's face has yellowish-white center."

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 10:09AM
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youreit

Ok, trying to look up some of those names, FTM. (Thanks so MUCH for taking the time to research all of that!) I have a pic that's still on my camera, if I get desperate.

It could very well be a CA carpenter bee, from what I can see on the Google images. I don't think it was Bombus californicus, because it didn't have any yellow on the lower area.

Ok, I'm just going to post the pic. This thing was bookin' it all over one of my Salvias, so this was the best I could do. I only saw it one day, and only around this 'Rhea' Salvia. "He" loved it!

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 1:12PM
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fairy_toadmother

what a cutie. that is such a great pic, brenda. move over jeanner, you got competition :)

i'd just bet it is a male carpenter. should we name him richard?

that research didn't take any time at all. it is all listed in my humblebee bumblebee book by brain l. griffin.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 1:30PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

Very cool! I like bumblebees. They liked my Indigo Spires that didn't survive winter. I usually wont replant what doesn't trive(I'm lazy) but I don't have as many bumblebees this year. Decisions,decisions...PJ

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 3:53PM
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youreit

Oh, no, I'm FAR from being competition for Jean, FTM! That little fella just had more patience knowing it was I who had the camera. :D

Hey, PJ, I got the Salvia 'Indigo Spires' this year! It just started blooming for me, so I'll have to keep an eye out for the humblebees! :)

Brenda

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 3:19PM
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