Sunday, September 27, 2009

What is truly deer proof?

I created a deer test garden to determine exactly what is deer proof for our immediate area during all the seasons. When they are hungry enough or curious they will try just about anything. Several deer meander by daily always investigating what I have recently planted. Thus far, I can say with confidence that they will not eat the following:
Lavandula sp.- lavender, Digitalis sp. foxglove, Nepeta - catmint, ferns, Asclepias tuberosa - butterfly weed, milkweed, magnolia, gingko tree, thistle, Paeonia - peonies, spirea, Caryopteris –blue mist spirea, Helleborus sp. - hellebores, and Solidago sp. - goldenrod.
I have found many plants that appear on deer resistant plant lists to actually still be eaten such as: Lindera benzoin (spicebush), Viburnum spp, hollies, forsythia, weigula, especially young plants.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Could it be a leopard slug!

About a month ago I was out enjoying the sounds of evening and just about stepped on a huge grey mottled slug (4 inches or so long) which was emerging from the tangle of catmint or Nepeta. Nepeta is an amazing perennial with beautiful delicate blue flowers that bloom most of the summer and attract hundreds of bumblebees and honey bees. I immediately started investigating about the slug and discovered that it is probably a limax maximus or leopard slug. I spotted another one just yesterday meandering with purpose in the grass out by the vegetable garden as pictured here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Guess what I found!

I am so proud! I grew butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) which is related to milk weed from seed this year and I must say it is stunning! I was admiring it today and was shocked to see someone had been feasting on it ! Boy, am I glad – I found at least 2 dozen monarch caterpillars munching away. Click on the picture to get a closer look.,

Fuel the world with Solar!

What are we waiting for? Check out the website for more information.

Thanks John for sharing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

On the road to becoming less energy dependent and carbon neutral

Before jumping to solar panels, our goal is to first reduce our energy consumption. We replaced all our old appliances, boiler and air conditioners with energy star rated ones or energy efficient units, all done before the wonderful rebates were available, but which dropped our energy use by 20%. We are also replacing all our light bulbs with compact fluorescent low wattage bulbs from energy star which use 2/3 less energy than normal incandescent light bulbs and can last about 5 years. This year we installed a Power-Save capacitor device on our home electrical system, which is reported to reduce energy consumption up to 25%, but we haven’t seen any savings yet.

Although we individually don’t have wind or solar, we joined PECO Wind for all our electricity needs which costs an additional $60 on average a month but you can join for as little as $2.54. This amount makes our energy use at least more carbon neutral except for heating, which is our next focus. We plan to install a wood pellet burning stove insert into our fireplace to reduce our reliance on propane based heat. What else could we be doing? Ideas?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jumping Bunnies!

Last week I created a fortress around my newly planted fall garden after discovering much of it had been munched. Perhaps it was rabbits or maybe even crows, but this morning while watering the flowers and basil what should jump a foot high in surprise but 2 baby bunnies in unison. I couldn’t help but smile as they are so innocent and small.