Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Third Strike

Our vegetable garden has suffered this year.

Weeding was replaced by wedding.
And soon, other home projects that demand we make progress in the few short summer months each year were underway. While already, the repairs made 15 years ago upon our arrival have been undone—others, yet unstarted, wait.
But, as much as the greedy old house steals time, we would not have it any other way.
“Building character,” we call it, and hammer away at our dream.

Rebuilding porches and repair to brick

Repointing around old shutter dog

At the edge of the woods, a small oak tree I walk past each day has suffered, too.
First, nearly consumed by a hoard of Datana caterpillars—arching into their defensive postures with the slightest nudge of the branch.

Datana sp.
before and after

Then, nibbled and trimmed by the bagworm, days later, his house decorated by the few remaining scraps he could find.

Bagworm feeding on oak
Thyridopteryx sp.

Today, what may be the final blow. Still too small to be seen well, but flattened against the bare narrow stems where others have chewed, still more have arrived to feed.




With each assault, I worry that this young specimen that dared step forward into the field may not survive. The others tower behind him, seemingly unaffected.
A sacrifice, perhaps?

A large unruly plant has sprouted from my compost pile and set forth across the lawn.
We mow around it.
Its leafy greenness hides my gardening sins.
And bears the only tomatoes we may see this year.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

13 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

An interesting walk through your garden Nina. Your house looks like it is coming along nice. You will be so happy when all is finished.

That poor little oak tree could certainly be the sacrifical lamb but you can never count it dead before the fact because they are such resilient plants. They don't say 'strong as an oak' for nothing.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Those Datana caterpillars are u.g.l.y! What an invasion! Poor oak tree. Hope it survives.

Brian said...

What a lovely way to tell us a story, I know the catapillers are not nice and I feel for that oak tree, but a lovely bog with great photos.

Thank you for your comments on mine.

KGMom said...

I marvel that even when a tree is being eaten to the ground, you find the beauty of nature.
Obviously, I missed your initial post on your daughter's wedding--at first, I puzzled over why. Then I remembered--we were out of the country, and I wasn't reading blogs. A belated congrats to all. I will need any tips you can give me--our daughter plans a fall 2009 wedding.

DCup said...

I was so busy drooling over your house that I can't think of anything to say about the worms.

bobbie said...

It is a beautiful house!
The oak tree makes me very sad. I hate to see a tree destroyed. I do hope it survives.

Bear Naked said...

How very cruel Mother Nature is at times.

Bear((( )))

Yolanda said...

I love your photos and your love of Mother Nature.

EcoRover said...

Love the bagworm pics and story. Well, everything has to eat.

Susan Gets Native said...

I like how you garden....mowing around a volunteer emerging from the compost.
That's my style.

You house does have character. I love that blue door, by the way.

RuthieJ said...

I hope you have a nice rocking chair to relax on that front porch when all the work is done! (and I also hope your little oak tree recovers from the caterpillar's assaults)

Heather said...

Wow, just discovered your blog this morning - what a blessing. Thank you, from one nature nut to another - you are inspiring!

Tammy Warren said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures. I found you on the site of Robin. Isn't she great. I am raising a family of two boys...I float around the blogosphere some to find people that share the same interest/love as me. Your site is great. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing.