Today the skies are a cloudy matte grey, short bursts of wind blow through the naked valley
oak tree branches as the squirrels busy themselves, running to and fro frantically digging here and there. My garden is filled with an ever increasing number of pockmarks as three resident squirrels try to reclaim long lost acorns, buried away last fall. In the process several young plants are uprooted. I reset in the soil a California Current (Ribes sanguineum) that had been carelessly dug and tossed to the side. Roots still attached, I have hope it will survive. The fate of a newly planted White Sage (Salvia apiana) did not have such a positive ending. I suspect a squirrel broke it off at ground level. I don’t know what it did with the root ball. Such is the life of a garden.
The squirrels munch their acorns like ears of corn, chewing rapidly from side to side and spinning the nut in their tiny front paws. As soon as it finishes one nut, it’s back to poking its head under the mulch, seeking another nut and leaving another pockmark in my garden.
Mushrooms continue to burst from the wet mulch in multitudes. They seem to be thriving this year with what rain we have received. I might appreciate the squirrels if they ate up those mushrooms.
Season to date we have received almost 8 inches of rain in this urban garden. Still way better then the past 5 years, yet lags behind our annual average to date which should be closer to 10 inches by now.
I note rose branches stripped of the last of their leaves. Fresh deer droppings confirm there have been rose bush eating visitors in the night.
Several Dark-eyed Juncos (Oregon) scratch in the mulch near my grape arbor.
A Black Phoebe perches on a crabapple branch and darts quickly from it’s perch to the ground and back again seeking flying bugs. Click to learn more about this local bird: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Phoebe/id
A pesky Western Scrub Jay lands in the roofs gutter, flicking through muddy leaves, flinging decaying leaves to the ground. Thank you Jay for cleaning my rain gutters. More about this bird here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Scrub-Jay/id
Several other species of song birds flit quickly through the garden. No season is quiet and still in this California urban garden.
As the evening’s rain system approaches, the skies are void of the usual sightings of American black crows, red tailed hawks and turkey vultures. I don’t miss the incessant “cawing” of the crows. I find these birds to be rather annoying. Though, I should appreciate them more as they are rather intelligent for a bird.