I wonder why

I shuddered and

uttered pitchy sounds when

rock and fence became your

sudden slither.  You are

definitely not my type but

we can get along

if you stay.  Your

orange stripes, woven skin

and watchful eye make you

a stud—perhaps.  Yet

my prejudice against your

kind is deep.  Is it experience

I lack or could it be

a strain of gene or

myth that makes me


© 2017 Ontheland

The photo shows the snake I encountered the other day when I was just about to lean over to look for pea sprouts.  Garter snakes are known to be fairly harmless and probably beneficial for the garden, but…

End of July Vegetable Garden Visit

Another summer month has come to an end and it’s time for a garden visit.  On the down side, July brought bug bites, hot scorching sun and drought conditions.  We’ve had only a few scanty showers.  The sight of drooping plants, as shown below, disturbs me but this shot also shows the cucumber vines climbing (a positive sight):


The biggest disappointment this month was animal nibbling by a skunk, rabbit, fisher or other mammal.  For the first time my peppers have been eaten…they bit the lower ends off! Onion greens were also taken, as were the tops of several milkweed plants!  The solutions?  First, I put up enclosures to discourage sampling.  I have a few peppers left and hope a few will ripen to red.  This shot shows the pepper plants with extra protection:


My second solution is putting out food offerings to keep the critters fed and less interested in my crops.  I have put out corn, carrots, and discount zucchini from the store.   This shot shows a chomped off milkweed plant and a nibbled zucchini offering.


Thankfully there have been peas, beans, spinach, cucumber and zucchini to pick and a wonderful garlic harvest.  And I have a hose that delivers water so the garden hasn’t fried to a crisp like the rest of the world.

Pole beans
Zucchini: the stems are prickly
Cucumber (notice the prickles on the hanging cucumber)
Heirloom spinach with a wild mint plant in foreground.
Red onions, struggling this year, but surviving
Winter acorn squash flowers

By mid-July I dug up all the garlic—not an easy task as the ground was hard.  Fresh garlic is attractive (especially when it’s your first garlic harvest):



©2016, all rights reserved by ontheland.wordpress.com


Garden sage in bloom

In response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge ‘Partners’.

When I planted garden sage, I was adding to my collection of cooking herbs.  I must admit, I also dreamed of making smudge sticks, but later learned that the varieties of sage used for ceremonial burning are quite different….and it is not pleasant nor healthy to burn garden sage!  I tried a few locations, and finally found one where sage would grow happily.  In fact they took over…this is the third year now and they are a thriving community, bushy and close, sending up multiple spikes of purple flowers.


This second photo gives a somewhat closer view of the flowers, sharing their stems with many others.


Plants love to congregate.  It never ceases to amaze me how, when left to their own devices, plants will grow next to and under each other.  Sometimes called weeds, they could be thought of as companions, depending on your perspective at the moment.  The main neighbor shown here is a dogwood bush, visited by spittle bugs, which, I am told, will not damage the plant.  And finally, the most interesting part of this photo for me is the surprise collection of white sage flowers!


©2016, all rights reserved by ontheland.wordpress.com

Blue star surprises

The small flower bed next to my porch still yields surprises after five springs and summers of being here. There is a mystery creeping vine that I’ve trimmed and perhaps hampered–I wonder–but today it came up with fresh apple green leaves and blue flowers that I don’t recall seeing before.  I took a photo and wrote a brief poem, a ‘cinquain’.



mystery vine

spreads, tangles, winds upwards,

delicate stars, translucent blue,


©2016, All rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com

End of May garden visit

Welcome to my vegetable garden.  Last year I posted photos at the end of each month and found the process quite rewarding.  It’s amazing to see the changes every 30 days. For a slideshow method of viewing just click on a photo; captions pop up when  you hover over the bottom of a photo.  I close with a haiku after the photo gallery.

Bare teepee trellis,

hope soars above barren earth,

buried seeds awake.

©2016, All rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com

Green shoots inspire hope for the future

Timing is everything in the spring.  If bulbs sending up green shoots are confronted with freezing temperatures at the wrong moments, their fresh growth can perish.  I photographed the appearance of garlic and daffodil shoots in March and April, but neither have progressed–due to a switch from warmer weather to snow and cold.  I covered the garlic with a frost blanket and cross my fingers for future daffodils.

As spring progresses, my first instinct is to wish for flowers…I wrote a poem for the daffodil shoots:


Rise up

through frost and chill

stretch upwards to green, then

yellow, flourish sweet daffodils,


Then I thought, encouraging premature growth may be unwise…so I wrote a poem urging the fresh garlic shoots to proceed with caution:



patiently wait

for a perfect moment,

then proudly show your destiny,



My poems are cinquains inspired by Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #25: ‘Cinquain’.  I am also linking to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Future’ –as buds and green shoots inspire hope for future beauty.

©2016, All rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com