There have been several occurrences that I especially enjoyed so far this growing season. Watching mother birds teach their little ones to eat on their own was amusing.

The little ones were quite determined to be fed by mom, who was equally determined that they could manage on their own. A war of wills, and as it is with humans, the little ones often got their way.

That didn’t last too long before mom started hiding in the bushes. Sound familiar to you Moms out there?

I was happy to observe bunnies that would fit in the palm of your hand grow into adulthood. I was elated that they got in my flower beds and vegetable garden but never ate anything but weeds. Less work for me—bring on those bunnies.

THE PERFECT SPOT

The most exciting occurrence was a visit by a snapping turtle. We usually get a snapper each spring or early summer and have had hatchlings, but this lovely lady wanted to scout out the perfect egg-laying location.

She climbed up a stack of 4 bags of mulch and a roll of black edging to survey her options. I watched in dismay as she tumbled down, but righted herself immediately and began her journey to the perfect spot.

She surveyed my vegetable raised bed but turned her beak up at it. At this point my husband and grandson, who was visiting from Oregon, arrived. After watching the snapper for a few more minutes, we went inside to give her some privacy.

BABY SNAPPERS

A short time later she was gone and we could find no sign that she had chosen a spot for her eggs. However, the next morning, we discovered she had returned during the night and made a nest in my flower bed.

A snappers’ nest is formed by pushing soil, sand, or mulch aside with her powerful hind legs to whatever depth she can reach, usually 5 to 7 inches. She may lay up to 40 ping-pong sized eggs over a period of hours, covering them up before returning to the water.

The hatchlings emerge several months later, depending on the temperatures experienced by the eggs. Did you know that the temperature at which the eggs develop determines the sex of the hatchlings? Amazing isn’t it?

The hatchlings begin their perilous journey to the water. Many won’t make it, as predators will find them first, but those that do will grow up to 6 inches the first year of their life.

I can’t wait to see how many hatchlings we will get this year!

WORKSHOP, TRIP

If you are already thinking about what to do about garden debris, we have scheduled a composting workshop for Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon. Best composting practices, what can be composted and what can’t, troubleshooting and much more will be covered.

There is a $5 workshop fee and we are taking reservations now. Call us at 518 561-7450 or email me at jmw442@cornell.edu

We are still accepting paid reservations for our Montreal Botanical Gardens trip on Tuesday, Sept. 10, but only for a few more days. This day-long trip features a tour of the new Gardens of Light.

Your $65 registration fee covers round-trip coach transportation and admission to the gardens.

The insectarium is undergoing renovation and will not be accessible. You must have a valid passport or passport card to board the coach. I hope you will join us!

 

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