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September brings more than the end of summer.
September 02, 2008

Our prayers go out to all the hurricane victims.

The picture to the right is in my garden. Rudebekia "Indian summer". A wonderful plant that really performs in my Z5 yard.

The blooms can reach 7" across and retain their beauty for weeks.

Check into it.

It's September.

Where did the time go?

Labor day weekend brought the unofficial end to summer, but there is still close to three weeks of summer left, so get out and enjoy it.

(The picture to the right is in my garden. Rudebekia "Indian summer". A wonderful plant that really performs in my Z5 yard)

Here in Michigan, September means kids go back to school and with that, you can almost bank on some hot and humid weather.

This week is no different.

It's almost like a right of passage or something.

It used to be that I dreaded September and the coming of Autumn.

The only good thing about fall was football season.

With kids gone, the beaches will be less crowded so Karen and I will be hitting Lake Michigan a couple of times (hope the water is warm enough for a dip).

I'm not a big fan of elbow to elbow at any beach.

After all, gardens are winding down, days are growing shorter.

I would start to look forward to spring already.

September brings shorter and shorter days for me.

I can complain all I want, but it never changes :-(

Walks with Keet and Ziggy the poodle pup are more towards dusk these days. Evening walks have the advantage of cooler temperatures and we see much more wildlife.

Keet wants to chase everything and Ziggy is either afraid or could care less.

If you want to see a picture of the fur kids, go to:

about me page On the website.

It's amazing how different the kids can be.

I've mellowed with time and I'm learning to appreciate all that the four seasons have to offer.

There is a lot to do in the yard and gardens.

Annuals are hitting their peak this month and late summer perennials are putting on a grand show.

When you step outside, do you feel the difference in the air?

Even on a 85 to 90 degree day, I can feel the sun beating on me in a different way.

It is lower in the sky.

You can hear the insects of the season and certain smells that the season offers.

Bees and wasps are busy and some are more aggressive as they have a larger nest to feed.

Not to worry, when the cool weather comes, many wasps and bees die off.

Be patient if you can, they are still working the flowers.

Especially the "Humble Bumble."

Now the Bumble bee is so busy and passive, you can actually pet them sometimes.

Just be careful.

If you live in the northern regions, you may consider cutting back on feeding you plants.

Perennials need to harden off and for annuals, the days are now numbered.

Let them go to seed to offer food for birds.

September also brings scores of young American goldfinches to my sunflowers and feeders.

Sunflowers grew tall this year.

I do enjoy the constant commotion

September in Michigan brings fields of Goldenrod and Asters to bloom.

The contrasting colors make a beautiful sight in nature and in your gardens

Late native bloomers that offer food for butterflies and later on seeds for birds.

Isn't it wonderful how "Our Creator" set everything up in perfect harmony?

Plus, we get to enjoy it all.

Can you ask for more?

I still look forward to spring, but I plan ahead and you should too.

You want to look at successes and failures.

This is a good time of year to start making plans for what to plant next year or what to move later this fall.

Do you want to re-arrange some gardens?

Do you want to add to your wildlife habitats?

Now is the time to cruise your yard and start planning for for next year.

Break out a map or drawing of your habitats and start scribbling away.

Okay, even if you live in the southern regions, you can still make plans, you simply enjoy what you have longer then I do.

September can also bring an end to many vegetable gardens and also offers up lots of big ripe tomatoes.

The pictures show me standing with tomato plants August first and the other picture shows some maters from the same plants about 10 days later.

I may be a bit old fashion, but I still enjoy canning and dehydrating.

Yes, I do that stuff.

September also brings the beginning of migration season for many birds and the Monarch butterfly.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only hummer we have in the eastern portion of North America and here in my neck of the world they are typically gone in late September.

Now is when I pump my nectar water up from 4 parts to 1 to 3 parts water to 1 part sugar (many flowers offer 33% and up to 50% nectar).

It doesn't hurt the birds, indeed it helps them to bulk up for the long trip South.

Until Rubies and some other species hit the trail, they are still protecting their territory and attempt to keep other hummers from invading their food sources.

Not until migration begins do they tolorate each other at feeders and flower beds.

Now remember <>, feeders really aid nature's offerings when they are lacking.

Keep your feeders clean and filled for at least two weeks from your last sighting.

Sometimes, juveniles are slow to understand the signals to migrate (kids).

By doing this, you are helping the hummers.

Why do birds migrate so early, when there is plenty of warmth and flowers left for them?

It's all has to do with length of day.

MigrationSouth helps to explain things a bit better.

As you have read, things are different heading South so they take their time.

North bound is dictated on hormones and often birds are caught in some bad weather conditions yet feel the need to move on.

Yup, those hormones can even get birds in a lot of trouble :-)

C. Mark Klym, was very kind and generous, he mailed me a copy of a book he co-authored "Hummingbirds of Texas".

What a wonderful gift indeed.

The book is full of hummer information and the photograpy is amazing.

It is chock full of information on Texas' hummingbird roundup.

This is a book for anyone that enjoys hummingbirds.

Thanks again Mark.

If you live in Texas or anywhere near the Lone Star State, I recommend you take in some hummingbird watching.

Texas is proving to be "THE HOT SPOT" to watch hummingbirds by the hundreds and several different species at one time as they stoke up for the remainder of the trip South.

Because of habitat destruction and some global warming, many hummers remain in Texas and other deep South locations.

As September begins (it will be over way to soon), enjoy the hummingbirds and other gifts of nature.

It will pass us by for another year before you know it.

It is the beginning of the month, that means it is time to clean all your feeders.

Give them a good cleaning and sanitize them too.

Clean out all your birdbaths and keep filled with fresh water.

When the hummers are around, you may offer a mister or run a sprinkler for them to bathe and drink from.

Take notes of what you see and when your last hummer sighting was.

Observe how many other birds are congregating.

Enjoy the butterflies and everything that "Nature" has blessed us with.

September isn't the beginning of the end as I once thought, it offers something new and exciting for all of us.

Semtember can be a wonderful month for you too.

It is up to you to understand this and get out and take advantage of this special time of year.

Before I go,

Here is your thought for the week.

Too many people over value what they are not and under value what they are.

-- Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) American Publisher

Think about that for a moment.

Oh so true.

Many of us were told we wouldn't amount to much or that "You can't do that."

So, we over value short comings or what others said to us, instead of listening to our inner being.

Every person has a God given talent or special gift that is unique only to you.

You are a special and unique person.

You have special talents that no one else has.

Discover your passions and go after them with all your heart.

It may not make you wealthy, but it will make you happy.

Now that is something to smile about.

Now that you are smiling, why not share it with others (it is a gift too).

Share your smile with the world and believe in yourself.

Until next time my unique friend.

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers. Better yet, have them sign up so they can recieve their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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