The Splendor of Summer at Boomer Lake
Weather Has Been Rough, But the Masses Have Been Supportive
Even though it has been an odd summer for most of the world, it certainly has had some excellent slices of what nature has to offer here in central Oklahoma. Yes, we have had some severe weather, and Mother Nature has expressed her anger from time to time, since we haven't been particularly kind to her. So be it, as one cycle leads to another. This area has had a number of tornadoes, some of which were downright catastrophic, but many individuals in this country have sent a helping hand. This made me smile and say to everyone that would listen that we have some fine citizens in this country. No, let me correct myself. Help actually came from all over the world. Let me give you my thanks, and this is my gift to everyone that cares about people's needs, as well as the needs of nature. As a naturalist, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Weather Synopsis vs. Avian Botulism Causation Factors
April Showers bring May flowers, the old saying goes, but there was quite a lack of water for a while. Boomer Lake was at the lowest level that I had ever seen it, and there was some concern on my part that birds would be affected with avian botulism, when ambient temperatures are too high. This can be perpetrated due to lack of water, as the organisms find this a favorable condition, but that is not always the case.
My worry was soon dispelled due to a great deal of rain that we received during late spring and up until now, Boomer Lake is more full than I have ever seen it. There appears to be no chance of a drought this year, which is wonderful news for all. The farmers will be pleased, as hay is growing well, and there are great hopes that there will be plenty of that for all who need it.
Summer is a time of soaring aspirations, and certainly high hopes for grew vacations, cookouts, each time, and family outings. This has been a banner year for that, and Boomer Lake has seen many fun times.
Summer is also the time of wildflower growth, and it has been prolific, and a great food source to birds, bees, and butterflies. We need all the pollinators that we can get for our vegetable gardens and farms to be able to sustain our food sources, and everything is looking good for that right now.
Monarch butterflies need milkweed in order to propagate. It is a necessary source in their growth and well being. Even though butterflies got a late start thus year, they are definitely flourishing now in this area, and we have seen a great amount of various species, some of which I have never seen before.
As a matter of fact, the amount of swallowtails around the lake during mid-summer was very impressive, and nearly everywhere I looked, I could see hosts of them. These are some of our largest butterflies, and I'm almost certain that one day that I was out there were a couple of giant swallowtails nearby. While I was on the way to photograph them, they were frightened away by a jogger, and that was the end of that. I never saw any more, but was duly impressed by their size. I would say that those specimens were a good six inches!
The wildflowers are thriving very well, too, many wonderful examples of Queen Anne's Lace, and so many others that I am unable to identify due to lack of knowledge. That will soon change, as my plan is to obtain a good wildflower guide, both for my own curiosity, and the fact that I can help others learn about what is in this part of the country.
There are so many wonderful examples of wildflowers in this area, including thistle, which is a fundamental product in attracting finches. Many butterflies also feed from thistle, and it is also a very beautiful pink flower.
Birds also happen to use the spent flower for food as well as nesting material. As you can see, it has wonderful uses for much of our wildlife.
Positive Outdoor Thoughts
Not only is summer a fine time to get out and do things with friends and family, it is also beneficial to be out in the sun for the natural vitamin D that it provides. It is both good for the skin and hair, in moderation, of course. It is also necessary to wear sunscreen and reapply it periodically, as we sweat off its protection, and while swimming, it comes off in the water.
So get out there and enjoy your time outdoors. Share walks with those that you care for, and look around you, to see nature's wonders. Granted, you don't have Boomer Lake across the street from you, but there are parks and other lakes to enjoy, besides your own beautiful neighborhoods.
Suggestions to Recycle
Fall is right around the corner, so those grass clippings and weeds that you have tossed onto the edge of your property will be great material to place over your gardens for the winter. It is ecologically sound practice to use these materials to provide natural protection and fertilizer to gardens, as long as they don't have pesticides, which will kill of next year's crops before they start. Some cities and towns also pick up these garden and lawn wastes that you have no use for to use in public areas, like they do here in Stillwater. Old newspapers not only help start your winter wood stoves, but they are also wonderful to use in your planting beds to keep weeds at bay.
In Miami, lawn and tree trimmings In general can be donated to local community gardens for composting. They are always looking for bagged leaves that people leave on the sidewalk. Contact your park and recreations office and ask them to give you a contact person for the local community garden.
Pollination is So Important
- Some of the Greatest Pollinators on Earth
Take a walk on the wild side. See our pollinators before they become endangered, or worse, extinct. See Deb Hirt's photos and a beautiful video that will "knock your socks off."