Mystery weeds, missing birds, and other puzzles

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There’s a whole bunch of one particular plant growing alongside our house, and thought they might be stinging nettles. Though this would have made clearing them out a bit tricky (they’re not contributing much to the looks of the place), I was excited to try drying and using them.

After a brief online search, though, I concluded that these are not nettles at all. I’m not sure what they are.

Nor do I know what the tiny black bugs are called that cling to every leaf and tendril of our Concord grapevine.

Given the way said grapevine is climbing up onto our porch, under the porch swing, onto the screens of our living room window, and toward the front door (as though it plans to come on inside!), I will soon be hacking it back in an attempt to save the house from its creeping advances. And I won’t be too sorry to remove those thousands of little bugs from our immediate vicinity.

I don’t know why the stinkbugs have vacated the house (for now), but I’m very, very glad.

I don’t know why the phoebes decided not to nest on our porch this year, but I miss them.

I don’t know what these berries are that are growing in the chicken run, but they look like they’d be worth a try. (Best guess: Black raspberries.) I don’t know why fireflies sometimes come in the house or how we’ve gotten so lucky with deer and rabbits so far (knock wood!) not eating the garden.

If I’m ever feeling a lack of mystery in my life, all I need to do is ponder the various creatures with whom I share my home, and how they are going about their business with little or no input from me, and how much I don’t know about what they’re up to.

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