July was the beneficiary of good June weather. The woods and streams were lush most of the month, but we did get more fog than we'd like. Nonetheless,  the fog turns our lanes and gardens into a dream-like fantasy. Toward the end of the month when the fog and overcast let up, we finally could see the spectacular (almost full) moon rise.

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July is when summer wildflowers reestablish residence here. They're ruled from the fields by Queen Anne's Lace. The Royalty is tended by commoners, including pink Crown and purple Cow Vetch. The wild Day Lilies come early in the month and the Golden Rod reveals itself toward the  month's end. Meanwhile, the native Fragrant Water Lily flowers and pads are at their prime in the marsh ponds.

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July also is when the domestic flowers in the many gardens here begin to peak. Of course there are pink Roses. But there also are blue-purple Liatris, yellow ornamental Sunflowers, red Cosmos, blue and white Lacecap Hydrangeas, multi-colored Honeysuckle hybrids, and many more garden delights.

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Our visiting and resident animals seem to know that they can relax here in our part of "Vacationland." Great Blue Herons with six-foot wingspans are overhead and in the marshes; Red Squirrels and Porcupines seem to do a little less damage as they enjoy some time off; Broad-Winged hawks hunt from treetops; Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds hunt among the Bee Balm; male Red-Winged Blackbirds stand guard as the much smaller females take baths on lily pads, and Painted Turtles build apartment complexes for themselves.

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The return of the Monarch Butterflies has been high on our July checklist since these insects started to be threatened by, among other things, lack of milkweed (the only thing their caterpillars eat). But, return they did this year. They laid eggs on the milkweed and their striking yellow, black, and white caterpillars were soon munching the plant leaves. Also returning were the dazzling 12-Spotted Skimmer Dragonflies.

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As with the Monarchs, keeping tabs on the coastal schooners and fishing vessels is part of our July checklist.  The schooners visit our Great Cove where their passengers can visit the famous WoodenBoat School campus. Below, we see the Brigantine Actress reflecting herself and the schooners Stephen Taber (under sail) and Tree of Life (anchored) in the Cove. Below them, the fog is lifting in our Naskeag Harbor to reveal the fishing vessel Colby & Bryce.

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Of course, there are many smaller, recreational boats that ply our waters or just pose in them, including this assortment:

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Finally, July contains Independence Day and Brooklin is famous for its July 4th parade, band music, and food and games at the Town Commons, which we reported on in a separate post. But here, as a reminder, is Old Glory leading the parade marching up Naskeag Road:

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(Brooklin, Maine; all images taken in July 2018)


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