A lot of fall / early winter chores in 2015. Moving compost here and there to the fruiting trees and nut trees and organizing the winter wood for the stove. A warm December and some trees were heading towards blooming, will see in the spring if that affects them. Kept looking to see if the garlic would start to shoot up but fortunately it did not. Planted a lot of bulbs so hoping to get a good return this year.
Now that the temperatures have started to drop and snow on the ground the bird feeders are in heavy use. I’ve seen tracks of grouse, deer and what I think is a coyote. One night I stayed out late with the camera to hopefully get a shot of the deer or coyote, but ran out of whisky in my hip flask so had to run back inside and have a drink. (There was a wandering trio of skunks who waddled by to see what I was up to but I decided not to get close!). No sign of rabbits this winter so I think there must be a coyote hanging about.
Need to click on the picks to see them best. Especially the Jay grasping the peanut
Hairy at the Suet
Deer are around but in the middle of the night. Beet tops seem the favourite item. Next year will have to figure out a way to keep them out of the vegetables. No pics of them as I am not up in the middle of the nights these days. Up with the sun and down shortly after it sets !
These skunk kits spend a week or so wandering about. Quite happy at the paths I had made. A few times they confronted me with their tail overhead and did the front paw stomping and gnashing their teeth. Prelude to spraying if I came closer. Declining the invitation I backed away slowly and they left me alone. Dumping some javex and blood meal around the deck a few days later and I never saw them again.
Harrier is a type of hawk that flies low to medium height over the pasture and can hover in mid flight when it spots prey. (like the fighter jet in the UK) Two juveniles and the adults out back and lots of fun to watch dive for stuff. Wingspan about 2-3 feet. Head is like an owl and they have hearing apparently like an owl. Need to double click on the pics and see them to get an impression of the bird. enlarge if one can ! They seem to sort of tolerate me but have had a visitor leave the back pasture – nervous as three or four fly overhead an circle
Lots of frogs in the pastures. Suppose to be a sign of good eco health. See the frogs and garter snakes almost everyday when out there doing chores.
Now that i figured out what bird this is I hear them all around. They sound – at times – like a cat squawking for food first thing in the morning. Apparently have a bunch of different songs but …… eats a lot of insects
Three or 5 of these buzzing around all day. Lots of wild flowers this year and some other stuff plus the feeder. They never stop long enough to get a good picture though. At least for me. Very socialable though and happy to be around feeding if someone is there. One flew up to me about 2 feet away while I was standing on the pile of logs with the chainsaw going wondering what the hell I was doing
Usually about 10-15 sparrows around. Short tail, long tail, song sparrows etc. Eat a ton of insects and quite happy of the cut grass in the middle of a field of bugs to eat. Hear them singing or chirping away all day.
They don’t come around the house but there are a ton of them out in the pasture. Seem to nest in the field. Another insect control . All seem to have different kind of yellow splashes on them. Some full body others partial. Without a camera to snap a shot or I guess binoculars, hard to get close to
Wood to split for the winter. Did some a day ago. Doing a bit here and there to whittle it down. Then likely cut up the rest of the logs for the following year.
First weekend in a while without rain. Lots of weeding around the vegetables. Thinned out the carrots. I was going to thin out the beets but one of my deer friends did it for me last night. Bugger. Selective eating though so they are thinned out now. Sprinkled some blood meal on them and the bush beans hoping to deter any more midnight munching.
I’ve been enjoying the whites and reds of Rioja this spring and early summer. Generally all are a blend and the moderate priced ones seem quite good. Just finished one called the Invisible Man which was quite good for an afternoon. Another De Padre or DP on the label was enjoyable.
Will add a some medicinal plants etc once i figure out what those are
Putting lots in the ground the past few weeks. Weekends have been busy as heck. Lots of rain so what has been planted is growing and the effing weeds are growing faster. Spend 3 hrs weeding Saturday after 3 hrs of cutting grass. Cutting more grass today and weeding a bit.
Planed two big planters with flower stuff , two big tubs with more flower stuff and two tubs with borage which is my favourite plant to add to salads – leafs and flowers. Usually a race between the rabbits and I to get to them. I think this year I have outwitted the bastards by putting them in a tub but will see. Finally learning that one has to work with mother nature not confront her.
Bought flower bulbs from a real store not Walmart this year and they are starting to come up. Not quite sure what they are or what they will look like though. Have a plot of those and 5 plots of wild flowers. Figure by July it will all be doing something.
This stuff made it to the UK when the Romans hung out there for a bit. For centuries a part of all gardens until the past 30 yrs. Now making a comeback in the UK with foodies and in North America. Spring shoots are like asparagus and leaves and flowers are edible.
Starting to shoot up. Will get to six feet in another few weeks. Smallish sunflower atop. Sunchoke by another name. Another perennial making a comeback. Will store the tubers and use them for soups and frying up in the winter
At least some are eating well
Will dig up this area this fall and some behind me. Will quadraple the area for annual vegetables and likely test grow some grain for the dual purpose cattle i am leaning towards now
Spent the morning laying down these rubber tiles in the pantry (paint in the winter) so I could move the freezer inside. Will now build some shelving units and start making booze, and once the fruit start producing – raspberry and strawberry jam
I’ve always thought of humor as a state of mind. The ability to laugh at oneself as the adventure unfolds.
All the book learning I have had seems to matter little when dealing with the complexity of producing food on the land in a sustainable and resilient way. Apparently the deer, chipmunks, jack rabbits etc figure I’m there to feed and amuse them. Out again the other day chasing deer off in flip flops at 6 am. The jack rabbits now that they have seen me run, just snigger a bit and eat away until I’m a few feet away then leisure move off to some other tasty bits I have planted for them.
Success I think comes from watching the animals and working for them. I mean with them. Although it may seem I do work for them. Country life is a Three Stooges festival. Nyuk, nyuk.
This fellow – barred owl – came by in mid February and took down a big jack rabbit. Spent the day in the sun (-20) and nibbled away on his prey.
Devoured the whole thing, fur and all. Thinking I can hire him for year around control of the animals. Maybe he can be Hootie and I can be the Blowfish. If he could keep the chipmunks and rabbits from eating stuff I would worship him/she as a god
Have about half an acre towards the first tree line of really good, well drained soil. Nitrogen fixing black locust are to the north and apple trees to the north east. The plum trees I will put to the west leaving the area in front of the trees for perennial vegetables, berry and nut trees, herbs, medicinal plants and ones that attract good insects (honey bees) and birds. Picture below shows a bit of it. The funny looking things on the ground are old carpets I use for killing off the grass under it to bring new areas under cultivation.
Some shots below of stuff growing or to grow – maybe
And a pileated wood pecker for those who made it to the end
I gave awa my tv’s and was planning on only having Internet at the house but haven’t gotten around to that. And to be honest its been like shedding an addiction. I don’t check every 30 minutes for the latest news, email or research something and usually turn off the cell phone. Instead I read, stop and think or go and look at how much a new tree has grown in a few weeks. (Surprisingly so sometimes!) Most of us don’t seem to be able to relax or when you stop to think about it, realize how odd it is to sit down for a drink with friends and everyone is checking their cell phones. We seem only connected to the immediacy of the moment – not the scale of a week, month , year or decade. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we discount things like possible climate change or our changing economic status.
We also seem to have disconnected ourselves from what we are certainly part of. Nature. Most of what we have is created from the resources of the earth and energy we extract – which is just stored sunlight encompassed in ancient biomass. We define ourselves by what we make or build then strive to separate ourselves from nature and keep it in a public park or in the country. The very thing that keeps us alive as a species we watch from our car or house windows as if its somehow separate.
Lately we seem to value more what Honey BooBoo is doing than turning off the tv, computer, gaming box, cell phone and seeing what is out there. Go somewhere and listen to the silence. Hear the birds or owls or coyotes singing. See the stars. That’s the reality of what we evolved in and exist in, not the artificial reality most of us live in today. Go watch a tree grow.