Monday, April 27, 2015

A Bird Post

I intended to do a post about the Flora and Fauna of Leavenworth 
County today, but I had so many good bird pictures I decided to change it. 

Keith and I came across this guy after doing chores Sunday morning... he was 
perched on the fence pole where I have seen him several times before, outside the 
big horse pasture I pass twice daily.  There are woods nearby, for cover, and 
he has a lot of room to see the little creatures he's hunting. 

He's a modest owl.  

This group of two toms, two jakes and a hen also had about four more hens out of camera range on the right.  

Yes, the hunters are out... and yes, that bird in the picture got away. 

As we were leaving the old house this afternoon after getting the eggs and doing chores... 
I saw something in the sky and grabbed the camera. 

Crows do not like hawks.  
Three crows were out to get this guy. 

They meant business. 

The hawk was diving and jeuking around. 

All of the sudden, the crows fled! 

And a pair of vultures flew over, in lazy circles. 

The thing was, they were very, very low... and I had already had a scare at the henspa. 

You may have to biggify this to see it.  Around the lower part of the six foot high henspa fence, there 
is a "layer" of poultry wire, zip-tied to the chainlink.  I bent about six inches out as it hit the 
ground, so that the dogs could not dig through.  I obviously did not pay attention this morning... 
something tried to dig in, and the poultry wire was loose in this area, which is right by the gate into the yard.  The zip ties were two years old, and popped off... so... I pulled the poultry wire to 
the chainlink, zip tied everything anew... and put something over the hole that had 
been dug that canine paws cannot move. 

You probably don't remember, but these crazy chickens I am watching are not like my flocks, they do not go inside at night, except for one hen that IS roosting inside (I can tell from the poop) and 
one hen who is brooding eggs.  They sleep in the dog house that I kept in this yard for the ducks. 

I'm hoping I don't go out there some morning soon and see a yard full of feathers. 

I have been leaving the front gate open, I may have to close it now.  

Could have been a fox, too. 

The wild birds are still coming, too. 

And this male cardinal looked like he was telling me to GET LOST! 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Where Did Four Days Go?

I did not realize I had not posted since Tuesday! 

I just don't know where the weeks go... when you retire, you picture yourself laying around enjoying life, but I assure you, the laying around part is few and far between at our house. 

Here are some shots of the new garden bed I am building out by the patio
on the east side of the house.  Thanks to Keith, who made 
multiple trips to Home Depot to get bags of Miracle Gro dirt on sale for me. 

This bed is on the inside of the fence ... remember, we had a man 
plow the inside and outside.  We have had second thoughts about 
the outside (expense and labor) and we have decided we are going to plant 
it with pampas grass, to give some privacy to the patio.  

I had brought this somewhat-ratty paper with me from the old place.  This is 
how we layered the beds there. 

I put a layer of straw down over the paper. 

And then peat moss on top of the straw... you see it in the picture here. 
I used two huge bales of peat moss, and could have used another bag or two, to be 
truthful.  Again, money was a factor. 

Behold the first mound of Miracle Gro.  It was on sale, and those 
are only .75 cubic foot bags, I can still lift those. 

Keith is still recuperating from surgery, and 
can pull them off the truck, but that's about it. 

Here it is as I put five bags on the north end, 
since Keith had to make another trip.  I did not want the paper to 
even think of coming up. 

I was being constantly watched, as I was very near the feeding station the whole time.  I was chattered at, too. 

Here it is finished, on Thursday evening.  We have had some rain in the 
last two days, and in the next two weeks, I'm going to bring some plants from the old 
garden to live here.  I've decided on some old fashioned iris, yellow and blue, and some
monarda, and some daylillies, to start with. 

We realize we have some grass to the rear of the bed... we are going to weed-eat that and then
mulch heavily. 

This is JUST outside of the wet area in the yard.  

This coming week we are expecting more temperate weather... and I am going to start 
carrying the tomatoes out every morning, and hardening them and the peppers off on the patio table. 

Here is our little doll, Jester, on Thursday night.  He had a traumatic week... first, on Monday, we went to get nails clipped.  He stands like a champion for this, not like our pugs, who would scream and wriggle. 

Wednesday, we went back to the vet, thinking his neutering appointment was that morning, 
so no breakfast and a ride without Lilly.  He trembled so hard I thought he would die. 

Wrong day... we had to go back Thursday, and the deed was done.  
He spent a long evening, and laid around a lot on Friday morning, 
but by today, he is back to himself.  
A long week for him and for his mama. 

Our girl Lil spent the day looking for Jester, and dreaming on the 
back deck.  She was very glad to see him that night when I went to bring him home. 

Yes, she's the Queen Bee, but she has a heart. 

I'll try to get caught up tomorrow on pictures of wildlife I've taken this week...
and Keith and I actually went on a short expedition this morning, finding a very large, lone tom turkey. 

Now, I'm going to make a batch of peanut butter cookies before going to church this afternoon. 

Oh... one last picture... 

Today is April 25, can you believe it?  4 months since Christmas Day! 

Not the point.... see the black hen just visible in the nest box on the left?  I took 
this picture with my phone on the 19th.  She is still in the box, now on several eggs. 
She is a cochin gone broody!  I am rewarded with a sharp peck everytime I try to 
reach in there... so I am leaving her be.  I swore no chicks .... but we'll see what happens. 
That henspa is a good place for mama to care for little chicks.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Dearth of Snakes

We have a dearth of snakes so far this spring. 

A friend has already posted pictures of several large black snakes around her area.... but so far, I have seen none.  I thought the presence of chickens in the old hen house would mean some would be drawn, but despite my checking the rafters, etc., I have seen none.  So far. 

This big one is from July of 2012, helping himself to an egg. 

These big black snakes are our friends... they keep the rodent population down. 

It may still be too cold... we are going down to the thirties tonight. 

The tulips are almost finished. 

It did get up into the seventies today, and the dogs had a good run, and 
then enjoyed a good fresh fortex of cold well water. 

Lilly was hot, too. 

The starling hordes have two more weeks, and then I'm pulling the plug. 
I watched the red-bellied woodpecker try to eat tonight, and he was muscled out. 

There he goes! 

The hairy woodpecker had the suet all to himself, though. 

Here are two red winged blackbirds... a male on the right with his red and yellow stripe... and the female on the left, with her yellow. 

This, seen through the screened window in our tv room.... is a yellow-headed blackbird. 
See his white stripe?  This is a male. 

I have only seen one other one, about two years ago, at the old house. 
Supposedly, they breed in Kansas in the summer.  

He is a beauty! 

He was here again this evening, too. 

This turkey girl was all alone this evening, and we saw her about a mile and a half from the house.  I wanted to scream at her to HURRY UP.  I even stopped to take the picture and she still meandered. 

Until, thankfully, she disappeared into this thicket. 

Here are two of our turkeys in the old henyard at night, 3 years ago.  One is still alive, 
down the road at my friend Roxanne's farm.  the other, sadly, was lost to a predator. 
Turkeys are wonderful birds to raise. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunny Monday

We had a beautiful, if chilly day here, and are going down possibly into the 30's tonight! 

The ponds at the foot of the hill were shining in the sunlight. 

What a beautiful view I've had for the last 10 years! 

The three lone chickens are loving their huge outdoor space.  I'm starting to feel so 
guilty for the other 9... they have the henspa yard, without a piece of green in it now. 

The tulips are slowly going by now. 

How I have enjoyed them! 

A lady goldfinch had to fight our strong wind as she flew away from the feeder. 

Lilly was on a mole trail in the pasture, and dug the whole thing up.  No moles! 

This beautiful young red-tailed hawk flew directly in front of us on the way home.  I grabbed the camera, and even though he was up pretty high, I took some pictures. 

Biggify these to see what a beaut he was. 

He was far, far up when I took the last one, but biggify it... it is a little blurry because of the distance, but you can see a real hawk there! 

We saw these two, too.... they were waiting for us to leave so they could finish their breakfast. 
You see that turkey vultures are not ALL black. 

We saw this tom turkey alone tonight on the way home.  He was near a home... for protection, I'm sure. 

Since these guys are still everywhere. 

The drainage ditch was empty, and the teal were back on the pond on the way home... that little bird you see flying through the picture was a swallow, and I kept trying to take pictures as they dove in and out and in and out. 

The dogs and I have discovered a few new roads in the last few days, so hopefully, we
will have some exciting pictures this week!