Thursday, March 23, 2017

National Puppy Day 2017

Sing us the song of your people, on this your special holiday.....actually he is barking at House Sparrows....

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mi Vida NOCA

I know, I know, it's Mi Vida Loca. But since we sold the cows and our world contracted to a microcosm of its former self, I have kept myself entertained with you have no doubt noticed....

So for me it has become mi vida NOCA, the latter being the four digit code for Northern Cardinal. BTW I am learning this code for listing because it is a lot quicker to write RWBL than it is to scribble Red-winged Blackbird. I keep hoping the FBI will snoop on one of my lists and think I am a super spy.

It's fun and it gets me and the boss out of the house. He likes to tool around town to see who has a nice barn, who bought a new tractor, whose rows are straight and whose are curly.

I like to find ticks for my lists.

It's kinda loca, but it works for us.

Anyhow, yesterday in the midst of cold howling wind, he needed to go over to Fonda to get a gallon of milk. He asked if I wanted to go down to the boat launch. Since we had seen Green-winged Teal there the day before and listed them on eBird, I agreed despite the nasty weather. GWTE are among my favorite ducks right up there with Ruddy Ducks and Northern Pintails. When the sun hits those green heads there isn't a thing in Oz to compare.

As we arrived another gentleman did too. He was tall and well dressed and sported good binoculars. Ooohhh, a birder! I have only ever met one other birder in our travels, up at Montezuma a while back.

I so wanted to go over and chat, but just couldn't (see introvert, shy, etc.)

Next he took a huge spotting scope out of his car, put it on a tripod, and began scanning the hundreds of geese, scattering of assorted ducks, crows, RWBLs etc. I was consumed with curiosity.

Then he began to fold everything up to leave...and came over to talk to us!

He had come because someone had reported Green-winged Teal there. Maybe it was even my eBird report that sent him down to the confluence of the Schoharie and the Mohawk.

Anyhow, we chatted for a minute or two about the birds there and about Iceland Gulls, which are seen around here now and then, and which I think I may have seen, and then he was on his way. A couple of Bald Eagles sailed by as if in celebration.

It was a little on the loca side, but super cool as well. You simply never know when serendipity will send you a special moment in your wonderful, amazing, and frequently crazy life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

National Agriculture Day

Broadway, my favorite cow of all time

Is today

But really every day is ag day for pretty much everyone. We all eat. Most of us wear clothes. We drive cars with tires on roads and like to color our walls with paint.

Bama, back in the day when she was a workin' goil

We like plastic stuff and it all isn't made from fossil fuels.

There are many other byproducts of farm production that we might not think about as well. Green fields, waving wheat, open space, and clean air are some of these. Farms provide homes for birds and wildlife too.

From NRCS: 

"With more than 70 percent of the land in the United States privately owned, it follows that most of the wildlife in the countryside depends on private landowners. Farmers are installing grass, tree, and shrub plantings; ponds; riparian buffer strips; and other wildlife habitat at record rates. Some farmers provide bird and bat houses, while others plant or leave food plots of corn, millet, or other grains specifically for wildlife.

Pheasants, grouse, quail, prairie chickens, mourning doves, and songbirds, as well as leopard frogs, diamond-back terrapin, red bats, and other wildlife, benefit from habitat that farmers and ranchers establish on their land. Farmers appreciate and enjoy wildlife supported by good habitat and also benefit from pollination and pest control by beneficial insects."

We do our bit here at Northview, as best we can, and not just on Ag Day either. Although it isn't always pretty, the land here is home to deer, woodchucks, both varieties of common squirrels, red and grey, sometimes fishers, both red and grey foxes, bats, opossums, skunks, rabbits, chipmunks, weasels, voles, coyotes, moles, mink sometimes, and assorted rodents, both good and awful.

As for birds, we got 'em. So far this year we have seen 45 species. We found 88 last year and are hoping to break 90 this year. If Lyme Disease, bum knees, and other potential problems stay away that is...crosses fingers, knocks wood, and thinks good thoughts....

Agriculture is the number one industry in many states, some of them surprising. Among them are Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, and at least in 2010, New York State. (This changes now and then.)

However, the farmer's share of the US food dollar is only  seventeen cents. Not such a big payoff for all that comes from agriculture.

Whose Day is it Anyhow?

This guy's.

If you see him today in the far away home of Philly cheese steaks, wish him a happy birthday....or hit him up here if it's handier.

Meanwhile, happy birthday, kiddo. Hope the weekends make up for spending it on the job. Love you!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Farming Styles

Breaking a horse to lead. This Percheron was not having any of it
and threw himself down in the road after we passed. After being dragged a little bit by the Belgian pair he got up again right quick.

I expect by the end of this exercise he will know what the halter is all about.
How he got to such an age and size without knowing is another question.

Five horse assortment coming back from spreading manure on a snowy field

Large bales of straw being unloaded, probably for calf and pen bedding, on a large dairy. Nice stuff.
Despite the several freestall barns full of hundreds of cows, there was no smell except that of good quality feed.
There was also a nice pile of fresh sand for cow comfort in the free stalls and lots of cows eating and going about their bovine business.

Different things work for different folks. We went out around town a bit today while waiting for Becky to get out of work. We saw examples of some of the more old-fashioned methods of gettin' er done and passed two of the largest and most modern farms in the area a couple of miles later.

So different and yet alike in some ways as well.

Mommy, there's Eggs

"There's eggs, Mommy, there's two! Come and see, come and see!"


Eggs means new chicks in toddler speak.

In fact there are three new chickies in the incubator in the dining room. Peepeepeepeep PEEP!

Guess how many times a day a toddler peeks in through the window of the incubator....

She brought me a brown-brockled quail egg yesterday for show and tell.

After exclaiming over its amazing cuteness I asked her, "What are you going to do with that?"

"Put it in the inkerbator and hatch out a chickie," she replied. 

Science lessons for three-year-oldsfree for the learning.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

It's Meltin-g-g-g-g-g-g-g

One thing about a mid-March snowstorm. The after effects don't linger as long as if it were mid-winter. 

Not that there isn't still plenty to go around. Can't walk to most places that I usually like to go...

On the other hand the wrens survived and new migrants are appearing every day....a Purple Finch yesterday. 

Becky bought me new glasses this week...been wearing the same ones for around fifteen years or so. I like them.....although the ground seems to be farther away than it used to be. Sure can see the birds and trees better!

Hopping down the bunny trail....

Otherwise not much for excitement. We saw a big police presence on the bike path yesterday as they stopped snowmobiles to look them over. Must be most of them were in compliance as they were going on their way. I don't begrudge them their fun. It has been a really open winter up until now. Wish they would be careful many deaths this year...and stay off the lakes!