Sunday, August 20, 2017


I think I should start counting sheep!

You would think that more than three years after selling the milking herd I would stop dreaming about chasing cows. However, if you don't need to chase your own, you can always dream of chasing the neighbors'...even though they too have succumbed to the terrible dairy economy and followed other pursuits.

At least when I awoke this morning Bama, Moon, and Moonshine were still in our pasture....Or at least I think they are.....alone, with no massive herd of Jerseys, Ayrshires, and Holsteins among them....

There are deer though...there are always deer. 


An obliging Song Sparrow, which gave us some great looks
near the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Bridge

Birding before coffee that is. What was I nuts? Yeah, probably, but at least this morning the birds were active again after a good week of near silence and seeming absence. Managed 17 species in just under an hour, which isn't great but better than it has been. No passing warblers yet....

Port Jackson boat launch where we met. There were plenty of good birds to be seen and heard right from the parking lot.

Yesterday I had a tremendous time going on a bird walk sponsored by the City of Amsterdam Recreation.

As you no doubt know, my long-suffering, non-birding husband, the boss, who is really, really good to me, willingly takes me around to look for birds, but other than that I am pretty much on my own. Thus birding with others, learning, watching, and getting to explore a surprisingly rich urban-edge habitat was really a lot of fun.

Another view from the parking lot

Met nice folks, learned many interesting things from our guide, George Steel, and saw some nice birds. There is an intriguing flock of Turkey Vultures that roosts in the city. We saw a wheel of them like something out of a Hitchcock movie, whirling up and dispersing over the city streets. There is a night heron of one kind or the other being seen in that area, so we will no doubt venture down there again. Plus we need to shop at the little market there, Mary Jane's. We didn't get anything this time but we want to.

There will be a couple more such walks in the next couple of months. I am hoping to get to go if the boss is willing and the hay isn't too pressing....get it? pressing?.....If you are interested, even if you are a total beginner, I highly recommend attending. Lots of fun.

Ring-billed Gull

Friday, August 18, 2017


Despite being sick with a foul cold, the boss made some nice hay yesterday. Alas, darkness and sickness coincided to leave one small load on a wagon...that and he lost some time due to a broken PtTO shaft as well. So it got rained on. Anybody need any hay to feed up right away?

C is for broken bale. Or at least it's shaped like a CCan't store this one

We are all sick to one degree or another, some on the mend, some on the downhill slide. Summer colds are lousy if you want my opinion. Today is a rainy one anyhow, so everyone can rest and regroup....unless of course he decides he needs to go store it...I hope not.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hey Grandma

"You wanna come walking with us?"

"Why sure, let's go!" I walked....they ran....


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ice Cream for Breakfast


First, let me thank everyone who generously provided a quote on this summer's weather in their area. From Alaska to Florida and a number of points in between, these reports made it easy and fun to write the Farm Side this week. I am ever so grateful.

I'm glad I needed to change dog water this morning. Staggering around half awake lugging buckets, I noticed that a tiny, thumb-knuckle-sized toadlet was floundering around in Finn's pail. It seemed relieved to be rescued and carted down to the garden by the back door where I released it under a rhubarb leaf. There is something irresistible about a baby toad.

After Montezuma the August birding doldrums have set in with a vengeance. A week ago nine species singing and flying by in the first three minutes would have been the norm any morning. Counted them faster than I could write them down.....

Yesterday I hiked all the way back to the Old Spreader Field and only saw or heard 19 species. Not a Bobolink, Red-winged Blackbird, or Savannah Sparrow to be found.

This morning bird songs showed an odd juxtaposition of seasons, an Indigo Bunting singing over behind the cow barn, a Blue Jay screaming at me for being out in the yard, Chickadees all over the place after a long summer silence, and a Carolina Wren who couldn't decide whether to come investigate my presence or join the jay in alarm.

Summer? Fall? they don't seem to know either.

However, migration is already under way, whether it is obvious or not. Can fall warblers be far behind?

Meanwhile, if the chipmunks can be persuaded to take their ratty teeth elsewhere, we will have tomatoes soon, and the beans and squash are thriving. I don't know about you but I never seem to get tired of raw beans out in the garden or a nice batch with dinner, sauteed in butter and seasoned just so.

We have all had colds lately, but I am hoping to feel good enough to pick today....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Just one More

First of all, thank you to the kind folks from near and far who left quotes about the way the weather is affecting their ability to farm. Now, just one more.....I know, I know, it's a lot to ask but......please...

If you have anything to say about this summer's strange weather across the country, have at it.

And thanks in advance.