Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Housing Boom

This sturdy barn swallow nest is just across the aisle from the robins below

There is a large and rapidly-growing housing development to our east. You can see the cookie-cutter houses from the horse pasture and the McDonald's sign from everywhere. Amish are moving in and subdividing all around us, and there's a racetrack up to our west. We frequently wonder how long this place will stay as farm land after we are gone. Probably not long.

 However, the biggest housing boom seems to be going on right here on the farm.

Last night Becky nearly stepped on a litter of sylvilagus floridanus that were out for their first perambulation of the lawn....just in time for a nibble in the garden, I'll bet. Those newly sprouted peas and green beans...Yum!

And grey fox pups in the driveway....who probably look at the bunnies with that same thought in mind.

Right inside the heifer barn door

The crows up in the hedgerow fledged, but they still defend the area where the nest is. Ditto robins in the heifer barn, robins in front of the house, robins in the lane, robins, robins everywhere. And the song sparrows near the old corn crib have a newly-fledged brood following them around. They get so anxious and scold if we walk near.

At least two grackle nests, one in the blue spruce, one in the cedar by the porch. Barn swallows in the barn...the list goes on. Phoebes in the front yard. Starling nests stuffed everywhere. Something with a big, fat, ball of grass up in the eaves of the heifer barn. Never seen anything quite like that before. Red-bellied woodpeckers up in the cow lane. Many others, obviously nesting, but good at hiding their housing sites. We hear their songs though....

We haven't seen any fawns yet, but I'll bet they are out there. We are overrun by deer near the buildings...all the poaching pressure up in back has them literally right on the doorstep and a herd sleeping in the barnyard. Turkeys are nesting somewhere right behind the house too....we see them every day when they come out...Poults any day now I suspect.

While enduring the sterile wasteland that is winter in the freezing Northeast, it is hard to even remember that all this activity takes place during our short summer months. However, as June swings into Dairy Month and the cows revel in lush green grass, we are reminded hourly how very fertile the land is...growing everything that is needed for the birds and animals that live here...and hopefully some for us as well.

All grown up and flown already. Second brood soon, I'll bet.


Jacqueline Donnelly said...

A beautiful celebration of the riches of your farmland, for all its inhabitants. Have you explored the possibility of a conservation easement that would preserve your land for agricultural use in perpetuity, benefitting both you and all the creatures who share your land? In Saratoga County we have an organization (Saratoga PLAN) that works to secure such easements. Does your county (Fulton?) have a similar organization? I believe the rewards for the landowners are substantial.

lisa said...

Yes, it does seem like the Amish are taking over. They are leaving PA and moving into our territory. Makes it hard to buy farm ground for a reasonable price sometimes.

Cathy said...

Drove around heartland Ohio last week. American farmers feeding the world. Honestly. It's breathtaking.
And I can not imagine the tragedy of seeing that fertile beautiful land disappearing under a housing tract.

Terry and Linda said...

The Mennonites are moving in here left and right.


threecollie said...

Jacqueline, we have looked into a couple of options, but so far they haven't been too tempting. A lot of red tape for a small amount of compensation and endless hoops to jump through afterwards... it is sad.

Lisa, I wouldn't be surprised if that is who is hunting out there nights.

Cathy, the development next door is being built at least in part on some of the finest fields around. They take the top soil away to cover landfills and such and stick identical houses by the dozen cheek by jowl. They are less than one field from our eastern boundary.

Linda, we have them too.