Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chores and Birds



The kids are off to the NY Farm Show with Peggy, so the boss and I took the morning to clean out the ashes from the wood stove.

We have had pretty good wood this winter, so there weren't a terrible lot, but they were very dense. It was hard to dig them out. I don't like the way I have lost muscle since we sold the cows. Arthritis makes it hard to keep as strong as I used to be.

Found a weird knob in the palm of my hand the other day and an odd little red spot. I was showing it to Alan and worrying about what it might be, when he discovered that he had one too, in the exact same place.

The penny dropped. It's from carrying the milking machines around the barn...it's right where the hook end of the cane that holds the milker rests in the palm. 

Huh, never noticed it before and it has to have been that way for decades.

Anyhow, with Peggy not home it was okay to let the house get kind of cold while we did the stove housekeeping chores. Now there is a bright new fire taking hold and soon some dry oak will be burning to get a good new bed of coals going.

They had promised us a 35 degree day today, so we planned this all week, looking for the best day to do it. Alas, as usual, they rescinded that forecast and we will be lucky to get into the twenties, but it's done anyhow so it's all good.

I fear that we have lost a lot of birds this winter though. So far we found one dead White-throated Sparrow and one Chickadee and saw a White-throated with a lot of junk frozen into its tail feathers that probably didn't survive. Also a one legged female Cardinal.

This has just been the worst winter for the poor things that I have ever seen. We used to feed just enough to get a few birds to stop in so we could watch them. Now they wait outside the door for us, seeming to be starving, and we feed a couple of times a day. 

Most of what they might eat in the way of grass seeds and such is under feet and feet of snow. The Turkeys have been spending weeks in the burdocks up in the old pasture, pulling the plants down and eating the seeds.

Still, this morning both Chickadees and Tufted Titmice were singing spring songs....and the sun is just lovely.....haven't seen a Carolina Wren in at least ten days though....

3 comments:

Linda said...

I feel so sorry for the poor birds...darn this winter!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Cathy said...

Keep that song of spring close to your warm heart Marianne .

threecollie said...

LInda, I do too. We feed and feed, but we can't do much about the extreme cold. Now Alan thinks we may have a Shrike over on the other farm. Lots of mangled carcasses under a thorny black locust tree. Can't wait for spring!!

Cathy, the winter that wouldn't let up. So tired of it. I am thinking predators are getting our birds. As I told LInda, Alan thinks there is a shrike. There is definitely a Sharp-shinned, although I haven't seen him taking anything, I am sure he is. Even the House Sparrows have declined from maybe 60 in the fall to fewer than 20 now. I would stop feeding so they disperse, but I suspect they would just starve if I did. So cold, and very little natural food that they can reach. They ate the sumacs as soon as they fruited last fall!