Life on a family farm
in the wilds of
Upstate New York
Friday, March 11, 2016
I was grumpy this morning, stumping up to the stove. I went along with Liz yesterday on a trip to the auction barn and to meet a couple of chicken and hatching egg customers....she needed a Peggy watcher.... and for some reason it plumb wore me out. And then I was greeted, right at the stove, by one of my favorite critters. It appears that the Carolina Wrens are setting up housekeeping in the eaves of the horse barn, right next to the stove. It was fun to watch them noodling around in there and to listen to their friendly chatter. Geese are still at it by the legions and all the other birds as well. On the trip yesterday, besides the sweet pair of people, we saw two Red-tailed Hawks sheltering side-by-side on a tree branch, only inches between them. They were gently touching beaks as they sat there in the rain....such devotion in such simple creatures.
Mammals are much in evidence as well. The yard is like a 101 level course in what lives here. Something took a cottontail on the path from the house to the stove last night, right in front of the dog yard. There was nothing left but a thin smear of fluffy fur, from the old chicken house to the Winesap apple tree. I wonder what it was.....I am not particularly possessive of the bunnies....there are many....but if it was a canid it was closer to house, pets, and hens than it needed to be. Then as I stood at the sink filling dog dishes a mini-bear gallumphed across the lawn from the sheep pen garden to the old hen house foundation. You could tell it has been an easy winter, because it was still fat enough to ripple and flow like water as it made plans to attack the leafy vegetables and eat all the beets. Marmota Monax, a great big woodchuck, already out and about. Yippie skippy. I suppose I should be glad that it's not a real bear. There is a small brown mouse under the arbor eating bird seed. The chipmunks are back. Alas. I have so enjoyed NOT having them on the bird feeders. Hibernation is one of the few aspects of winter that I like. At least they are smaller than grey squirrels. We have had deer all winter....they never went south to the yards, but just stayed here on the farm. Not too many of them, but there have been tracks all along. I imagine we will soon have them on the lawn again. They are beautiful, except for the ticks and the garden eating part. It is nice out though. I am sure there will be more cold weather, as is always the case, but the birds and animals are ready for their annual fresh start. Thus I am not allowed to be grumpy, no matter how sleepy the morning finds me. Suck it up, buttercup, spring is here.