Another Bird

After last weeks story about my feather fight with the bird upstairs I hesitated about another bird related story but my lofty neighbors just keep bringing them my way…

I try to take notice of the things going on around me, even the really small things. Doing so leads me to many wonderful investigations, surprises and stories. I do miss the big picture at times because I delve deeply into the itty bitty and become bewitched by the awesome nature of nature.

My barn duties in the show barn are minimal right now for we only have the two bulls, newly weaned #7, and #41 (the one I call my stalker) on one long side of the barn and on the other side three heifers #23 Mink, #47 Donna and the orphaned calf Primrose. At feeding time, once I have fed both sides, I spend time lolling about to make sure that the little ones on each side get their chance to eat without the bigger ones bothering them. It gives me time to clean up areas that get messy with leftover project bits or a chance to sweep the floor or move the few bales left from last year to the little corner at the front of the barn so we have a big spot for the bale wagon to roll in with freshly made hay.

While I was about to sweep up a pile of hay that was in the middle of the big expanse of cement floor, I noticed a small bird egg. Since I have been having fun with the iNaturalist App on my phone, I decided to take a couple of pictures to add to the data base.  Since the egg was so small, I figured I would add my thumb into the picture for scale.

The App whirled and whirled as it began the identifying process. Now our rural-ness doesn’t always give us great connectivity to the powerful internet and this was one of those days. I refreshed the screen dozens of times but it just kept whirling without conclusion for longer time than I had patience and I closed the App while I finished the chores in the barn and went about other farm duties.

Later in the day, when I reopened the phone and checked on the progress of the identification, the App had decreed my thumb to be of the fungal variety. So that is it, I am reduced to a fungus, just like that. Since installing the App, I had wondered what it would classify me as if I took a screen shot selfie, now because I already know what it thinks of my thumb, I think I will leave further classification to the greater unknown.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm stories.

Sunshine At Breakfast

With the sun bright and beautiful I headed out to the barn for the morning feeding. The two young calves decided it was more important to sunbathe rather than get up and eat. While the rest of the animals were contentedly munching, the two were sprawled out soaking up the rays.

The critters outside the barn were busy with the same idea. Only some of the cats came around when I put food into their dish. The others were out in the warm weather enjoying the sun and dreaming of fresh fowl in the form of yellow finches that were flitting out around the pasture.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm stories.

What I Thought Was A Bird

Working in the barn bundling kindling or firewood is not the nose to the grindstone kind of job. We have music playing in the background, the dogs come by to check on us now and again, we can watch the traffic that travels along the county road and I watch out the open end of the barn to see clouds as they scuttle across the sky, or the distinct V shape of honkers heading one direction or another. While doing all this we do make bundles but it is more enjoyment than work.

Something white in a distant treeThe other day while bundling I noticed a rather large white something in a tree over by the show barn. Between bundles, I saw that a big white bird kept moving around the top of a crab apple tree, then moved over to a tall elderberry tree. I had to stop bundling to grab my camera to get a picture since we do not normally see big white birds around this area. Continue reading

Daphne In Bloom

The Daphne bushes outside the dinning room window are coated in sweet smelling blooms. Early in April they were already attracting bees as the buds started to form. Blooming Daphne bushesNear the middle of April the hummingbirds began flitting around the bushes, and today I saw the first swallowtail butterfly of the season as it danced from bloom to bloom.

Oh, and did I mention that it is also the perfect lookout spot for our striped barn cat? He hangs around nestled between the Daphne while he waits for the day to begin.

For The Birds, Bees And Beauty

Springtime is bringing warmer weather. The grass is greening up (as are the weeds), daffodils are bright yellow and the flowering cherry tree is all decked out in pretty pink. The sweet smelling Daphne bushes are close to blooming and the sage is sending out new earthy-toned tips.

Yellow daffodils and blooming cherry tree.Hummingbirds, Juncos and a few bees have been spotted hanging around the burgeoning plants and it won’t be long before the other flowering trees and large leaf maples start to fill out. The robins are coming into the pastures in droves to feast on the plentiful worm population.

The bulls in the bull pen seem oblivious to the flowers and trees, birds and bees, they are spending their time finding the newest stems of grass as they traverse the acreage of the pen. We open up the gates at opposite ends of the barn so they can take turns nibbling on grass as it grows keeping both sides from getting overgrown or over-grazed.

Strawberries Ending And Raspberries Beginning

Just as the strawberries are are at an end, the raspberries are starting to pink up.

The first of the season raspberries are ripening.The strawberries were not a very abundant crop this year. Usually I am sending out containers full for visitors to the farm, family and friends. This year, with the buttercups taking over the garden strawberry bed, the harvest was quite a bit smaller but still enough to share a little and freeze enough for wintertime.

It looks like the raspberries will have a better crop than the strawberries, but it will depend on weather and the birds who are staking out their perches in anticipation of ripe berries for their own meals.

 

My Fall Strawberries

Cleaning up the garden the other day gave me a chance to pick a bucket of strawberries.

A bucketfull of rocks painted to look like strawberries.No, these aren’t the sweet berries that we enjoyed so much during the beginning of the summer. These are the rock decoys that I had painted and scattered throughout the strawberry patch in hopes that it would frustrate enough birds to ensure a crop of berries for me.

I’m really not sure if the theory that I put into practice works. Birds seem to peck along at the leisure when there is a decoy laying around or not.

I have noticed however, that humans are drawn to the decoys as they step into the patch and I constantly have to answer for my odd display. Seems to me the birdbrains have the upper hand on this game of confusion.

Waiting, Watching, Hunting

A cat watches birds from underneath an old tin roof.I caught a glimpse of Gabriel’s feet as he was sitting under the old tin roof of the shop. I had to crouch down just to get this much of him in a picture.

He was watching out for birds, not hiding, but hunting.

The springtime birds have shown up en masse and the flitty movements keep the cats occupied for hours.

Grey stiped cat under a tin roof watching birds.Chores went on without him  this morning.

Apparently bird watching is more important than keeping me company while I feed the cows in the barn.

 

 

Strawberries in the Patch

It is very early for us, but we have had some ripe strawberries already. This is about 3 weeks sooner than any other year.

This is the same patch where I placed some decoy rocks painted to look like strawberries in order to fool the birds from pecking at the fruit. I had placed the rocks throughout the patch more than a month ago just as the plants were starting to bloom.

Those painted rocks had fooled me several times as I walked by the patch. There were several times when had to take a second look after something red caught my eye. Up until now, only the red rocks were ripe.

The handful of berries that we harvested so far did not have a single peck mark from the birds, so apparently the decoys have been working. Now I am worried that I may have to start painting marbles as decoys for the blueberry patch.