Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

This blog/journal has been giving a skewed and upbeat view of life on the farm lately, since, in actuality, we've been having one animal-related crisis after another. But today things were relatively calm so I took a walk in the woods to check the trail camera and whatever else I happened upon. Another day I'll tell the tale of Motor Mouth, the stray cat that caused havoc in the barn, and of our big white dog's strange illness. With Polly's earlier illness, that makes three nerve-wracking episodes... so we should be good for some time now, right?

The trail camera today had four videos of possibly three different deer plus one fawn. One we recognize because she has a split right ear. We call her Split Ear. (Appropriate, yes?) Here she is moseying across the line of vision and having a little stretch. The next video is of a different doe with fawn. Be patient, the fawn doesn't appear until the end of the video.

After leaving the trail camera, I noticed deer tracks in the mud, no doubt from one of the deer caught by the camera.

Near the deer tracks a snail caught my attention as it moved slowly along. It seemed a good day for taking one's time and so I did. Later I keyed this snail out as possibly an Oregon Forest Snail, an appropriate name.

A pair of Red-breasted Sapsuckers set up a tremendous racket when I came near. Perhaps they have a nest along that path. Although they stayed close to each other, one was usually on the far side of a branch so I did not get a good photo of them together.

Since I'd brought my clippers along with the intention of clearing trail, I cut a few blackberries out of the way before being distracted by two identical, lovely butterflies.

While angling for a better position to photograph one of the butterflies, I nearly stepped on a garter snake, which was sunning all but its head. When I moved a bit, so did the snake, and soon stretched out its two foot length.

Along with the wildlife were the wild flowers. This trillium was blooming right along the path. The sessile trillium was not yet in bud but it's outsized mottled leaves are pretty enough.

Walking back through the arboretum, I was hoping for a photo of the warbler seen earlier on a red-flowering currant, or the hummingbird guarding his territory, which seems to include all the currants, but neither cooperated. However, this hoverfly was more obliging. I've only recently learned about hoverflies from Lisa Millbank and Don Boucher's wonderful nature newsletter. http://www.neighborhood-naturalist.com/neighborhood-naturalist_newsletter.htm Lisa takes superb photos and actually knows what all the things she takes pictures of are.

Rejuvenated from my walk in the woods, I went to work on the goldfish pond which had turned into a slimy mess over winter. After removing the potted plants, I bailed out the murky water... or most of it... capturing the resident goldfish as I did so, then scooped out the mud and algae at the bottom... or most of it... replaced pots, refilled the water, and moved the goldfish back into their happy home. Johnny helped with the pond pump and we now have a spitting frog again. All that took the rest of the afternoon.

Johnny, meanwhile, has spent days repairing this winter's monumental hole in the dam and its accompanying broken cable and pipe. Today he finally finished that project.

Projects and problems are ongoing on this farm, but I find that a walk in the woods makes them all easier to cope with.

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