Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life After Grandkids Leave


Without help from the grandkids, who have all returned home, we're having to do our own work, mostly mowing fields and gardening and watering for me, sorting junk in the shop for Johnny. (He has finally begun his long awaited project of getting his shop under control.)

The hot weather that arrived with August has made the garden happy... and me spend a lot of time watering, weeding and harvesting. Here is yesterday's harvest of zucchini squash. I get that much every other day. (I overplanted, as usual.) And, yes, I do haul it inside in my sweatshirt, which I start the day wearing at 6:30 a.m. but quickly shed. Mornings begin (after milking and feeding chores) with picking and freezing either zucchini or peas. Soon cucumbers will be ready for pickling.

I overplanted a lot of things, like cabbage. Johnny will be making lots of sauerkraut this year. It's amazing how fast my neat and tidy rows turned into overgrown blankets of plants. I took these photos yesterday morning. By tomorrow the bare dirt will likely be covered in greenery.











Melon and squash and pumpkin vines just will not stay where they belong.


The horse field had to be mowed because all those lovely wild flowers (pictured in "And Life Goes On" here: http://lindafink.blogspot.com/2012/07/in-spite-of-overwhelming-sadness-of.html ) became sticky tarweed and dried out daisies, Queen Anne's lace, etc.... a potential firetrap. The fields look better mowed than full of tall dead things, and the horses no longer come in at night with tarweed seeds on their faces and stuck in their manes and tails.

My once or twice a week Black Oystercatcher monitoring has come to a close. One chick fledged successfully from a nest I just found this year near Hart's Cove. It was a long hike each week to check on the little family but a lovely view when I arrived.

I became quite attached to Fred and Mary and Junior, as I named them, and applauded when Junior successfully took flight on August 9th. The nest rock was pretty far for getting photos of small black birds, but here is Junior with a parent above him. This was taken 6 days before Junior fledged. His bill is shorter than the adult bills, and not completely red yet. Nor does he have their red-outlined eye. He'll hang out with mom and dad until next spring.




And here are Junior's parents with their bright red bills on display. Junior's bill will not be completely red until next summer.

Black Oystercatchers were not the only wildlife in the area. Once this eagle kept an eye on us, and every trip I saw... and heard... sea lions basking on rocks and frolicking in the sea... and barking, always barking. For a short video to see and hear them, go here: http://youtu.be/M-BXzNgm2eI (Rejoice! I have finally... just now... learned how to edit my videos.)












We have our own wildlife at home, some of it more welcome than others. Voles are in good supply this year, so good they're girdling the baby nut trees in my arboretum. I mowed the nut orchard to help the Barn Owls find the little devils. The owls are on their second clutch of eggs: six this time. I hope they hatch soon and produce very hungry-for-voles owlets.

Deer with fawns are still appearing in our trail cameras. Here is Split Ear with her fawn, growing up. We've been watching them since soon after the fawn was born... via the trail camera since our guardian dogs keep them away from the house with its roses and blueberries and raspberries, thank goodness. The doe with twins still appears in the camera, too.

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Full and busy, that's life on the farm in August.

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