Thursday, March 26, 2015

Catching Up

This is supposed to be a journal of life on our farm but I have been too occupied with other stuff to keep it up to date. It is an early, busy spring. And so dry that I tilled the garden on March 10. We were still having frosts at night, but Johnny screened some of our compost for me and I filled flats in the greenhouse in preparation for planting tomato, melon, and other seeds. However, something was digging in the dirt immediately and I assumed it was that pesky chipmunk.

So I prevailed upon Johnny to seal off the ceiling gaps where we had seen the chipmunk disappear.

However, little holes kept appearing in my dirt. Johnny set traps. And caught lots of mice! I then discovered a crack under the side greenhouse door, so Johnny weatherstripped that. No more mice.

I thought we had solved the problem until a few days ago, when the blessed chipmunk sat in the greenhouse scolding me. I pulled pots from where they were stored under the bench on the north end of the greenhouse. No holes there. But then I pulled plants away from the north wall and window. That's where the chipmunk had been near and there I discovered rotted away sills. Johnny has now ordered a piece of metal to cover the whole mess. I hope that finally solves the chipmunk problem as my seeds are due to arrive any day and I don't care to feed them to a chipmunk.

The next weekend I started working, finally, on the third book in my Goat Lane series: Still Life in the Goat Lane. I only do that when it rains and I have to stay inside... but it seldom rains so this book may be a long time coming.

On Tuesday, the 17th, we did our last Raptor Run of the season, the North Santiam one. As usual, I walked around John Neal park but found no Red-shouldered Hawks. However there was plenty of other wildlife.

The ponds are so reflective, I can never resist taking photos, even of common birds like these Canada Geese.

Mallards are common but still handsome.

This eagle sat in the tree where we have seen Red-shouldered Hawks in the past.

On Saturday, the 21st, I explored an area on the coast where I have suspected Black Oystercatchers might nest but have not been able to get to. Indeed, I found a pair. Hopefully, I will get back during the nesting season to find out if my hunch is right.

The weather has been so nice that I find it hard to stay indoors... and so I don't. When not mowing or weeding or pruning, I prowl through our woods looking for wildflowers and whatever else I might find. That gave me the bright idea to start yet another blog, this one just to keep a photo record of the wild creatures on our farm. I have called it The Fauna of Fink Family Farm and divided it into various categories, like Mammals, Reptiles, Insects, etc. Here is a recent photo I added to that blog (under Amphibians).

These two frogs were mating in our seasonal horse pasture pond.
 I take lots of wildflower photos as they bloom and put them on my wildflowers blog.

Western Trillium

Skunk Cabbage
In the domestic animal category (not in my Fauna blog): three chicks hatched last week and survived (one hatched but did not survive) from the eggs I bought at the Poultry Swap three weeks earlier. I had set them under our broody hen. She is now happily raising these three for us. Each is a different color.

I thought the hen should have more than three chicks to raise so I bought 4 Speckled Sussex pullets and gave to her. She didn't want them. So they are growing up with the 6 Speckled Sussex pullets that neighbor Irv bought at the same time. He has a big brooder... and a big heart.

In gardening news, we are still eating potatoes and delicata squash from last summer's garden but the onions are all gone. It seems I can never raise enough onions. Maybe this year... if the seeds ever arrive and I get them planted and the chipmunk doesn't eat them up.

Happy spring!

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