Tuesday, May 26, 2015
A Little Walk About the Place
Since Monday was the only day we are not forecast to have rain I had to make sure the new supers and last bottom board were painted today. I decided to do this batch in White which I admit is my least favorite color to paint. Not that it is saying much as I think painting anything is about the most boring thing on earth. Still it sure does make the stuff look better and last longer in our super humid climate. The White stuff here tends to get some black mold on it though more than other colors I use.
Why a bit of paint might even make those old tires some bloggers use to plant in look acceptable... Nah never happen :)
These rabbits found a hole in the moveable fence section that allows them to come and go into the garden area and out through the sheep pasture. My fencing project has proven to be a boon for the rabbits as they can now be bold knowing the dogs can't get to them. So far they haven't done any damage so I haven't had to introduce them to any of the anti-varmint weaponry yet. I consider all the wildlife on the place a resource that should be encouraged as long as it doesn't get out of control or start doing damage on it's own. The largest selection of food type wildlife we have right now are cottontails and Bobwhite quail but I am finally getting some tree rats and even deer into the back woodlot as well.
There was a Black Bear sighting in a small city not too far from the Small Hold last night. Apparently the poor thing ran around town and was tranquilized but managed to escape.
Black Bear Creates Excitement in Fulton
All I can say is the little guy (and his relatives) better stay the hell away from my bee hives :)
Lately I been noticing a new type of bird around that I have never seen before. I have witnessed a couple of them stealing sheep wool off the fence so they are nesting somewhere nearby and then I came across three of them in a Mulberry tree today. They are very shy and fly off quickly but I managed to get a quick not very good picture of one (above). The most distinguishing mark on them though is a bright yellow band on the end of their tail feathers, which I didn't get in the picture. I looked em up and found out they are called Cedar Waxwings.
What a gorgeous bird. Apparently not good for anything except looking at and they eat mostly berries and insects. They really seem to like the Mulberries though and since I have been encouraging Mulberries and other fruits to grow my guess is I have created the perfect environment for the little birds. I also suspect they are the cause of my poor Gooseberry production this year too. Our location is at the extreme Southern edge of their all year range but the bio on them mentions as a specie the Cedar Waxwing has been going through a population boom so perhaps they are moving into our neck of the woods now. Whatever the case I have never seen them before even though they are said to be quite common.
As fast as they were gulping down the Mulberries though I can see how more of them would be a real problem if our little group continues to grow.
As it stands right now though I counted 27 producing Mulberry trees around the immediate yard and along the pathway/fence line down to the back of the pasture and hayfield. All heavily laden this year as you can see above. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of the Mulberries yet. Perhaps someday I need to start looking into doing more with them than leaving them for the birds and my son to forage on.
The tree climbing Ground Hog doesn't count.
Finally I waded out through the waist high Fescue and Crimson Clover of the hay field to a little patch of Yellow Sweet Clover I noticed growing out there. This is the first year I have seen an actual patch of the stuff in my own fields although there was some of the White variety in with the Alfalfa last year it seems to have died out. The little patch is only about an eight foot circle that contains maybe 20 plants but it stood out and sure enough the honey bees were already working it. While I think Sweet Clover is a very beneficial and useful plant for bee forage and makes decent hay it can also cause bloat if eaten green. As long as it stays were it is the patch can grow but I don't want it getting into the pastures. If it does it will be time to plow it under and replant. Can't have the sheep eating it green.
I take the growing wild life and plant diversity as a good sign that we are doing some thing right. The wild bird populations alone have exploded recently as we add in more food and cover without using pesticides and only minimal herbicide in a very few locations. By seeing all the life gathering around you just know it's healthy. When I brush hog the fields the birds literally swarm behind me collecting the insects. Every blade of grass or leaf has a Lady Bug on it eating aphids and the larger wildlife seem to be taking numbers waiting to get in. The old nags seem to be finally reduced in numbers and grown in age that new trees are beginning to have a chance at survival in the back of the pasture. In fact over grazing appears to be lessening now as the remaining horses cannot keep the entire pasture eaten down.
Means more room for sheep expansion.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!