THEY’RE BACK (No, it’s not poltergeist)!

I was checking out the storm Thursday morning, and that’s when I spotted it. Hanging low in our woods, almost aiming for the pond, then back up again. I’m sure it was trying to stay out of the wind gusts, but it moved like it was not affected by them at all.

Turkey Vultures!

vulture at library 4-1-16

Yep, we officially know it is spring when they show back up. They fly over heading north-northeast every spring. Then we get to see them going back in the fall. Have no clue where they are going to or from, but love to see them.

They are not as big as a Condor, but much larger than our area hawks. Guess I am just too much of a bird watching nut, so I naturally get excited when I see them. They are such smooth operators, even in our gust storms!

The first one I spotted was Thursday (3/31/16). It was all by itself which is very odd. Normally we see them like this:

vultures are back 3 31 16This group I spotted at our local small town library about an hour ago. They were dipping in between the trees there – odd? I have seen them in groups of about 5 to around 10, and I know they do not fly straight. They do this huge loop-de-loop in the air, gradually floating off in the direction they want to go. Ducks and geese fly over all year long. They are in a “V” formation, but they still move like an arrow in a straight direction. The loop-de-loop is usually how I spot the vultures. Dead give away (ha ha – yes, pun intended!)

The way they were bobbing in and out of the trees, they seemed to be playing at the library. Shame on them! They were just far enough away and moved fast enough that I could not get a clean shot of one with my cell phone – Boo Hoo! Oh well, at least, I have a couple of pics. Would love to have one close up in the wild. I think they are a bit camera shy! Too bad, I have a business proposition for them…I will set out some of my chicken feed as a treat if they pick off some of our huge ugly gophers? Think they will bite?

plains pocket gopher 2                         prarie dog

Pocket Gopher:                                                                                Prarie Dog

  1. Can’t tell here, but they have very long sharp teeth and claws.
  2. Are almost as big as a Prarie Dog.
  3. Take out the roots of EVERYTHING!
  4. Neither is cute or cuddly
  5. Both are dangerous (I actually saw some in a pet shop in WI – oooh nooo Mr. Bill! Now I hear they are having a prairie dog problem – duh!) and do not make good pets!
  6. Both will dig holes large enough for a goat, cow, or horse to break a leg in!
  7. Cattlemen and/or a good hunter can pick off a prairie dog on the plains – they are bold and brazen.
  8. Gophers are sneaky! If a cat or dog is patient, they may get one. Our guineas would rip it off if it ever had the guts to show its face to them – but nooo – they have too much fun tearing up all of our good fruit tree roots – jerks.

Well, I have news for them…soon it will be warm enough for our Bull snake momma to come out – wooo hooo – love her!!!

 

 

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IT’S NOT SMART TO MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE-MAYBE?

This morning was a wakeup call for me and my attempts at taking pictures.  There had to be a couple of thousand Snow Geese flying north over out little farm and these are my shots:

3-3-16 snow geese 2

snow geese 1

3-3-16 snow geese 3

Pretty pitiful – but there are 2 major things wrong pertaining to these pictures:

1)      Winning a great Nikon D3200 Camera with extra DX lens does not make one an instant expert photographer

2)      All the Snow Geese flying north on March 3, 2016 is way abby-normal!

The first one I can fix by actually taking classes (I think they even have some online under Nikon?) to learn how to take better pics.  I could also splurge on a neat little video camera (Walmart has several to choose from, at pretty reasonable prices), then I could have also shared the cool sounds they were making with you.

The second one is the thought that worries me a bit.  This winter has been way to different, and I don’t think it’s just here in Colorado.  It’s normal to get 70 degrees one day and 30 the next from October through January, but to get 60+ and stay there IN FEBRUARY – and no Freeze at all –  now that’s just not normal.  We prep all year for the one to two week period of below freezing day and night, not this year.

Have I also told you that I am an amateur Nature Enthusiast?  I say amateur because I have never taken formal classes on the subject; however, I have lived on a working farm most of my life (My folks purchased the family farm when I was about 2, and my sister was born after we moved there so she has been at it since birth).

I am fascinated with all things nature and natural.  The critters that show up unexpectedly in our yard (can you say opossum!).  The deer that come out of the woods almost every sunset to frolic in the lower pasture (especially love watching in spring as they chase each other all around till dark).  The increasing numbers of good bugs that are showing up here every year (Praying Mantis, Ladybugs, Monarch Butterflies – and some are endangered species).  We do not use chemicals of any kind on our property, so maybe we have become the Favorite Bug Restaurant for the good guys (I can only hope!)?  Who knows why they come, I’m just glad the come.

The numbers of sightings have increase about 10-fold since we purchased our little property in 2000.  Then again we cannot take all the credit, the first 3 years we were here were the worst drought years Colorado had seen in 100+ years.  That may have been a contributing factor (oh sure, blame the drought).  However, all I know is that they are here now and in growing numbers.

So the geese flying north in masses makes me wonder what old (yes she is “old”) Mother Nature is up to now?

Mother Nature 1

Is she in a playful mood and deciding to bring a nice early spring?  Is she in a vengeful mood and going to trick us into thinking it is nice, then zap us with a wicked deep freeze in April (after everything is in bloom of course – happened before and not long ago.)?  I cannot blame her for wanting revenge, we the people have abused her for too long.  Some of us (wish there were more- boo hoo) have actually been trying to help her all our lives. 

I guess there’s no way to predict what she’s up too, so we will just keep doing what we do – garden naturally, and hope for the best! 

Maybe I will put a totem up for her in the gardens to try to appease her – how’s this?

totem 1

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IT’S FREAKING COLD OUT HERE LADY – WHERE’S THE HEATING PAD?

It has been a weird winter for us this year (includes latter part of 2015) – even our poor little birds are confused. The Robins usually disappear around November or December – the idiots are still here? What’s up with that?

fluffy robin

Last Friday I had 4 Chickadees eye-balling me from the tree out the window – kinda creepy! I filled their bird feeder out front before the storm (yes, there still is seed in it) so my only guess is they are thinking “It’s freaking cold out here lady – where’s our bird house with a heating pad?” Or – maybe they are mad cuz I didn’t wrap the gazebo this year?

chickadees

We have heavy, greenhouse type, plastic on the top ½ and back ½ and I usually wrap a 6-mil plastic around the bottom, just to keep the summer stuff we have in there dry. Well, I didn’t get to it last fall, so the bottom is full of snow now. The sparrows have found that I missed screening in one small upper corner and will sneak in there. However, nobirdy (OK, bad pun) went in there during this storm?

One poor dove just hung on for dear life to the pine tree out front – made it! Unfortunately, the poor puppy is too fat to fit through that little hole in the gazebo. So it is resolved to perch snuggled into the pine branches. It’s safe; the branches are covered in snow, so I guess it has a nice blanket under it. Ok, yes I worry too much about all the critters on our little farm, why not?

american dove

She/he/it is still around – all by itself? Very odd since normally they are at least in pairs.

I thought I would be helping the birds out by placing some birdseed by the pond.   We have a heater in it (keeps the water running) which helps them to get a drink when needed. Oh, Stupid Me! The fuzzy, 4-legged, burglars – IN BROAD DAYLIGHT NO LESS – hopped right up and helped themselves to it all (see Arlene – no buddies of mine! LOL)

peek bunny

They also managed to strip most of our fruit tree bark – even though they are fed quite well, I must say!   One of my best 4-H projects, when I was a kid, was raising rabbits. They went from two to over one hundred within about a year – EEEKKK!!! I also remember that following spring we had a “freezer stocking fest” at our farm, along with our cousins (had too many pigs and chickens). I won’t go into details for those of you that love the critters, or are vegan – but Hasenpfeffer is delish!

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